Breweries of San Luis Obispo, CA
Updated: May 12
If you know me, you know my personal motto of "Catch Flights, Drink Flights", as it perfectly embodies my passion of traveling and trying new beer. I recently had the opportunity to live in California's Central Coast, and ohh, did I get to try new beer. California's Central Coast, usually known for their wine scene, also has some delectable beers. I didn't want to make this list too long, so I only included breweries from Solvang up to SLO. Cheers!
Libertine Brewing Company (SLO)
Pros: Sours galore. As well as saisons, barrel-aged stuff, and gosés. Amazing beers. Large food menu. Lots of indoor seating and some outdoor seating. Great selection of to-go beers and merch. Also sells coffee and bakery items in the morning! They offer wine as well as mixed drinks, and have a brunch every Sunday. Large selection of guest taps as well. Right in downtown SLO.
Cons: Limited selection of IPAs and other beers that aren't "sours".
Must try: Pacific Ocean Blue Gosé- brewed with Morro Bay salt water
Naughty Oak Brewing Company (Orcutt)
Pros: Decent beers, pretty good variety. Indoor and outdoor seating. Rotating food trucks. Trivia nights and such. A few unique beers on tap that rotate. Cool merch. Also have nitro cold brew coffee on tap! Good vibes, great local place to just chill.
Cons: Beers are decent, but not amazing or anything. Small selection.
Must try: Staycation - Mango blond
Pismo Brewing Company (Pismo)
Pros: Near the beach and right in downtown Pismo. Decent food menu. Indoor and outdoor seating. Old fashioned root beer on tap.
Cons: Pretty small. Only 6 beers on tap, and they're all average tasting. Street parking.
Must try: Roadside Red Ale
Manrock Brewing Company (Grover Beach)
Pros: Great wood-fired pizza. Really nice outdoor seating area. Large selection of beers on tap, and they're actually pretty good. Family owned and operated.
Cons: Limited selection of non-IPA beers.
Must try: Sea Foam P.O.G - Berliner Weisse
Oak and Otter Brewing Company (SLO)
Pros: Great beer. Really large variety, including lots of IPAs, porters, stouts, ambers, and wheat beers. Very nice indoor and outdoor seating. They do have a food menu. Great vibes.
Cons: Food menu is pretty small. Street parking.
Must try: Kölsch and ESB
Bang the Drum Brewery (SLO)
Pros: Really good beer. Amazing vibes. The place is huge, with tons of indoor and outdoor seating. Live music sometimes. Great menu, with homemade pot pies. They also sell coffee and bakery items that are made on site. Trivia nights, open jam nights. In addition to beer, they also serve wine, cider, hot spiked cider, and they have a rotating guest tap as well. Dog friendly, and free wifi.
Cons: None. This is my favorite brewing in the whole area.
Must try: Das Weiss - German Hefeweizen & Honey Pot- Honey blond
There Does Not Exist (SLO)
Pros: Good beer. They host cool events sometimes, such as The Make Shift Muse (local vendor market). Rotating food trucks. Indoor and outdoor seating. Unique glassware.
Cons: Bartenders can be kind of dicks and their entire Instagram is in black and white so you can't see the color of the beer and that annoys me. (Update- looks like they decided to put some color on their Instagram! Thanks guys.)
Must try: Transit of the Binary Star - Saison
Solvang Brewing Company (Solvang)
Pros: In downtown Solvang, an adorable Danish city. Large food menu (and actually tastes good). Lots of indoor and outdoor seating. Good vibes, and a variety of events throughout the year.
Cons: Beer is kind of lacking, in both taste and variety. Can get crowded.
Must try: Raspberry Wheat
BarrelHouse Brewing-Taproom and Speakeasy (SLO)
Pros: Great beer. Cool little taproom, hidden away down a side street. Indoor and outdoor seating. Right in downtown SLO. Large selection of beers to choice from. TVs usually with some sporting event on it. They also have different table games available to play while you're drinking. Lots of cool merch. Side note: BarrelHouse has a few taprooms around California, and this is not their main brewery.
Cons: No food. Can get crowded. Street parking in downtown.
Must try: Strawberry Daze - Fruited Blonde Ale
Humdinger Brewing (Arroyo Grande)
Pros: Decent beer. Good selection. Indoor and outdoor seating. Pretty decent food menu, with some unique bites. Very clean. Right in downtown Arroyo Grande. Gorgeous murals on the walls here.
Cons: Street parking. Could use more variety of beers.
Must try: Humdinger Loatus - American Lager
SLO Brew Rock (SLO)
Pros: Really cool spot, good vibes. Decent beer. Good food with large menu. Outdoor games. Live music sometimes. Huge variety of beers to go. Hosts lots of different events, such as a huge Okterberfest in October as well as events such as The Make Shift Muse (local vendor market). Tons of merch and beer to-go on site.
Cons: Can get crowded. Honestly, I'm not a huge fan of their beer.
Must try: Stein Slammer - German Lager
Central Coast Brewing (SLO)
Pros: Cool spot. Good beer, good variety. Really nice outdoor seating, with a side patio shaded by trees. Close to downtown SLO.
Cons: Street parking, no food as far as I know. At least at their downtown SLO taproom.
Must try: Raspberry Sunrise - Imperial Kettle Sour
Liquid Gravity Brewing Company (SLO)
Pros: Really cool spot, great vibes. Pretty good beers, good variety. Indoor and outdoor seating. Outdoor seating has fire pits for winter. Live music sometimes. Usually some sort of food truck available. Family owned brewery.
Cons: Could use more variety of beers.
Must try: Goffbrau - Hefeweizen
Interested in seeing more beer and breweries that I go to? Follow my beer Instagram @suckerforsaisons. I take special interest in all beers that aren't IPAs, such as wheat beers, saisons, sours, gosés, pilsners, hefeweizens, etc. IPAs are okay too I guess though.