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Santa Barbara Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Santa Barbara Brewing CompanySanta Barbara Brewing Company
Based on:
18 Beers
92 Ratings
Place Score: 80
Ratings: 40
Reviews: 30
rAvg: 3.39
pDev: n/a
Taps: --
Bottles: --
Beer-to-Go: N
[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery ]

501 State Street
Santa Barbara, California, 93101
United States
phone: (805) 730-1040

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

Place added by: BeerAdvocate

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Ratings: 40 | Reviews: 30
Reviews by TheMarkE:
Photo of TheMarkE
3.49/5  rDev +2.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3 | food: 4

Nice place, good food (I love the pizza), average beer. It's on the main drag, so you pay a premium for location.

Consider it a good restaurant/sports bar in a tourist town that happens to brew their own beer.

More User Reviews:
Photo of HobbNobber
3.55/5  rDev +4.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.25

Photo of jwolfe1311
4/5  rDev +18%

Sort of just looks like a bar and has a bar feel rather than brewery but beer is good.

Photo of JDFernandez
3.75/5  rDev +10.6%

Photo of WoostaBia
3.25/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of raulazzer
3/5  rDev -11.5%

Photo of CTaylorBrew
3.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of irishpride
3.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of timlyon
4/5  rDev +18%

Photo of bcgeiman
3/5  rDev -11.5%

Photo of CAcker
3.25/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of tgatort
3.75/5  rDev +10.6%

Photo of scottgs
1.89/5  rDev -44.2%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 1.5 | service: 1 | selection: 2.5

Awful.. I had the King Saaz Pilsner, and obviously the brew master doesn't know what the style is. The bartender told me it wasn't very hoppy. How funny. Pretty much a watered down IPA. I waited 30 minutes for the bartender to take my order as I choked down the beer. it never happened... and in the mean time someone sat next to me, ordered, and finished thier meal... my menu still sitting lonely in front of me.I cut my losses and just went somewhere good, just shown the street.

Photo of DesMoinesMike
3.78/5  rDev +11.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

Located on State St. with good parking options. Sat at one of the few window seats for some good people watching. The beer sampler had 5 of their concoctions, one was a messy pour that leaked on the table and floor. Ended up choosing the Gold Coast Wheat that was nice fruity wheat beer. We weren't very hungry so we picked the potato skins, which were 1/4 potatoes with sour cream, chives, and bacon that were tasty. The menu had some good looking options we were still full from the free breakfast at the hotel. It's a nice place with decent beer. If you want some intense beer, hit the Brewhouse on the other side of the highway.

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.35/5  rDev -1.2%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 3.5

Didn't go out of my way to visit this place based on the reviews but happened to stumble up it while looking for a place to have a beer after a concert.

Selection was decent but not great. There were about 8 or so offering on tap with another 2 form the menu tapped out. I had the stout, which was good and the IPA which was also good. Neither was anything to write home about though. The rest of the styles on the menu were fairly tame and I would have had trouble coming up with a 3rd style to try had we stayed longer.

Atmosphere was ok. Typical brewpub-like arrangement but nothing that sets it apart.

Service was extremely friendly although beer knowledge seemed average.

Photo of Offa
2.08/5  rDev -38.6%
vibe: 3 | quality: 1 | service: 2 | selection: 3

This is a very popular and busy place in the heart of downtown Santa Barbara on State St, but it seems all flash and no substance.

The location is great and the place itself is nice, an old building with big windows looking onto the attractive street, brick walls, nice bar, etc.

However, the beer is worse than subpar and is some of the worst beer I have had. The selection on its face seems good, a nice range, but the quality is incredibly bad, being bland, thin, almost utterly characterless and barely recognizable as beer from the smell or taste. I mean that literally and in all sincerity – the beers we had were almost wholly lacking in character and the stout had the taste and feel of tap water.

Our food experiences were limited since e basically got just some dessert, so I cannot really comment on that. Service was not horrid, and was better than the beer, but it was not good – somewhat abrupt, not rude but not friendly, and not overly efficient.

In the end, this seems a place for people to go and be loud, seem popular, and show off their “coolness” and it’s not a place to get even decent beer. The “vibe” as a result is more annoying than pleasant, giving one the feeling of being around people who only care about seeming cool and loudly partying rather than being comfortable and enjoying good food and drink.

The prices, though not bad compared to other places, are bad for the quality that you get in return for the money.

