How do you get to the heart of the craft brew craze? Go taste at the source: along the Sonoma and Mendocino ale trail

Nino Padova


– Eric Smillie

1. Denver to Fort Collins, CO (76 miles)

  • Great Divide Brewing, Denver. Don’t miss: Oak Aged Yeti, a roasty Imperial Stout with a touch of vanilla.
  • Avery Brewing, Boulder. Don’t miss: Small-batch specials; coconut shrimp with lemony White Rascal witbier. $;
  • Oskar Blues Brewery, Longmont. Don’t miss: Firkin Fridays for one-off experiments at the Tasty Weasel Tap Room.
  • New Belgium Brewing, Fort Collins. Don’t miss: The 90-minute brewery tour that ends with you going down a slide.

2. San Diego to Placentia, CA (112 miles)

  • AleSmith brewing, San Diego. Don’t miss: Evil Dead Red, a red ale thick with hops and a smooth toffee sweetness.
  • Stone Brewing, Escondido. Don’t miss: Sampling four beers on the brewery tour, including the powerful Arrogant Bastard Ale. $$;
  • The Lost Abbey, San Marcos. Don’t miss: Wild yeast brews, such as the dry, sour-cherry-flavored Cuvee de Tomme (released in mid-November).
  • The Bruery, Placentia. Don’t miss: Beers made with surprising ingredients like yam, Thai basil, and toasted pecans.

3. Portland to Newport, OR (385 miles)

  • Hair of the Dog Brewery, Portland. Don’t miss: Adam, a chocolatey, earthy dessert ale. $;
  • Full Sail Brewing, Hood River. Don’t miss: Locally-raised-beef burgers and a view of the Columbia River from the pub deck. $;
  • Deschutes Brewery, Bend. Don’t miss: Trial brews such as the Oh Be Joyful pale ale and spicy mac and cheese. $$;
  • Rogue Brewery, Newport. Don’t miss: The brewery’s full catalog of beers on tap, plus halibut fish and chips. $$;