12-Hour Pub Crawl: Crawlin' the Coast
Crawlin’ the Coast
The Return Trip: Pub crawling along the water’s edge, from Monterey up to Half Moon Bay
Last issue, you made the trip down south, tasting many good brews along the way before bedding down for the night in Monterey. After a night of rest, it’s time to head back. The road could certainly be traveled northward non-stop, homeward bound. But, why end things so soon? Pat your face with some cold seawater, because it’s time to continue on the same mission that brought you here in the first place, only this time you’re pointing north. Read on then, road warrior, for ideas on how to retrace your steps from Monterey back up to Half Moon Bay.
10:30 AM First on the itinerary is finding some grub. As with any tourist haven, there are plenty of spots to procure brunch. Pacific Grove’s Crema (for fried chicken and waffles) and Red House Café (for smoked salmon on a potato pancake) are good choices. A lot of these places, however, don’t offer a lot in the way of craft beer or liquor, so let’s fix that.
If you didn’t make it to Alvarado Street Brewing yesterday, now’s the time. Pair their milk stout with their solid take on a loco moco. If people watching and ocean viewing sound more fun, then head over to Schooners on Cannery Row and get their $25 mega-Bloody Mary; they also have a huge selection of local and standard liquors. However, if your mood is local craft beer and you’re not feeling Alvarado Street, check out Peter B’s Brewpub in the Portola Hotel by Fisherman’s Wharf. Their lighter beers are the stand-outs here, which pair well with the French fries and fried pickles. The cheese curds are also legit.
12:30 PM Heading north, pop in to see what’s on tap at Post No Bills in Sand City. This craft beer oasis offers sixteen brews on tap and an impressive array of bottles in the coolers behind the bar. This is a great spot to unwind, parse through the highlights and lowlights of your previous evening, and mingle with locals before heading back to reality. If you didn’t wake up in time to get brunch, then make a pit stop in Seaside and grab some food to bring into Post No Bills. The whole chicken meal from El Pollo Rey on Broadway offers the best bang for your buck, easily feeding four people for twenty bucks.
2:00 PM Leaving Monterey and heading up Highway One on the weekends is always a pain. Break the drive up into manageable (and sane) chunks by making another pit-stop in Watsonville to try the town’s other major brewery, Corralitos Brewing Company. About 45-minutes north of Sand City, the spot offers a relaxed, road-trip vibe you’ll want to revisit on every future vacay you take south of San José. A no-frills joint with friendly barkeeps that love to talk about their product, they’ve got a rotating selection, so get a sampler and dive in to whatever seems right, or whatever people around the tasting room suggest.
3:30 PM There is no shortage of amazing craft breweries in Santa Cruz. Your first stop after Corralitos, however, should be to one of the best: Sante Adairius Rustic Ales (their main brewery is in Capitola — if you can’t make the hike, they have a satellite spot in Santa Cruz proper). Sante Adairius is nothing short of a local legend, a feat in the crowded Santa Cruz beer scene. They produce farmhouse ales, saisons, and sours that are so good you’ll have a hard time leaving with your credit limits intact. If the Adjunct Brackish or Brackish are available (bottles only), then get however many you can carry. Each are a dark farmhouse ale, with the Adjunct offering a sweeter, chocolately kind of backbone and the Brackish providing a briny wallop that will makes you wonder, “What if a dirty martini was an elegant ale?” Their Fruit Punch, when available, is worth moving to Santa Cruz for.
4:45 PM It would be advised to follow-up Sante Adairius with something more balanced, and no brewery does balanced better than New Bohemia Brewing Company, also in Santa Cruz. NuBo is fairly new, but already notable for both the quality of beers available, and their aspirations for the future — a cosmic plan to offer something for everyone, with a particular focus on balanced lagers. Everything is worth a try, but the hefeweizen offers a nice palate cleanser after the full-bore flavor explosions from Sante Adairius.
6:00 PM As you get ready to head out of town, you owe yourself an appearance at Humble Sea Brewery. These folks have a bevy of varied brews that strictly and wittily adhere to a seafaring theme. They’ve been around closing in on a full decade, and this breadth of experience unfurls amongst their multitude of sudsy provisions. These include the Tiki Décor, a lactose IPA infused with vanilla and a rotating selection of fruit. The Le Farmers Tan is a Harvest Saisaon that uses Pilsner and wheat malts in concert with local hops grown in the Santa Cruz Mountains for a draught that’s tart and bitter and brisk and light. It’s a revelation. They also have a top-rate barrel program, so think of this as a place to come back to and explore over and over and over again.
7:45 PM One more worthwhile stop before heading home: Back in Half Moon Bay, make Sacrilege Brewery + Kitchen your final destination. There’s a solid rotation of beers from both Sacrilege and a sweet selection of guest brewers, like Magnolia, Modern Times, South City Ciderworks, and elsewhere. Get there (safely) before the kitchen closes, and grab their burger served on an English muffin for a perfect ending to your two-day coastal crawl. — By Clayton Schuster
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