IF EVER TWO THINGS... were sitting in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g, it's the Santa Ynez Valley and winemaking. Winemaking is practically the Santa Ynez Valley's middle name, though, wait; would that actually be "Ynez"? Anywho, the tradition of squishing grapes and letting them sit and bottling the goods and opening tasting room spans decades upon decades in the hillsome Santa Barbara-adjacent region. Which makes the not-so-recent arrival of craft beermakers if not unusual then... wonderful. Every good wine country could probably carve off a slice and hand it over to brew masters and those who want to go the hops and barley route instead of grapes. So, what's happening in the valley's suds trade these days? Well...
THERE'S THE HANDY BEER TRAIL MAP: Yep, this one's been around for a bit, but anyone who is headed to the area to get to know the brews should have it at the ready. It's a pdf, so just keep it on your phone, and keep in mind that Los Olivos, Solvang, and Santa Ynez'll be your nexus.
FIGUEROA MOUNTAIN BREWING COMPANY... is opening its third tasting room, speaking of Los Olivos. Yep, it's right there, in that sweet nook of a town, but if you're in Buellton or Santa Barbara, fear not, foamist: Figueroa has a taproom presence in both places as well. In fact, Buellton is expanding, and the new Los Olivos location? It debuts on March 7.
FIRESTONE WALKER'S... local-loving 805 Beer is making its way, in limited release, to Los Angeles. So, yep, the 805 is leaving the 805, on a roadtrip, but figure it is a fine way to taste the flavorful blonde ale, and the flavor of the region, while staying in LA. Of course you can also head up to the brewery itself, which is north of the Santa Ynez in Paso Robles. Mondo weekend trip, the better to know the brews of the Central Coast, beer fancier? It could happen.