Reaching 200 pt 2

Creekside BrewingDay two of our Central Coast beer adventure. We woke up early and were already on the road to visit our first brewery of the day. We didn’t have much time because our friends wedding was in the afternoon. We drove down the Highway 1 from Cambria to San Luis Obispo in 40 minutes. The drive was incredibly beautiful along the coast.

We arrived a little before the brewery opened so we leisurely walked around downtown SLO. We found a creek that you could walk down to and explored. Our first brewery Creekside Brewing happened to overlooked that same creek…haha, didn’t click right away, but makes a lot of sense. Creekside  Brewing had a strange layout, the restaurant was on the top floor and you watched downstairs to the bar. We sat along the patio overlooking the creek. The beers were not too our liking, but the brewery was really beautiful and calming near the water.

We drove to our next brewery Central Coast Central Coast BrewingBrewing that was just a few minutes from downtown. I had never heard of them, but when we arrived I already recognized some of their beers, especially their Lucky Day IPA. We ordered a sampler and it was gigantic. There have been a couple of places we have been when the server brings you your sampler your eyes widen by the size…it was one of those moments. The beer was great and we left with many bottles. We met some locals who were brewing their own beer here. It reminded me of Devils Canyon Brewing that offers the same. Great atmosphere, local support and great beers. This put us at 199. Only a few miles drive to our next milestone!

Tap It BrewingI was really excited to visit Tap It Brewing, not only because we would make the big 2-0-0, but we had enjoyed everything we have had from them. Their IPA is one of my favorites, so balanced. Tap It Brewing was located south of downtown SLO in an industrial area. We walked into a small gift shop area with a few taps that was really tight. Luckily they had another area around the corner that had lots of tables and a patio that was creatively decorated. We got our sampler and I scribbled 200 on a coaster to share our excitement. Our goal was 50 new breweries by the end of the year and we still had 2 months to go. This was going to be our best beer travel year yet!

On Sunday morning we once againSLO Brewing drove down to San Luis Obispo to visit SLO Brewing and meet up with friends for breakfast. One fantastic beer traveling tool is a lot of breweries open early on Sunday during football season. This really helps beer traveling plans. SLO Brewing opened at 10am and the place was already full with football fans when we arrived soon after. SLO Brewing was located right in downtown only a block from Creekside Brewing. We ordered our last sampler of the trip and looked back on another  great beer vacation. Excited to reach our goal and left with 201 breweries on our “beer resume.”

Cheers, Sparklinglover

Happy Beer Girl

Reaching 200 pt 1

Since my last post we have been to 25 new breweries. No time to post!…I know #girlbeerproblems Our tale to 200 breweries…

Firestone WalkerIn the beginning of October we traveled down the Central Coast to attend a wedding. We had never been to this area before and planned to “complete” all the breweries (11) in three days, while attending to our wedding duties.

On Friday, October 4th we left at 6am in order to make the most of our day.  The sun wasn’t up yet and we were already headed to Firestone Walker.  Of all the numerous beers we’ve had from Firestone we have never been there before. Also, Velvet Merkin had just been released to add the cherry on top of excitement!

We arrived at Firestone just after 10am and their Visitor Center was open. We ordered tasters of the beers we hadn’t tried yet (Oaktoberfest, Velvet Merkin, Parabajava, and Agrestic Ale) and the ones we just had to have at the source (Wookey Jack)! The beer was incredible and I wish we could have stayed and done a tour, but we had 6 more breweries planned for the day.

We drove down the road, which couldn’t have been more than 3-4 BarrelHouse Brewingminutes and hit BarrelHouse Brewing. They had been open for less than a year and the facility was gorgeous. The tasting bar was nestled among the tanks, which opened up to a gorgeous outdoor garden and patio. We ordered a sampler and the standout was the Barrel Aged Double IPA at over 100 IBUs. I’m really interested to see more examples barrel aged on IPA’s . This is a great place to relax, have a beer and enjoy being outside. Alas, we already were on our way to number 3 and it wasn’t even noon yet.

We explored downtown Paso Robles to visit Downtown Brewing for beer and lunch. Downtown Brewing had terrible reviews and I was a little hesitant. They seem to be a bar and restaurant that either brews on the side or someone brews for them. I heard they are connected to SLO Brewing, but not sure. We had lunch and I ordered their Raven Porter, which was tasty.

Dunbar BrewingWe then headed to Dunbar Brewing, which headed up being one of our favorites of the trip. Chris, the owner and brewer was behind the bar and it seems like he is a one-man show. We tried their IPA’s and then he tapped a Scottish Heavy that was to die for. Not enough breweries make this beer in my opinion or they just don’t do it right. Dunbar specializes in English style beers and has a really good guest tap list and fridges of bottles to go or enjoy their. Highly recommend this place.

Four breweries is usually our limit, but we were just tasting at each place. We headed to Molly Pitcher Brewing in Atascadero and got our usual sampler.  They had an Imperial Red, Pale Ale, IPA, and a Session Stout. All were spot on and unfortunately we left to quickly to really appreciate the surroundings.  The ”pains” of #beertravel. Would defiantly go back if we are in town again.

Molly Pitcher BrewingWe now headed back to downtown Paso Robles to visit Paso Robles Brewing. They only had one of their own beers on tap their Pale Ale. We shared a pint and soon realized that we were in a Dodger bar filled with Dodger dogs on the menu. Luckily we didn’t have any orange and black on and my husband was wearing a Pittsburgh Pirates hat….no one picks on the Pirates.  Unfortunately, wasn’t much of a brewery…more of a tap room.

