Land of tall trees and craft beer
HUMBOLDT COUNTY IS FAMOUS the world over for its cloud-scraping forests, but there’s plenty else to do while you give your neck a rest from all that craning.
You might, for example, investigate the region’s fascination with a certain green bud. No, not that one. Humboldt might be as renowned for cannabis cultivation as Napa is for Cabernet, but that crop is mostly for export. The bud that obsesses Humboldters these days is the hop.
Brewpubs & Cider Presses
With five destination-worthy brewpubs and microbreweries within 10 miles of Eureka, Humboldt has become a mecca for lovers of craft beer. Some venues sit atop bluffs with riverine views, others operate out of hipster industrial parks.
From Humboldt Brewing Co.’s Great White Beer to the Redwood Curtain Brewing Co.’s hop-crazy Space Oddity Double India Pale Ale, there’s a pint for every palate. If cider’s more your taste, the Humboldt Cider Co. offers refreshing organic brews made exclusively from Humboldt County apples.
Chocolate & Oysters
In a little plant in downtown Eureka, two former woodworkers, Adam Dick and Dustin Taylor, produce some of the nation’s most well-regarded chocolate at Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate. Roasting, refining and conching raw cacao into a silky finished product, it’s “good every time,” according to Sandra Boynton, author of Chocolate: The Consuming Passion.
Humboldt Bay’s clean water, muscular tides and temperate climate make it a paradise for oysters. Roughly 70 percent of all California oysters come from its chilly water, and you can taste them fresh out of the bay while hopping among a handful of oyster bars in Eureka’s waterfront Old Town. And if that’s still not fresh enough for you, you can go out onto the water and harvest your own on a tour organized by the Humboldt Bay Tourism Center in Eureka.
Oh, and if it’s that other little green bud that interests you, note that Californians recently voted to legalize it for recreational use.
LOST COAST LIGTHOUSE, top; Fern Canyon hike, below; Chieftan in the bay and Carson Mansion in the background, bottom.