Meandering hillsides, iconic barbecue and idyllic strawberries are some of the charm of the Santa Maria Valley. But, not to be ignored is the growing craft brewery scene.
The Santa Maria Valley is now host to both incredible vineyards and tasty craft beers. But it’s not meant to be a competitive thing. The two complement each other, becoming a food and drink lovers (hidden gem of a) paradise.
More than a dozen microbreweries in the Central California Coast area produce award-winning brews. Here are four Santa Maria Valley breweries to add to your next Central Coast itinerary:
For 20 years, Santa Maria Brewing Co. has been the best kept secret for those traveling up and down Highway 101 in California. Founded by Dan Hilker and Gary Ford, the duo eventually sold the business to Byron and Karen Moles, with Dan as a partner.
Try the PFM English, a playful, medium-bodied ale defined by a brown English malt, or the Cali-Veza, a Mexican-style lager brewed with stone-rolled maize and fermented with Mexican lager yeast. Or, sample the popular, flagship Santa Maria Pale Ale, which won bronze at the 2004 California State Fair.
There are four taprooms in the Central Coast area — Santa Maria, Nipomo, Atascadero and Paso Robles — so you’re bound to stumble upon a refreshing local brew during your stay.
Make a beer run to Naughty Oak Brewery for a fun, cool vibe. With taprooms in Old Town Orcutt and Santa Ynez, you’ll be hanging out with plenty of friendly locals and staff that will make you feel at home.
So many beers, so little time. Experience lots of style and flavors such as the Staycation Mango Blonde to take you away. For something a little more adventurous, the Castaway Coconut Stout combines the forces of the mighty coconut with their Irish Daily Stout to bring an explosion of toasted coconut, rich chocolate and a touch of roasted coffee.
Owner, Steve Kitts was a home brewer, a member of the Air National Guard and a Vandenberg Air Force Base employee before opening the brewery. He and his wife, Emily wanted a concept wrapped around good quality beer in a good quality atmosphere.
The newest thing brewing in Old Orcutt is Blast Brewery 825. Pair your signature wood-fired pizza with guest beers from all over the area such as Barrelhouse Brewing Co. and Santa Maria Brewing Co. The monthly featured brew will only be available at the new location in Old Town Orcutt. Local musician groups and ensembles will entertain you in a relaxed, family-friendly setting. Many of the signature events and traditions that Rooney‘s Irish Pub brought to the local community will continue on, as the Rooney family has partnered with Blast and expand its offerings.
Named after the mountain seen from their family home in Los Olivos, Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company opened in Buellton, Calif by the father and son team, Jim and Jaime Dietenhofer. with only a handful of employees. In a short five years, the company has grown to become one of the fastest growing craft breweries in America and now has a staff of over 200 which they affectionately call the #FigFam.
There are currently six taprooms along California’s Central Coast. Have them pour you a Lizard’s Mouth IIPA, an Imperial IPA that has notes of mango, papaya and pineapple. Check out the Hurricane Deck DIPA, named after the most challenging hikes in the Los Padres National Forest. Brewed with three and a half pounds of hops per barrel, this double IPA is loaded with woodsy, herbal and pine-like hop flavor and aroma. his double IPA blends four hops – Columbus, Centennial, Chinook and Cascade – to recreate the ruggedness and intensity of the Trail.
The Santa Maria Valley is the perfect home base, where you can eat, drink and do more for less. Less pretentious and more inviting than other known regions, visitors find out quickly that they are treated like family; with welcoming, approachable winemakers, wine professionals and proprietors, who are focused most on the enjoyment of wine. The unpretentious nature of the region makes the experience authentic, educational and just plain fun.
With 37 wineries and 12 breweries within a hop, skip and a jump to the Santa Maria Valley, now you have the perfect reason for your next Santa Maria Style getaway. View this dynamic interactive map to plan your next visit.