Union Ale Brewing Company

Union Ale Brewing CompanyUnion Ale Brewing Company
Union Ale Brewing CompanyUnion Ale Brewing Company
Bar, Eatery

214 State St
Santa Barbara, California, 93101-3834
United States

(805) 845-8243 | map

View: Place Reviews | Events
Reviews: 6 | Ratings: 11
Photo of TheMarkE
3.85/5  rDev -3%
vibe: 3.25 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25 | food: 3.5

Good place, a cross between yuppie hangout and sports bar. Food is always good and they have one of the best selections of beer in town. Service is very good, the bartenders know their beer.

They used to brew their own, now the house brands are brewed by Firestone Walker and are probably the best deal on the menu.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.78/5  rDev -4.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

This is an interesting place that tries to play the fine line between a beer bar and a bar that the average Joe would go to as well. The place is pretty big and has the typical college bar atmosphere. On tap there seemed to be about 15-20 beers, about half of which were their own beers (not sure why I don't see any rating on BA for them?) and the other half were a decent but not spectacular assortment of other craft beers (DFH90, Mirror Pond, FW Summer, etc.) as well as a couple of "others" such as Rolling Rock.

Prices were high. The DFH90 was $9 a pint! I decided to try one of their brews and had a Bust a Nut Brown, which is quite tasty but a tad overpriced at $6.50 for the pint.

Had some food, which was also good. Service was friendly and knowledgeable and offered us tasters of anything we wanted to consider getting a pint of.

Given the complete lack of craft beer in SB, this might be the place to go.

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Photo of CHSLBrew
3.5/5  rDev -11.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 2 | selection: 4 | food: 4

A nice sports-bar-type establishment we ate dinner at while on vacation. We were able to watch the Vikings-Saints game while in California, which was nice.

Union Ale has a handfull of their house beers on tap (which were a couple bucks cheaper), in addition to a healthy spread of other largely Califoria taps. While I didn't pay much attention to it, the bottle list also appeared adequate. We stuck with the Union Pale Ale while we were there, and I was quite pleased with the easy, refreshing flavors of this beer. I'd definitely go for their house beers when you're there, especially considering the cost difference.

We shared a delicious pizza for dinner, while others in our party had some varios pizzas and appetizers. Everything I tried was very good, and the price seemed to be more moderate than some other places I stopped in CA.

One thing I didn't care for was the establishment's ordering method, which required patrons to get in line at the bar and order, then bring the beer or a numbered cone (for food orders) back to your table. So, no real wait service, which is a bit annoying. And yet, the staff working the bar were pleasant, so they've got that going for them. Maybe this wasn't their typical M.O.

Even so, I'd certaily recommend stopping into this place if your in Santa Barbara.

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Photo of DigitalEye
3.8/5  rDev -4.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

I'm a fan of Union Ale and have been here numerous times. they've got a nice selection of bottled beers but be careful as the prices can really get steep for some selections. They usually have a few guest taps and a standard line up of journeyman house beers which I believe are brewed for them by Firestone-Walker. I've never had a bad meal here and love that you can essentially assemble your own burger/sandwich. The pizzas I've had have been excellent and fairly creative as well. The service has always been a weak spot for Union Ale and after several months of horrible complaints ( I seemed like they hired an entire service staff that had no previous wait/service experience) they shut off the front end went to an "order at the bar" format. They still bring your food when its ready though. I encountered this arrangement a lot in Australia and it seems to work well there so not such a big deal.

Union can get packed on weekends and some nights as its bit of a trendy spot for the under 30 set but don't let that turn you off, its a nice counterpoint to the Brewhouse in many respects.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
4/5  rDev +0.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

Stopped in here on a Saturday w/ wife and friends and was surprised from the moment we walked in. Patio type area to the left walking in and the you immediately walk into the bar area w/ bar being on the left wall. Quality was good as beers and all was good. Selection was mixed for draft: They had 5 house brew and GF Double Stout, Laginatas and Scrimshaw Pils, Shipyard XXXX IPA, Beerguy IPA, Rogue Dead guy and Hazlenut Brown, Telegraph White Ale. Food was pretty killer for a beer bar. We were all impressed with the burgers. $12 burger was ahhh pricey but it was big and very good.

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Photo of DousedInStout
4.3/5  rDev +8.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

Passing through Santa Barbara, and this seemed like the most promising beer bar to stop in (via their website). It ended up being a very solid establishment.

There is a front bar, that you see from the street, but seems to open only when the place gets crowded. The back bar has more taps, and that is where we sat. The interior is mostly wood with a modern feel, with some large flat screens and plenty of tables. There's no table service though, so you have to order beer and food at the counter (this was not as problematic as it seems). We were there just for beer, so I don't know how the food is.

On tap, they had 5 of their house ales - a pale, ipa, wheat, amber, and maybe a gold? Either way, while this place is called "Union Ale Brewing Co", their house beer is all made at Firestone Walker, so the quality is very high. As for guest taps, here is what I remember: Telegraph Porter, Anderson Valley Oatmeal Stout, FW Union Jack, FW Velvet Merkin, FW Double Barrel, SN Celebration, Lost Coast White, Beer Guy IPA, Sea Dog Blueberry, North Coast Scrimshaw, Green Flash Barleywine, Rogue Hazelnut Brown, and several more. The taps were heavily CA influenced, which I appreciated, being from out of state. There weren't too many rarities, per se, but all solid selections.

The bartender was awesome - very friendly, knowledgeable, patient and willing to let us sample the beer before we bought a pint of it. The bar got crowded as we were leaving, and it seems like a lively spot (we were there on a Monday night, too). Overall, I'd definitely recommend it to any BA traveling through the area.

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Union Ale Brewing Company in Santa Barbara, CA
Place rating: 3.97 out of 5 with 11 ratings