With its approximately 500 breweries it is safe to say that for the past decade or more now California’s craft beer movement has been booming. Beer even seems to be the latest rage in California wine country, with wine-producing regions such as Napa quickly becoming excellent places to sample craft brews. Nowhere in the state though is there a greater concentration of award-winning microbreweries than here on California’s Redwood Coast.
Humboldt County is known for more than just its big trees and beautiful coastline. Located within 30 miles of one another, Humboldt boasts 6 world-famous craft microbreweries, including the first certified organic brewery in the United States. There is even an entire tour dedicated to exploring the various breweries and tasting rooms dotting the north coast region. The following list of Humboldt County microbreweries can all be visited on the Humboldt Beer Tour.
- Eel River Brewing Company located in friendly Fortuna along the banks of the Eel River is the first all organic brewery in the entire country. They feature a tap room and grill where you can sample their full selection of award winning brews and chow down on a delicious Humboldt Grassfed burger. They brew an amazing acai berry wheat and a great Raven’s Eye stout as well for those who prefer the dark side.
- Lost Coast Brewery, one of only 6 women owned breweries in America, is just north on Highway 101 in Eureka. Lost Coast is well know for its famous brews such as Great White, Downtown Brown and Indica Pale Ale, all featuring interesting and unusual characters on the labels which are designed by local area artist Duane Flatmo. Lost Coast Brewery is a great place to meet, eat and sip as they also offer a full restaurant menu. Stay tuned as they will also be opening a new tasting room and brewing facility in the near future.
- Redwood Curtain Brewing Co. lies just a bit further to the north in Arcata. Established in 2010 Redwood Curtain offers an impressive spread of craft beers including many seasonal and specialty styles. Their tasting room provides a fun and hip atmosphere for sampling and just chilling out. This is also a great place to catch local musician jamming from time to time.
- Six Rivers Brewery, another woman owned brewing facility, is situated atop “Granite Hill” in Mckinleyville overlooking the gorgeous scenery of the Mad River, Arcata Bottoms and the Pacific Ocean. Given this, Six Rivers has also become known as the “brew with a view“. This brewery provides not only great views but quality and distinctive beer and menu items, utilizing local and organic ingredients whenever possible. You definitely want to try the sampler here. My personal favorites are the Hammond Trail American Ale and the Chili Pepper Spicy Ale. Catch local musicians, karaoke and other special events here most nights.
- Mad River Brewing Co. located just east in sunny Blue Lake. Since 1989 Mad River Brewing company has been crafting award winning beers. Their Steelhead Extra Pale Ale and John Barleycorn Barleywine have received gold medals at The Great American Beer Festival, the most prominent award in our industry. Their tap room features a full pub style menu and a great outdoor patio with plenty of seating making this for a great place to hang out catch some rays while sipping a brew. Mad River Brewing Co. hosts musical performances regularly as well as several special beer events throughout the year as well. This is truly the perfect place to stop at for a brew after a long day of playing in the river.
Special beer event on the Redwood Coast happen fairly regularly given its strong culture of brew enthusiasts. Microbrew lovers either living in or visiting the area will not want to miss the following Humboldt County Beer Events:
Humboldt Home Brew Festival – Taking place in April Over 100 beers have been registered to be poured at this years festival!
Hops in Humboldt – This is the biggest beer fest in Humboldt. Happening in August, it features over 35 of the best breweries from across the country. For one price you can try unlimited samples of hundreds of different brews in your own cool, commemorative glass, listen to live bands as they rock the stage throughout the day, and cruise different arts and crafts vendors selling everything from Humboldt clothing to locally made jewelry.
Humboldt Beer Week – This is an celebration of the craft brew industry taking place in October, that is focused on but not limited to local and regional craft beers. Its purpose is to celebrate the tight knit beer community of the Redwood empire and beyond. Beer Week highlights all of the local breweries of the North Coast by holding a marquee event at each brewery all on different nights.
Hoptober Fest – Also taking place October this exciting Redwood Coast festival features regional breweries, local food vendors and an impressive lineup of talented musicians to provide a full day of beer, music and merriment. With so many outstanding local breweries to showcase, this successful event provides a unique interactive opportunity for individual participants and has become a major cultural event for Humboldt County.
Strange Brew Festival – Held in November, this event challenges local brewers to create the strangest and most delicious concoctions for the folks of Humboldt County and beyond. Previous showings have included everything from whiskey barrel aged beer, to vegetable/fruit/herb/plant ales, to multi-yeast and bacteria fermented libations. Even beer slushies, bloody marys, shortcake and jello shots have made an appearance.
In addition to great craft breweries and special brew festivities, Humboldt County also boasts some of the top beer bars in northern California including The Local Beer Bar, Siren’s Song Tavern, Humboldt Brews, and Bar-Fly Pub & Grub. If you are doing the pub crawl in Old Town Eureka there are several excellent choices for vacation rentals within walking distance to popular bars there making it easier for one to sample away. Check out the comprehensive list of Eureka vacation rentals on the Redwood Coast Vacation Rentals website. In addition to rentals in Eureka they offer several vacation homes in Arcata, Ferndale, and Trinidad, as well as other parts of the county.
Hidden away at the very top of the state, Humboldt County is an area like no other in the world for several reasons. Home of the tallest trees, gorgeous coastlines, beautiful rivers, and majestic mountains, and as this article outlines, some of the best beer in the world. With beer tourism on the rise Humboldt County has definitely made its mark on the scene and is now proven to be a destination not to be missed by any true beer enthusiast.