Mendocino County is known for its ‘liquid assets’ – and that definitely includes beer. We love to drink it, brew it and celebrate it! This year in beer news, a third brewery is coming to Fort Bragg, North Coast Brewing is offering ‘beer cocktails’, and this year marks the 25th Annual Legendary Boonville Beer Festival. So for beer lovers everywhere, we invite you to taste our liquid assets along the Mendocino County Beer Trail – and remember, it’s open year round!
AN ORIGIN STORY
Legend has it that the Boonville Beer Fest roots date back to the early 1990s when Barkley, the mythical half-bear, half-deer, sat surveying his kingdom, high above Anderson Valley Brewing Company, Boont Amber in hand. For all the beauty he saw, Barkley was saddened sitting in his lonely palace in the redwoods. So he decided to invite the entire beer world over to his pad for a few brews. While a small affair in the beginning, the legend of the antlered bear and his springtime shindig grew and became what we now celebrate as the Legendary Boonville Beer Festival, drawing brewers and beer drinkers from around the world! Now in its 25th year, this year’s beer fest features over 80 breweries, multiple musical acts, plus local food and merchandise vendors. And best of all, the Boonville Beer Fest raises funds for local charities – all within Mendocino County. To date, the Boonville Beer Festival has raised over $1.7 million dollars. We’ll drink to that!
While the Legendary Boonville Beer Fest happens the last Saturday of April, you can stop by Anderson Valley Brewing Company anytime for a sampling of beers including their new classics – Coastal Ale, The Pilsner, Black Rice Ale and Tropical Hazy Sour Ale. This 26-acre, solar powered property is also home to an 18-hole disc golf course and regular musical performances, weather permitting.
North Coast Brewing Company in Fort Bragg – another pioneer in the craft beer movement has new offerings at their brewpub – beer cocktails! For a refreshing libation – try their Bourbon & Honey Beer – Bulleit Bourbon, Scrimshaw, honey, lemon and bitters. Another new concoction -It’s a Foggy Day, featuring NCB’s Foggy Day IPA, Beefeater Gin, Elderflower liquor and grapefruit juice; and for a twist on a classic cocktail, give North Rasputin a try. Blend some cream and Tito’s Vodka into their Russian Imperial Stout, Old Rasputin. Savor these new libations or stick with the standard stellar brews from North Coast Brewing, including their new Pacific Magic IPA. Every month you’ll find a special discount on their selected beer of the month, plus live music is back at The Pub.
In virtual news, North Coast Brewing has created an immersive tasting experience in Virtual Reality for enjoying your beer at home. It’s true – NCBC has partnered with Spyglass to develop and distribute an exclusive virtual beer tasting experience with connoisseurs throughout California. The main attraction is a guided beer tasting of four of their most iconic brews led by Brewmaster Chuck Martins. In addition to their tasting kit of four 12 oz beers, four custom-designed coasters, and access to the Spyglass Meta Quest app, customers will soar above the breathtaking coastline of Fort Bragg, California via a drone flyover. These experiences may be purchased periodically so check back with NCBC for the next opportunity!
Coming soon…a third brew house in Fort Bragg – Tall Guy Tap Room. Helmed by Patrick Broderick, previously the Brewmaster at NCBC for three decades and now CEO of Tall Guy Brewing, this new tap room is located in the heart of Fort Bragg. Tall Guy Tap Room is currently under renovation, with an expected open date this summer. As a taproom, Tall Guy Brewing will offer six to seven beers on tap that are exclusively available onsite. The idea is to serve fresh beer by the glass in a relaxed atmosphere with vintage sofas and other comfy seating. Hard and non-alcoholic seltzer will also be offered at this highly anticipated Tap Room.
With a loyal following, Overtime Brewing in Fort Bragg continues to create innovative brews. On the brewing front, their Lemony Ginger Ale is a new offering and perfect for summer sipping. They also have an honorary brew to the ladies at Princess Seafood with their Princess Oat Pale Ale. Stepping into headier beers finds a Super Centennial – a north west style IPA, and their best-selling Amarillo – a traditional American style IPA. Delving into the dark side offers a 2020 Shutbrown and Workin’ Lait Milk Stout along with other favorites. Pair your brews with their pub menu in this chill space on the north end of town.
