After completing our trip to Canada this past July, I did some math in my head. I quickly realized that we had the chance to add 100 breweries to the List, something we had never done before. Even in our intensive Year in Beer, chronicled in Merideth’s book Teachings from the Tap, we only added 90. Scoring a century seemed like a worthy goal for 2012.
December rolled around and we were at 96. A planned trip to Los Angeles, where we would reach 100, fell through. We resigned ourselves to coming up just short. In telling friends our tale of woe, they disagreed with us giving up so we decided to give it one more try. Doing some research, we chose Sacramento, home to a number of new breweries, to accomplish our goal.
Piling Porter, Stout and their favorite blankie into the car on Saturday morning, we began the three hour drive to the State Capitol. Our first stop, Black Dragon Brewing, wasn’t in Sacramento but just to the west in historic Woodland.
Black Dragon was in the not-so-historic section of town set off the street behind a pizza parlor. Its nondescript exterior didn’t do justice to its roomy, bright interior. The bar and dining area were flanked on each side by the brewery and the homebrew shop.
Joining a few other customers, we sat down to sample the four beer flight. Merideth really enjoyed the light and refreshing Gypsy Blonde, done with what we assumed was a Belgian yeast. The Araya IPA was solid example of the West Coast style. The star for me was Dragon’s Eye Porter, a 6.5% ABV roasty dark brew with nice notes of chocolate. It was the perfect beer for a chilly December day.
After the first long stretch in the car from our house, it seemed like a short drive to our second stop, Roseville Brewing, in a town of the same name. Located in the last business park in a stretch of business parks, we made a slightly-embarrassing mistake that did not do justice to our reputations as seasoned beer travelers.
Walking in the front door, we stood in the tiny front room waiting for someone to help us. Not seeing any taps or beer, I was worried that we wouldn’t be able to taste beer at Roseville. After what seemed like a minute, a man came out front and asked if we needed help. Somewhat meekly I inquired was it possible to try the beers. Surprised by the question, he led us down a very short hallway into the tasting room.
We had seven beers to sample at Roseville ranging from two American-style wheats to a seasonal Stout. Another solid lineup of the beers with the two hoppy offerings, Iron Mule IPA and Spike Driver Double IPA, being the two shining lights for me. Merideth’s favorite was the seasonal Cinnamon Coffee Stout. At 8% ABV, this brew was big on chocolate flavor with a hint of the spice on the finish.
One of the benefits of beer travel is that the journey brings us to places we probably would have never visited. Despite having driven the I-80 corridor northeast of Sacramento on a number of occasions, we had never stopped or probably even noticed the city of Loomis. But this tiny town on the way to the Sierras now had a brewery, Loomis Basin Brewing.
Arriving a few minutes before opening time, the industrial park lot was full of cars, occupants still inside. We thought that this was somewhat odd given it was Saturday afternoon. Turns out all those people were waiting for the tasting room to open. We must have stumbled on to something good.
The small tasting room bustled as Merideth and I went through the six beer sampler. The seasonal 8.4% ABV Recession Ale, a robust Porter, was a big on the coffee and chocolate notes. If there was a beer that I would take home, it would have been the Vindicator IPA, a fine example of the West Coast style. Unfortunately, it was being bottled a few days later. Merideth liked the Swetzer Pale Ale, a light-bodied, easy-drinking brew.
The fourth stop of the day finally brought us to our capitol city. Track 7 Brewing, in an rough-looking industrial part of Sacramento, was very Portland with its large roll up doors and picnic table-filled, dog-friendly tasting room. It was quite crowded on a chilly Sacramento evening attesting to Track 7′s popularity in the community.
Ordering a five beer sample flight, Merideth and I joined a few friends who were already there. Focusing on chatting with them, I have to admit I don’t remember too much about the beers. The presence of another wiener dog didn’t help either with our beer concentration. However, I do recall really enjoying their Panic IPA.
