“Guests should bring an appetite for adventure and a strong constitution for fun,” quipped Steve Markle, O.A.R.S. (http://www.oars.com/) spokesperson. On board for the tour will be San Francisco-based 21st Amendment Brewery (www.21st-amendment.com) honoring the repeal of prohibition and Cypress Grove Chevre (www.cypressgrovechevre.com), purveyor of artisanal goat and sheep cheeses. Craft brews and fine cheeses will be complemented by gourmet meals prepared by Chef Cristián Vargas each evening.
Over hors d’oeuvres, guests will experience how cheese can be the perfect partner of a hand-crafted brew. The cheese is courtesy of Cypress Grove Chevre, one of America’s best known artisan goat cheese companies and makers of the iconic “Humboldt Fog.”
Shaun O’Sullivan, co-founder, brewmaster and the heart and soul of the 21st Amendment Brewery, will present a variety of award-winning house-made canned brews such as Brew Free! or Die IPA, Hell or High Watermelon Wheat, Back in Black – Black IPA, and Monk’s Blood, picked as one of Outside Magazine’s top 10 beers of 2012. A former photographer and paralegal, O’Sullivan says he “traded his suits for boots and was saved by beer.”
O.A.R.S.’ reputation for creating culinary fireworks in the wilderness will go unchallenged as featured chef Cristián Vargas elicits exclamations of pleasure by pairing Asian and classic cuisine with award-winning micro-brews. A graduate of the University INACAP in Santiago, Chile, he holds a degree in Administration of Gastronomic Production and International Cooking. Always with Latin American flair in his cooking and his presentations, Vargas may demonstrate how to make Chilean empanadas or even how to dance the salsa.
The Tuolumne (pronounced Too-all-uh-me) River near Yosemite National Park, a standard-setting river among all the California rafting experiences, offers thrilling early season Class IV whitewater flanked by sandy beaches and canyons, and fed by tumbling creeks and waterfalls. Hand-selected micro brews and hors d’oeuvres compliment a savory brewer’s feast to follow each day’s exploits.
The Tuolumne River rafting trip begins in Groveland, CA near the headwaters of the Tuolumne River high in the wilds of Yosemite National Park, spilling 18 miles into a desolate, awesome river canyon roaring with whitewater—big in spring, moderate in late summer. Notorious rapids are Rock Garden, Nemesis and Rams Head, followed by the biggest whitewater in the canyon, Clavey Falls. The ultimate thrill, Clavey is actually a series of three staircase drops that are sure to deliver heart-pounding and unabashed excitement.
This three-day option offers time to explore the hidden wonders of this canyon. Great hikes along the Tuolumne’s side streams reveal waterfalls, swimming holes, natural waterslides and clear creeks that offer excellent trout fishing. There’s also time for relaxing on the beach or joining a game of Frisbee, volleyball or horseshoes.
The per person rate for the July 4th – 6th Tuolumne Craft Beer & Cheese Adventure is $899 inclusive of two nights of comfortable catered camping, all river equipment, dry bags for gear, meals from lunch on day one through lunch on day three, craft beer and cheese tasting and gourmet dinners.
O.A.R.S. is offering a series of 6 craft beer tasting trips in 2013 on Idaho’s Lower Salmon River, the Rogue River in Oregon and on the Tuolumne. Trips range from 2 to 5 days in length and are offered May – August.