That put us at 6 and we still had one more to go. We headed to the little town of Cambria, which happened to be where the wedding was. Cambria reminded my of Stars Hollow on Gilmore Girls because everyone knew each other and they dressed the town up for holidays….it was decked out in themed scarecrows for Halloween. Really there were over 50!

Cambria BrewingCambria Brewing had been open just over a year. The tasting room was nicely decorated and very welcoming. Also a one-man show, Aaron poured us our sampler. We sat by the window and watched as locals strolled about town. Everything was just cozy. The beers were really tasty and a great ending to our extreme beer travel day.

We had never done 7 breweries in a day before and I honestly wouldn’t recommend it. We weren’t able to pay as much attention to the breweries because we were always onto the next….but when in Rome (Central Coast). This put us at 197 breweries…200 was just a day away.

Cheers, Sparklinglover

Be a Heretic

Yesterday we visited Heretic Brewing, which brings us to #189. I am excited when any new brewery opens a tasting room, but I was especially excited for Heretic. I have tried every beer I could get my hands on and they all have been superb. Of course we needed to try at the source.

Heretic has been brewing since 2011 in Pittsburg, CA. They shared brewing space with E.J Phair Brewing and in 2013 they moved to Fairfield, CA to open their own space. There tasting room opened just two weeks ago.

We ventured through the unexpected rain storm yesterday (30% chance of rain my ass) and arrived soon after they opened. They are located in a warehouse district off the freeway. We ordered our usual sampler, which consisted of:

Evil Cousin – Hoppy Red Ale

Evil Twin – Double IPAHeretic Brewing

Gramarye – Rye Pale Ale

Shallow Grave – Robust Porter

Torment – Belgian Dark Ale

CHP – Chocolate Hazelnut Porter

chIMP – Imperial Stout

Worry – Belgian Golden Ale

Miscreant – Flanders Red Ale

There was nothing ordinary about these beers as the name implies. “Be a Heretic, Don’t Drink Ordinary Beer.” All the beers were spot on and nothing was standard about them. The Evil Twin and Evil Cousin were incredibly fresh and the Evil Cousin Double IPA was not cloying like a lot of other double ipa’s. My favorite was the Chocolate Hazelnut Porter, rich in hazelnut, coffee, and chocolate. Sweet and bitter…wish I could have had a pint or two of this. Reminded me of Rip Current Brewing – Hazardous Hazelnut Porter, which I still crave from time to time!

The tasting room is welcoming with a bright red accent wall and the bar is filled with black and white photos of the brewery and staff. We picked up a growler of Gramerye and a few bottles of Evil Cousin. This won’t just be a one time stop for us. The beer is just too good! Anyone in the area should stop by. Tasting room is open Tuesday – Friday 3pm-9pm, Saturday & Sunday 12pm-5pm.

Cheers, Sparklinglover

Gotta Have It

Gotta Have It - North Bay BohemianI have been on cloud 9 all week! On Wednesday the new issue of the North Bay Bohemian hit the stands and I made the paper! This issue was dedicated to craft beer in Sonoma County.

Leilani Clark wrote a great article on the changing consumers of craft beer through social media and beer traveling. I am so honored to be a part of it and to accompany my good friend, Jeff Bull from

Read it here!

Sunday at the Farm & Yard

Of all the beer travel weRuhstaller have done we had never visited a hop farm before or really been at the source of the beer until Ruhstaller a newer brewery out of Sacramento, CA. Their hopyard is located off exit 69 on I-80 in Dixon, CA. They offer tastings at their Farm & Yard on Sunday’s from 1-6pm. You can’t miss it from the freeway. We pulled into the parking lot to what looked liked a fruit stand, a shipping container, and some old rusted farming equipment.

Everything is built to resemble the past. Ruhstaller got it’s name from Captain Frank Ruhstaller who was a big part of Sacramento’s brewing industry and Buffalo Brewery before prohibition. Sacramento was a thriving beer town with not only a dozen breweries, but a valley that grew all their own hops and barley for the West Coast. It’s been said to have been the biggest beer town west of the Mississippi rivaling Anheuser-Busch.

IMG_4768Ruhstaller is bringing back this missing part of Sacramento’s history. As a Sacramento native I am really happy to see them share this forgotten history with their revived beers. They are not only dedicated to making historic craft beer but growing their own hops and sourcing from local farmers in the area for their hops and barely.

At the farm & yard we met “JE” aka Jan-Erik Paino the founder of Ruhstaller who showed us around and told us about the history of his beers. He was so hospitable and passionate and took us through their educational hop area that showcases the different techniques of growing hops from a century ago to present day. It’s amazing how a little string changed everything.

IMG_4755Ruhstaller doesn’t just have the tradition behind them. Their beers are top notch and decorated with burlap around the neck of the bottles for authenticity. They are now producing canned beers in addition for the more versatile drinker, while still resembling old labels from the past. The standout beer was their Gilt Edge Lager at 4.8% it was so refreshing and with 42 IBU’s (International Bittering Units) was so aromatic and fresh. Also 100% California ingredients. Their Triple, Kolsch, and 1881 are also so tasty and really you should just try their whole lineup. Give this beer a try. It’s not just about the history, but damn good beer.

                     Cheers! Sparklinglover