Central Coast Brewing in San Luis Obispo is known for its Monterey Street Pale Ale. That beer, having won three straight GABF medals, is a recognized craft brewing standard. CCB also has a unique history. And now they have a new brewery to show off.
CCB opened twenty years ago as a Brew-On-Premise, a place where people could rent a tiny brewery to make their own beers. That concept didn’t really work so CCB converted into a more conventional production brewery with a tasting room. That’s when things got really interesting, if not downright screwy.
First, the BOP system was still being used by would-be homebrewers. So CCB added a (slightly) larger brewery. Then they added a second, larger system. Yes, CCB was operating three separate breweries – all in the same facility.
CCB plans to focus its new brewery on the flagship beers. Meanwhile, the original brewery across town will make “fun stuff”.
Meanwhile, the tasting room could only serve CCB beers in 4oz tasters. Why? Seems a clerical error was made when CCB converted its brewing license. That led to a comedy of errors culminating in the 4oz restriction. Eventually, everything was sorted out: the tasting room was permitted to serve proper pints while the BOP system was retired.
Enter brewer Brendan Gough. A homebrewer turned CCB assistant brewer turned Firestone Walker brewing veteran, Brendan is the architect of CCB’s noteworthy beers. Monterey Street Pale Ale is the famous one but General Schwarz Schwarzbier, Power House Pilsner, and Juice Box Hero NE Style IPA deserve lots of praise too.
You’ll find all those beers at CCB’s gleaming new brewery. Center stage is a 20-bbl brewhouse with plenty of bells & whistles. Brewer Brendan and his crew are going to have a good time exploring its tricks and capabilities.
To the right is an open kitchen with a walk-up counter. The offerings are inspired bar food like Trio of Bruschetta, “SLO Down” sliders (burger or pulled pork), or Miso Glazed Salmon Salad.
Opposite is a long bar with a patio on one end and a game room at the other. The bar itself is narrow and topped with rough-hewn wood with lots of metal and wood trim. Overhead are but two TV screens.
If you want to watch the game, go into the game room. There, you’ll find plenty of TVs as well as pool, shuffleboard, darts, and vintage video games. By design, the game room is the place for “whooping it up”. The bar and patio are meant to be calm spaces for contemplating your beer.
Besides the beers that made Brendan famous, there will be plenty of experimental beers to explore. CCB plans to focus its new brewery on the flagship beers. Meanwhile, the original brewery across town will make “fun stuff”. Barrels of future treats are already aging while fondly remembered CCB beers like Catch 23 black IPA will be revived.
To check out CCB’s new place, exit the 101 freeway at Madonna Road but turn away from the famous Madonna Inn. On the other side of the freeway from that hotel, turn right at the T-intersection and look to the right. By the way, park to the right of CCB. Exiting the place is a lot easier from that side.
Central Coast Brewing Company
6 Higuera Street
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401