Breweries in Santa Barbara, California, today the central city of the U.S state of California, have been established for over a century. This city has been the base of operations for major beer companies and microbreweries. Many would agree that Santa Barbara has long been known for its excellent wine, but you may be unaware that the beer scene is equally impressive.
New craft and microbreweries have been opening up for those who prefer their alcoholic beverages a little sudsier. Some may not know that Santa Barbara is also home to some of California’s best independent brewers. Whether you favor a creamy lager or a hoppy IPA, there’s a beer on this list to suit your interests. Many offer brewery tours and tastings or spend a few hours in taprooms sipping fantastic beer.
1. Draughtsmen Aleworks
- Crowd Favorite: Citracide | 6.4% ABV | With its lemon and honey flavors, this beer is terrific.
- Highly Recommended: Proton | 11% ABV | Chocolate, cherry, and black malt flavors will wow you in this Imperial Russian Stout.
Draughtsmen Aleworks is one of the most entertaining venues anyone would find. Live music, frequent quiz nights, and yoga are just a few exciting events and entertainment options available at the fantastic Draughtsmen Aleworks locations. What a terrific spot to go with friends and have a good time while drinking delicious beer!
This place is an actual Santa Barbara brewery that offers far more than the typical IPAs you’ll find at other California brewers. Among the unique options on their menu were quadruple Belgian beers, an Irish red, a Japanese rice lager, a blonde ale, and a pale oatmeal ale.
- Hop-py Note: To find out what “Taproom Happenings” are happening over the week, you can visit their web calendars.
Hours: Open Sun – Wed 11:30am – 8pm, Thur – Sat 11:30am – 9pm
2. Topa Topa Brewing Co.
- Crowd Favorite: Chief Peak | 7% ABV | This delightfully light-colored craft beer hits home with its hoppy overtones, lovely citrus flavors, and tropical scents.
Topa Topa Brewing Co. is undoubtedly one of the best breweries in the Ventura/Santa Barbara area. They brew excellent beer. They’re technically a Ventura brewery with a Santa Barbara location. But who can complain if they build the best breweries?
While Topa Topa’s headquarters are in Ventura, people often visit their tasting rooms around the lower Central Coast. Their northernmost taproom is the Santa Barbara Funk Zone. With any of their fresh brews, you won’t ever be disappointed!
- Hop-py Note: Both indoor and outdoor meals are currently available at all Topa Topa Taprooms! Additionally, they provide curbside pickup and beer to go!
Hours: Open Mon – Tues 1pm -8pm, Wed & Thur 12pm – 10pm, Fri & Sat 12pm – 11pm, Sun 12pm – 8pm
3. Brass Bear Brewing & Bistro
- Crowd Favorite: Blood Orange Belgian | 9% ABV | A beautiful beer that is filled with citrus aromas that are powerful and peppery.
Brass Brewing was founded by a husband-and-wife team who quit their jobs in New York to travel the world and create a brewery. If the beer menu at Brass Bear Brewing isn’t enough, wait till you see the menu with food at this fantastic brewery and café near the beach!
Don’t know what to get? There are four different beer flights a person could choose. If you’re hungry, pair the Hopping Grizzly IPA with one of the restaurant’s superb grilled cheese sandwiches or the restaurant’s new Brass Bear Burger. Wine can also be offered by glass for those who prefer grapes to hops.
Hours: Open Mon – Thur 12pm – 9pm, Fri & Sat 12pm – 11pm, Sun 12pm – 9pm
4. Third Window Brewing Co.
- Crowd Favorite: Walkabout | 8.2% ABV | A twenty-four Blackbirds Elvesia cocoa nib, Madagascar vanilla, and an imperial chocolate orange stout made using backyard oranges that were foraged.
Third Window Brewing Co. is committed to producing high-quality beers with locally sourced ingredients. Traditional European beers, particularly those from Belgium, serve as inspiration.
This pleasant and inviting brewery is in a great location, right next to a winery with a pet-friendly terrace. People recommend this brewery if you want to enjoy the California sun while sipping a fresh and smooth Pilsner in a beautiful outdoor location. Third Window features a charming taproom in a restored old barn that attracts both residents and guests. Stop by Third Window Brewing Co. for some sudsy refreshment if you’re in the area!
