Some say Santa Barbara—famous for its world-class wine—was slow to catch up to the craft beer craze, but this is a year of expansion for the local ale trail. A handful of new beer taprooms opened recently or will soon open in downtown Santa Barbara, joining established local breweries Brass Bear, The Brewhouse, Figueroa Mountain, Pure Order, Third Window, Topa Topa and Telegraph.
Night Lizard Brewing Company opened at 607 State St. at the end of summer. The new tasting room is spacious with high ceilings and a redwood bar, and the brewery’s stainless-steel tanks are within view in the back. All beers are made on site with fresh local ingredients and are named after Central Coast endangered species: Leatherback Blonde, Gnatcatcher IPA, Tiger Salamander Saisan, Island Fox Red and Song Sparrow Sour, just to name a few. “We have quite a variety of different kinds of beer. People are impressed that we’re not just pushing IPAs,” says owner John Nasser. “Our hope is to make really great beer, but to also give back to the environment.” Ten percent of all proceeds will be donated to environmental causes. Night Lizard’s goal is to save the planet one beer at a time.
Two years after opening a brewery and taproom in Goleta, Draughtsmen Aleworks has expanded to downtown Santa Barbara. Five partners, all passionate about beer, started this endeavor to create “quality classic beers and a handful of euphoric concoctions,” says Draughtsmen’s Tami Snow. “Our inspirations are drawn from all over the world with an emphasis on our own local beer tastes in California.” Their second taproom is in the Mosaic Locale at 1131 State St., across from the Santa Barbara Museum of Art.
Draughtsmen partnered with three food and non-alcoholic drink providers: Hook & Press Donuts, Buena Onda empanadas and Juice Ranch. Beers run the gamut from Japanese and Mexican lagers to Irish red ales, English stouts and porters, Belgians and IPAs. Draughtsmen has an ongoing “good karma tap,” giving a percentage of sales to“do-goodery” within the local community.
“We created this endeavor to blend exceptional craft beer with positive social change,” adds Snow. “And, of course, to
have as much fun as we can along the way.”
Captain Fatty’s, with a brewery and new taproom in Goleta, is expanding to the Funk Zone. The grand opening is expected shortly after the New Year. Captain Fatty’s co-owners, Preston Angell and Matt Minkus, are partnering with the popular Corazon Cucina on a cerveceria and taco place called The Project, at 214 State St. “The opportunity to collaborate with Corazon’s Chef Ramon Velasquez and create an amazing environment for beer and food in Santa Barbara is one we couldn’t pass up,” says Angell. He believes that more competition forces everyone to focus on improving quality and all the new beer projects will play a part in “saving State Street.” “It’s a great way for downtown Santa Barbara to liven up a bit, create more foot traffic and buzz and boost tourism,” Angell says.
San Diego-based Modern Times Beer plans to open a Santa Barbara location in early 2019; a 5,000 square foot restaurant and tap room at 418 State St. “Santa Barbara has been in our sights from year one here at Modern Times,” says Modern Times’ Chief Operations Officer, Chris Sarette. “When the opportunity came along to work with some of our favorite people in Santa Barbara on a project together—folks from Barbareno and Test Pilot—on an endeavor aiming to help revitalize the southern end of State Street, it was an enthusiastic, ‘Yes!’ We’re excited to bring some of our specialty beers and nascent food identity to the Central Coast.” The new restaurant will include an indoor bar, a store selling Modern Times merchandise and to-go beers, and 2,500 square feet of outdoor dining and bar space.
Longtime home brewers Trent and Rebecca Hammel and Mike and Aimee Kielborn grew tired of traveling to LA for brewing supplies, so in early 2018 they opened Santa Barbara’s first home brew store in 15 years: BYOB–Brew Your Own Beverage, located at 3445 State St. “Beer is huge right now! We’ve been overwhelmed at the response from the city and all the brewers and fermentation junkies have been coming out of the woodwork and showing us support!” says Trent Hammel. “We are happy to be here to support all the makers in the community.” BYOB sells all the supplies needed to create beer, cider or kombucha from start to finish. They also offer a variety of fermentation workshops and are launching recipe kits from several local breweries. “Our goal is to make it a community and to transition all those craft beer and craft kombucha lovers and show them how easy it is to make their own.”
Originally published in the Winter 2019 issue of Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine.