Technically, to get to Partington Cove you do not hike UP a mountain. Instead, you have a short hike DOWN to the ocean. But since we did a lot of hiking in general over our weekend in Big Sur, and since you do have to hike back UP to Hwy. 1, we decided drinking a beer down there qualified for an episode in our Mountainbeering column.
Partington Cove is a cove along Hwy. 1 that, according to locals (and Weekend Sherpa) was once used as a landing/hideout spot for Prohibition-era rumrunners. It’s an easy hike down this unmarked trail, though gusting winds nearly froze us out before we even got to the tunnel.
Then through the tunnel (which does not smell like pee…a strange occurrence to us city-dwellers…) to emerge into the gorgeous, sunny little cove. We saw sea otters! And seals! Well, a sea otter and a seal. The cove is full of kelp which attract marine life.
We cracked open our Carmel Hefeweizen and sat on a bench to stare at the ocean and drink. Carmel, as far as I can tell, used to be brewed in Salinas, CA. In 1998 it appears they were bought out and it is now brewed at Mendicino Brewing in Ukiah. The brew itself was kind of meh. Drinkable, but unremarkable. A light wheaty taste with some citrus–a pretty standard hefeweizen.
There were, however, plenty of other great brews in our lives that weekend, including Life & Limb, a collaborative beer between Sierra Nevada and Dogfish Head. It’s heavy, herbal, and super-rich. It’s 10% alcohol, which makes it the perfect beer to drink right before you have to take a nap so that you can wake up again at 1 a.m to go to the Esalen Hot Springs under the stars.
See, there really is a beer for every occasion.