If I have said it once, I have said it a thousand times; timing is everything. It was Friday morning; day six of Craft Beer Tour 2016, day eight on the road and Tanya wanted Cracker Barrel. The closest one was pretty far out of the way and backtracking from whence we came; but it was what she wanted. The point being that we got a pretty late start out of Denver; and we were starting off deeper than when we had ended the prior day.
We took I-76 eastbound which landed us about 100 miles into Nebraska when it connected to I-80; Tanya was not having much luck finding anything around us on her iPhone, so I asked her to text a friend of mine that lives in northern Nebraska for some assistance. Cliff suggested we continue east to North Platte, where we would turn off and go down the road to Loop Brewing Company. Cliff knew nothing of the brewery, but it was the closest thing happening; so we headed that way. Continue reading
When we left Laramie on Thursday morning we cut across the bottom eastern half of Wyoming to get to I-25 southbound towards Denver. Denver has plenty of craft beer and if I was not careful I could end up there for a few days; however, the real reason I even drove down there was to see family that live in the Denver area.
Since food was a pretty important concern, and it was already after noon, we set the GPS for Fort Collins Brewery & Tavern, a massive brewpub located in Fort Collins.
When I say it was massive, I mean it was probably bigger than anything we have in the South Bay area. When we were there they had 12 brews on tap; each of them pretty solid for their style for the most part. I don’t recall thinking the Apricot Sour Ale was very sour; while I did enjoy the Far Away IPA. Oh yeah; their Oktoberfest was pretty dead on.
As we were going to meet my brother and his wife in a few hours for dinner, we had their Grilled Indian Fry Bread as an appetizer to hold us over; it was pretty tasty. Continue reading
I have ridden along I-80 many times on my way to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally; so when we left Salt Lake City I already knew that we would spend the night in Evanston, Wyoming. I have stayed there many times in the past and was confident that with the craft beer explosion, Evanston had to have at least one brewery.
I was right, they had one; Suds Brothers Brewery which is a brewpub that has been open about seven years. Suds Brothers had seven brews on tap while we were there; with our favorites again leaning towards the lighter, more refreshing varieties like the Orange Honey Wheat, Kolsch and Misty Mountain IPA. The staff was quite friendly and the fried ravioli was pretty good; I wish there had been a meat filled version instead of just cheese, but Tanya really liked them.
Tuesday morning we left Elko, Nevada and continued east on I-80 through the remaining Nevada desert into the Utah desert. If you think Nevada is flat and arid, the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah makes it look like an oasis. The fact of the matter is that until you hit Salt Lake City there is not much to speak of beer-wise between Elko and Salt Lake.
Tanya was seeking food and found Red Rock Brewing Company; a brewpub in Salt Lake City. Unfortunately for us, Red Rock Brewing has two locations; the brewery and tasting room; and a few blocks away, the brewpub. She had set the GPS for the brewery, which may have had snacks but they did not have the food she sought. The Red Rock Brewing Company brewery is located at 443 North 400 West in Salt Lake City and this is their production brewery where you can find the higher ABV brews. Utah has some of the weirder beer laws that we came across. Oh, Mountain West Cider is right next door; we did not make it back there but if you are in the neighborhood you might as well stop in. Continue reading
When I last posted here, I was at the California Craft Beer Summit in Sacramento (thanks again to HopSaint Brewing Company for the support); I was in need of a road trip so I figured since I was already there, I should make the two hour drive to Reno, Nevada to visit George, a friend of mine that is stuck at the VA hospital there because of all the Agent Orange he was doused with in Viet Nam. We have known each other since 1972 but I have not seen him in close to 10 years; I wanted to see him before it was too late.
After we signed George out of the VA and he wanted to go to lunch at a steakhouse in one of the big casinos; when we arrived we found out the steakhouse did not open for several more hours. George had another place he enjoyed, so we drove over there.
When we pulled up I was more concerned with finding a shady spot to park (for the dogs) than what the name of the place was, and I was really there to visit with my friend; I was not very concerned with where his appetite had brought us. Continue reading
Back in July I told you that the Antelope Valley, about an hour northeast of Los Angeles, would soon become a craft beer destination; as of Saturday afternoon, I officially proclaim the Antelope Valley a bona fide craft beer destination when Transplants Brewing Company held their Grand Opening and ribbon cutting at their tasting room in Palmdale.
