Today I visited a part of California I had only been once before, on a field trip with my students to see the local college a couple years ago. Located about two hours northeast of Sacramento, Chico is geographically isolated from other large metropolitan areas and is also off the beaten path from the main freeways. Known for its party school atmosphere, my bookish self was never that enticed to visit.
However, today I returned to Chico to tour the Sierra Nevada Brewery for a birthday celebration and was reminded that California is full of so many cool, but often overlooked places to visit, Chico included. All too frequently, I’m drawn to the regular standbys, San Francisco, Mendocino, Lake Tahoe, forgetting there are still new places to discover within a radius of a couple hours from where I live.
Chico turned out to be a lot like Davis, where I went to school, a small, charming college town worth a look. To make it even better, it is also home to the Sierra Nevada Brewery. Free tours take you through the facilities, provide an entertaining history of the company’s success, and offer a beer tasting at the end.
The family-run business values sustainability, is largely run by clean energy sources, and treats its employees very well. However, what I liked best about the tour, is that the brewery’s success grew out of passion. The founder fell in love with the Sierra Nevadas as a young adult, knew he loved to home brew beer, and combined these passions to start the second largest craft brewery in the United States from scratch.
So, there you have it. Another place in California to visit, even if it’s off the beaten path. And, if you never make it to Chico, at least keep your eye out for Sierra Nevada beer in your part of the world. If it’s not there already, my bet is that it will be soon enough.
Happy Sunday and happy birthday Guerren!