We were supposed to go to Europe for our romantic vacation, sans kiddos, but certain hurdles and obstacles led us to one of our best beer trips, full of memories and beer belly laughs. While our itinerary is not for the faint of heart, my only suggested take aways are to make friends with the beer folks. Been friends with many of the peeps 10+ years. They are more like family and we have the best of times eating, drinking and sharing stories. Also, we walked a lot and laughed a lot. You’ll feel better about all of the beer and food calories you are consuming….at least I did!
Again, this schedule is ambitious, but full of AMAZING …..
We left San Diego at 8pm on Saturday evening, eager as ever. We had not planned on staying anywhere specific, so fingers crossed, we looked up Best RV Camp in CA and Google led us to Carpinteria State Beach. Such a great spot, right in town, yet right on the beach.
We woke up in Carpinteria and took a long walk on the beach before stopping by Lucky Llama for a hot coffee and acai bowl. Drove up the 101 coast to Goleta and headed directly to Hollister Brewing Company. It was a Sunday for us so it was a bit crowded for the NFL games, but cozy at the bar, we had the Glen Annie Golden and the POPE IPA.
About an hour North in Buellton, we stopped by Firestone Walker Barrelworks for a tour and some tastings. We left with arms full of sour beers. After lunch, we drove to Paso Robles and checked in to the Paso Robles Inn. We relaxed, cleaned up and walked around downtown until we settled on the Fish Gaucho for some oysters
We needed to fuel up our RV (which was a feat in itself), so while we paid someone to do it (or as I was raised to know as Full Service), we ate breakfast at our hotel. We had reservations at Firestone Walkers main production at 11, which we learned not only about the brewery process, but we got to peek in on their bottling and canning line. After lunch with our good friend Chuck, we then moved onto our next reservation at Eberle Winery. We got a private tour of the facility, which included the wine cave, my FAVORITE part. The tour guide led us down into the cave to a romantic candle-lit table that was set with a cheese board. We learned about the the winery, the droughts effects and pairings of the cheese and wine. Our tour guide, Tim, reminded me of the older professor in the original Jurassic Park–so calming and informative. After, I needed a break from food and libations, so I took a quick power nap and refreashed, before heading out to dinner. Il Cortile was highly recommended so after a brisk walk, we filled our bellies with Braised Veal Cheek Pappardelle, Beef Carpaccio with Truffle Cream Sauce and Black Truffles, Boar Ragu with Housemade Tagliatelle, Venison and for dessert, Panna Cotta and Tiramisu***PLEASE LET ME REMIND YOU THAT I WAS WITH THESE TWO MEN SO THIS IS ENTIRELY POSSIBLE***
We barely had room for breakfast the next morning, but after some coffee and a little planning of the day, we knew we had to get some fuel in our bellies before our walk along the Golden Gate Bridge In San Francisco.
Thank goodness we did eat when we did, because we did not have a chance to eat again until dinner! After stopping by Fieldwork Brewing in Berkeley (which we parked our RV at for a few days, thanks to our amazing friends), we took an Uber to Triple Rock for dinner and then to East Bay Spice Company for a nightcap of Hot Toddy’s. We stayed in the RV, at Fieldwork Brewing.
After a walk around the neighborhood, we popped into Lama Beans for coffee and breakfast, then picked up a rental car so that we could easily navigate through the city. We had a private tour arranged for us at Rare Barrel,where we had a chance to sample so many great sour beers. And then we headed back to SF for some more! Hubby had to pick up some kegs at Cellarmaker and since we were in the neighborhood, we bellied up at Toronado for a quick Christmas Beer. Magnolia was our potty break spot, but we had to sample some of their Porter. By this time, we needed to walk, so we drove down to the Warf and acted like tourists. After window shopping and people watching, we were chilled to the bone. We headed to Buena Vista for an Irish Coffee, then as the craving for oysters became more demanding, we searched for the best oyster place in SF. Swan Depot is in high demand, but closes early, so we unfortunately didn’t make in on time. As Tyson and I like to do, we just kept walking and walking aimlessly until we found something……it was a someone we happened to find though! We asked a woman, walking her dog, if she knew of any local food places. Turns out she is a guide for Food Tours in San Francisco. She pointed out that Japantown was a few blocks away. After walking the town a bit, we settled on a Ramen place that looked pretty good. Before walking in, however, we discovered a line forming for the restaurant next to our chosen Ramen place. What we realized was that the line was for STATE BIRD PROVISIONS! We had tried desperately to get a reservation awhile ago, but had no luck. We tested our luck and waited in line. Lo and behold, we got in, took a seat at the oyster and fell in love with the tapas style eating. It was a fantastic end to Day Four.
We were ready for some more trekking so we ventured to Sonoma County’s countryside for some wine tasting at St. Francis which was voted best restaurant by Open Table.
While we didn’t indulge in the food, the wine and service was spectacular. After checking out the vineyard, we headed to Russian River Brewing Company to get our Blind Pig stash to take home. Down the street, we ate at Bird & The Bottle. We had raw oysters and clams, smashed avocado with ikura and mini sliders. So YUMMY! We drove back to Berkeley and met up with the guys at Fieldwork Brewing for dinner at Great China.
After returning our rental car in the morning, we piled in the RV and started our way South. We stopped in Santa Clara for some lunch with my Great Grandma at Cherry Sushi. Because we had to get a collection of empty growlers for our friends at South Park Brewing in San Diego, we also stopped at El Toro Brewing Company in Morgan Hill and Barrel House Brewing Company in Paso Robles. We stopped again at Hollister Brewing Company in Goleta to pick up kegs and have dinner. For our last night, we stayed at Carpinteria State Beach one last time.
We drove fast to get home to our little love bugs. We missed them dearly xoxo
It was truly a great trip. We indulged, but evened it out with a lot of walking. We made some of the best beer filled memories with each other and our dear friends. Cannot wait to do it again, but next time, with our boys!