Lost Coast Brewery & Cafe 617 4th St., in Old Town, (707) 445-4480. L-D daily; $. Reservations accepted. Situated within a historic building, this is the first brewery in the U.S. founded and operated by women. The actual brewing production has moved to a new dedicated facility south of town, where you can take a tour. Among the several kinds of handcrafted microbrews, the hands-down favorites are Great White beer (features the flavors of wheat and coriander and is their best seller) and Downtown Brown ale, but Indian Pale Ale isn’t far behind and was my favorite. And don’t overlook the house-made root beer. Roast beef and turkey is baked in-house, and french fries are made from scratch with fresh potatoes. The menu’s extensive pub fare goes well with a pint. Burgers are the best sellers, but the delicious locally-caught halibut and chips is close behind. More options include French dip and pulled pork sandwiches, coconut prawns, stuffed Navajo bread, Tuscany pizza, and a build-your-own pizza. Happy Hour runs Monday through Friday from 4 to 6 p.m. and is the perfect time to try the nachos or the big baked pretzel--solo or stuffed with cheese.
|surfboard chomped on by a Great White|
Lost Coast Brew House 1600 Sunset Ave., 2 mi. SW of town, (707) 445-4484. Free. This small regional brewery is of one of the nation's largest microbrews and now has a sleek new brewing production facility. The company’s brews were made for the first three years in the pub cafe, then in a warehouse for 22 more years. Tours here are usually led by owner Barbara Groom, a former pharmacist. You’ll learn about how yeast eats sugar and makes gas, and about malt and green leaves and sun and how it all turns into beer. You’ll smell the fragrances, see the various grains, and stagger your mind with the fact that 40 types of yeast are used to give the beer different flavors. If you’re lucky, you might get to step inside the 20-degree hop freezer—a particularly refreshing experience on a warm day. Throughout you’ll see shiny stainless steel pipes, concrete floors, and equipment from an array of international companies—Germany (tanks with colorful blue trim), Mexico (a grain grinder with a dryer motor used to grind coriander for Great White), and America (a fascinating bottling machine). Try to schedule a weekday tour because that is when everything is happening, and you can see the bottles filled, capped, and packed in boxes. The bottler pops out 440 per minute, and though bottles are king, cans are coming due to demand for use at the beach and around pools. At the tour’s conclusion, you’ll get to do some tasting in the Tap Room, where lovely recycled counters from a 100-year-old Monterey cypress tree enhance the decor (that tree was also used for trim throughout the building). Ice cream is available from Humboldt Creamery (expelled grain from their company is used in beer making here). Don’t miss viewing the concrete restroom counter made with recycled chipped beer bottles and molded to look like a beer bottle. Picnicking is welcome.
|owner Barbara Groom leads a tour|
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images ©2015 Carole Terwilliger Meyers