14 Best Breweries in Santa Cruz and Taprooms

categories: Central Coast

There are several reasons why beer lovers might want to visit Santa Cruz, California and in Santa Cruz County:

  1. Variety: Santa Cruz has a thriving craft beer scene, with a number of breweries and taprooms offering a wide range of styles and flavors.
  2. Quality: The breweries in Santa Cruz are known for producing high-quality, innovative beers. Many of them use locally-sourced ingredients and traditional brewing techniques to create unique, tasty brews.
  3. Community: The craft beer community in Santa Cruz is strong and supportive, with many breweries hosting events and collaborations with other local businesses and charities.
  4. Location: Santa Cruz is located in the heart of California’s central coast, making it a great destination for a road trip in general. 

Overall, Santa Cruz is a great destination for beer lovers who are looking to try new, interesting beers and experience the local craft beer scene. Here are some of our favorite Santa Cruz breweries, brew pubs, and taprooms as well as ones nearby Santa Cruz.

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Santa Cruz Breweries and Taprooms

Humble Sea Brewing Company

Humble Sea Brewing Company

Humble Sea Brewing Company is a craft brewery located in Santa Cruz, California. Founded in 2015 by three childhood friends, Humble Sea is dedicated to crafting unique, innovative beers and creating approachable experiences for every person on the planet. The brewery is known for its commitment to social and environmental causes and has raised thousands of dollars and awareness for local groups and non-profits.

Humble Sea’s beers are designed to be “a vehicle for change,” and the brewery is obsessed with creating the “best beery liquid known to humankind”. Humble Sea values “kooky, humble, innovative, righteous, and accepting attitudes”. The kooky is the most obvious in their bright and colorful design sense. They make a variety of beers but I need to give a nod to their stouts as that was one of the favorites when I visited with a group of friends.

Humble Sea Brewing Company

The brewery has a taproom on the Westside of Santa Cruz, and also offers beer box subscriptions and private events. In addition to its beer offerings, Humble Sea also has food available featuring empanadas and food trucks. 

Humble Sea is just across the Monterey Bay Sanctuary Scenic Trail from the Swift Street Courtyard which includes Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing, West End Tap and Kitchen, and Private Press Brewing as well as a number of restaurants. This west side of Santa Cruz was made for beer lovers.

Humble Sea Brewing Company
820 Swift St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060

 

Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing

Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing, located in the Swift Street Courtyard, is known for its sustainable brewing practices and use of locally sourced ingredients. They offer a variety of beers and have a taproom where you can try their beers and purchase growlers to go.

Saturday-Thursday 12-10 pm
Friday 12-9 pm

Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing

402 Ingalls Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Private Press Brewing

Private Press Brewing is a craft brewery located in Swift Street Courtyard, founded in 2015 by the owner and head brewer Ryan Aikens. The brewery focuses exclusively on imperial stouts and barleywines. Private Press Brewing is open to members only and is currently not taking new members. 

Private Press Brewing
332 Ingalls St. Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Lupulo Craft Beer House

Lupulo Craft Beer House is located in downtown Santa Cruz about a block off Pacific Ave. Lupulo has a collection of bottled beers as well as 18 beers on tap including IPAs, sours, dark and light ales, and at least one cider. 

The menu features dishes inspired by Spanish tapas bars and Belgian beer cafés, using fresh, seasonal, and local ingredients. The dishes are meant to be enjoyed alone or shared with friends. They have some tasty vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options because… this is Santa Cruz.

Lupulo can be a great stop before a night out as there are many restaurants in the area as well as Lupulo’s own in-house menu. We enjoyed grilled cheese and a torta, but we also love other options in the area like Hulas which is 2 doors away, or Pizza My Heart on Pacific Ave.

Sunday – Thursday 11:30 – 9:00 pm
Friday – Saturday 11:30 – 10:00 pm

Lupulo Craft Beer House
233 Cathcart St. Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Greater Purpose Brewing Company

Greater Purpose Brewing Company is a craft brewery focused on producing high-quality, innovative beers using locally-sourced ingredients whenever possible. Greater Purpose is known for its commitment to sustainability, with a focus on reducing waste and using eco-friendly practices in the brewing process.

In addition to its delicious beers, Greater Purpose is also known for its community-focused atmosphere. It started as a project of Greater Purpose Community Church. The brewery hosts events and collaborations with other local businesses and is a popular destination for people looking to socialize and enjoy a refreshing brew.

