Archive: March 2016 - Low Brau

Hike | Redwood Regional Park

Hike | Redwood Regional Park

Whenever we visit California, we try and get a hike or at least some good walking in. During our last trip, we headed up to the San Francisco area, so before we even landed, we knew we wanted to hit some Redwoods. We met up with Linda’s friend Alexis from the area, and she knew a perfect little spot to head to. She does a lot of hiking in the area with her dog Bastian, an Australian Shepherd. So somewhat early morning, we headed out of the city and went over to East Bay. After a nice curvy ascent in the car, we pulled into the Chabot Space and Science Center, which is connected to Redwood Regional Park (you can see a map and info below). There is apparently some great science and astrological stuff to do here, as well as a nearby Archery range. Both were closed at the time. I think the Archery was due to some of the sprinkler the current micro-climate was dishing out. We had heard on the news that there was some rain sprinkles expected, but in San Fran, it seems that every mile has it’s own weather forecast. We figured a little rain, no biggie, onward.

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Redwood Regional Park – Alexis & Bastian

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Redwood Regional Park – Madrone or Redwood Peak Trails

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Redwood Regional Park – Trail Intersection

After parking we walked through the Redwood Bowl and started on what I believe may have been the Redwood Peak Trail. I know we started heading downhill for sure and eventually made it to the Stream Trail. It continued to sprinkle, but when we were down the mountain and in the deep canopy, we hardly noticed the rain. We continued along the Stream Trail, which has some cool spots with great trees and moss covered ground, the type of forest that we don’t see much of, and when we do, it’s mainly on TV. We were coming to the end of the Stream Trail, and the rain started picking up. We had to make this one clearing, and try and pick up the West Ridge Trail to head back up the mountain. At this point, the rain was coming. After a quarter to half mile, we came to the junction for West Ridge Trail. Just our luck, it was closed at this point. We started heading back down the Stream Trail to find another connection, and eventually went back up the mountain on Chown Trail. It was a steep climb up, but was the shortest path. The rain was really coming down now, to the point where we had mini water falls cascading over our feet as we continued trudging upward. We were all completely soaked. I had forgotten my coat, which would have been nicely suited for this to some degree, so my newly purchased Russian River Brewing jacket was clinging to me. Alexis, who was somewhat prepared, was also soaked to the bone, so not sure it would have really helped at this point. The Chown Trail brought us out onto the West Ridge Trail finally, everyone pretty exhausted in addition to the wetness (though Bastian seemed ready to keep going, minus the occasional annoying shake off). The West Ridge Trail is basically a fire road, so we still had a climb, but not the switchbacks we had just a little earlier. We made it back to the car, and the girls changed into something dry. None of us expected to run into a monsoon during this hike. So we headed to Drake’s Brewing Company afterwards, and you can read about that and Russian River Brewing here.

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Redwood Regional Park – Damp Redwood branch

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Redwood Regional Park – Crossing the stream along Stream Trail

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Redwood Regional Park – Stream Trail

This is a great park. The parking we chose was covered, and it was a great area to access a lot of the trails, though on the upper ridge portion of these trails. The park was a dog friendly park, and Bastian was allowed to be off leash for most of the time. Apparently this is more common place in these parks. We ran into a couple of dog hikers, literally vans full of dogs, heading out. It’s a well maintained park, and with the many trail heads, presents a lot of variety lengthwise and scenery. We enjoyed the Redwoods and some of the little stops along the way, such as the Fern Dell and Old Church. There are several areas that you can picnic and even restroom stops along the easier gentler routes. We went during the weekday, so wasn’t too busy, but was told that the weekend would be packed. If you are ever in this area, and want to get away to nature for a bit, this park is worthwhile.

Redwood Regional Park Map

Redwood Regional Park – Map

Redwood Regional Park
7867 Redwood Road
Oakland, CA 94619
http://www.ebparks.org/parks/redwood

Breweries | Russian River & Drake’s

Breweries | Russian River & Drake’s

We were recently in California for my cousin’s wedding, so we took the opportunity to piggy back a few activities onto this trip. Our little guy was going to be able to stay with his grandparents, allowing some free time for us to head up to San Francisco to spend time with one of Linda’s friends, Alexis. Alexis had a huge list of breweries and hikes planned, however when we arrived we were able to surprise her with the news that we were expecting another little guy. This was made even more ironic, as the last time Linda visited, she was pregnant with Eli. So we whittled the list down. We loaded in the car and headed north to Santa Rosa, it was our opportunity to hit Russian River Brewing. There is a lot of hype surrounding their IPA Pliny the Elder, and they are considered to be one of the early stalwarts of the craft beer industry.