These photos were taken at the four craft breweries that are now open and brewing in the Antelope Valley. They include Transplants Brewing and Lucky Luke Brewing which are across the street from each other in Palmdale; and Bravery Brewing and Kinetic Brewing Company in Lancaster. The accompanying map is set up for doing your own self-guided craft beer tour of the Antelope Valley. Less than 10 miles separate Transplants and Kinetic which are at the far ends of the tour; they may catch up to Torrance at their current rate of expansion and after talking to a couple of the brewery owners, the owners would love it.
I started off at Transplants Brewing Company (Location A on map) for their ribbon cutting. I had visited the facility a couple times since July so I had a general idea of what they had in mind but was blown away by the visuals that immediately pounce on you. The mural is a work in progress but has so much going on; one could spend hours checking out all the intricacies of it. The artist, Brandon “BL” Singleton worked in collaboration with an artist he has worked with before and they do good work together. He worked on the front mural during the grand opening so visitors were able to watch his work progress. Continue reading
Back in 2012, I was at a craft beer festival where I met a Hangar 24 representative that invited me to take a tour of the Hangar 24 brewery in Redlands. Since this was in June, I figured that I would probably wait a while since Redlands can be pretty hot in the summer. In the meantime the craft beer movement around the South Bay suddenly exploded. Whenever I thought about driving the 80+ miles to Redlands, there always seemed to be a closer craft beer distraction that kept me from making the drive. On top of that, there was not a lot going on out there that I was aware of.
In the following years Redlands had their own craft beer explosion with the inclusion of Ritual Brewing at the end of 2012 and Escape Craft Brewery in 2015. Donkey Punch Brewing also opened in 2012, but never seemed to grow legs; I hear they may be closing soon.
Anyway, last August I ran across Escape Craft Brewery at the BEERS Summer Fest and was impressed enough that I now had three breweries in the same general vicinity that I wanted to visit; so Friday I made that happen. Continue reading
This self-guided tour is from the second day of a five day craft beer tour I took in February. Day one consisted of visits to Bakersfield, Fresno and Turlock which provided breweries to stop at along California Highway 99. This segment of the tour can be picked up along Interstate 5 or Highway 99.
The breweries and brewpubs visited on this leg of the trip are Main Street Brewery in Pleasanton, Jack’s Brewing Company in San Ramon, Drake’s Barrel House in San Leandro and Lagunitas Brewing Company in Petaluma. While the first three locations are considered part of San Francisco’s East Bay, Petaluma is definitely not part of the East Bay, but you should not let that get in the way; as you follow the rest of the tour it will make sense. All of the photos and the review of these locations can be found at http://craftbeerguy.com/main-street-jacks-drakes-lagunitas-russian-river/.
This particular self-guided craft beer tour will be a five (5) part series that covers a visit to 22 production breweries and brewpubs between Los Angeles and Santa Rosa. Let there be no mistake, there are far more than 22 craft breweries in that geographical area but we had a set amount of time. It was another of those “so many beers, so little time” situations. When I set out from LA there were three basic routes to take; I could drive Interstate 5 which is definitely the fastest route but the desert is a barren wasteland when it comes to craft beer. Taking US 101 up the coast takes significantly longer than I-5, but there are barrels and barrels of beer all along the way and if time is of any importance, there are far too many distractions. The third option and the one I opted to take was California Highway 99. When I opted to take 99 I knew the drive would take a little longer, but I also know that I would be able to find some craft beer along the way. This particular route was set going northbound, but you can easily reverse the map provided below and plug in your own starting point.
The locations visited on this leg of the self-guided craft beer tour were Lengthwise Brewing in Bakersfield, Full Circle Brewing Company in Fresno and Dust Bowl Brewing Company in Turlock. You can find the photos of the three locations at http://craftbeerguy.com/lengthwise-full-circle-dust-bowl-brewing/.
For the second installment of my mapped self-guided craft beer tours, I will map out a beer tour I made of Orange County back in January. If you would like to see photos of the locations visited on this tour, you can find my photos and comments here. For the uninitiated, please be aware, there are a lot more craft breweries in Orange County than these; in fact, there are new locations that have opened since I wrote the initial article in January. I chose to visit those locations simply because I had never been there before; I chose the order for a couple of reasons. The first is that individual one day tours are going to start and end at home, so I always try to make the journey circular. You should be able to plug in your own home address and create your own circle by using the same order I have them laid out in; even if you start with Location C instead of Location A. The second thing I take into consideration is food; so I try to include at least one brewpub and I do my best at avoiding two in a row.
The locations visited were Bootlegger’s Brewery in Fullerton, TAPS Fish House & Brewery in Brea, Noble Ale Works in Anaheim, Tustin Brewing Company in Tustin and Brewbakers in Huntington Beach.