Instant Beer Review | West Coast Edition: The Brewhouse, Santa Barbara

Still in Santa Barbara eh?

Yep. The good vibes have kept me here a bit longer. Today I realized that this town is the closest thing to Maui on the mainland. I even heard that Jack Johnson has a house somewhere in the area. Which makes sense, SB has that Hawaiian feel—with a Spanish flair—except that there are no natives calling me a haole.

Well you are about as white as a white guy can be.

Certainly am. I even have the dance down pat. Looks like I’m rowing a boat in circles.

Maybe less drinky and more dancy…


Alright then, whatcha drinking today?

Today I wandered over to a brewpub called the Brewhouse. Just off State Street, near the ocean. It’s got a hole-in-the-wall vibe and was certainly rowdy for 6 in the afternoon on a Monday. Hell, I watched an old cowboy and sailor argue over who was more drunk. The argument ended with the cowboy being lead out for lack of standing ability. The sailor reveled in his victory, loudly proclaiming something that was totally incoherent. Seems like this is the place to be for happy hour.

On the walls behind the local entertainment, I noticed numerous ribbons. A good sign. Turns out the brewmaster and part-owner, Pete Johnson, was a former NASA engineer. Seriously, he was a f*cking rocket scientist. And you can tell by the beer he brews.

I went with the Saint Barbs Abby Ale. ~6% ABV. Named for the city’s patron saint. Brewed in the monastic tradition. Dark amber color with a creamy head and a slightly sweet/spicy aroma. Man! What a smooth taste. Certainly malty. Has a dry finish that reminds me of pears and bananas with some sweetness, black pepper and a touch of yeast. Just a clean, well balanced beer. No off flavors at all. Not over the top, nor weak. Right down the center – like launching a rocket into orbit I suppose.

My silent partner in crime on this trip ordered the Apricot Wheat ~5% ABV. The Yelp tells me it’s a local favorite. I can’t disagree. This is another well balanced beer. The perfect note of apricot to mix with the wheat grain. Low bitterness. I could see drinking this on my porch on a hot summer day, but there is no way in hell I’m ordering an apricot beer in a bar. I just can’t do it.

Fantastic. Where’s the next stop?

Whelp, the plan is to check out Hearst Castle, stay in Monterey then head to Napa Valley to live the wino lifestyle for a day or two.

Righty-o, man. Righty-o.