Greater Purpose Brewing Company has a wide range of beer styles on offer, from hoppy IPAs to smooth stouts, and is always experimenting with new flavors and techniques. Greater Purpose Brewing Company has an active events calendar including bingo, trivia nights, comedians, dog adoption events, and LGBTQ+ events. They offer no food menu but host food trucks on some weekends.

Monday 4 pm – 9 pm
Tuesday 4 pm – 10 pm
Wednesday 4 pm – 9 pm
Thursday 4 pm – 10 pm
Friday 12 pm – 10 pm
Saturday 12 pm – 10 pm
Sunday 11 am – 9 pm

Greater Purpose Brewing Company
21517 East Cliff Drive

New Bohemia Brewing Company

New Bohemia Brewing Company is a craft brewery inspired by the region of Bohemia in the Czech Republic, where a beer culture and tradition that dates back a thousand years has played a role in shaping modern brewing practices. New Bohemia sources its house yeast from Ceske Budejovice (the original Budweiser), in the heart of Bohemia, to create crisp yet rich flavors in its lagers.

New Bohemia’s beers are inspired by centuries of beer culture but are singular to the unique time and place of Santa Cruz. The brewery focuses on crafting craft lagers and other traditional European styles and aims to blend traditional and modern approaches to brewing. In addition to its beer offerings, New Bohemia also has a food menu and a welcoming atmosphere in its LEED Gold brewery and taproom, which is located in the Pleasure Point neighborhood on the east side of Santa Cruz and is just a few blocks from the beach. The taproom is a popular community gathering spot, with a beer garden and outdoor seating available.

Monday – Thursday: 4–9 pm
Friday – Sunday: 12–9 pm

New Bohemia Brewing Company
1030 41st Avenue, Santa Cruz, CA

 

Sante Adairius Rustic Ales

Sante Adairius Rustic Ales (SARA) is a craft brewery with locations in both Santa Cruz and Capitola (and Oakland). Founded by Adair Paterno and Tim Clifford, Sante Adairius takes inspiration from the Belgian tradition and produces barrel-aged beers in wine barrels.

At SARA, the focus is on producing beers that are memorable and bring people together.

When I last visited the beers included IPAs, stouts, and saisons. A saison is a type of beer that originated in the French-speaking region of Belgium. It is a pale, highly carbonated beer that is traditionally brewed in the cooler months and served during the warmer months. Saison beers are typically light in body and have a dry finish, with a complex flavor profile that includes spicy, fruity, and earthy notes.

Sante Adairius Rustic Ales

Sante Adairius Rustic Ales

Santa Cruz hours

Sunday – Thursday  12–9 pm
Friday – Saturday 12–10 pm

1315 Water Street Santa Cruz, CA 95062

Sante Adairius Rustic Ales

Capitola hours

Monday Closed
Tuesday – Thursday  2–8 pm
Friday – Saturday noon–8 pm
Sunday noon– 7 pm

103 Kennedy Drive Capitola, CA 95010

Woodhouse Blending & Brewing

Woodhouse Blending & Brewing is a craft brewery founded by Mike Rodriguez, Tyler Johansen, William Moxham, and Ken Kieffer, who are dedicated to producing high-quality, inspired beers that will appeal to enthusiasts and aficionados. The brewery focuses on both classic beer styles and non-traditional, barrel-aged blends.

Mike Rodriguez is the head brewer at Woodhouse Blending & Brewing and has a long history in the brewing industry. He has worked at a number of well-respected breweries, including Boulevard Brewing Co., Port/The Lost Abbey, and Mason Ale Works, and has won numerous awards for his beers, including three Gold medals and four Silver medals at the Great American Beer Festival. 

Tyler Johansen is responsible for overseeing brewing production and business operations at Woodhouse Blending & Brewing. He has a background in accounting and is currently working as an HR and Recruiting specialist for Driscoll’s in Watsonville.

William Moxham is the sales and marketing strategist at Woodhouse Blending & Brewing and is responsible for creating and overseeing the brand, advertising campaigns, and atmosphere of the tasting room. He has a degree in graphic design and illustration and has worked as a freelance web and graphic designer, musician, visual artist, and photographer.

