Two long fermenting brewing projects have finally opened.
The first, Night Lizard Brewing, is the first of several beer places opening in downtown Santa Barbara. The new brewpub is just a block away from longstanding Santa Barbara Brewing, the town’s oldest brewpub (which is re-launching as Cruisery under new ownership, BTW).
NLB proudly backs environmental causes. You’ll notice the National Geographic Channel is always playing on at least one of the big screen TVs and a portion of NLB’s proceeds are given to local environmental groups. The beers are even named after local endangered species. Gnatcatcher IPA anyone?
The first brewery in any town almost always has an “interesting” time getting to “Open for Business.”
The other long awaited brewery opened in Lemoore, a town south of Fresno. The Bird Street Brewery had been periodically releasing their beers through local grocery stores. In September, they finally opened their own tasting room in downtown Lemoore. The first brewery in any town almost always has an “interesting” time getting to “Open for Business.” Bird Street was no exception.
The Den Smokehouse & Brewery that just opened in nearby Kerman no doubt has a similar story. I notice the initial buzz is all about their tri-tip. Hmm, I wonder if the brewer and the brewery are still “negotiating”.
Elsewhere, the tiny seafront village of Avila Beach is now home to a Libertine Brewery satellite tasting room. Located steps from the beach, the newest “Lib” inspired a twist on their signature sour and wild beers. For the first time, they’re brewing a “normal” beer. Seems customers on the beach are more interested in IPAs than sours.
In San Luis Obispo, a local cidermaker opened his own tasting room to feature his own creations. But he left plenty of room for beer too. The place is called Cider (pronounced si-der bar) and you’ll find it in the courtyard behind craft beer original Spike’s.
Cider’s flagship ciders are all funky, wild fermentations. For comparison’s sake, several other ciders, ranging from Aspall Dry English to the wonderfully named Darth Unicorn are also available. Taster flights are encouraged.
Prefer beer? The draught beers outnumber the draught ciders and there are even more choices in the standing coolers by the bar. This is one of the few places where I can enjoy both Orval and Anchor Liberty Ale.
In the months ahead, look for Hop Forge Brewing to open in Hanford and the Wild Fields Brewhouse to open in Atascadero. The latter will bring a Beachwood Blendery brewing veteran back to his hometown. His beers could be quite interesting.
Prefer beer? The draught beers outnumber the draught ciders and there are even more choices in the standing coolers by the bar.
In San Luis Obispo, the Bang The Drum Brewery needs a new home. Seems new property owners have decided to build housing where the brewery now stands. BTD does acknowledge they were starting to outgrow the space. Wherever they re-locate, it will include a new and larger brewhouse.
Reinvention is happening at the brewpub in Orcutt formerly known as Rooney’s. New owners re-named it the Blast 825 Brewery, thoroughly revamped the menu, started brewing colloborations with local breweries, and are now installing a 50-tap self-service beer bar.
Up the 101 freeway, Bittersweet Brewing has installed a new larger, more capable brewhouse at their Grover Beach site. On the other side of the hill, ManRock Brewing is again serving some mighty creative barrel aged brews.
Of the local large breweries, Figueroa Mountain’s long planned 60-bbl brewhouse in Buellton is now operational. At the same time, SLO Brew celebrated their 30th anniversary by opening a new Event Center next to their Rock brewing facility. That makes sense – SLO Brew was always as famous for its live music as its beers. Those who mourned the relocation of the brewpub downtown (the live music program was downsized) are delighted to have the new venue.
On the down side, Underground Brewing, aka Metro Brewing, and originally known as Creekside Brewing, shuttered in downtown San Luis Obispo. A bigger loss was Darryl’s Couch, a delightful little beer bar in Camarillo. It was the local “go to” place for craft beer long before the local beer scene established itself. Have in pint in its memory. It will be missed.
Night Lizard Brewing Company
607 State Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
Bird Street Brewery
242 Heinlen Street
Lemoore, CA 93245
The Den Smokehouse & Brewery
651 S. Madera Avenue
Kerman, CA 93630
Libertine Brewery – Avila Beach
90 San Miguel Street
Avila Beach, CA 93424
570 Higuera Street, Ste 1
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
Blast 825 Brewery
241 S. Broadway Street
Orcutt, CA 93455