As a rule, when I travel I like to hit local breweries. My recent trip to San Luis Obispo gave me a chance to hit three California Breweries. I really liked two of them. One of them was a little disappointing.
My favorite discovery is Libertine Brewing. Full disclosure—I might be a little biased in their favor because their brewpub in Morro Bay has the single best view I’ve ever encountered at a brewery. From the bar, you can drink beer while looking out over the bay at Morro Rock.
View aside, though, Libertine has some very good and memorable beers. They focus on sours, and their offerings run the full gamut of Belgian and German sours. My personal favorite is their Gose. They use water from the bay to give it the salty tang. Looking out on the ocean drinking a beer made from the ocean is pretty close to a perfect experience.
Central Coast Brewing is a little more traditional in its offerings, but also really solid. Their various IPAs are quite good. My favorite is the back rye IPA. It’s a great combination of hops, rye, and roasted malts.
SLO Brew, on the other hand, is a bit of a let down. They’ve just reopened in a fancy new downtown location that is, unfortunately, more interested in being a “rockin’” nightspot than a brewery. To its credit, the restaurant/bar has a cool vibe, and a full menu, but the beer is nondescript, at best. Its four flagship beers just don’t make an impression. The blonde ale and session IPA are very one-note, the reggae red doesn’t impress me just because they use roasted hemp, and the Cali-weisse doesn’t work at all. Adding hops to a hefe weisse is just a bad idea.