NORTH COAST: Humboldt County

As an antidote for all the holiday hustle and bustle, my wife and I decided to take a quick year-end road trip. Of course, to me this means beer trip.

I set my sites on Humboldt County and Southern Oregon, since I haven’t tasted in those regions.

It’s a six hour drive from our house to Eureka, so naturally my first stop was in Healdsburg for lunch at Bear Republic.

I’ve been here several times and it never disappoints.

I love their Brewers Mac & Cheese; what a tasty lunch! I paired it with something different than my usual IPA…I tried their winter warmer Old Saint Chango. Loved the hint of Mexican chocolate.

20131230-095622.jpgBear Republic’s Mac & Cheese

We hit our first Humboldt destination, Eel River Brewing, at 4:20 p.m. (seemed appropriate). There was a lively crowd watching the final 49ers game of regular season.

We chose to treat Humboldt County as a “progressive dinner,” so we ordered an appetizer (potato skins) and a sampler of five beers.

  • Acai Berry Wheat
  • California Blonde Ale
  • Organic Amber Ale
  • Organic IPA
  • Organic Porter
  • Everything Eel River brews is organic and all tasted fresh. All five beers were good, but the Porter was the best of the bunch.

    20131230-095958.jpgThe crowd at Eel River
    20131230-100006.jpgMy Eel River flight

    The next stop was Lost Coast Brewery in the heart of Eureka. This was to be the biggest disappointment of the day.

    The restaurant was busy. It’s in an old building and I noticed a variety of odd scents (non-food) as we entered.

    We ordered clam chowder and salad here. I decided against the sampler of 10 beers and instead ordered their Indica IPA.

    Oddly, I never got my beer! That was a first…going to a beer joint and the beer order disappears. Probably a good thing, as the Lost Coast beers I’ve had in the past have never ranked very high on my list.

    We finished our first course and headed on.

    20131230-100340.jpgThe crowd at Lost Coast
    20131230-100347.jpgMy empty coaster at Lost Coast

    Next stop: Mad River Brewing in Blue Lake.

    This was a nice comfortable pub, a place where a local could hang out and socialize.

    No food here, but I sampled five serviceable brews.

  • Steelhead Extra Pale Ale
  • Jamaica Brand Sunset IPA
  • Steelhead Double IPA
  • Steelhead Extra Stout
  • Gimme S’more
  • The Gimme S’more stout was a treat.

    20131230-100621.jpgMad River Brewing
    20131230-100628.jpgMy flight at Mad River Brewing

    On to our dinner course at Six Rivers Brewery, the second female-owned brewery in California.

    Even though we arrived after 8 p.m. on a Sunday, we had a 45 minute wait. There was a youthful, vocal crowd and it was trivia night.

    The service wasn’t as bad as some of the Yelp reviews suggested (although the hostess was a little sour).

    We decided to share some nachos with tri tip and I ordered a half flight of beers:

  • Six Rivers IPA
  • Sasquatch Double IPA
  • Hammond Trail Cream Ale
  • Strong Blonde
  • Yule Winter Spiced Ale
  • I was disappointed by the IPAs. Neither were hoppy at all. I was, however, pleasantly surprised by the Yule Ale. It had a enjoyable blend of spices.

    20131230-100854.jpgThe crowd at Six Rivers
    20131230-100901.jpgMy flight at Six Rivers
    20131230-100908.jpgThe enormous nachos!

    We booked a room at the historic Eureka Inn.

    It’s a cool old hotel, reminiscent of the hotel in The Shining!

    Super big rooms but cold as Hell! Bring extra blankets if you stay here in winter. Although, what I found in the nightstand led me to believe they expected us to keep warm another way.

    20131230-101158.jpgAt least it was still in the wrapper!

    Cheers!

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    NORTH COAST: Moylan’s releases new collaboration

    Moylan’s Brewery in Novato is releasing an American version of “Our Dark Secret Double Black IPA,” a collaboration between the Moylan’s, Norway’s Nøgne Ø’ and Australia’s Hargreaves Hill.

    The Black IPA starts with specially selected barley malts like Cara Pilsen, Weyerman Munich and Black malt, but finishes with the finest hops from downunder. The star of this hop show is a new crop of “Victoria Secret” hop flowers from Australia, along with Stella, Galaxy, and Summer hops from the fields of Tazmania.

    8.0% ABV, 92 IBU, 1.072 Original Gravity.

    “Our Dark Secret Double Black IPA” will be available on draft, in growlers or bottles to go at the pub, and on draft at select locations.

    Dark Secret '13-2