So Many Breweries, So Little Time

by Renee on October 13, 2010

As our trip to Northern California approaches, I’ve tried to map out a few of the breweries I’d like to visit in the limited time that Paul and I will have this weekend. With suggestions from Gary O’Flanagan of Mendocino Brewing Company, I think I’ve hit on a pretty good plan. While it would be nice to visit Sierra Nevada up in Chico, I think it’s just a little too far out of our range this trip for the time alotted. So we will save that for another time.

Thursday, our first night, is going to be spent in the little B&B in Mendocino where we stayed in 2002 on our honeymoon. It’s a romantic start to the first “vacation” Paul and I have had together since we went to Lake Tahoe in 2007 to ride our bicycles for Team in Training, raising money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. I was hoping to visit the Mendocino Hopland Brewpub that night, but sadly, this week it closed down. So we’ll begin our brew tour Friday morning.

The first brewery on my list is the Anderson Valley Brewing Company, since it’s on the way to Ukiah (where we’ll catch up with Gary in person). That visit honestly depends on what time we wake up and hit the road! I’m really looking forward to hitting MendoBrew, and having lunch with Gary, seeing the brewery where Jack’s original recipe is still made today–under the name Red Tail Ale of course. So Mendocino Brewing is our first must-visit, with the possibility of Anderson Valley along the way.

When we take leave of Gary, there are a number of other places we could stop at on our way down to San Francisco, where we’ll spend the weekend with friends. Bear Republic Brewing is on the way, so that’s got a shot. But our second must-visit is the Russian River Brewing Company, to raise a glass of Pliny the Elder, which I’ve been dying to try, and to see the original New Albion Brewing Company sign that survives there. (Lo and behold, there is a video on YouTube featuring owner Vinnie explaining why the sign is so important to the RRBC: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uUp6-1SxcJc !)

I told Jack his sign was there, and he’s interested to hear how it they came to have it, so I’ll investigate. He said to tell them he hand-painted the thing a number of times! (A shout out to one of my tweeps, bjornidentity, for tipping me off that the sign resides at RRBC!)

Another possibility along the way, depending on time and energy, is Lagunitas Brewing. (And oy!, let’s not forget the wineries along that route that have been recommended to me!) Once we’re in San Francisco, there’s always Anchor Steam and 21st Amendment to check out. So, it’s a lot to try to get in one solid day of brew hopping, but I’ll give it my best shot. 

I have a work event to attend all day Saturday, and then Paul and I will enjoy a night out at one of San Francisco’s amazing restaurants with our friends. So much to do, so little time in a long weekend. Home on Sunday, where Cleveland Beer Week will already be underway! I may even get to try some of the beers I missed in California once I’m back home in the CLE for beer’s biggest week. And I can always come back, too.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

ClevelandHops October 13, 2010 at 3:17 am

Very jealous of your trip ahead. No matter which breweries you hit, I am sure you will have a great time. I’d say Russian River would be my #1. Safe travels, see you at Cleveland Beer Week/BREWzilla.

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Renee October 13, 2010 at 10:00 am

I’m sorry to miss the first part of Cleveland Beer Week, but it will be a fabulous trip. See you next week!

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fenderbirds October 18, 2010 at 5:16 pm

nice article, keep the posts coming

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