Posts ByRobert French – PorchDrinking.com
Do you plan your travel around beer? I do. In fact, I visited 100 breweries last year, and I plan on doing that every year.
In the past, when possible, I’ve always tried to include at least a few local brewery stops while on vacation. Four years ago I made a list of all the breweries I visited that year. Without knowing or even planning, I visited 99 different spots. The following years, I started to track more diligently, with the arbitrary goal of hitting 100 each year–that’s a lot of local beer. To be a little more precise, that’s 8.33 different spots each month, which may sound very do-able until you have a few hectic months and you hit zero new breweries.
On February 2, 1989, Karl Strauss Brewing Company opened their first brewery on Columbia St. in downtown San Diego, CA. Thirty years later, they are still going strong with 10 brewpubs scattered from San Diego to Orange County and two locations in Los Angeles County.
Bootlegger’s Brewery sold their first keg of beer in 2008. It was originally located in Fullerton, California in a small industrial building in an area that was a little rough around the edges. The brewery felt closer to a neighbor’s garage than it did a commercial brewery. Since then, they upsized the brewhouse from a 7 to a 30 barrel system. They moved the main brewing operations to a larger industrial area while staying in Fullerton. They also open their third tasting room location in Costa Mesa to go along with the Fullerton and Redlands locations.
Russian River Brewing Company is an iconic brewery, a brewery that started beer trends, even before we knew what beer trends were. They are also a company that methodically moves at their own speed, with their own vision.
Though there’s no question that Russian River could have expanded earlier, they completed their expansion on their own terms, in my mind further proving their dedication to, and love of, craft beer. The stunning new brewing facility is located in Windsor, CA, just about nine miles from their Santa Rose brewpub. The new location includes a multi-room restaurant and a bar, with both indoor and outdoor bar seating, along with separate tasting and gift shop areas.
Traditional beer festivals are fun and a great place to experience new breweries, but they also can be a bit predictable if familiar breweries choose to just pour core beers that you’ve tried over and over again. If you’ve been to one local beer festival, chances are the next local festival will be much of the same… not bad, but still predictable. Over the last few years, we’ve seen breweries branching out and creating their own, and often uniquely curated beer festivals. Firestone Walker is no rookie when it comes to this. Events like From the Barrel, Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Festival and most recently Pils and Love all offer something beyond the norm.
The Booth Brewery, originally based in Korea, is taking it global.
The Booth Brewery has recently expanded to the U.S., with a brewery in Eureka, California. They purchased the 30-barrel brewing facility from Lost Coast Brewing, who recently expanded to a new location. The new facility is up and running, and The Booth has set a goal of producing 10,000 barrels in the next year. This will include both U.S. distribution and Korean exports.
Located in the heart of California’s Gold Rush county, Moonraker Brewing Company sits in an unassuming business park in the City of Auburn, a mere 700′ from neighboring Knee Deep Brewing.
Walking in their front door, it seems like you might not be in the right spot. No bar, no taps anywhere to be found. However, as you make your way towards the back, the space opens up into a large indoor/outdoor area, that screams beer hall. It also has a few small rooms that give it a bit of a “loungey” feel.
If you’ve been following the beer scene for more than a minute, you’ve probably have been disappointed and had one of your favorite beers has been discontinued, reformulated or may be moved to a limited release. If you’re a fan of Firestone Walker Brewing, there is no doubt that this has happened more than once over the last few years. Walker’s Reserve, Wookey Jack, Opal and Double Jack. This is a lineup of beers that most breweries would kill to have on their tap list. For Firestone Walker… discontinued, or have they been?
Burning Barrel Brewing is the vision of a father/son duo; Jack and Duncan Alexander. Jack, a longtime homebrewer, and Duncan are leading the way on the build-out of the brewery located within the Barrel District of Rancho Cordova, a city just east of downtown Sacramento. Rancho Cordova has embraced the “Maker Spirit” by creating its Barrel District, streamlining the process of opening a brewery — and more. The Barrel District currently includes six breweries, two distilleries, and one meadery.
If you were to ask someone in the Sacramento area if they’ve had a chance to visit a new brewery lately, you would most likely get the response, “Which one?” The rampant growth in U.S. breweries has not been lost on Sacramento. At last count, there are more than 70 breweries, tasting rooms and/or brewpubs open or in planning in the greater Sacramento area. You’ll get thirsty just trying to keep track.