Photo of UCLABrewN84
2.65/5  rDev -21.8%
vibe: 2 | quality: 3 | service: 2 | selection: 3 | food: 3

Visited on 2/4/11.

Stopped in for dinner here. Feels like a run down BJ's in a way. Lots of seating but not very many patrons.

Beer: They had 5 of their house brews on tap along with 2 or 3 guest taps (Chimay was one of them but the menu didn't mention which one). I got the State Street Stout and my wife got the Old Town Nut Brown. Both were very average and after one beer I really didn't want to get any more.

Food: They have a pretty decent menu of foods again similar to BJ's: salads, burgers, wraps, etc. Our dinners were pretty good but nothing too fancy or memorable.

Overall, the beer was fairly cheap ($3.00 pints during happy hour) but not too impressive and the food was good but kind of pricey ($9.99 for a smallish buffalo chicken wrap).

Photo of Shumista
2.73/5  rDev -19.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 2.5 | service: 3 | selection: 2.5 | food: 2

During our road trip up the California coast we decided to stop in Santa Barbara for lunch and to check the downtown out. Saw the brewing company sign and immediately knew where we'd be having lunch.

Atmosphere is pretty cool, basic non-descript brewpub. Clean, local stuff on the walls, brew kettles in the back. The beer selection consisted of 6 or 7 of their beers on tap. Nothing really too exciting. I sampled a few and settled on the maibock. All that I tried were pretty mediocre, the maibock was a little better than the rest.

The menu was what you would expect. I don't remember a ton about it except that it wasn't interesting or exciting. I got a cheeseburger and my girlfriend got a citrus chicken dish. That really says it all, it was about as forgettable as it sounds. Nothing bad or offensive, but a fairly poor effort. Our service was friendly but no one in the brewpub seemed to enthusiastic about beer, food, or what they were doing.

Mediocre beer, unenthusiastic service, and unmemorable food made for an experience I'm not really looking to try again. Especially dissapointing because they were some other much better looking restaurants I saw as we walked up and down main street after lunch. My advice is to eat somewhere else and stop in here for a beer or two at the bar afterwards. Or just skip it all together and save your money.

Photo of nomomentwasted
3.35/5  rDev -1.2%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

Came here on the State Street outing Friday night, hoping to try some new brews. I went in hoping it'd be more of a brewery than a Rock Bottom-style restaurant first, brewery second, but it was more the former than the latter.

Atmosphere was more of a place to get some food before hitting the bars than a destination for the evening. Not a whole lot of beer drinking going on, and their beer list, while looking rather impressive in numbers, all seemed to be a little weak on flavor.

I had their flagship Santa Barbara Blonde and was disappointed in the lack of much complexity or taste, and had some of the Belgian and IPA on tap as well, and wasn't impressed by any of them. The food looked and smelled tasty, and service was good, albeit a little more on the "I just give you the beer and know one line about each of them" side and less on the "I actually drink beer and could give you a nudge in the right direction" side. Still, friendly and more than willing to get you some more beer.

In all, it wasn't great. But, it wasn't awful either. For a family-environment or a place to grab a few forgettable, yet relatively cheap, craft brews while watching a game, it's not bad. Just don't expect to be blown away.

2.94/5  rDev -13.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 2 | service: 4 | selection: 2.5

Sorely disappointed.

Going through the tasters all of the beer had this homogenized flavor, they all tasted the same. Very soda-ish, and lacking in flavor. They were also out of a red ale, and replaced it on my sampler with a pear cider. That's messed up, why do you hate me SBBC?

I went here twice before taking the trip to Hollister Brewing, where I found refuge in the bosom of a brewery who respects their customers.

Decor was nice, I really liked the copper bar. One thing that irked me was the overwhelming stench of ammonia, or some disinfectant close to the fermenters. Absolutely nauseating.

Photo of getkrunkhoe
4.03/5  rDev +18.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

I was impressed when I walked in, nice mixed crowd, interesting setup of the tanks.
Tun and kettle upstairs while fermenters/serving vessels downstairs.

I got greeted as soon as I sat down, menus right in front of me. I ordered their "egg hots" which were probably the best and unique chile poppers. Green chiles with cheddar, red chiles with cream cheese on the same platter.

The beer selection was a generous amount, the beers were hit and miss but the one brew that stood out was their incredible Honey Porter.

they have a nice IPA, Brown was decent, very nice belgian pale, and their pumpkin was a nice treat.

Their SB fish n chips were really great.

