After our visit to Firestone Walker Brewing Company, I felt like my beer karma had taken a turn for the better though we had nothing else planned, in terms of beer-cationing, shy of our mandatory Portland stop-over on the way home fate was going to step in and throw us another proverbial bone.
We drove west to the scenic coastal highway passing signs to Anderson Valley Road and a turn to Boonsville and to any true beer geek this would have immediately sunk in that Anderson Valley Brewing Company was in the vicinity but alas my poor sunshine addled brain did not register this fact until we stopped into a market quite some time later and realized, ‘wow, they sure have a lot of Anderson Valley beer, glasses, t-shirts etc. here. I wonder if the brewery is close by?’.
Well, it was and we missed it and since we had a lot of coast to cover before our next stopover we had to make do with a sampler pack of some of the more unfamiliar beer offerings from Anderson Valley.
However, as I mentioned in my intro my beer karma was on the upswing and when we drove through Fort Bragg we found North Coast Brewing Company (no, it wasn’t lost) AND their tap room had just opened for the day!
North Coast Brewing Company is housed in three separate buildings -brewery, gift shop and tap room- all located on the same block of Fort Bragg’s main street. We visited their gift store and their taproom. The taproom is fairly typical with a dining area, patio and bar area decorated with lots of wood and beer signs. There is a small gift section inside the taproom in case you are too tipsy to wander across the street. The majority of their line-up was available on tap and we decided to try anything in their line-up that was new to us. This included La Merle Belgian Farmhouse Ale, Scrimshaw Pilsner, Old No. 38 Stout, Old Stock Ale and Blue Star Wheat.
Perhaps North Coast Brewing Co. is best known (and deservedly so) for it’s Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout but they have a lot else going on at this brewery. For instance, the Old Stock Ales come in vertical tasting box sets so you can sample and compare vintages, they have a great aesthetic when it comes to their labels and beer swag, North Coast has a great gift store full of glass ware and neat packaging ideas for gifting their beer, and most importantly we found out they brew a really clean drinkable pilsner, the Scrimshaw and an impressive Dublin Dry Stout, the Old No. 38 (both beers came home with us in a four pack). These beers are well-suited to the warm Cali climate both being easy-drinking, best served quite cold and fairly light-bodied.
So if you find yourself Northern California bound I highly recommend scheduling stops at Firestone Walker Brewing Co., Anderson Valley Brewing Co. (so you can tell me how it was) and North Coast Brewing Co.