Along the south coast, The New Museum Brewers + Blenders Brewery & Beer Café delights locals and visitors alike. Owners, partners and brewmasters, Rose & Peter serve up tasty beers at their cool taproom in Point Arena. With six offerings, ranging from a light Pilsner to Farmhouse Pale Ale to a fresh, hoppy IPA and more! These light, drinkable brews go great with their food offerings and make especially nice sippin’ when hanging out on their deck listening to live music! The New Museum Brewers + Blenders is pet friendly too!
In Willits, Northspur Brewing is the place to get a cold one! With IPA, Ales, Stouts and more, plus fantastic kitchen fare, Northspur Brewing has become a locals hang-out. With a kinetic rail vibe, this taproom is not to be missed! Grab your beer from the tap, or get a four-pack or crowler to go! Pub grub includes sliders, Cubanos, Reubens, John Ford hotdogs, BLTs, caprese sandwiches – there is no end to the delish – whether enjoying a pint or plate!
For a truly unique experience, make an appointment for a tasting at Hare in the Forest Brewing, a decidedly boutique small batch brewing company located in Potter Valley. Boasting modest 15-gallon batches, Hare in the Forest Brewing believes the best beer is the beer brewed from the heart, at home, and they offer customized brews for your special events for a truly special offering.
Ukiah Brewing Company in Ukiah has a heady history starting with the Cooperrider Family in 2000. As the nation’s first certified organic brewpub, UBC ticks a lot of boxes, including multiple sizes of beer – samplers, half pints, pints, 22 oz pints, crowlers, growlers and pitchers. Owner Keith Feigin, co-founder of Black Oak Coffee, keeps the innovation alive with beers, an evolving food menu, and plenty of live music! Current beer offerings include a Ukiah Pilsner, Noyo Harbor NEIPA (New England style IPA), Palace Porter which is a rich English style porter, and of course, a Black Oak Coffee Oatmeal Stout to name but a few brews! Enjoy good beer, good food, good music, and an outstanding community hub!
OTHER PLACES TO ENJOY A DRAFT
In addition to the eight breweries spanning Mendocino County, fine ales, lagers, stouts and more can be found around nearly every turn in pubs, cafes, high-end restaurants and markets. In the tiny hamlet of Hopland, great beer is easy to find at places like the Hopland Tap House, The Golden Pig Restaurant and even at The Golden Pig Wine Shop. Up the road in Ukiah, Westside Renaissance Market has a great selection of beer, and for those with an axe to grind, may we suggest The Thirsty Axe in downtown Ukiah…just throw the axe before you enjoy an ale! Heading north on Highway 101, take the Redwood Valley off ramp for the Coyote Valley 101 Tap House featuring what else…101 beers on tap! And no beer trail is complete without a stop off at Shanachie Pub in Willits. Shanachie is probably the most authentic European style pub off the beaten path from Main Street in the heart of downtown. Local favorite in Fort Bragg, Piaci’s Pub & Pizza has one of the most diverse beer offerings in bottles and on tap – and what goes better together than beer and a pizza pie?! In Noyo Harbor, Sea Pal Cove – the food shack where the locals go – boasts 18 beers on tap, an ideal thirst quencher while sitting dockside. Patterson’s Pub is the place to hang out for sporting events, food, and libations, including a great selection of beer in the Mendocino Village. At the chic Café Beaujolais and their sister property, The Waiting Room, you’ll find a phenomenal selection of rare and hard to find brews and venturing further south on Highway 1, Little River Inn embraces the beer culture with some great local and regional craft beers. Along the south coast of Mendocino County, Surf Market has an incredible selection of over 90 local beers plus regional craft brews and imports too!
Come visit Mendocino County and find your hoppy…or stout…or pale ale!