Hollister Brewing Co.
Ratings: 36 | Reviews: 29 | Display Reviews Only:
4.45/5 rDev +9.3%
This is my local brewpub (just across the freeway), and I've waited quite a while to review it. I stop every time proximity and finances allow it. The only places I have ever been that I would prefer to having 5 minutes from my house are Stone (because of the extraordinary guest taps) and Russian River (because of the sours/Belgians on tap). High praise. Quality 4.5
Atmosphere . . . it's in an upscale strip mall area; once inside it loses that feel. Multiple sports HDTVs (which can be a real positive or negative, depending) which are placed high, easily escaping from your line of vision if you so desire, often crowded and loud. Outside seating with those heat fan things. 4.0
Service is generally excellent, and it is increasingly hard to find a service person who does not know quite a lot about the beer. They don't take reservations, but I haven't had to wait more than 10 minutes. I have only once had snarky service. Often the owners/brewer deliver the beer, and are quite willing to converse about it. 4.0
The selection is fantastic. There are always at least 14 taps up, with a nitro, and often there are 16+. All are Hollister brews. Consistently they range from 3-4 beers in the 5% range to 3-4 7%+, with common and rare styles at either end and in between -- and often there are two different takes on the same style (IPAs, e.g.). There are always some very unique, risky beers, and the staples are always covered. 5.0
The food quality has taken a huge jump up over the last several months, with a new chef and multiple, often inventive daily specials. Mostly California cuisine, great salads, plenty of red meat, consistently good panini sandwiches and pizza for the folks who just want regular pub-style food. As a brewery, it's a 5, compared to restaurants at the same price, it's a 4.0 -> 4.5
$5 pints and $14 growlers. That's pretty much the going rate. The food can be expensive for a brewpub, but there are cheap options, and similar dishes at restaurants here and in the city (Santa Barbara) are similarly priced. $$
Really worth a stop if you're passing through.
11-22-2009 07:59:17 | More by jdouge
3.85/5 rDev -5.4%
This is a re-review from my first visit in early 2008. I must say that things have really gotten better.
Nice place. Atmosphere was like a regular restaraunt rather than a serious brewpub. Clients ranged in age. Guys at the bar were regulars. The beers range from average to very good. They make GREAT IPAs. The bartender Ryan is a nice guy, very social and always on it. However, do not expect any of the other servers to know much about beer. Selection was GREAT. Food was alright, standard pubgrub. A must stop!
Usual stop in here once a month with mixed reviews on service at the bar.
10-18-2009 02:17:25 | More by barleywinefiend
3.63/5 rDev -10.8%
This was the one stop we made on the way up to San Luis Obispo a few weeks back although we stopped at a bunch of different places on the way back, we pulled into a shopping center with a Costco, phone store, several places to eat, etc., weird area for a place like this to be in my opinion, atmosphere was a little bizarre too, place just seemed like a little bit nicer version of BJs, more food centric than beer, it was super clean and had a lot of people dining in, we were the only ones at the small bar, service was okay but would expect more from the bartender as we were the only ones he was really helping and he barely said a word the whole time, they had twelve different beers all made by themselves on tap and one of the offerings of cask too which was their Double IPA, I had three ten ounce beers while I was here including Pope IPA, Hip Hop DIPA, and their dreaded Irish Red which is one of the worst beers I have had in quite some time, wish I was hungry when we went here because the tacos a lot people seemed to be eating looked good, the beers were good, average, and bad from the three I tried, as was this place in general, it was just mediocre to me all the way around, might be because I expected a lot more after hearing so many great things but it is a good spot for the area it is in, I would stop back here in the future
09-15-2009 00:48:02 | More by Floydster
4.83/5 rDev +18.7%
Went into Hollister brewing on Friday July 3rd. Was pleasantly surprised to find a board listing 13 house beers. Among those were 5 varieties of Pale Ales(Belgian Country, APA, XPA, IPA, DIPA) which I used to make up most of my 6 taster flight. All 6 beers were solid with the Belgian Country, XPA,DIPA being real good, but the Pope IPA was my favorite so I opted for a pint of that after the tasters. The waitress was very friendly and noted her favorite was the dunkelweizen which I tried with the stout after eating and semi clearing the palate.
My wife and I both really enjoyed the burgers we got and the duck fat fries were good, but not noticebally different than regular fries. Overall really impressed and eager to go back.
07-05-2009 17:50:06 | More by rhertan
4.58/5 rDev +12.5%
Visited Hollister for the first time this afternoon (Sunday) on the way home from a camping trip where we also visited the Firestone Taproom.
