Like beer fanatics who head off on beercations, long-time California craft brewery Anderson Valley operates with travel in mind.
The brewery, founded about 115 miles north of San Francisco in Boonville in 1987, promotes travel destinations on its website — part of a marketing campaign for its assortment of gose beers. Gose, a lightly sour wheat beer, and the brewery’s other beers are sold in 38 states and exported to 14 countries.
“For me, beer is more than a beverage,” explains CEO Kevin McGee, whose family purchased the Anderson Valley Brewing Company in December. “It’s part of a lifestyle and something that one should explore and have fun with, especially during these times when we are constantly hit with bad news.”
Anderson Valley’s “Goes with Gose” destination tips highlight some of “our team’s favorite outdoor spots to explore close to home,” McGee says. “There’s no better way to cap off an adventure than with the perfect beer. It’s part of the memory.”
Here are Anderson Valley’s travel suggestions: building a bonfire on the beach in Lincoln City, Oregon; swimming at Michigan’s Saugatuck Dunes State Park; mountain biking at Malibu Creek State Park outside Los Angeles; hiking and biking in the mountains near Brevard, North Carolina, and walking and camping among the redwoods in Northern California’s Hendy Woods State Park.
“Being responsible” during the current pandemic was a key factor in the brewery’s choices, says McGee, whose family also owns a much smaller California brewery, the Healdsburg Beer Company.
“With that in mind, we highlighted our favorite hiking trails, beaches and camping spots where staying outside and socially distanced from others is easily doable, and people have the ability to dial up as much adventure as they like. The other requirement was that all the sites were BYOB friendly.”
Anderson Valley says its Briney Melon Gose is the perfect accompaniment for a bonfire on the beach in Lincoln City, which is less than a two-hour drive from Portland.
“From oceanfront campsites and hotels to charming bed and breakfasts where you can hear the waves crash outside your window, Lincoln City captures the quintessential charm of a laid-back beach town and an outdoor summer paradise,” the brewery’s website says.
“With seven miles of sandy beaches that are pet and beer friendly, you can BYOB and BYODOG. Light an evening beach bonfire and sip a Briney Melon Gose while you unwind with the scents of western hemlock, sea spray and evening fog. With seemingly endless hiking options just outside of town, trails like Cascade Head will leave you marveling at the breathtaking views of the coastline and Salmon River Estuary.”
Anderson Valley says its Cherry Gose is the beer for Saugatuck Dunes State Park, a two-hour drive up the Lake Michigan coast from Chicago.
“Saugatuck Dunes State Park makes for a perfect day trip from the Windy City,” Anderson Valley’s website says. “With 200-foot dunes giving way to old-growth forest, it’s the perfect spot to get away for a day. The state park allows alcohol (no red plastic cups needed), so pack a cooler, plop down and enjoy a Michigan cherry-infused Cherry Gose.”
The brewery recommends its Framboise Rose Gose in North Carolina, because the beer “pairs nicely” with the mountain scenery near Brevard.
“The lush mountains of the Brevard, North Carolina, area are well loved for their hundreds of waterfalls and countless miles of trails,” Anderson Valley’s website says. “It’s the perfect destination for a weekend or a lifetime of hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, fishing and whitewater adventure.”
First-time visitors should consider a day at Dupont State Recreational Forest “which holds several spectacular waterfalls that have been featured in movies such as The Last of the Mohicans and The Hunger Games,“ the website says. “And, of course, there’s also Pisgah National Forest which spans over a half million acres of hardwood forest filled with wildlife, whitewater rivers, waterfalls and hundreds of miles of trails.”
Anderson Valley’s final travel recommendation, California’s Hendy Woods State Park, is about 12 miles north of the brewery in Philo.
“What better place to escape than a park named after Petrov “Petro” Zailenko, also known as the Hendy Hermit, a Russian immigrant who called this park home for over 18 years during the 1960s and 1970s,” Anderson Valley’s website says. “If peace and solitude beckon, you’ll find no better sanctuary than Hendy Woods’ towering groves of 1,000-plus-year-old redwoods.”
The park has miles of hiking trails, meadows, groves of fern and streams, the website says. “Four cabins and 92 campsites make it the perfect place to isolate yourself for the weekend or two decades. We like to call it a BYOG —bring your own gose — state park.”
Why such a focus on gose, a style of beer relatively unknown to American beer drinkers?
“We first started brewing gose in 2013, and our head brewer Fal Allen literally wrote the book on brewing gose,” McGee says. “It’s one of those beer styles that brewers love to explore and experiment. The brewing techniques that go into making a good gose take serious skill, and the challenge it presents was surely part of the original attraction.”
The drinkability and balance of a gose aren’t much of a departure from Anderson Valley’s more mainstream beers, McGee says.
“We are about producing timeless beers and aren’t concerned whether they’re part of a current beverage fad,” he says. “That gives us the flexibility and permission to stretch out a bit. Gose fit this idea perfectly. They are one among our top sellers, especially for those looking for a low-cal, low-carb drink.”
Anderson Valley’s best-selling beer is not a gose but rather Boont Amber, its flagship beer since 1987.
The brewery was a craft-beer pioneer back then, but, with the debut of thousands of new breweries with so many adventurous new brews in recent years, might Anderson Valley have gotten somewhat lost in the shuffle in the eyes of consumers countrywide?
“Yes,” McGee responds. “In the last several years, the brewery has been overshadowed in the face of all the new entrants and a craft beer market that seemed to be focusing on shiny new objects driven by the expectations of a constant cycle of new releases.”
Anderson Valley missed a lot of opportunities to connect more closely with the community and consumers, because it chose to rely on its beers to do the talking, McGee says. The brewery lost a lot of momentum in the consumers’ consciousness, but, as a new owner, McGee says he has many stories to tell.
“A big part of the reason my family is involved with the Anderson Valley Brewing Company is the depth of authenticity and substance this brewery and its people have,” he says. “A primary focus now is connecting with our community and consumers and telling the story of the brewery and who and what we are. We’re still in very early stages but making progress. The response we’ve been getting is heartwarming, and we’re planning on being much more visible and much more connected going forward.”