This past weekend I decided I wanted to celebrate the beginning of San Francisco Beer Week by heading to The Rare Barrel to get some sour beer in Berkeley. And since nothing goes hand-in-hand more than beer and hiking, I rounded up a few of my friends and headed out to Tilden Regional Park for a hike before the brewery opened.
The drive up was fairly steep but there were lots of places to pull over and enjoy the view.
Fortunately for us, there were other people up there so we got a group photo. Maybe someday I will get a tripod.
The great thing about this park was that there was plenty of parking; the bad thing was that we accidentally parked in the wrong parking lot. It wasn’t too big of a deal, but we did have to hike on the road to get to the trail, and we also ended up doing a bit of a different loop than we meant to follow.
We originally meant to start our hike at the blue X on the map below, but ended up parking by the botanical gardens on accident, so we started at the red X on the map below.
We changed our hike so that we entered the Quarry Trail here and focused more on the Seaview Trail side of the park. You can see more of the trail map we followed in the stats section.
We saw a few people running the trail, which I thought was crazy becuase many parts of it were very rocky and some were muddy.
This was one of those hikes that I never really got my heart rate up because I stopped every 5 minutes to take pictures. The perfect weather made it too tempting not to capture every point of view.
Once we reached the intersection of the Quarry Trail with the Seaview Trail, there were a lot less trees and a lot more views.
After a small uphill hike we reached the top of the ridge that offered views of Contra Costa County and the Briones reservoir.
There had been a huge storm the day before so everything was extra lush and green.
No hike is complete without an overlook bench, so I made sure to snap a photo of the one on Seaview Trail.
The trail next curved in a loop and started heading downhill towards the steam trains. The path seemed to end so we backtracked up to the top of the ridge and then when we met the Big Springs Trail again, we instead veered left to continue on the Seaview trail.
This trail went up a small ways and we passed by some lovely ferns.
Quickly after seeing the ferns, we noticed a dirt trail off to the right, which led to the Lupine Trail.
We followed Lupine trail down to an overlook which delivered spectacular views of the bay.
We found a sturdy-looking (and thorny) bush to act as our photographer and took a ridiculous amount of photos.
Once we hiked down the ridge, the rest of the trail was covered in trees.
After passing through a picnic area, we found our way back to S. Park Road, the road we were on earlier, and reached the car.
A woman we met on the trail recommended checking out the “Bot-Garden,” which is now what I will always call this place.
We were all very hungry so we didn’t take the time to stop and smell the roses (or cacti)…
but our quick walk-through was very fun!
The hike came out to about 3 miles, roundtrip. If you want to follow the hike we originally planned for, click here. If you want to follow our trail, see the photo below. You can download your own map ahead of time here.
All of the trails are extremely well-marked with signs and there are also free maps at all of the trail heads.
As I mentioned before, entrance and parking is free at Tilden Regional Park, and there is a lot to see and do besides the hiking and visiting botanical gardens. They also have a merry-go-round, steam trains, and even golf greens! Visit their website here.
Food & Beer
While our hike was not super intensive, we were still really hungry afterwards. We all agreed on getting Thai food and wound up at this cute little restaurant called Anchalee Thai Cuisine in Berkeley.
This place is rated 4 stars on Yelp, and for good reason. You can check out reviews and more pictures of the food on Yelp, and find out more about their location, menu, and hours on their website, www.anchaleethai.com.
Vanessa got a Thai Iced Tea and was kind enough to let me have a taste. It was the most delicious one I have tasted so far in my life.
I’m horrible at remembering to take pictures of my food before I dig in, so I don’t have much to show for what we ate, but I did get a good photo of our Pineapple Fried Rice.
We also ordered the Curry Puffs as an appetizer, the Yellow Curry with chicken, Pad Thai, and Pad Se Ew. The Pad Thai was definitely the lowest-tier of everything we had and the Yellow Curry was the best, in my opinion.
After we had our fill of Thai food, we walked about a quarter of a mile over to The Rare Barrel. If you have never been to this place and you like beer, then you’d better start making some plans.
The Rare Barrel specializes in sour beer. All beer used to have a sour kick to it back in the day because they didn’t have the technology to stop the wild yeast and bacteria from entering the environment. While most beers current stop this from happening anymore, sour beer brewers intentionally allow wild yeasts and bacteria so the beer has that tangy taste to it. You can read more about the sour beer here and more about The Rare Barrel on their website, www.therarebarrel.com.
I ordered the Light Treason, which is a sour saison that is aged in oak barrels with grapefruit (which happens to be my favorite fruit and my favorite beer type!). Katie got Map of the Sun, which is a golden sour aged in oak barrels with apricots.
Melanie got the same beer as me and Vanessa took advantage of San Francisco Beer Week and tried The Rare Barrel’s collaboration beer with Cellarmaker, Tangerang (dry-hopped golden sour). I highly recommend trying to get your hands on this beer before they run out.
The hike in Tilden Regional Park, the Thai food, and the sour beer all made for a perfect weekend day, but honestly even just one of those is worth a trip out to Berkeley. There’s so much to explore in Berkeley that I definitely plan on making plenty of trips back. What’s your favorite thing to do there?