I had been hearing about this place on BA for a while now and finally was qable to stop in with my wife. Initially we ordered 2 samplers I believe 6 beer samples for $7. Our bartender ended up going the extra mile and giving us a taster of all 14 I believe. My favorites were the Pope IPA, the Hip Hop DIPA, and their Anniversary dark IPA. We left with a growler of the Anniversary.
My wife enjoyed a "white pizza" while I helped her with the crust (I'm lactose intolerant and wasn't too hungry). I ordered a pint of the Pope IPA on cask which was very nice and shared that with my wife. And after that a I ordered a 10oz. Hip Hop DIPA.
We sat at the bar which was a great spot. We had a friendly bar tender who had a knowledge for their beer. It was also nice chatting with other friendly locals also sitting at the bar.
The growler was around $20 and I believe it will be $11 for refills. This is extremely reasonable.
The food looked to be reasonably priced and it looked like there were a couple of less expensive options in each section of the menu.
Beer was very reasonably priced.
Overall, it was a great experience and my wife and I enjoyed their beer and food. I will recommend this to other people and will return myself.
06-01-2009 00:51:26 | More by Bungletronics
4/5 rDev -1.7%
A good little spot just down the street from me. Where to start...
Well, the atmosphere inside the place is pretty nice despite its location in a strip mall. Classy, simple interior design with a lot of friendly locals. Not a lot of beer knowledge in the average patron here, but everyone is open to good beer.
The quality is pretty good. The beers here are hit or miss. I've had a couple great beers and a couple lousy ones, but almost always, they are above-average drinkable.
Service is good, in that you are generally greeted with a smile, and the waiters are willing and able to help you, but from a BA's perspective, there's a surprisingly small amount of beer knowledge coming from those serving it. Most waiters clearly just have the one sentence description memorized from the menu. Tonight I heard one waiter suggest one of their porters to a customer disappointed to see their Belgian Pale Ale missing from the menu, "because it is similarly dark."
The selection is fantastic. For such a small brewpub, they have a very nice selection of styles. Extreme beers, mild beers, Belgian, German and American styles. They aren't all gold-medal-worthy, but they sure as hell have something for everyone.
Food is consistently good, but not great. Overpriced.
The prices here are high on food (12 bucks for a sandwich??), good on beer. Monday nights, they have 3 dollar pints, and their happy hour holds some good deals as well. Normally 5 dollar pints and 3.25 10oz pours.
Growlers are expensive. 25 dollars for the initial fill and 22 for refills I believe.
Overall, I'm very glad this place is here, and love being surprised by their occasional great beer. Your bill will shoot up quickly if you get anything beyond beer, but you won't leave disappointed. A fine establishment.
05-05-2009 04:45:58 | More by photomike
4.66/5 rDev +14.5%
This is the best brewpub I have ever been to in my life. Thanks to BeerFly, I found this place looking for things to do on a 4 day bike tour of Santa Barbara. It was a short 20 minute bus ride Goleta.
My fiance and I did their entire 14 beer flight. I lost my tasting notes, I know, I suck. My recall of all the different styles and names are fuzzy as I left Hollister with about 7 beers under my belt. Riding my bike 100 yards back to the bus stop was an amazing adventure itself.
The few beers that stuck in my hop soaked head were the Banana Wheat beer (not usually a fan of fruit beers, but this was pretty damn tastey) and there was a double IPA that I drank 2 or 3 of. The name was Bowling something something. It was amazing.
So hazy. So much fun.
What I don't understand is why these guys don't start bottling this liquid magic. This beer deserves to be shared with the world.
Hollister, I love you.
04-23-2009 17:23:14 | More by QUERCUSAGRIFOLIA
4.35/5 rDev +6.9%
I can't believe that it's taken me this long to get around to reviewing Hollister, as I'v been probably a dozen times in the last nine months. The atmosphere is modern, bright, open, and clean. I like the set up, but I can see how it might feel a bit commercial and less homey than some wold like. Plenty of flat screens around, and if you sit on the rail in front of the bar, you have your pick of half a dozen. The beer is excellent. Ive yet to have a single one of probably over twenty that was off or bad. A few that I didn't particularly care for, but they were still clean and well made beers in their own right. If you love hops, this is a brewpub that you will fall in love with. There is always a DIPA, IPA, and at least two pale ales on tap at all times; all of them typically following the dryer, super hoppy west coast style. The selection is huge, with about 14-15 house beers on tap, and new beers come on every couple weeks. The service has always been good and quite friendly. I haven't had a server that knew too much about beer, but they can usually give you a decent description, and the bartenders always give me free samples when I'm curious about a new beer. The food is a bit pricey, but is also a bit fancier than normal. Everything that I've had has been good, but I usually just stick to a couple beers and maybe an appetizer. Value wise, house pints are 4.50 for normal, 5.00 for high-grav. Happy hour is good though, with three dollar pints, 2.25 10 ouncers, and ten dollar pitchers. They also do brewers choice nights, with 2.50 pints of a couple selections all night, and the beers are usually the more interesting ones that the masses don't drink as frequently, which is fine by me. In my opinion, Hollister is the best beer stop in the Santa Barbara area; much better that SB Brew Co and Downtown brew co, and pretty comparable in quality to The Brewhouse, though with a better selection and service. Basically, the spot to stop for beer if you are in town.
