Why we're here...

Beer culture is coming of age. At any store, restaurant, bar, or friend's house you can now find at least a few good brews. In fact, there seem to be so many new beers, breweries and bars it's difficult to separate the good, the bad, and the mediocre.

If you're going spend $10 on one beer, what should you buy? If you're going to drive 2 hours to check out a brewery, what's worth your time? If you're going to plan a Friday night, what has a good selection and friendly atmosphere? We're here to help you answer these questions.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

North Coast Brewing Company

The North Coast Brewing Company is located in Fort Bragg, CA on highway 1, within ear shot of the Pacific ocean waves. North Coast's operations take over a few corners in Fort Bragg. At the corner of Pine Street and Highway 1, you will find the taproom and grill, the production brewery, and the gift shop. This review is of their taproom and grill. Despite having visited twice, I have yet to do a tour of the production facility.

Fort Bragg and the north west coast of California can be a bit challenging to access. There is no straight road over the coastal range. If you or your passengers get car sick, the ride can be difficult. Highway 20 from Willets is a shorter, but extremely curvy. Highway 128 from Cloverdale is longer, with a little less extreme curves.

There's also a bonus - it takes you into the Anderson Valley the brewery with it's name sake. 128 drops you off on the coast just south of the town of Mendocino, but the short drive north to Fort Bragg is beautiful and some of the best coastline the US has to offer.

Mendocino County and its neighbor to the north, Humbodlt county, are home to some of California's great breweries. Any trip to this area should include more than one brewery stop. You can find cheap lodging, and even better camping. When I visit Fort Bragg I stay at the Beachcomber Motel. It's prices are reasonable, it's clean, comfortable, right on the beach, and walking distance to the North Coast Brewery.

North Coast Brewery produces a great amount of high quality beers; Old Rasputin, Brother Thelonius, Red Seal, Scrimshaw Pilsner, Grand Cru, and others. If you're at the tap room be sure to ask the bartender if he has any special beers not on the menu. I've found old bottles of Old Rasputin Barrel-Aged on my first visit.

I don't think I need to write reviews for their brews, most of you have had them and have your favorites. I'm a big fan of Scrimshaw and Old Rasputin. I have one of their 2012 barrel aged Old Rasputins aging in my fridge. This was the first bourbon barrel aged stouts I had, and it's a Must Have It.

The taproom and grill are somewhat nondescript form the street, it could be just another restaurant. When you walk in you have 3 choices, a smaller size taproom to the right, a gift shop straight ahead, and a restaurant to the left. On my first visit I spent my time in the taproom and on my second visit I tried the restaurant.

I've enjoyed hanging out in the taproom, you can find devote locals and faraway visitors who share your passion for one of their brews. The bartenders are friendly and knowledgeable.

The gift shop has all the right swag, and bottles of beers that you might not be on the shelves in your area and the prices are slightly cheaper.

I was surprised at the quality food served in the restaurant. It's classic American, well-made, and very tasty. I've visited plenty of breweries where the food is either lackluster or nasty, but this was definitely not the case here. The service was very friendly and prompt.

My one recommendation is to get pints or half pints over tasters. I've noticed in my brewery visits that the tasters do not showcase the flavor well enough.

I highly recommend a visit to North Coast Brewery as well as Mendocino and Humboldt counties. Beer tourism, make it happen.

1 comment:

  1. Moving Simplified We found out this morning that we may be headed to
    Fort Bragg this summer(surprising as we weren't due to PCS for another year)
    fort bragg pcs