That was it! We both hit 100 breweries for the year. Actually, Merideth hit 101, as she went to an extra brewery in Portland in order to catch up on the List count. Congratulations to us!
View all the images from our day…
Thanks to all our friends who not only met up with us in the Sacramento area but those of you who made beer travel in 2012 a special year. We finished 2012 with 773 breweries… on to 800!
Here are the 101 breweries we added to the List in 2012…
|2||Sandy River Brewing||Sandy||OR||USA|
|5||The Lab Brewing Co||Agoura Hills||CA||USA|
|7||Otway Winery and Brewery||Barongarook||Vic||Australia|
|9||Mornington Peninsula Brewery||Mornington||Vic||Australia|
|10||Last Drop Brewery||Canning Vale||WA||Australia|
|12||The Grove Vineyard||Wilyabrup||WA||Australia|
|13||Bush Shack Brewery||Yallingup||WA||Australia|
|14||Eagle Bay Brewing||Eagle Bay||WA||Australia|
|15||Colonial Brewing||Margaret River||WA||Australia|
|19||Moody Cow Brewery||Dardanup||WA||Australia|
|20||Wild Bull Brewery||Ferguson||WA||Australia|
|21||Old Coast Road Brewery||Myalup||WA||Australia|
|22||The Old Brewery||Perth||WA||Australia|
|23||Monk Brew Cafe||Fremantle||WA||Australia|
|27||Swan Brewery||Canning Vale||WA||Australia|
|28||Indian Ocean Brewing||Mindarie||WA||Australia|
|30||Elmar’s in the Valley||Henley Brook||WA||Australia|
|31||Mash Brewing||Henley Brook||WA||Australia|
|32||Southern Pacific Brewing||San Francisco||CA||USA|
|37||16 Mile Brewing||Georgetown||DE||USA|
|38||Evolution Craft Brewing||Salisbury||MD||USA|
|39||Burley Oak Brewing||Berlin||MD||USA|
|42||Dock Street Brewing||Philadelphia||PA||USA|
|43||Boxcar Brewing||West Chester||PA||USA|
|46||Mckenzie Brewhouse||Chadds Ford||PA||USA|
|47||Twin Lakes Brewing||Greenville||DE||USA|
|48||Sante Adairius Rustic Ales||Capitola||CA||USA|
|49||Dust Bowl Brewing||Turlock||CA||USA|
|51||Moon Under Water||Victoria||BC||Canada|
|54||Craig Street Brew Pub||Duncan||BC||Canada|
|56||High Mountain Brewing||Whistler||BC||Canada|
|57||Howe Sound Inn & Brewing Co.||Squamish||BC||Canada|
|58||R and B Brewing||Vancouver||BC||Canada|
|60||Coal Harbour Brewing||Vancouver||BC||Canada|
|61||Parallel 49 Brewing||Vancouver||BC||Canada|
|63||Big River Brewpub||Richmond||BC||Canada|
|64||Central City Brewing||Surrey||BC||Canada|
|65||Big Ridge Brewing||Surrey||BC||Canada|
|66||Marine Pub & Brewhouse||Burnaby||BC||Canada|
|68||Fire on the Mountain||Portland||OR||USA|
|69||Lucky Bucket Brewing||La Vista||NE||USA|
|71||Granite City Brewing||Omaha||NE||USA|
|76||Brauhaus Weisses Haus’l||Ludwigshafen||Germany|
|86||Familienbrauerei Beck Brau||Trabelsdorf||Germany|
|88||Tolzer Muhlfeldbrau||Bad Tolz||Germany|
|95||Molly Pitcher Brewing||Atascadero||CA||USA|
|96||Hollister Hills Taproom & Brewery||Hollister||CA||USA|
|97||Black Dragon Brewing||Woodland||CA||USA|
|99||Loomis Basin Brewing||Loomis||CA||USA|
|100||Track 7 Brewing||Sacramento||CA||USA|
|101||New Helvetia Brewing||Sacramento||CA||USA|