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Russian River – Sign

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Russian River – Packed bar area

We arrived with a little bit of a line, but it didn’t take us long before we were inside. Wanting to grab something to eat, but figured we would grab a Pliny as we waited for our names to be called. Wasn’t long, and we had a table.  The pub serves the standard fare for brewpubs, salads, pizza, sandwiches, and wings. We started off with a spinach salad and beer bites. Beer Bites are definitely a great idea and I could easily find myself eating these all the time if I was a regular. Go great with a flight or a few pints. Along with ordering our flight, we added a pizza. I’m thinking it was the Omni, but honestly, I can’t recall which one we had. I think the Beer Bites overshadowed the pizza somewhat in my memory.

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Russian River – Flight

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Russian River – Beer Lists

When the flight arrived, I must say, it was one of the largest I have ever had delivered. I’ve been at plenty of breweries that will have a cap of samples in the flight, with the option of returning for a second flight. This is not an issue at Russian River, as 21 tasters were dropped off in front of us. One side was as they call it “traditional aggressively hopped California Style Ales” while the other side were the Belgian inspired and barrel aged. I think the latter side became the more appealing to me, though I’m sure some would disagree. We of course hit the shop on the way out, grabbed a couple of Plinys to bring to the east coast, and some cool swag (opportune due to my forgetting my jackets further south in warmer climates).

Beers Sampled: Pliny the Elder, Aud Blonde, OVL Stout, STS Pils, Dribble Belt, Hop 2 It, Segal Select, Row 2 Hill 56, Blind Pig IPA, Porter, Redemption, Perdition, Damnation, Defenestration, Rejection, Salvation, Sanctification, Compunction, Supplication, Consecration

The next morning, after a filling breakfast, we met up with Alexis again to go hiking. We headed to Redwood Regional Park in Oakland, and you can read about the hike here. All that hiking made us thirsty. So our next stop would be Drake’s Brewing Company. I feel like I’ve heard of Drake’s and their logo looked familiar, but not sure. As it was continuing to rain, we decided sitting in the outdoor area was not an option, eventhough we were already soaked.

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Drake’s Brewing – Brewing

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Drake’s Brewing – Brewhouse

Once in the barrel house, I ordered a flight as we reviewed the menu. They have a food truck outside that was very capable. The fries and club sandwich really hit the spot. We ran into the flight limit here, with only eight allowed at a time. I had grand plans of trying all of their offerings, however ended up calling it quits sooner. I thoroughly enjoyed the balance of the Hop-U-Rye, the roastiness of the Black Robusto, and the punch of the Wheatwine.

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Drake’s Brewing – Outdoor seating & Brew Kitchen

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Drake’s Brewing – Tasting Bar

It was nice to be able to relax and chill out in the barrel house. We must have been there around the time the staff get off work, as a lot of them headed inside for a beer before heading home. Near the food menu resides a couple jars of pickled eggs. Not sure why, but they are there. Wasn’t crazy about jumping into the Habanero, instead opted for the Jalepeno. May have needed more pickling time, as it tasted like a normal egg with Jalepeno taste to it. Oh well, the reason for stopping in didn’t disappoint, so no worries.

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Drake’s Brewing – Beer List

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Drake’s Brewing – Barrels

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Drake’s Brewing – Flight

Beers Sampled: Winning Lager, 4×40, Quasar Imperial IPA, Hop-U-Rye, Black Robusto Porter, 1500 Pale Ale, Foraging Raccoon, Denogginizer, Drake’s Grisette, Hefeweizen, Ludwig’s Scorn Wheatwine, Black & Orange Robusto, Hopocalypse (Green Label)

We did stop by another brewery earlier in the week while in San Diego, we didn’t actually sit down and order a beer, but I figured I would still share a couple of the pics. We had been to Stone Brewing’s Bistro & Beer Garden in Escondido, but I believe their Liberty Station location may be bigger. Felt like there were rooms heading in every direction. Lots of big granite and metal of course.

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Stone Brewing Liberty Station – Dining Area

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Stone Brewing Liberty Station – Main Bar

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Stone Brewing Liberty Station – Water feature table

Russian River Brewing Company
725 4th Street
Santa Rosa, CA 95404
707.545.2337
http://www.russianriverbrewing.com/

Drake’s Brewing Company
1933 Davis Street #177
San Leandro, CA 94577
510.568.2739
http://www.drinkdrakes.com/

Stone Brewing – Liberty Station
2816 Historic Decatur Road
San Diego, CA 92106
619.269.2200
http://www.stonelibertystation.com/