- Fun Fact: The company’s core values—cultivation, passion, and purity—are reflected in the label “Third Window.”
Hours: Open daily 12pm – 8:30pm, Fri & Sat 12 – 10pm
5. Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co.
- Crowd Favorite: Hoppy Poppy | 6.5% ABV | This beer is overflowing with floral and citrusy hop flavors.
Figueroa Mountain has taprooms near Santa Barbara County, which is good because you don’t want to miss it! Figueroa Mountain in the surrounding San Rafael Mountains inspired their initial location in Buellton.
This Funk Zone staple features a wide beer selection and is a welcoming place to spend the afternoon. Some of their beers’ names may be familiar from various historical locales in Santa Barbara. Figueroa Mountain employs its high-quality craft brews to encapsulate the area’s magnificent coast, mountains, and cultural legacy.
Hours: Open Mon – Thur 12pm – 10pm, Fri & Sat 11am – 11pm, Sun 11am – 8pm
6. Institution Ale Co.
- Crowd Favorite: Restraint | 6% ABV | One of the crowds’ favorites gives you a flavorful Brown Ale that leaves you wanting more.
The Institution Ale Co. is one of Santa Barbara’s best-kept secrets, especially when you visit the welcoming taproom, which serves excellent beers to go with their food, such as their pizza.
The meal is excellent, but the craft beer on tap is among the best I’ve had in Santa Barbara.
The best beer on State Street is served at Institution – and at reasonable prices. You spend $4 to $6 for an ordinary pint instead of $8 to $9 (+10 percent tax and +20 percent tip for a small American 16oz pint) as you would anywhere else on State Street.
Hours: Open Mon – Sat 11am – 11pm, Sun 11am – 10pm
7. Night Lizard Brewing Co.
- Crowd Favorite: Island Fox Red | 5.5% ABV | A delightfully rich, red beverage with an exquisite flavor leaves you wanting more.
- Highly Recommended: Tiger Salamander Saison | 7.4% ABV | Craft ale in the traditional Belgian Saison rustic style.
This beer company combines environmental consciousness with great taste. What more could you possibly want? The State Street parklet is a welcome location to sample beer and learn about the Central Coast’s sustainability.
Night Lizard Brewing Company is one of the top crowd favorite Santa Barbara breweries. Many people prefer this place when it comes to the brewery: family-owned and run, environmentally conscious, and committed to using locally sourced ingredients whenever possible.
Hours: Open Tues 12pm – 9pm, Wed & Thur 12pm – 10pm, Fri & Sat 12pm – 12am, Sun 12pm – 8pm, Mon Closed
The following two breweries are located within a short distance of Santa Barbara.
8. Captain Fatty’s Brewery
- Crowd Favorite: Vortex IPA | 6.7% ABV | Vortex is the perfect IPA for people who like the combination of citrus and passion fruit with a toasted malt backbone.
Because the pace of life in Santa Barbara is quite laid-back, Captain Fatty produces beer that complements a laid-back lifestyle. If you’re new to the region, stopping by this brewery is a terrific way to meet the locals since Captain Fatty’s objective is to bring the community together through its world-class beer!
Even the kids are welcome at Captain Fatty’s Brewery. Not only is there a play area for the youngsters, but the root beer on tap is suitable for people of all ages. The beer selection for individuals over 21 includes everything from heavily hopped IPAs to malty, velvety stouts.
- Fun Fact: Currently, the brewery produces roughly 2,200 barrels, each having about 413 cases of beer.
Hours: Open Mon – Wed 12pm – 8pm, Thur 12pm – 10pm, Fri & Sat 12pm – 9pm, Sun 12pm – 10pm
9. Hollister Brewing Co.
- Crowd Favorite: Hippie Kicker | 7.2% ABV | This beer has an overpowering scent and a harsh hop bitterness.
Hollister Brewing Company has been a favorite in Goleta’s Camino Real Marketplace since 2007. House beers are hoppy but balanced, with various IPAs and pale ales flowing from 15 taps.
Why not take some of the drinks you enjoy here home with you? Growlers of Hollister Brewing Company’s house-brewed beers are sold in half-gallon glass jugs. One of their slogans is “excellent beer comes in growlers.”
Hours: Open Daily 11:30am – 9pm
Address: 6980 Market Pl Dr, Goleta, CA 93117