Ken Kieffer is a technology professional with over 20 years of experience, primarily in the telecom sector. He has a background in computer science and has worked at Sprint as a telecom design engineer.  He handles the company’s IT needs and takes on various other tasks. 

Tuesday – Thursday 1 – 9 pm
Friday 1 – 9:30 pm
Saturday 12 – 9:30 pm
Sunday 12 – 7 pm

Woodhouse Blending & Brewing

119 Madrone St. Santa Cruz, CA. 95060

Scott’s Valley

Steel Bonnet Brewing Company

Steel Bonnet Brewing Company is a craft brewery located in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California. Founded in 2015 by husband & wife team, Donald & Susan Cramb, Steel Bonnet Brewing is dedicated to producing high-quality, small-batch craft beers using traditional brewing techniques and locally sourced ingredients.

The brewery’s taproom is located in the town of Scotts Valley, specializes in English, Scottish & American ales, and features a range of beers on tap, including IPAs, stouts, cream ales, and more. In addition to their regular rotating tap list, Steel Bonnet Brewing also offers a variety of seasonal and limited-edition beers throughout the year.

In addition to its beer offerings, Steel Bonnet Brewing also hosts a variety of events and activities at its taproom, including live music, food truck pop-ups, and one-off parties of all kinds. 

Steel Bonnet Brewing is known for its commitment to sustainability and community involvement. The brewery sources its ingredients locally whenever possible, and has implemented a number of environmentally-friendly practices, including the use of recycled materials in the taproom. The brewery is also involved in various charitable and community organizations, such as the Scotts Valley Education Foundation and the Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Cruz County, working to give back to the community in which it operates.

Monday – Thursday 3 pm – 9 pm
Friday 2 pm – 9 pm
Saturday – Sunday  12 pm – 9 pm

Steel Bonnet Brewing Company
20 Victor Square, Scotts Valley, CA 95066

Soquel

Beer Thirty Bottle Shop & Pour House

Beer Thirty Bottle Shop & Pour House is a popular destination for craft beer lovers. The shop offers a wide selection of beers from local breweries as well as national and international brands. Customers can purchase beer to take home or enjoy a cold one on-site at the pour house. The atmosphere is laid back and welcoming, making it a great spot to relax and unwind with friends. In addition to the extensive beer selection, Beer Thirty also serves a menu of pub-style food and features regular events such as trivia nights and live music. 

Beer Thirty Bottle Shop and Pour House

Beer Thirty Bottle Shop & Pour House is a popular destination for craft beer enthusiasts. The shop offers a wide selection of bottles and cans from breweries around the world, as well as a taproom with rotating draft beers.

One of the standout features of Beer Thirty is its welcoming atmosphere. The shop also frequently hosts events and tastings, giving customers the opportunity to try new and exciting brews.

In addition to the extensive selection of beers, Beer Thirty also offers a menu of pub-style food. From burgers and sandwiches to pizzas and wings, there’s something to satisfy every appetite. With a cozy and inviting atmosphere, Beer Thirty is the perfect spot to grab a drink and relax with friends.

Parking is very limited at Beer Thirty (9 spaces) with overflow parking at 2590 S Main Street.

Bottleshop and Taproom hours:
Friday – Saturday 11 am – 11 pm
Sunday – Thursday 11 am – 10 pm

Food from Carpo’s Window hours:
Monday – Friday: 5 pm – 9 pm
Saturday – Sunday: 12 pm – 9 pm

Beer Thirty Bottle Shop & Pour House
2504 S Main St, Soquel, CA 95073

 

Discretion Brewing

Discretion Brewing is a family-owned brewery located in Soquel, California. They are dedicated to producing handcrafted, exquisite beer using high-quality ingredients that are sustainably sourced to support sustainable farming. They also prioritize environmental sustainability, using solar power to brew their beer and reducing water usage. They have both indoor and outdoor seating. In addition to their taproom, they also offer delivery services in California.

Discretion hosts local festivals and fundraisers and is active in the community. They offer a variety of beers, with a focus on producing consistent, balanced, and flavorful beers. They also divert their spent grain to local farms, which helps to reduce landfill waste.

Discretion has 16 beers on tap available in 16-oz, 10-oz, or 3-oz pours. Beer Flight (choose six 3-oz pours) costs $11. Their beer menu includes IPA, stouts, pilsners, lagers, ales, and some funky beers like Pineapple Cruzerweisse.

