California has 431 craft breweries according to Brewers Association and currently we have been to 304, that is 70% completed (!) until tomorrow when another one opens and then another and another. I wanted to highlight some of the tiniest towns we have been to on our quest for breweries. Most of these breweries were multiple hours away from anything else and in some of the most beautiful places.
10) South Gate Brewing – Oakhurst, CA – Population 2,829
Before you enter Yosemite stop by for a pint. Located 15 minutes from the south entrance South Gate Brewing opened in 2013. Complete with a brick oven pizzas and a tasty porter.
9) Prospectors Brewing – Mariposa, CA – Population 2,173
I loved this place. When we visited it was basically a one man operation and the beers were so good. A must stop on the way to Yosemite National Park…it’s seems all the park entrances have a brewery. Quent little town with great beer.
8) Jack Russell Farm Brewery – Camino, CA – Population 1,750
This brewery would feel “remote” if it wasn’t 30 minutes from my hometown. Located in Camino, CA and more importantly Apple Hill. For anyone that didn’t grow up in Sacramento area, Apple Hill is a must when fall comes around, filled with orchards, farmers markets, wineries and Jack Russell Farm Brewery. Yes, they have an Apple beer also.
7) Dunsmuir Brewery Works – Dunsmuir, CA – Population 1,650
Honestly you could drive right by and not even know this town had a brewery. Dunsmuir Brewery Works was such a treat on the long drive to Oregon. It is a perfect pit stop for a pint and lunch. The town is known for rock climbing, skiing and fishing and I pretended to be outdoor-sie.
6) Mad River Brewing – Blue Lake, CA – Population 1,253
All I really remember from Blue Lake is driving past a remote casino and landing at Mad River Brewing. Which is great because you arrive at Mad River Brewing. A great gem of Humboldt breweries since 1989.
5) Anderson Valley Brewing – Boonville, CA – Population 1,035
For such a well known brewery it’s quite a surprise that the brewery is located in good ol Boonville in Mendocino County known for boontling a “language” only spoke in Boonville. They also host the annual Boonville Beer Fest each May where you camp with the brewers..it’s pretty awesome.
4) Etna Brewing – Etna, CA – Population 737
Etna feels like it should only have a population of about 50 not 737. It’s located 2 hours west of Hwy 5 in Northern Northern California. This was a trek, but worth the flight and a waitress that calls you hun.
3) Highway 1 Brewing – Pescadero, CA – Population 643
Located on the California coastal highway with stunning ocean views. I loved this place because they offer beer and breakfast, yes please. Any brewery that opens early is on beer travelers wish list, plus you get to stare at the ocean.
2) June Lake Brewing – June Lake, CA – Population 629
If you are headed to Mammoth Lakes this is a must stop. I recommend driving around June Lake first (its a whole 10 minutes) and then grab a pint here. This is defiantly a local hangout where I tried to pretend I hiked before grabbing a beer…no I just went for the beer, but wanted to feel like a “regular”
I adore this place. Drive 2 1/2 hours from Sacramento among the pine trees and turn up a dirt road and you arrive at this little oasis. The brewery and tasting room looks like a small lodge on top of a hill. Grab a pint or sampler and find a place on their porch that overlooks a big grassy area. Come prepared with a picnic and stay for their disc golf course.
Get out and #beertravel to some of California’s greatest small towns!