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.
Enjoy Breakfast at Naked Lounge
Start your trip off with coffee and a quick breakfast at Naked Lounge in Downtown Chico, a classic college coffee shop with local art and premium espresso drinks. Enjoy funky vibes among a diverse crowd.
Tour the iconic Sierra Nevada Brewery
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 how Ken Grossman and his team not only pioneered new brewing methods, but also new sustainability measures.
If you’re looking for a tasting experience more off the beaten path, try one of Chico’s many smaller craft beer brewers. Secret Trail Brewing Co. is a community-focused, locally sourced brewery that makes beer in both classic styles and original innovations. You can enjoy a pint or two at their taproom, the first one in Chico and part of the new beverage district in South Chico. Nor Cal Brewing Co. is another brewery in the growing Craft District. It offers a rotating selection of beer by the pint, glass, or growler. Both are true taprooms--drinks only--so bring your own food or enjoy something tasty from local food trucks on scene!
Sip Some Wine at LaRocca Vineyard
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 LaRocca Vineyard, which has a tasting room just a short walk away from the Naked Lounge. There, you can enjoy a variety of all-organic, sulfate-free wines, including Merlot, Chardonnay, Rosé, and sparkling.
Grab Dinner at Burgers and Brews
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.
Start Your Day at Bidwell Perk
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, chives, pesto and artichoke heart. Consider it fuel for another day of craft beer exploration.
Explore Downtown Chico
Chico is really the craft beer epicenter in Butte County, so you should make sure to explore Downtown while you’re getting your fill of hops, ales, and lagers. From shops like Chico-centric Made in Chico and local favorite Bird in Hand to walking through the Chico State Campus or the expansive Bidwell Park, you could spend a whole day discovering the fun to be found Downtown.
Taste Even More Beer
We know what you’re really here for, though. So after a walk around town and a quick exploration of Bidwell Park, head to a taproom to sample the best local craft beers. The Lost Dutchman Taproom in North Chico pours 19 handles of rotating craft beer, and serves up lunch and appetizers as well. A couple miles south, you can also enjoy over 40 beers on draft at The Chico Taproom as well as games and trivia nights. Back in the Craft District in South Chico, The Commons Social Empourium offers a self-serve experience where you can pour your own drink by the ounce so you can taste as much or as little of the over 20 beers on tap.
Drink and Play at Parkside Tap House
If you’re still looking for more beer experiences, 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, it’s a fun place to end the day. If beer fuels your competitive juices, test your skills against other patrons or within your own group.
Time for Sleep
Return to your Chico hotel to end the weekend relaxing before returning home