Instant Beer Review | West Coast Edition: Santa Barbara Brewing Company


So you’ve made it to Santa Barbara.

I have. After a night in LA, exploring the Ventura Beach area and an interesting stop at Neptune’s Net Seafood in Malibu for fish and chips (with about 100 bikers), I found myself on State street in Santa Barbara.

All my knowledge of this area comes from that 80’s soap opera Santa Barbara, which is of little help. Even then all I can recall of that show is a guy named A Martinez, who went on to star in LA Law, and Eden Capwell, a hottie. They formed what is called a “Super Couple.” So I had this odd expectation of everything being very soap opera-ish. Whatever that means…maybe i expected dramatic music and pregnant-paused reactions from locals?

Anyway, this town is ridiculously beautiful. Tall hills?/mountains? ( I don’t know, I’m from the midwest)  as the background in one direction and the ocean in the other. Constant exotic flowery smells in the air. The town has a classic Spanish colonial look, terracotta roofs, open air courtyards, except the white plaster archways lead to Forever 21 and H&M instead of a wealthy Spanish family.

For the love of ThunderCats! You’re talking about soap operas?!

Ok, yes that was a bit of a tangent. I’m sorry.

Wandering down State street, where all the action happens, I came across Santa Barbara Brewing Company. They opened in 1995 and claim to have been open for more than 5,500 consecutive days. Impressive. Even more so when you see the entire brewing system crammed in the bar. Are they brewing in the wee hours? Who knows, I don’t care, let’s drink!

As I tried to do at Ocean Ave Brewery, I ordered their Brown Ale. And once again I was denied. They just ran out. WTF. Fine! Let’s go with the Rincon Red. 5.5% ABV. $5 pint. The bartender set down this daaaaark red ale with a full head of tan foam in front of me. Wow. He could have called it the brown and I may have been non the wiser.

Non the Wiser. Maybe that should be your new nickname.

Oh, ha ha. Very funny talking voice in my head. May I continue?

Whatever floats your foam.

Thank you. First the aroma. Woody pine and some fruitiness. Nice. Kinda reminds me of these new “manly” bodywash soaps you can buy, mixing cedar and citrus…or some shit. And the taste? Mighty fine. They use a mix of caramel, Munich and Vienna malts. Great full roasted malt taste with a bit of spice and clean finish. Just a touch of hops to balance it out. It went down very quickly.

I also tried their IPA. No fancy name. Just IPA. All they claim is it is aggressively hopped. And it is. If you’re looking for a no-nonsense citrus-hopped-up beer, probably single note style, this will do the job just fine. Reminds me of Goose Island IPA, my go-to beer when I’m at the store staring at rows of sixers and can’t make up my f*cking mind. Good ol’ reliable.

And there you have it. An enjoyable experience in a beautiful town. Think I’ll stick around for another day and head over to the Brewhouse. They have a few Belgian ales calling my name.