11-15-2008 22:13:36 | More by bulletrain76
4.28/5 rDev +5.2%
Hi BA. First time, long time (sorry, radio humor).
On a Saturday trip to Santa Barbara, we decided to land at Hollister (instead of Santa Barbara Brewing, since that's on State St. and it's Saturday in August - read: tourist haven).
Aside from a few patrons holding up the bar, the place had yet to fill up when we sat around 3:30pm. Very clean place all-around with an open floorplan. A plentiful outdoor table area as well. Several flat-screen TVs around the restaurant that are viewable from just about everywhere - inside, that is.
Started off with a 6-pack sampler (4 oz mini-pilsners - $6), Barman's choice. Notable here was the Hip Hop DIPA & Table 42 Red. I also enjoyed a pint of Kristalweiss afterward. My girlfriend had a sampler as well. She enjoyed the Passionfruit Wit & Orange Blossom Golden (hmm, think the bartender was profiling...?). She did request the Edward 40 Hands Malt Liquor; purely because of the name, but I don't blame her, it is a great name. While neither of us has a good palate for the malt brews, it wasn't terrible.
As for the food, I agree with fellow reviewers regarding the Duck Fat Fries. They were very enjoyable. Also on the table were the Steak Sandwich & the Wedge Salad. Both were good. The menu was a bit better looking than most. I did see a lot of "Upstate" Buffalo Wings exiting the kitchen, so imagine those receive good reviews as well.
By the way, by 6pm or so the place was more than half-full.
Overall, with the extensive beer menu & the delicious grub, you almost forget the place is located in a typical outdoor California mall.
[edited for grammar]
08-17-2008 19:48:12 | More by ILikeGoodCider
4.25/5 rDev +4.4%
Visited at lunchtime on Sunday, 05/25/08.
Tucked away in one of those ubiquitous Southern California outdoor shopping centers, Hollister is a stone and glass oasis of beer in the midst of a bunch of chain restaurants (Chili's, for example).
Parking is ample and not a problem, though manuevering around the farmers' market in the parking lot was.
The staff was friendly and knowledgable about beer; our waitress told us they had to take classes! The bartender was also personable and helpful.
Our food was above average; I had their artisan version of a BLT and found it tasty. Their duck fat fries were a bit of a letdown, though, as they were only single-fried and, to my palate, tasted no different than standard fries.
There were no less than 14 house beers on tap that day! Wow! While I didn't love of any of them, I also didn't hate any of them, either. Well, maybe the malt liquor. Anyway, that didn't stop a steady stream of growler fills at the bar during my visit.
Lunch for four and two 6 beer tasters came to about a hundred bucks. This seems about right for the level of food and service.
I peeked into the brewery that was behind a glass wall; it seemed mighty small for such a large number of brews. I noticed a bourbon barrel, marked as filled four days before my visit. I asked the bartender what was in it. She told me it was a Russian imperial stout, but that it was probably going to a festival or judging and would not be available to the public. What?!?
Anyway, I gather that the brain behind the beer here was once the brewer at Santa Barbara Brewing Company. That would explain some of the duplicate beers at Hollister (White Star XPA, for one) and the wide variety. Sadly, SBBC has really gone downhill of late; looks like it might be due to the loss of this guy.
If I lived anywhere near the Santa Barbara area, this would probably be a regular stop due to the decent food and service, nice physical space and rotating tap list. Looks like the brewer keeps tinkering with his recipes, too, as everything I had was marked with a higher ABV than than the older reviews indicate.
Hooray for beer! (Red Stripe's got a great slogan)
05-27-2008 03:26:33 | More by charlzm
Hollister Brewing Co. in Goleta, CA
91 out of 100 based on 36 ratings.