Craft Beers and Outdoor Activities in Southern California

01.12.12


Something's Brewing

So far winter is serving up some seriously warm weather, just as local breweries are serving up seasonal flavors. Making now the perfect time to pair the great outdoors with crafty beers. Something's brewing!


Ted Craig Regional Park

Brue Ha Ha

"We make wort, God makes beer." These are words to brew by for dedicated beer makers who rely on barley to transform from a hot bowl of oatmeal—called wort—into a refreshing ale. From humble beginnings as a homebrew operation, The Bruery does not conform to the demand of aggressive IPAs hop-slammed the American way. Combining the founder's family name "Rue" with "brewery," the resulting Orange County mainstay instead gained awards for unfiltered, unpasteurized and balanced beers produced in small batches. But first, work up some thirst and get your fill of fresh air on a stroll or bike ride through rolling Ted Craig Regional Park (pictured). It's got a 3.5-mile paved loop around a 3-acre lake. This Fullerton open space—hidden a stone's throw from bustling city life—offers a tranquil water respite and pristine preserves that attract snowy egrets, great blue herons and North American coots. Afterwards, The Bruery offers a different kind of watering hole, nestled in the depths of a neighboring industrial park. The small tasting room opens only on weekends, inviting enthusiasts to sample smack in the middle of the production floor among barrels and fermenting tanks. Food trucks complement the 14 rotating drafts. Enjoy the newly released Smoking Wood, known for a big, dark bourbon flavor, or sample last year's World Beer Cup winner, Flemish Red. Take home your favorite brew in a refillable growler. Brue-yeah!

To reach Ted Craig Regional Park: Take CA-90 W toward Brea and exit right onto Imperial Highway. Take the first left at State College Blvd. and pay close attention to the signs for Ted Craig Park. The entrance is .4-mile away on the left. The Bruery is at 715 Dunn Way, Placentia. The tasting room is open Friday through Saturday from 4:00 to 10:00 p.m. and Sunday from 12:00 to 6:00 p.m. No dogs.

Glendale Peak Griffith Park

Go for Gold

What's better than hiking to a prime vista of Los Angeles? Why, pairing it with a seasonal craft brew, of course. The hike: a quick, meandering 2.5-mile (round-trip) trail up the less frequented east hills of Griffith Park to panoramic Glendale Peak (pictured). But it's not just about the peak. This hike is a mix of marked and unmarked paths, blending the décor of downtown's skyscrapers with a famous natural high-rise, Mount Hollywood. Starting from the park's north tennis courts, connect onto unmarked Aberdeen trail before dipping into its namesake canyon, covered in Toyon holly berry (for which "Hollywood" is named). Take a left on Bridle Trail, keeping an eye out for Cooper's Hawks, identified by their bright red bellies. Merge with Henry's Trail, named in tribute to local Glendale writer and Sierra Club leader Henry Shamma. The trail sign is adorned with flowers and points the way to the peak. Standing at 1,625-feet, views sweep across San Fernando Valley and to the Pacific. Return the way you came and head for your reward at nearby—and new—Golden Road Brewing in Atwater (5410 W. San Fernando Road). Owned by Meg Gill, the youngest woman in the country to run a brewery, the tasting room is currently offering a hearty, seasonal, Festivus Cinnamon Bitter along with their Point The Way IPA and Golden Road Heffeweizen. This year Golden Road will release their 16-ounce canned brews, based on the philosophy that metal cans keep out light and increase consistency. Cheers to that!

Take U.S. 101, exit at Vermont Ave. and drive north for 2 miles. Continue on Vermont Ave. (following the Griffith Park signs) towards Vermont Canyon Rd.  Continue less than a mile and turn right onto Commonwealth Canyon Rd. (follow sign marking both golf and tennis courts). Drive .2-mile to the entrance of the tennis courts. Turn left, and find free parking in the lot. Begin on the trail leading north between the tennis courts. Walk .25-mile to a dead end at the unmarked Aberdeen Trail. Turn right up the wide dirt path. Just before the junction with paved Vista del Valle Dr., turn left up marked Bridle Trail at the green shed. Follow .25-mile to Henry's Trail, just before the wooden bridge. Stay along the single-track winding sharply upwards and ending at Glendale Peak. Return the way you came. The brewpub is open daily, 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Both the park and brewpub are dog-friendly!

Dockweiler Beach bicycle

Breakers to Brews

With winter's balmy weather still on course, now's the time to hit the beach. Without the summer crowds the longest continuous coastal bike route in Los Angeles makes for easy exploring. Bicycle the beachside municipal of El Segundo, starting at Dockweiler Beach and pedaling along the seasonally-empty, 3-mile stretch of sand. It's just enough to work up a thirst and a good reason to make your way to Main Street (just 3 miles away), where you'll find the only brewery in town: El Segundo Brewing Company. Originally a burgeoning operation at brew-meister Rob Croxall's home, signature Blue House Ales pay homage to the homebrew roots (and the original color of the siding). Hop-centric beers are the name of the game here: Croxall mixes technical skill with passion as a full-time brewer of bold beers with bite. Indulge in the dry-hopped White Dog WIPA, a heavy-hitter boasting citrus notes thanks to a 50 percent wheat mixture. A special brew for the colder months will feature the chocolate Double Stout infused with actual vanilla beans for subtle flavor. Ale-licious!

To reach the beach: Take Highway 1 to turn west on Grand Ave. Turn left on Vista Del Mar and find free parking along the road at the junction. Parking in the lot is $10. The beach closes at 10:00 p.m. and alcohol is not permitted. Blue House Ales (aka El Segundo Brewing Company), 140 Main St., El Segundo. Open Friday from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. and Saturday from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Go to the Snow!

Really want to make that winter ski vacation happen but don't know where to go for snow? Head north! Our friendly Canadian neighbor, British Columbia, is just a few hours by plane, and with 13 premiere resorts, finding the snow just got a whole lot easier. Whatever you're looking for in your ski dreams, you'll find it in British Columbia—consistently ranked one of the world's top ski destinations. Get to DiscoverBCSki.com to explore all of British Columbia's 13 ski resorts and choose the best one for you. With so many mountains, there's something for every level of skier. Tons of powder. Check. Jaw-dropping panoramas. Check. A variety of winter activities such as snowshoeing, dogsledding and cross-country skiing. You got it! From quaint mountain villages alive with pubs, restaurants, spas, and shops, to small towns with low-key charms, BC's got it all—including lots of snow! Choose from 13 incredible ski resorts and start packing…it's snow time!

TIP: Ski dreams are made of these: Visit DiscoverBCSki.com and learn more about British Columbia's 13 ski resorts.

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