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Photograph: Courtesy Pelican Brewing/Sonheim Photography

13 West Coast breweries where the views are as good as the beer

Let these West Coast breweries inspire your next beer-fueled getaway. Delicious beer and stunning views? Where do we sign?

Written by
Sarah Medina
Contributor
Adam Lukach
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The craft beer revolution shows no sign of slowing down, and we’re okay with that. Beer has undergone a much-needed transformation in recent years, as a new generation of brewers put taste and innovation ahead of industry and output. Sure, it has led to some unusual flavors (pistachio milk toffee iced coffee pineapple triple fruited imperial gose, anyone?), but beer is serious business now. We’re all for it.

While many of those brewers do their magic in warehouses and revamped factories, several West Coast breweries have made the most of their incredible location to provide that most marvelous of combinations; gorgeous beer and equally gorgeous views. Does it get any better? No, it doesn’t. Up and down the coast, beer-lovers are in for a real treat. These are the best breweries on the West Coast.

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If you don't have any upcoming plans to get to the best coast, check out some of our favorite scenic Midwestern breweries and their craft brethren from the Northeast. If wine's more your style, they offer some incredible views in their own right. If you're westward bound, check out these scenic vintners that are worth a trip. Headed South? Try these southern wineries worthy of a weekend getaway. Wherever you go, there's plenty to enjoy.

Best West Coast breweries, ranked

Everyone is welcome at Solera—kids, dogs and adults alike gather around the communal tables on the back patio for a spectacular view of Mt. Hood on a clear day (heads up; minors do have to head out by 8 pm). The beer menu runs the gamut from IPAs and pilsners to scotch ales and dry ciders, but perhaps the most famous menu item is the brewery's HUGE burrito served with black beans, rice and pulled pork. 

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Located in Seattle's iconic Pike Place Market, Old Stove offers 24 taps of made-on-site craft beer and cider, wine, a full bar, and a menu that heavily features seasonal PNW ingredients. But you're mostly here for the view, right? The western wall of the entire space is composed of an 80-foot window, framing fantastic views of Elliot Bay, the Olympic Mountains and boats below. Come here at dusk to watch the sunset below the Pacific—now that's a sight we'd raise a glass to. 

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You'll find this Oregon coast pub on every list of "breweries with a view" in the country—and for good reason. The location, literally steps from the Pacific Ocean, just can't be beaten. And the brewery doesn't take its gorgeous spot for granted; Many of its brews are inspired by the ocean, including the West Coast Pilsner Five Fin (a portion of proceeds from every barrel goes to the Salmon SuperHwy Project). Sip a pint on the patio to literally feel the sand between your toes.

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Located in Colorado's majestic Vail Valley, Bonfire Brewing's large patio offers cozy bonfires (of course), comfy seating and great views of the nearby mountains. The brewery is also close to Eagle River, so go ahead and consider it the launching point for any outdoor adventure that awaits you in Colorado. Or head here after a kayaking or hiking trip to refuel with everything from milk stouts to fruit-forward IPAs.

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Beers on the bay? Don’t mind if we do. Head to Half Moon Bay Brewing, named for its location 30 miles south of San Francisco, for a cozy atmosphere on the waterfront. An expansive patio opens up like a pier alongside the Cape-Cod-style taproom, allowing for plenty of seating and distance while enjoying panoramic views of the Pacific. Everyone will be able to find something attractive on draft, too, as Half Moon’s brews run a gamut of classic styles, from Kolsch to Saison to West Coast IPA.

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The truth is, no matter which Ballast Point location you end up in—San Diego, Long Beach or even Downtown Disney—you're going to find good beer. But, if you want the swaying palms and seaside view that makes California what it is, head to the Long Beach location. Sip the classic Sculpin IPA—or any one of the company’s award-winning brews—from the patio for picturesque views of Catalina Island, Seal Beach and Alamitos Bay.

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On the northernmost coast of Oregon, where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean, Buoy Beer Company crafts its brews. The taproom is housed in a 90-plus-year-old cannery and the views can't be beaten. Help yourself to a Dunkel Lager and admire the craftsmanship that went into the repair of the historic building. Looking out over the ocean truly feels like you're standing at the edge of the world. Although Buoy’s kitchen is closed for a facelift, guests are welcome to bring in outside food.

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The picture windows along the western wall of this longtime Ocean Beach fixture offer expansive views of the Pacific. From the recently remodeled second-floor dining and taproom, you can see for miles and milesthat is, when Karl the Fog is off duty. The Beach Chalet's ales and lagers are handcrafted on-site and include both traditional European and American styles like hefeweizens and red ales, as well as occasionally delving into more obscure styles like the Kentucky common. Grab a bite o go along with your drink: Beach Chalet serves a seafood-forward menu for brunch, lunch and dinner daily.

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This award-winning Oregon brewery offers a healthy selection of traditional European brews like pilsner, Kolsch and Belgian blonde, as well as contemporary favorites like West Coast and hazy IPAs. Located east of Portland in Hood River, the taproom lies along the Washington state border and across the street from the town’s Waterfront Park. Take your drink to the patio (complete with a fire pit) to see the Columbia River in all its majestic glory. If you get hungry, there’s a menu of tasty elevated bar fare to pad your belly.

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Birdsview is a small craft brewery that makes all its beer on-site from ingredients that are 100 percent grown in Washington. In fact, the seasonal fresh hop pale ale is as “local” as it gets: Brewed with hops grown and handpicked from the brewery property! Birdsview usually offers just ten beers on tap, but the yurt-style taproom and grassy picnic area with views of beautiful Skagit County are well worth the drive. 

Located in a former boatyard in a private marina in America’s Cup Harbor, Eppig Brewing boasts a wraparound 2,000-square-foot patio that puts you almost on the water. Best of all, you'll be treated to panoramic views of the harbor and downtown San Diego from almost every seat in the house. Choose from up to 20 beers on draft, but if the tootie frootie sour ale (with blueberry and black currant) is on the menu, be sure to try it.

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Situated between mountains and the Columbia River, Thunder Island Brewing has scenery for days, particularly during the evening golden hours. The brewery also offers a vegetarian- and vegan-friendly food menu, as well as a healthy selection of beer options, which skews toward pale ale options including traditional West Coast and juicy/hazy styles.

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