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North California Beer Odyssey Part 1

By Joe Ruvel · May 9th, 2010 · 2 Comments

We here at BeerAtJoes have a lot of great friends. They buy us dinner, drive us around, help us brew beer, and even share beer with us every once and awhile. Well maybe more then every once and awhile. But two of our friends, Dan and Jen, go above and beyond the beery call of duty. That is why they signed on two months ago to escort us to four northern California breweries for a taste and tour beer odyssey. And what a beer journey it was.

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We had to leave early. There was one tour we really wanted to do – Anderson Valley Brewing Company. They are a bit left of center. I have tried many of their beers but have never experienced the fun of Boonville and there brewery/bar there. We made good time heading north and got there just in time for our tour. I have been on a lot of tours – but something about this one made it one of the best. Personal, casual, and fun. We snaked through the brewery and learned about the Anderson Valley way. They are green, they love beer, and continue to grow slowly. There was a hop yard where they grow a small amount of hops. They had solar paneling over most of the brewery.

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The canning line was pretty cool. Not sure I have ever seen a craft beer canning line. Going into the hop room was a bit surprising to me. I have been in a few before, at Anchor and Boston Brewing Company, but this one was REAL intense. The smell was one thing – but the cold temperature matched with the blast of hops that flowed through my lungs was pretty intoxicating and a bit tough to stand for too long. Oh and I can’t forget the employee fridge. What a stash. The most popular beer among the staff – Poleeko Gold Pale Ale.

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And then there was beer. The tasting room/bar/gift shop is pretty huge. There are bears in it with horns, suits of iron, and well t-shirts. The beer board is large and there are a lot of tastes to try. So I tried them all. The Poleeko Gold was surprising. Light but with a good amount of hops. We picked up a six pack of course. I also really liked the Huge’r Boont – just a little bit more of everything that is in Boont Amber. Deep Enders Dark Porter was dark and delicious.

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And the barleywine was well a great way to start the day. There was even a sour beer. What a fun place to spend a Sunday. As we finished our tasting, it got pretty crowded at the bar. I imagine by the afternoon, it will be the most popular place in Boonville.

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Then we were off for some lunch and of course more beer. Ruth McGowan’s Brewpub (be warned the site has auto music) in Cloverdale seemed like a good choice. We had a pretty standard tasting. A wheat, an ale, an IPA, a stout, and a brown. The monster brown was my favorite. The food was pretty good too. Nothing like a proper beer tour stop over.

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And that concludes part 1. I am enjoying a very tasty Gnarlywine from Lagunitus at the moment – I bet you can guess where we went next.

Tags: Beerventures · Tastings

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Jasmine // May 9, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    Also be warned–the road to Anderson Valley is VERY curvy. I’m glad I didn’t have anything to drink BEFORE we got there. I arrived a bit green.

  • 2 Beer // Jun 14, 2010 at 9:15 am

    Heineken, best beer EVER :)