For those who appreciate the craft and science of beer brewing, exploring the craft beer culture of Butte County and touring one of the most iconic breweries in the nation is a dream weekend only a short drive away.
Butte County holds hallowed ground in the world of craft brewing. Here, Ken Grossman launched Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, pioneering a new era of American craft brewing. That culture of craft brewing is alive and well throughout Butte County as new brewing methods, craft beer bars and tasting rooms spring up throughout the county.
Start your trip off with coffee and a quick breakfast at Naked Lounge in downtown Chico (118 W 2nd St), a classic college coffee shop with local art and premium espresso drinks.
Once you’re fully caffeinated, head to Sierra Nevada Brewery for a tour of this pioneering national brewery. The Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is synonymous with the West Coast craft brewing scene. Book the tour ahead of time to make sure you have a spot on the behind-the-scenes walk-through of the brewery operations. The brewery offers a free tour, along with more in-depth paid tours that focus on brewing operations and sustainability. You can learn hands-on how Ken Grossman and his team not only pioneered new brewing methods, but also new sustainability measures.
Leave Sierra Nevada Brewing and head to Waganupa , a new nano-brewery that serves up small-batch specialty beers in an intimate tasting room.
For beer lovers’ significant others who are more interested in the grape than the grain, a whole host of wineries offer another option for tastings, including La Rocca Vineyard & Wine Time .
For dinner, head to Burgers and Brew , a restaurant specializing in an impressive range of rotating craft beer tap handles and juicy burgers. Their outdoor patio and fireplaces allow diners to watch the street life of downtown Chico pass by while dining and drinking.
Butte County Lodging
Stay in Chico at any number of local lodging properties, like Quality Inn near Chico State , which is within walking distance of downtown and Bidwell Park .
Kick the day into gear with some high-quality caffeine at Bidwell Perk a local favorite, and sample “The Bomb” – a bagel with scrambled egg, cream cheese, chive, pesto and artichoke heart. Consider it fuel for another day of craft beer exploration.
After a walk around town and a quick exploration of Bidwell Park, head to the Lost Dutchman Taproom for afternoon beer tasting. The location pours 19 handles of rotating craft beer, and serves up lunch and appetizers as well.
Enjoy outdoor dining and more craft beer sampling at Parkside Taphouse , with its unique half-indoor, half-outdoor bar and patio games like cornhole and super-sized Jenga. If beer fuels your competitive juices, test your skills against other patrons or within your own group.
If you’ve got the energy for one last stop, pop into Hooker Oak Distillery , a new rum-distilling operation in Chico, for a taste of Pineapple, Vanilla Bean and Apple Pie Rum.
Butte County Lodging
Return to your Chico hotel to end the weekend relaxing before returning home (check lodging here).