Photo of barleywinefiend
3.23/5  rDev -4.7%
vibe: 3 | quality: 2 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Nice place, not so good beer. We went in on a Sat afternoon and there was maybe 10 people inside. She was very nice and accomadating. The bar is a nice size and I liked it. Plenty of seating and a nice feel to the place. I here that it gets crazy when the UCSB crowd comes in on weekends, later night. They have a good scotch selection. No food here but sampled all of the beers here. Overall, my second favorite place but the beer was mediocre at best sadly. I would go back if in the area but not go out of my way to drink the beer here.

Photo of charlzm
2.73/5  rDev -19.5%
vibe: 3 | quality: 1.5 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

Visited in the afternoon of Monday, 2/18/08. Brass and wood decor dominate this brewpub (like untold countless others). Also just like hundreds of brewpubs, flat screen TVs are everywhere you look, showing different sports channels. Lots of smiling faces to be seen on the customers. The wait staff, while attractive and young, didn't seem especially interested in being there. There were nine of their own brews on tap, which would have been a great selection if even one of them had been any good. The food is better than the beer (another typical brewpub quality). If you want good beer, go about a half mile to The Brewhouse and skip this State Street spot.

Photo of Talisker
2.73/5  rDev -19.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 2 | service: 2.5 | selection: 3 | food: 3.5

I hate to write it, since Santa Barbara Brewing is so conveniently located, so pleasantly outfitted inside, and serves decent food - but for beer fans in Santa Barbara, this place is worth a miss.

I stopped in around noon on a Saturday. Not crowded. Had lunch at the bar. Bartender was nice, but knew nothing about the beers other than their names (said he was the night guy and had rarely met the brewer, who works in the early mornings). On paper the selection was broad - "blonde" cream ale, red ale, brown ale, pale ale, IPA, stout, winter warmer, and a cider. I ordered a sampler and spent a decent amount of time with each. But in reality it was nearly impossible to tell any of the beers apart by taste - no individual character at all, and only the faintest hints of their supposed style.

They've done a nice job integrating the equipment of a working brewery into the restaurant - not just behind a plexiglas wall or otherwise invisible, as at so many other brewpubs. And despite the high prices typical of Santa Barbara - $12 for a cheeseburger - the food tastes fine. But there are plenty of better places to eat on Santa Barbara's State Street, and the beer on this occasion sure didn't make Santa Barbara Brewing Company worth the time.

Photo of 86sportster883
3.25/5  rDev -4.1%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 2

Better in the Dark

Located right on what appeared to be the main drag in downtown Santa Barbara, the SBBC struck me more as a tourist party bar than a local’s hangout. I stopped in for a late lunch on a Thursday afternoon when there were few other customers. I ordered a sampler ($10) which included eight 3oz beers and one cider. The Pear Cider was surprisingly light and refreshing and may even cause me to reconsider my current aversion to ciders. The beers in the sampler included:

Harbor Light (Kolsch) - Although served ice cold this light still had a ton of taste and may be one of the better Kolsch beers that I've had,
Santa Barbara Blonde - A cream ale that I didn’t care for,
Gold Coast Wheat - Seemed a little watery,
Pacific Pale - Decent,
Oktoberfest - Very drinkable,
Cry Baby IPA – Solid, with an aggressive hop bitterness that's not overdone.
Nut Brown - Very good, probably my favorite of the group, and the
Honey Porter - Good

The SBBC is mainly just one large rectangular room with brewing equipment in the back. The bar is a decent size, and is sectioned off from the restaurant tables that occupy most of the room. About a dozen large flat screens line the walls. Large front windows let in a lot of light to an otherwise dingy dark wood and brick interior. From my seat at the bar the place appeared filthy. Everything, from the glass on the beer coolers to the 4 large serving tanks behind the bar, to the screen on the cash register, everything appeared to have a film of grime that was clearly visible in the bright afternoon light. Even the air was polluted, with bad 70's dance/pop music that is (e.g., We are Family), which seemed like an odd genre given the youth of the bartender and wait staff.

I ordered the Fish and Chips ($10.99) which came out supper quick, but wasn’t all that good. The cole slaw was nice and fresh, but the fries seemed like they had been sitting for a while and the fish tasted a little too fishy.

Not horrible, but I don’t see myself going back to the SBBC anytime soon.

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Santa Barbara Brewing Company in Santa Barbara, CA
80 out of 100 based on 40 ratings.