Sunday-Wednesdays 12-8 pm 
Thursday-Saturday 12-9 pm

Discretion Brewing
2703 41st Ave. Ste A Soquel, California 95073

Watsonville

Beer Mule Bottle Shop + Pour House

Beer Mule is a popular craft beer bar located near the Watsonville Airport. The bar is known for its extensive selection of local and international craft beers with 40 rotating craft beer taps, as well as its lively atmosphere and friendly staff.

In addition to serving a wide variety of beers, Beer Mule also offers a menu of pub-style food, including burgers, salads, and nacho fries. There are also a few other restaurants in the same area including Aloha Hola Hawaiian Tacos, Zameen at the Hanger (Falafels and Gyros), and Mr Z’s Crêpes & Teas.

Visitors to Beer Mule can choose to sit at the bar or grab a table in the spacious and rustic-chic interior or enjoy their beers on the outdoor patio. Whether you’re a beer aficionado or just looking for a fun place to hang out, Beer Mule is a great spot to visit in the area. 

Beer Mule Bottle Shop + Pour House - Watsonville

Taproom + Bottleshop hours:

Daily 11 am – 10 pm

Kitchen hours:

Sunday-Thursday 11 am – 9 pm 
Friday-Saturday 11 am – 10 pm 

45 Aviation Way, Watsonville, CA 95076

Fruition Brewing

Fruition is dedicated to producing high-quality, balanced beers using local and sustainable ingredients. The brewery’s 10-barrel system is built using repurposed wine and dairy tanks, as well as a custom-built direct-fire kettle, and the team sources ingredients from a variety of local farms and businesses.

In addition to the brewing facilities, Fruition also has a tasting room, partner kitchen (Hindsight Cafe), and dog-friendly patio, all located in the East Lake Village shopping center in Watsonville. The tasting room is family-friendly and provides a welcoming atmosphere for people to come together and enjoy fresh beer and food.

Fruition Brewing was founded by David Purgason and Tallula Preston, who met through mutual friends at Seven Bridges Organic Brewing Supply and shared a love of beer and a desire to create a community gathering space. It is great to see that Fruition is supporting local farmers and businesses by sourcing ingredients from a variety of local farms and using spent grain to feed the herd at Garden Variety Cheese.

Wednesday – Thursday 3 – 9 pm
Friday – Saturday 12 – 10 pm
Sunday 12 – 8 pm

Food hours:

Wednesday – Thursday 3 – 9 pm
Friday – Saturday 12 – 9 pm
Sunday  12 – 8 pm

Fruition Brewing
918 E Lake Ave. Watsonville, CA

Corralitos Brewing Company

Corralitos Brewing Company in Santa Cruz serves up some of the best craft beer in the area. Whether you prefer lagers or ales, Corralitos has a variety of beers available on tap or in bottles. Corralitos is known for its expansive tasting room where guests can sample dozens of continental and interesting rotating seasonals and specialties. If one’s appetite calls, Corralitos offers popular pub food options as a companion to their wide selection of craft breweries, ciders, and kombuchas from across the state. Corralitos Brewing Company is truly a unique experience; it’s an excellent place to visit for anyone looking for something new and exciting to enjoy.

Corralitos Brewing Company is a craft brewery located in the small town of Corralitos, California. Founded in 2012 by a group of friends who shared a passion for brewing and the local community, the brewery has quickly become a popular destination for beer lovers in the area.

At Corralitos Brewing Company, the focus is on producing high-quality, innovative beers using locally sourced ingredients. The brewery’s taproom is a welcoming space where visitors can sample a wide range of beers, including hoppy IPAs, refreshing lagers, and rich stouts. In addition to their core lineup, the brewery also releases a number of limited edition and seasonal beers throughout the year.

In addition to their commitment to crafting delicious beers, Corralitos Brewing Company is also dedicated to being a positive force in the community. The brewery frequently hosts events and fundraisers for local organizations and works with local farms to source ingredients for their beers. Whether you’re a fan of craft beer or just looking for a fun place to spend an afternoon, Corralitos Brewing Company is definitely worth a visit.

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Chris Christensen

by Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen is the creator of the Amateur Traveler blog and podcast. He has been a travel creator since 2005 and has won numerous awards including being named the "Best Independent Travel Journalist" by Travel+Leisure Magazine. He move to California in 1964.

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