For Rem’s birthday, we’re enjoying a road trip in Northern California that includes flights of beer and beautiful redwoods. A flight, or small sampling of different beverages or foods, is a practice that is probably better known in winemaking, but has also gained popularity in the culinary world.
Last year, we experienced a different kind of flight when we celebrated his birthday! This is less exhilarating but I think I’m enjoying it more.
We left San Rafael heading north on US Route 101, on the segment known as The Redwood Highway. The Redwood Highway starts in Marin at the Golden Gate Bridge and goes all the way up to the junction of 199 near Crescent City. We won’t make it quite that far, but we’re seeing loads of redwoods and enjoying the incredible scenery along the way.
From the quirky to the sublime.
Our first stop wasn’t a brew pub, but Rem was still able to sample two beers on tap.
Graton is really ginormous. Because it is on tribal land, smoking is allowed. They have non-smoking sections and I’m sure there is an elaborate ventilation system to suck up the cigarette smoke, but it is still there and you can still smell it. We played a few slot machines after lunch. I used a dollar from Rem and put in a dollar of my own. Oh, so exciting. I just do NOT see the attraction.
Here are my winnings:
Did I get 97 cents worth of entertainment? Well, I would have paid that to leave, so I’ll call it a win.
Onward to Ruth McGowan’s Brewpub in Cloverdale, the home of Cloverdale Ale Company, for the first official stop on the Brewpub Tour!
Rem enjoyed tastes of eight different beers (the flights have ranged from 2 to 4 ounces in size, and he hasn’t finished all the beers in a flight). He is using an app called Untappd to track and rate the beers. His favorite here was the McGowan’s Dry Irish Stout.
I enjoyed the signs I noticed:
I was a little confused by this one (in the Ladies Room)…
…until I looked in the mirror. (It says “You’re Beautiful”). Awww.
It was in the low 90’s as we headed on to Ukiah and our next brewery: Mendocino Brewing Company.
A flight of nine beers for $10 is a great way to sample the offerings. Rem particularly enjoyed the Eye of the Hawk Imperial Ale.
Our dinner that night at Ritual, also in Ukiah, kept with the theme of samples; we shared 4 appetizers (Firecracker Won Ton, Lumpia, Thai Chicken Wings and Lamb Lollipops) plus a delicious salad of greens, beets, locally-made goat cheese and caramelized walnuts for me.
Ukiah Brewing Company is adjacent to the restaurant and is no longer a stand-alone brewery.
The server told us about a specialty beer, Navarro Yarrow, but cautioned it was particularly foamy that night. She brought Rem a sample in addition to the flight of beer he was trying, and it was his favorite of the evening.
I had a walk in Ukiah early the next morning before we hit the road.
Church mailbox in front of church.
We both dressed for the hot weather we expected after the first day. However, the temperature never rose above the low 70’s and the scenery was just gorgeous. It was a beautiful day. We deterred off Highway 101 to drive the Avenue of the Giants, a scenic roadway going through Humboldt Redwoods State Park.
Of course we didn’t want to miss the Drive-Thru-Tree.
We took a short walk along one of the park trails.
I was charmed by this little bunny.
Continuing back on 101, we went to the tiny town of Loleta to visit the Loleta Cheese Factory and tasted our way from one end of the shop to the other. We didn’t try all 34 varieties they make, but we did try quite a few of them and bought some to take with us.
We backtracked to the town of Fortuna and after checking in to our motel, we walked to the next brewery on the list: Eel River Brewing.
We split an order of baby-back ribs and I had a salad. Rem, needless to say, also had beer. His top pick here was Raven’s Eye Imperial Stout.River.
I started the next morning with a good walk along the Eel River, which is at record low levels due to the drought, but pretty nonetheless.
I will post another section of our trip soon. Thanks for stopping by.