Pack up the car with a few good buddies and tak an ultimate road trip on a California craft brewery tour.
Any beer geek traveling along the west coast will find some of the best craft breweries in America, breweries that turn every pint glass into a veritable chalice. It’s not just great beer to fall in love with – these amazing west coast breweries are located in remarkable cities rich in character, making them hugely popular draws among visiting tourists.
Whether you’re traveling among friends or bravely trekking the open road alone, make sure to add these delectable craft breweries to your itinerary and go on a California Craft Brewery Tour.
Stone Brewery – San Diego, CA
Stone Brewery has long championed strong beers like its flagship ale Arrogant Bastard but the brewing team has made Stone a mainstay in the massive craft beer community with distinctive offerings like their latest Smoked Porter & Vanilla Bean. Such incredible beer is highly deserving of an even more unique brewery, their San Diego location is truly something to marvel.
The entrance to Stone Brewery is shaded by an overhanging garden of genuine hops, giving the place a rich aroma and an idea of what’s to come. The open facility itself is forged mostly from stone, with rustic vaulted ceilings that provide some incredible ambience given the merry crowds. Huge floor to ceiling windows open up to an amazing courtyard where you and your party can cozy up to a roaring fire with the creek rippling just beyond you. This place is beautiful.
San Diego, considered one of the best places to live for all its amenities, is a different kind of California. Apart from its amazing craft beer scene, miles of beaches and seriously fun watersports make this city a must-visit.
Green Flash Brewing Company – San Diego, CA
Located a mere twenty minutes away from Stone is another San Diego treasure, Green Flash Brewing Company. Founded in 2002, Green Flash has quickly become a highly sought after brew just about everywhere on the west coast. The brewing team produces a smarter IPA that’s more drinkable, a deviance from standard recipes that boasts more flavor and overall zip.
$5 tasting tours are available at Green Flash starting at 5pm Wednesday through Sunday. The local tasting room is also a brilliant place to meet like-minded craft beer drinkers – you’re never out of place here as a tourist.
Anchor Brewery – San Francisco, CA
The bay area in San Francisco is a melting pot of arts and culture and both of these elements collide when it comes to local Anchor Brewery. The creative team at Anchor has made their beer production an art form through time-honored tradition. The brewers actually steam ingredients throughout parts of the brewing process.
Hailed as America’s first craft brewery, Anchor Brewery’s roots run deep – dating all the way back to the California gold rush in 1849. The original Anchor Brewery was actually destroyed by the San Francisco fires in 1906. Plenty has changed since Anchor was forced to relocate, but the brewing methods have remained mostly the same.
Whether you’re riding the trolley or simply walking the hilly streets (what a workout that is!), there’s an endless amount of things to do in San Francisco. Make sure to scope out the Golden Gate Bridge for scenic views. Voted one of the fittest cities in America, the people aren’t so bad to look at either!
Lagunitas Brewing Company – Lagunitas, CA
Similar to Green Flash, Lagunitas is strong beer brimming with wits and personality. This relatively humble operation provides great tasting craft beer to virtually every state on the west coast – a feat all the more impressive when you see the modest setup within. Lagunitas Brewery is no fuss, making it a wonderful spot to just sit down and unwind.
The smaller crowds allow Lagunitas to offer free tours every day of the week without any need for reservations, making any time the perfect time to come. This unique brewery also involves themselves heavily in the community, donating beer to help fundraisers that support local schools and other worthy establishments. This is a socially conscious beer!
Looking for something else to do in Lagunitas? Veering from the beaten path, active visitors of the city will love hiking through Devils Gulch – a 6.2 mile long trail located in close proximity to historical Taylorville.
Sierra Nevada Brewing Company – Chico, CA
Sierra Nevada Brewing Company is yet another jewel in the crown that is the California beer community. When the founders of Sierra Nevada began brewing their own beer, many people disliked it – but it was the handful that loved it that recommitted them to their original pursuit.
Having brewed beers for decades now, there’s obviously a little something more for every palate. Fans of Sierra’s flagship Pale Ale will adore their seasonal Celebration Ale, brewed with some of the freshest and most interesting hops you’re likely to come across. Purists will want to take advantage of the exclusive ‘Beer Geek’ tour offered on Fridays, a 3 hour trip that puts you up close and personal with craft beer history.
The brewery’s location, Chico, is the most populous state in the Butte County and offers visitors plenty of great attractions. Nearby Bidwell Park is extraordinarily beautiful, particularly during the fall.
Cheers to your next adventure!
About The Author: This article was prepared and written by Tyler Thursby, self-proclaimed beer geek an featured writer for Vagabond Summer.
Photo Source: Google Commons