Along with its world-class surfing waves and white-sand beaches, Santa Cruz is now becoming known for its phenomenal craft brewery scene.
Tons of small breweries have been popping up in-and-around town, offering creative and flavorful beers made from local ingredients.
Craft breweries in Santa Cruz specialize in a wide range of beers, from unique sours to familiar ales, so no matter where you go, you’re bound to find a drink you love.
If you’re new to the city or just new to the micro-brewery scene, here are 6 Santa Cruz craft breweries to check out this summer:
Discretion Brewing is a fantastic brewery to visit if you’re looking to try a wide range of beers. With a dozen beers on tap, you’re bound to find something new and exciting. If you’re looking for a particularly outstanding beer, try Uncle Dave’s Rye IPA.
One of the best aspects of this brewery is that they only use organic ingredients in the making of their beer. Not only is this better for you, but for the environment as well.
If you aren’t already impressed with their focus on the environment, you’ll be interested to know that Discretion Brewing is one of the first breweries in the county to make their beer using solar powered technology.
Many of the local breweries focus on making creative sours and ales, but New Bohemia puts a new take on the lighter flavors that come from old-world Central Europe.
This brewery specializes in pilsners, lagers, and hefeweizens inspired by German and Czech brews. They make all their beer in-house with a state-of-the-art lager systems that’s on display in the middle of the bar. You have to try their "Highway to Hefe"—a Bavarian hefeweizen that's extremely rich in flavor.
What attracts so many people to this brewery is its cheerful atmosphere. This is a communal bar where everyone’s welcome to sit and chat with new and old friends.
Corralitos Brewing Co.
Started by a home brewer in Santa Cruz, Corralitos Brewing Co. is one of the most loved breweries in the area.
Located in a barn-style building, this brewery is in an unlikely place on Freedom Boulevard in Watsonville where locals are often found horseback riding down nearby streets and trails.
As you walk up to the brewery, you can see the fields of hops that they harvest for their hand-crafted beer.
Corralitos Brewing Co. has 10 beers on tap at a time, so there’s something for everyone.
One of the best beers from this brewery has to be their Red Ale. We recommend sipping this on their outdoor deck while you soak up the summer sun.
Sante Adairius Rustic Ales
With a location in Santa Cruz and another in Capitola, this Sante Adairius Rustic Ales is a popular place to drink carefully hand-crafted beers.
This small brewery focuses on making simplistic, yet flavorful beers out of the Belgian tradition. Many of their beers are barrel-aged, usually in wine-barrels, which gives the beer a distinctive taste you’ll have to try for yourself.
We recommend trying the West Ashley, which is a barrel-aged Saison with Apricot. This drink has a tart, but fruity flavor that we’re sure you’ve never tried before.
What started out as a home-brewing project is now a popular brewery that attracts visitors from all walks of life.
People love their three year-round beers, but come back for their surprising seasonal beers. Ask the wonderful staff about their rotating beer, but if you always want an outstanding brew, try their Dark Night Oatmeal Stout.
What so many people adore about this brewery is that it doubles as a deli. All of the tasty food is made in-house, so you can always expect it to be fresh.
Try out the “Holy Smokes!” sandwich, which is a delicious mix of smoked pastrami, bascon, green chillies, and pepper jack cheese on a French roll.
East Cliff Brewing
Although East Cliff Brewing specializes in British-style cask ales, their brewery doesn’t resemble a low-lit British pub whatsoever.
They have a bright and airy brewery with white-washed walls and psychedelic paintings of the Harbor Lighthouse. If the interior of this brewery doesn't impress you upon first sight, their beer surely will.
East Cliff Brewing has old-world style ales that have malty characteristics. Most of their beers have a lower alcohol percentage (usually around 4-5 percent), so you can try a bunch of different brews without going over the edge.
If you’re looking for a fantastic beer that will never fail to impress, try their English Pale Ale. This is the perfect beer to drink on a hot summer day.