Land of tall trees and craft beer

Travel Guide to California - - HUMBOLDT COUNTY - BY PETER WATTS

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.

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