California brewers pioneered the hoppy IPA craze, and it shows no sign of abating. But in a hopped-up world where it sometimes seems like brewers are vying to see who can cram the most hops into a tank, North Coast Brewing Co. offers a refreshing alternative.
An early player in the craft beer movement, North Coast opened its Fort Bragg brewpub in 1988. A carpenter by trade, founder Mark Ruedrich set his sights on brewing after a visit to England, where he discovered there was more to life than watery, mass-produced American beers.
Red Seal Ale, a hoppy-for-its-time amber ale, was the first North Coast brew to get beer lovers’ attention. Scrimshaw pilsner and Old 38 stout followed, along with the Old Rasputin Russian imperial stout, now considered an iconic example of the style.
Today, North Coast makes 17 year-round and seasonal brews, plus an array of barrel-aged beers and reserves. Many of those brews are available on draft—in samplers and pints—at the brewery’s Mendocino Coast taproom, along with stone hearth pizzas and other tasty pub fare.