So ends my road trip tour of breweries. I hope you enjoyed the tour - I know I did! Cheers, Forrest
Black Raven, Redmond WA
Located in a nondescript office park, I would have never stumbled across this little gem, if not for Yelp. I guess that if you brew it, they will come - as did I. No food here (unless you count the pretzels and beef jerky some patron was distributing). They do have food trucks that pull up outside, so everyone is happy. They offer a sampler of 6 or 10 selections. You can guess which I opted for. The Wisdom Seeker IPA was the bomb.
Triplehorn Brewing Co., Woodinville WA
This place is a brewer's dream. Occupying a large warehouse of a space, there aren't a lot of frills to Triplehorn. But when it comes to the beer, they are clearly passionate.
Bear Republic, Healdsburg CA
Located in the quaint little town of Healdsburg, Bear Republic makes one of my favorite IPAs: Racer 5. After having lunch in the park that makes up the center of town, I headed over for a midday brew. To change it up a bit, I went with the Maibock - a hoppy, crisp, lager brewed to commemorate the coming of spring. It was a fitting choice, as the drive up 101 was all abloom with orange poppies and purple lupine - welcome to spring in NorCal.
Freewheel Brewing Co., Redwood City CA
"Try all five" you say - well ok, I will! English Ales are the specialty of Freewheel. They use authentic pull taps from England (also called a beer engine). No modern CO2 systems here, thank you very much. The casks are stored within 10 feet of the taps to keep the magic flowing.
Lost Coast, Eureka CA
If you ever find yourself exploring the 101 and end up in Eureka, do yourself a favor and stop in at the Lost Coast. They offer a fabulous sampler of 10 selections and the food is also excellent. A mix of locals and visitors, the vibe is laid back and welcoming. The Indica IPA is not to be missed, especially if you're down with the hops.
McKenzie Brewery, Eugene OR
This is actually part of Steelhead Brewery, but due to "unfortunate trademarks issues" they had to use a different name for distribution. The Hopasaurus Rex Imperial IPA was my favorite of the sampler. Oh, and the fish tacos were pretty amazing. I had worked up an appetite after driving 160 miles that morning.
Fremont Brewing, Fremont WA
Some of my favorite beers of the entire trip were from this great little spot next to the UW campus. Their slogan: Because Beer Matters. The Brother, an imperial IPA was excellent. They also offer outdoor seating and are expanding into the space next door. Fremont is a cool town, working to keep it a bit funky and local when so many other places have become generic.
Starting in San Francisco, the plan was to head up the coast stopping at one brewery per day on my way to Seattle and back again. With literally hundreds of breweries to choose from, I had to make some tough choices. Here are the nine I selected on my journey.
Faction Brewing, Alameda CA
A short ferry ride gets you there. With views of SF and a post-apocalyptic landscape (it is located at a decommissioned naval base) there's a lot to like about Faction Brewery. No food, but what they lack in sustenance, they make up for with a delicious selection of microbrews. Oh, and there is a food truck a couple of doors down - just be careful when jumping over the chain link fence to get there.
Steamworks Brewing Company, Durango CO
Ok, so it's not exactly the west coast, but I thought I'd include it, as it's still part of my road trip to Boulder. Steamworks is right in the heart of downtown Durango. The food and service were great, as was the sampler of brews. Select any six from the menu of options and prepare yourself for a happy afternoon.