I'd recommend a tour of Anchor Brewing in San Francisco. http://www.anchorbrewing.com
Russian River Brewing an hour north of San Francisco is unmissable.
Firestone Brewery in Paso Robles
Well you can certainly spend more than a day or two in the SF Bay Area. There are many well-documented places to get quality beer. For relativity, I'll recommend Freewheel Brewing Company in Redwood City, CA. 100% real ale, handled well. On another note, there's a place up in Mill Valley (north of SF) called Mill Valley Beer Works. They're the original brewpub for what is now Fort Point. Great food, and good beer that is unique to the Bay Area in that it is doing decent work repopularizing German styles. And a nice atmostphere.
I second Firestone Brewery in Paso Robles and runner ups would be The Breury but dont stay in Placentia and Beachwood in Long Beach
come to think of it you might want to stop in and try MacLeods in Van Nuys too
Half way between is Santa Barbara. A beautiful city that's pretty walkable and has two really good breweries in town - Telegraph and Figueroa Mountain and couple other breweries and lots of drinking and eating establishments. 45 minutes north is Firestone Walker's Buellton location that has the "Barrelworks". Very definitely worth checking out, but has limited hours Friday - Monday.http://www.firestonebeer.com/barrelworks/
The Pizza Port franchises and Port Brewing/Lost Abbey, between Los Angeles and San Diego, have some great Belgian-style and West Coast beers.
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