Leaving SF we drove down to Monterey; we had hoped to stop in Santa Cruz at Discretion Brewing but time wasn’t on our side as we wanted to make it to the famous aquarium in good time. Having coo-ed over the sea otters and seals in the harbour it was time to coo over some beer at Alvarado Street Brewery and Grill.

Seeing a queue snaking out of the door immediately made the place even more attractive to Simon; there’s nothing he likes more than somewhere he has to wait to get into. The beer selection was super as were the food options, veggie daughter was particularly pleased. To go with my crispy brussel sprouts and side of devilled eggs (#SoRetro) I had their two imperial stouts and their robust porter (in small pours!). All were absolutely excellent and I would be very happy to drink any of them again. Simon said the Mai Tai PA was the best IPA he’s had on the trip so far. This was such a great bar and restaurant I would recommend going out of your way to visit!

  • Tres Leches, brewed with Bottle Logic this decadent dessert stout includes condensed milk and vanilla
  • Faith No S’Mores, with graham crackers and marshmallow this is a campfire treat in a glass
  • Blackbeard’s Delight, a solid coffee-ish porter with a great mouthfeel and head

Still on small pours, I had the Iron Crown Brown American brown ale and a pour of one of their Yeast of Eden project beers Oodelallie, an oak-aged blackberry wheat beer. Very nice they were too, with the sour giving the Barrel Bros’ Snozberry at Mikkeller a run for its money.

Intending to head home, we stumbled out of Alvarado and spotted an old-fashioned tobacconist, Hellams, across the road. Intrigued, we popped in to see what they sold. Turned out they sold what you’d expect a tobacconist to sell but, more excitingly, they had a cigar bar at the rear of the shop. So we grabbed ourselves a cigarillo each, and a port, and played cards for a happy 45 minutes before heading in to our hotel’s brew pub, Peter B’s.

This was a bit of a revelation, and an indicator of how different the bar scene is across the pond; the phrase ‘hotel bar’ in the UK often means overpriced average drinks. So I wasn’t expecting a lot from Peter B’s. But it was brilliant! Brewed on site, barrels stacked in the corner, big range of beer (stout sold out, gah!), and punny names with our fave being Dankster’s Paradise. We had one each, plus a flight to share, and all were very good. Monterey: a great place for beer…

Flight:

  • Rock Me Imadeus, raspberry wheat
  • Another One Bites the Must, barrel aged sour
  • Helles What You Make It, German lager
  • Inclusion, amber ale
  • Three Mile Ryeland, Rye imperial