Known for its pristine beaches and laid-back environment, Santa Cruz is also home to several breweries that helped shape its craft beer scene. Here, you can find distinct beer styles, from innovative American brews to traditional European ales. So, hop on and come with us as we explore the seven best breweries you can find in Santa Cruz, California!
1. Humble Sea Brewing Company
Humble Sea is a Santa Cruz favorite, serving delicious craft beers in a fun and friendly environment. It was founded in 2015 by three childhood friends with the mission of crafting approachable and drinkable beers for everyone. They believe everyone should share great beers in a humble and welcoming place.
Furthermore, the team behind Humble Sea calls themselves kooks, which relates to their enthusiastic and dynamic personalities. They even named their club the Kooks Club, which has an annual registration and offers members tons of benefits.
- Crowd Favorite: Socks & Sandals. A medium-bodied and hazy IPA with 6.6% ABV.
- Highly Recommended: Juice Bag
- Hop-py Note: Serves food. Offers takeout and delivery. Sells merchandise.
- Fun Fact: Humble Sea offers four different beer box packages that are available for delivery and shipping all around California.
Hours: Open Daily 11am-9pm
Address: 820 Swift St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
2. Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing
If you fancy organic beers, make your way to Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing. This brewery is a top-notch destination in the Westside neighborhood of Santa Cruz for craft beer lovers who wants to try something new and organic.
The reason behind Santa Cruz Mountain’s organic concept is because of the owner’s honor and respect for the city of Cruz, which is known as a National Marine Sanctuary. The brewery makes sure that all of its brews are made with 100% organic ingredients. That is why they partner with farms like Hops Meister and Roy Farms, which only produce quality organic hops and malts varieties.
- Crowd Favorite: Pacific IPA. A robust West Coast style IPA with 7.7% ABV.
- Highly Recommended: Amber Ale
- Hop-py Note: Frequent events. Dog and kid-friendly. Offers flights.
- Fun Fact: You can book a tour at Santa Cruz Mountain, where you can personally see the ins and outs of its production facility.
Hours: Open Sat-Thur 12pm-10pm, Fri 12pm-9pm
3. Woodhouse Blending & Brewing
Woodhouse is a brewery in Santa Cruz that is founded by four totally different guys who share the same love for beer. One of its founders, Mike Rodriguez, is an exceptional brewer with years of expertise in the field. He has gained a number of awards and has been recognized in multiple competitions because of his outstanding skills.
Mike has been the head brewer of Woodhouse since day one and has been actively crafting all of the brewery’s beer. With his guide, Woodhouse excels in crafting classic beers and barrel-aged blends as well as innovative, non-traditional brews.
- Crowd Favorite: Woodhouse Blending & Brewing. A hoppy and hazy IPA with 6.2% ABV.
- Highly Recommended: Irregardless Hazy IPA
- Hop-py Note: Serves in-house food items. Occasional events. Offers takeout.
- Fun Fact: Mike has earned 13 medals from the Great American Beer Festival for his brews.
Hours: Open Tue-Thur 1pm-9pm, Fri 1pm-9:30pm, Sat 12pm-9:30pm, Sun 12pm-7pm
Address: 119 Madrone St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
4. Shanty Shack Brewing
Visiting Shanty Shack is like entering a cozy and relaxing room because of its laid-back vibe. It has a friendly taproom that features 14 original beers and barrel-aged sours. Shanty Shack also has an in-house kitchen that serves fresh dishes made with locally sourced ingredients. Additionally, there are rotating food trucks outside for a wider food selection.
Shanty Shack always makes sure that its draft list is ever-rotating and offers flights so every customer can have a unique experience whenever they visit. Moreover, you can also get a Shanty Shack beer for to-go orders in packs of cans and bottles.
- Crowd Favorite: Train Hopping. A well-balanced hazy IPA with 6.5% ABV.
- Highly Recommended: Razzmanian Devil
- Hop-py Note: Live music. Indoor and outdoor seating. Vegetarian and vegan options.
- Fun Fact: Shanty Shack has a Tie-Dye Tuesday where you can get $1 off for all its beer if you come wearing a tie-dye shirt.
Hours: Open Mon-Thur 12pm-9pm, Fri 12pm-10pm, Sat 11am-10pm, Sun 11am-9pm
Address: 138 Fern St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
5. Sante Adairius – The Portal
Sante Adairius is a microbrewery in Capitola that made its way to Santa Cruz and Oakland. The Portal, its Santa Cruz location, is actively serving the locals its signature beers along with several wines, ciders, and non-alcoholic beverages. Its taproom is spacious, great for large groups, and has an industrial and rustic vibe with its high ceiling and wooden tables.
The Portal also boasts a casual and dog-friendly outdoor patio, perfect for drinking during good weather. Finally, The Portal partners with several restaurants and kitchens to serve you an expansive food menu so you don’t run out of choices whenever you visit.
- Crowd Favorite: Saison Bernice. A dry and refreshing farmhouse ale with 6.5% ABV.
- Highly Recommended: West Ashley
- Hop-py Note: Sells merchandise. Monthly events. Offers takeout and delivery.
- Fun Fact: Sante Adairius has an invitation-only club called SARA’s Cellar, where members have the privilege to enjoy exclusive and limited unique beers.
Hours: Open Sun-Thur 12pm-9pm, Fri & Sat 12pm-10pm
Address: 1315 Water St, Santa Cruz, CA 95062
6. New Bohemia Brewing Co.
Opened in 2015, New Bohemia is a brewery in the Pleasure Point neighborhood the locals adore. It is owned by Mike and Dan, who both shares the same vision about brewing Czech-style beers. They are passionate about bringing classic and traditional beer styles from the region of Bohemia, the birthplace of Pilsner, to the United States.
Although New Bohemia specializes in traditional and experimental lagers, you can still find a variety of beers, such as IPAs and porters, on its draft list. You can also find beer-friendly items on its food menu that will definitely amplify your drinking experience.
- Crowd Favorite: Highway To Hefe. A traditional unfiltered Bavarian Hefeweizen with 5.2% ABV.
- Highly Recommended: Velvet Revolution
- Hop-py Note: Gift cards. Sells merchandise. Wheelchair accessible.
- Fun Fact: Mike, the co-founder of New Bohemia, was a former Peace Corps Volunteer in Slovakia, where he learned about Czech beer and its culture.
Hours: Open Mon-Thur 4pm-9pm, Fri-Sun 12pm-9pm
Address: 1030 41st Ave, Santa Cruz, CA 95062
7. Greater Purpose Brewing Company
Wanna feel the outdoors while drinking delicious craft beers? Greater Purpose Brewing boasts among the largest outdoor patios in Santa Cruz, giving people one of the best drinking experiences. The brewery even hosts weekly events like Trivia Tuesdays and Bingo Nights to keep the fun coming.
Greater Purpose’s taproom, just like its patio, is spacious and can accommodate large groups. It features a selection of its signature beers and several kombuchas and cream soda for non-beer options. You can also grab a fare at the food trucks parked outside, or you can order food from nearby restaurants and have it delivered to the brewery.
- Crowd Favorite: ‘Ello Poppet. A robust Double IPA with 7.5% ABV.
- Highly Recommended: Velma’s Hat Sour
- Hop-py Note: Dog-friendly. Private lot parking. Wheelchair accessible.
Hours: Open Mon 4pm-9pm, Tue 4pm-10pm, Wed 4pm-9pm, Thur 4pm-10pm, Fri & Sat 12pm-10pm, Sun 11am-9pm