There’s a Hofbrau in Them Thar Hills

Discussion in 'California' started by NileGuide, Jun 9, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. The best thing about San Francisco weather reports is they are never accurate. Last weekend promised a deluge of rain threatening to shatter a 127-year-old June record. I’m not sure what the results were, but after a drizzly Saturday, Sunday boasted a warm cloud cover perfect for a leisurely escape to Marin.
    After hiking around Mt. Tamalpais (where my friends and I stumbled upon an outdoor theater with mossy steps, spectacular views, and a bright pink set for HAIRSPRAY – the Broadway musical), we reckoned we had earned our rights to an afternoon drink. In the lush (and still very green) oasis that is Mill Valley, hidden amongst the trees high above Muir Woods, a small treasure exists – the Tourist Club. This place was rumored to have beer, and thirstily, we set off in search of our reward.
    [​IMG]Photo courtesy of Nature Friends Tourist Club
    A members-only club founded by German immigrants in 1912, the Tourist Club opens to the public every weekend (except the second weekend of the month) from 1-5 p.m. You can drive, hike, or bus there, but on such a marvelously beautiful day, hiking was the way to go. Arbitrarily pulling off onto the side of the road, we lollygagged along in search of the Redwood Trail or the Sun Trail (either would get us there). The air was sweet with eucalyptus, the trails lined with dazzling, cantaloupe-colored California poppies, and the breeze laden with humidity.
    [​IMG]Photo courtesy of planetware
    A few minutes later, we encountered a park ranger guiding two middle-aged lovers who snuck kisses while we asked him for directions. He inquired about our destination, to which I laughed and sheepishly answered “we’re trying to find the beer.” At first, he seemed confused, and then slightly flustered, as he unfolded his gargantuan map and informed us we were heading in the wrong direction. A one-eighty set us off towards the Redwood Trail.
    About a 20-minute easy descent later, the first peals of laughter echoed from the distance and eventually the clubhouse appeared. A large deck gives way to panoramic views of the forest below and the Pacific Ocean beyond. Picnic tables were shared by various intrepid travelers, some German, some not, but all lingered happily over hops and Hefeweizen. Various small bites are sold inside; you can buy $0.50 dill pickles, kettle chips, Toblerone chocolate, and savory sausage jerky. Bring a picnic if you anticipate needing something more substantial.
    Sipping a beer whilst perched above stunning scenery, it’s hard to believe you’re chilling out with the birds only a mere 20 minutes from the Golden Gate Bridge and its neighboring metropolis. The Tourist Club is a tranquil and easy escape in San Francisco’s backyard. Check their website before venturing out; they occasionally host events and parties that are members-only. Word to the wise, go easy – a few beers make the trek up seem a little more strenuous (but that may just be my buzz talking).
    And who just happened to show up there after us? Why, the park ranger accompanied by the lovers. I suppose they found our destination more tempting than wherever they were headed.
    [​IMG]Photo courtesy of A National Acrobat/Flickr


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