Golden State Golden Breweries (part one)

Wildflowers along the Grapevine on the border of L.A. and Kern counties, Tejon Pass.

We’ve Been Known to Get Around

On road trips to the Sierras, Redwoods and Cascades, from the Sea of Cortez to the San Juan Islands, we get around the west coast a bit.

We know there are some fine, laudable breweries in our beloved Pacific Northwest (where we live), the Rockies (Colorado, we love you), in the Midwest and on the east coast worth your time, attention, and thirst. But humor us and allow us lead you through our sweet spot in an inagural High Octane Growler blog of our favorite California breweries we make it a point to stop at.

If we really like the place, we’ll even let the dog out of the Mitt Romney terror trap cage on top of the car (just kidding, don’t ever do that to a dog or any other living thing, even beer).

Enjoy this first in a series of favorite breweries in the one and only Golden State, California.

Firestone Walker Brewery

Paso Robles, California

Firestone Walker Double Barrel Ale (like that song from The Harder They Come).

There are a million reasons to enjoy U.S. 101 down the length of California, and from the Smith River National Recreation Area along the border with Oregon to where the 101 vanishes into the Pacific Coast Highway near Point Mugu south of Oxnard, it’s a scenically superior alternative to Interstate 5, especially along the magical Goleta Coastline in Santa Barbara County.

Another area along the 101 where the pace feels a bit slower and more welcoming is in the old resort town of Paso Robles, now an agricultural and wine region exploding in popularity. The Firestone Walker Brewery is located right off the 101, perfect for emergency growler refills, and features one of our favorite IPAs on tap, Union Jack IPA.

We applaud the 7.5% ABV which makes the Union Jack a little stronger and punchier than typical IPAs, though we admit we’re also waiting for Firestone Walker’s Double DBA Imperial Special Bitter Ale, due sometime next year. We certainly anticipate a visit, though it may be built upon a lame “Oh, so the Grapevine is closed? Gosh, I guess we’ll just have to take the 101” excuse.¬†Remember, when all else fails, blame CalTrans.

Next? The Coronado Brewing Company.

“Oh shucks, you mean the Grapevine is closed, and we have to take the 101 instead? Well, that’s too bad….”

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