California breweries produced 3,799,785 barrels of craft beer in 2015—that’s 4.3 gallons per drinking age adult, according to the Brewers Association, which keeps tabs on craft beer sales and production nationwide. With the beer flowing freely, a Tour de Brew via the Capitol Corridor route has an added benefit: there’s no need to get behind the wheel after taste testing all those microbrews. Each of these breweries, listed from south to north, offers its own unique taste of Northern California, and, best of all, you can get to each of them on the Capitol Corridor.
1. Mission Creek Brewing Company, San Jose
The Alameda—Spanish for “tree-lined avenue,” which it was until 1982, began in the late 18th century as an unpaved road connecting the Mission Santa Clara de Asís and the predecessor of modern-day San Jose. The original roadway was lined on either side by irrigation canals, which supplied water from Mission Creek to the burgeoning agricultural scene. Mission Creek Brewing Company‘s name pays homage to its location’s roots, and the brewery makes great-tasting beers. Be sure to enjoy one of Mission Creek’s hoppy beers on its excellent rooftop patio, less than a third of a mile from the Capitol Corridor Station.
2. Independent Brewing Company, Oakland
Historically a major hub for pre-Prohibition beer production, Oakland’s Jack London District has undergone some big changes in the last decade, but has retained its beer-loving roots. Independent Brewing Company, whose owner co-founded Oakland Brewing Company (OBC), serves a few OBC taps, along with small-batch experimental beers, brewed on-site. Neither will disappoint—nor will the 5,000-square-foot beer garden, just two blocks from the Oakland Jack London Square Station.
3. ThirstyBear Brewing Company, San Francisco
From the connect at Richmond or Oakland Jack London Square Station, you can walk half a mile to the Lake Merritt BART Station or take the free Broadway Shuttle to the 12th St. BART Station and catch a train into downtown San Francisco. Get off at the Montgomery St. BART Station and walk a half-mile to the certified organic ThirstyBear, which has been a local favorite since 1996. The brewery’s comical name was inspired by an equally amusing newspaper headline in the early 1990s: Thirsty Bear Bites Man for Cold Beer. ThirstyBear pairs its brews with Spanish tapas and paella, all made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients.
4. The Rare Barrel, Emeryville
Take Capitol Corridor’s connecting bus service from San Francisco to Emeryville, named for a Gold Rush-era railroad president, Joseph Stickney Emery. Emeryville is home to the award-winning, all-sour beer company, The Rare Barrel, which has tailored its facility to optimize its creative barrel-aged sour beer production. The brewery is a mile-and-a-half from the train, and if you’re not up for the walk, you can always take a taxi, Lyft, or Uber. Be sure to plan your visit in advance though, as it’s only open Thursday through Sunday.
5. Bison Brewing, Berkeley
As long as you’re reducing your carbon footprint by taking the train, throw Bison Brewing into the mix. It’s located on Dwight Way in Berkeley, just a block from the Capitol Corridor’s Berkeley Station. With its organic ingredients, earth-friendly packaging and production methods, and pro-planet initiatives like Meatless Mondays, Bison strives to make its patrons feel good about the beer they’re drinking. Check out its year-round options and rotating seasonal items.
6. Creek Monkey Tap House, Martinez
Creek Monkey Tap House is less than a quarter of a mile from the Martinez Station. A subsidiary of Rocksteady Brewing, Creek Monkey is a great spot to go if you are looking to relax and have fun. Even their name is fun; it celebrates the old tale of a group of South American squirrel monkeys that supposedly escaped from the George Matthews Great London Circus back in the mid 1900s. Legend has it that these monkeys started a feral community in the Alahambra Valley and allegedly still reside there today.
While you may not spot any squirrel monkeys on your next visit, you are guaranteed to find a great tasting beer and good meal. There are a handful of micro-brews served here, including those from Rocksteady Brewing, Almanac, and Heretic. The taps are frequently rotated to keep the menu consistently new and exciting. The food is also fresh and sourced from sustainable farms so you can feel good about what you eat.
7. Right Eye Brewing Company, Suisun City
Right Eye is significantly smaller than most other breweries in the area, and their three-man operation keeps it simple. With just a few beers on tap at a time, it’s a brewery and taproom, not a bar. Make no mistake, though, this very micro brewery, whose logo is a friendly-looking dog with one eye (guess which one), is well-worth the four-minute walk from the Suisun/Fairfield Station.
8. Three Mile Brewing Company, Davis
Like many Northern California towns, Davis, once called Davisville, has a rich beer history. Before Prohibition, saloons outnumbered restaurants and churches. Three Mile, located just a block from the Davis Station, is a testament to the resurgence of beer. Stop by to try a rotating, small-batch tap, and be sure to try one of its beloved staples, like the Red Ryder or the MegaMax Imperial Stout.
9. Ruhstaller, Sacramento
Opened by the Swiss Captain Frank Ruhstaller in 1881, Ruhstaller was Sacramento’s first craft brewery. Today, in addition to brewing beer, Ruhstaller operates a working hop yard—so you know your beer is made from freshly grown California hops. Best of all, it’s less than half a mile to the taproom from the Sacramento Station.
10. Auburn Alehouse, Auburn
Powerhouse Auburn Alehouse brews 1,300 barrels of beer annually, including eight year-round brews and more than a dozen seasonal taps and brewers’ specials. Fans of the beer can find it distributed all over California, but you can drink it while watching the brewing process at the Auburn facility. A little less than a mile from the Capitol Corridor’s Auburn Station, it has a patio overlooking the historic Auburn Courthouse, and a hearty menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Originally written by RootsRated for Capitol Corridor.
Featured image provided by Courtesy of Auburn Alehouse