The Brewing Lair
Located in Blairsden, CA, the The Brewing Lair has a superior setting (What? We should have taken pictures? We didn’t, check out the website). Tucked away in the Sierra’s along the Pacific Crest Trail, the brewery has a 9 hole disc golf course (15 acres), a slack line, and 3 BBQ grills for cooking (first come, first serve). They have several levels of outdoor seating with Adirondack chairs and picnic tables. They even have a nice selection of toys for kids (Blaze, hula hoops, Lightning McQueen, dinosaurs). The brewery is approximately a 10 minute drive from Plumas-Eureka State Park.
We tried the sampler that consisted of the Blair Belgian Blonde Ale, Ambush IPA, Take a Hike India Red Ale, Black IPA, and Solo Session with Mosaic hops. These, with the exception of the Blair, were hop forward. All the beers were well done and we enjoyed them, despite them being outside of what we usually order. We went back for pints of the Blair and the Black IPA. This is brewery is well worth the trip.
Woody’s Brewing Company
Located in Redding, CA, Woody’s Brewing Company was a great spot for lunch and beer. We again opened with the sampler and there wasn’t a beer we didn’t like. Full pours were ordered of the Apricot Wheat (hint of apricot, not overly sweet) and the Pray for Powder Porter (just very nicely done). The food was also top notch – the jalapeno burger has flattened, deep-fried jalapenos on it. Very tasty. If you are in the area, it is worth the stop.
Lost Coast Brewery
Located in Eureka, CA, we first stopped at the Lost Coast Brewery in 2010 and again in 2012. Since our last visit, Eureka seems to be a bit more down on its luck. The brewery remains rather unchanged from our memory. We settled in and grabbed a sampler. We really do like the sampler as an easy way to taste all the beers. We found the 8 Ball Stout to be one of the better beers, but, were underwhelmed in general. The Famous Hot Brown was meh, and fell short regarding the description. The 8 Ball Stout Beef stew was delicious, although light on the meat. We might stop here again, but it won’t go out of our way to do so.
Six Rivers Brewery
Located in Mckinleyville, Six Rivers Brewery was the highlight to our day. Forced into a commercial campground for the night due to the need for cell reception for Jess’ phone interview the next day, we needed some good beer to off set the less than picturesque accommodations. Six Rivers came highly recommended by a friend and former classmate of Jess’. The sampler was ordered again, and much drinking ensued. The Chili Pepper Spicy Ale was overwhelming, the tip to mix it 50/50 with Strawberry Wheat came too late to help us. The summer sour was well done, with a hint of acid, but not excessive. The IPAs were all nicely done.
The Buffalo Chicken sandwich had nice heat to it and the burger wasn’t one to drive for, but was edible. Had a really nice Kid’s Platter with a wide selection for those little grazers.
North Coast Brewing Company
North Coast Brewing Company, in Fort Bragg was the last stop of our trip. Our final sampler of delicious beers. No truly bad beer in the bunch. The Red Seal beer engine sampler had the aroma of diacetyl (buttery), but the non-beer engine Red Seal was as expected. Possible the beer engine needed new lines or the beer was not moving quickly. Old 38 Stout, Brother Thelonius, Old Stock Ale, Pranqster, and Blue Star were some of our favorites.
The food was also very good. The Carolina BBQ kurubota pork was juicy, tender, and had that expected vinegar tang. The rosemary chicken was nicely cooked and was served with a delicious sauce. We sat at the bar a number of years ago, and to the best of our recollection, the tap room has changed since then (time does march on!). The tap room seemed to have a more upscale feel to it, but 6 or so years will cloud the memory.
It is a good thing we don’t live near Fort Bragg – our wallets would be quite thin from all our North Coast visits.
We enjoyed revisiting breweries and trying out new places. It is definitely a different experience with Alex in tow, but with a little help from the electronic baby sitter (DVD player), we were able to enjoy some beer.
Hands down, the Brewing Lair had the best setting. A must visit if you are in the area; also great for Alex (an other kids) because he got to play outside and there were toys.
For beer, North Coast did not disappoint. Woody’s was a nice surprise, we stopped because we needed lunch and they served food. We are very glad we did, it was quite enjoyable. The Brewing Lair beer styles were outside of what we normally seek out, but well done.