The perfect pour
The perfect pour (Image: CC0 Public Domain)

This article is part of a series of posts I am writing for Hipmunk, called Destination Unknown — an exploration of lesser-known cities and towns around the world. Check out my other articles in this series.

California Weekend Beer Trips

One of our favorite things to do on long-weekend trips is brewery hopping. We all know about the major beer cities in California, like San Diego and San Francisco, but there are great breweries to try in smaller cities around the state that should not be overlooked. These cities make for great weekend beer trips. This month, Hipmunk Hotels helps us explore lesser-known beer cities in California, on a search for great California weekend beer trips.


Although it’s not far removed from San Francisco, Oakland has a number of top breweries of its own: Pacific Coast Brewing Co., Linden Street Brewery, and Independent Brewing Co., to name a few. The best part is that these breweries are all located within a 10-minute walk of one another. Stay at the Courtyard by Marriott Oakland for a convenient and comfortable place to stay nearby so you don’t have to worry about driving to breweries. It can’t get any easier. Believe me, you’ll want to stay close by when you see Pacific Coast’s list of 24 beers on tap.

San Mateo

Also located very close to San Francisco is San Mateo, which is often overlooked by beer lovers. Steelhead Brewery Co., Alpha Acid Brewing Co., Mayfield Brewing Co., and Devil’s Canyon Brewing Company are all located in San Mateo (or Burlingame, immediately to the north). Steelhead’s tasting room even has pool tables and a great food menu to further entice you. Although these breweries are not within walking distance, you’ll have your pick of great hotels in the area at a better rate than downtown San Francisco. Check out Hipmunk Hotels for deals in San Mateo.


In case you’re wondering why you’ve never heard of Hawthorne, it’s because the small community is tucked into Los Angeles County, just outside of the airport. Not only is Hawthorne a convenient place for sampling microbreweries, it is also significantly cheaper than staying in Los Angeles. Ayres Hotel is a great affordable-luxury option for a lot less than you would spend in the city. If you’re an IPA fan, you’re in luck. Three Weavers Brewing Co., to the north, has a few really well-balanced IPAs, Stateside and Expatriate. A few minutes to the west is El Segundo Brewing Co., where you should try the Mayberry IPA and Hammerland Double IPA.


Just to the south of Hawthorne is the city of Torrance. It’s still very convenient to the city, but you can find hotels at a lower price in Torrance. It’s only a 2-mile round-trip walk to visit all four breweries, featuring a range of styles. Stop first at Smog City for the gold-medal-winning coffee porter, then head to Monkfish Brewing for a Belgian-style beer. At The Dudes’ Brewing Co. you’ll find unique flavors – and labels – like CalifornIPA. Finally, end up at Strand Brewing, where you’re also likely to find a food truck.


If you’re thinking you won’t find good beer this far north, you’re wrong. Redding makes the list because there are a good number of breweries there, including Woody’s Brewing Co., Wildcard Brewing Co., California Brewing Company, and Fall River Brewing Taphouse. Redding is located right off of the I-5 Interstate, so it’s also a convenient place to stopover for some beer while on a long-distance road trip.

What are your favorite lesser-known beer cities in California?


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