El Toro Brewing Co.


Type: Brewery, Bar, Eatery

17605 Monterey Road
Morgan Hill, California, 95037
United States

(408) PUB-BREW | map

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Reviews: 24 | Ratings: 30
Photo of gr8fulbeerhead
2.9/5  rDev -20.3%
vibe: 3 | quality: 2.75 | service: 3.25 | selection: 2.75 | food: 2.75

The beer here is palatable. No Wi-Fi. The also charge you for every little thing. I mean $2 for olives on a pizza is ridiculous. The food portions are also on the small side for the price there charging.

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Photo of brewaddict
3.7/5  rDev +1.6%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Located in an corner building that once was a bank (the safe is still there), this brewpub is about as white washed as they come. Yes they serve beer, but so does Applebee's. That's the general feeling I got the couple of times I've been there. They do have a good selection of descent beers however. The prices for food and drinks are a little high. The burgers are OK. The BBQ Brisket special one day was surprisingly good but pricey.

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Photo of CJNAPS
2.44/5  rDev -33%
vibe: 2.25 | quality: 2.75 | service: 2 | selection: 2.75 | food: 2

Wasn't to impressed with this place, didn't have the up beat vibe Im use to with Cali breweries. The oatmeal stout was pretty good I bought some of that but over all I doubt I'll go back

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Photo of QuakeAttack
4.03/5  rDev +10.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

After volunteering at the Gilroy Garlic Festival, we stopped by on a Saturday night for dinner and a few beers. In quaint downtown Morgan Hill, you walk into an open, high ceiling brew pub. While the bar was inviting, we sat down for dinner. I started with El Toro Yo (barleywine) while my wife had their Poppy (Amber) and her friend had the Wheat beer. We all liked the beer.

For dinner, I had fish and chips. My wife had a burger and her friend fish tacos. Once again, we all enjoyed the food which was good quality and tasty.

I left with a growler of their El Toro Cocoa (very chocolaty stout) and big smile. We will be back. Wish this place was in downtown Sunnyvale.

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Photo of JackDempsy
2.83/5  rDev -22.3%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 2 | selection: 3.5 | food: 2.5

This is a brewery/restaurant/sports bar. They have a lot of beer that they brew - and that may be the problem. Instead of doing a few great signature beers, they have a lot of average beers. I asked for a few samples and they gave me one sip free and all the other sips (and I mean a sip) for $2 each - that would have been ok for a sample pour, but it was less than a 1 oz shot. The burgers were average, but the garlic fries were great. The waiter was not knowledgeable about the beers and we had a couple of screaming kids in the booth behind us. It would have been nice to have a separate area for the bar and a staff that was versed in the beers that they serve.

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Photo of Sarmartay
1.99/5  rDev -45.3%
vibe: 2 | quality: 2.5 | service: 1 | selection: 2.75 | food: 1

The beers are overpriced, considering you're drinking at the source(6 -8$ pint?). I've tried multiple selections and it's really hit or miss. I've had some that were good (Dark Raspberry Ale, raspberry wheat) and some that were absolutely disgusting (Moon Over El Toro). Their most popular brew, the Poppy Jasper (available on occasion at the local Safeway) is just ok..nothing to write home about.

The food is ok depending on what you order, but more often than not the orders are mixed up. The food is also completely overpriced (almost 13$ for a plain gardenburger, 9$ for meatless nachos that don't even have beans).

They have the most horrific customer service I've ever encountered. After the server made a massive screw up, I tried to talk to the owner who was unbelievably rude and nasty. I had never experienced anything like it.

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Photo of Topher78
2.45/5  rDev -32.7%
vibe: 3 | quality: 2.5 | service: 1.5 | selection: 3 | food: 2.75

Seriously one of the worst Craft Breweries around. Half their beers taste yeasty and the other half are decent homebrew at best. Seriously I've brewed better beers than this place. As for the service...what service? The lady that was waiting on us huffed every time we asked for something. No joke, she was reading the paper at the bar and would get upset when we asked to try another beer. That was all before we realized everything was so below par we shouldn't be wasting our money on it. Oh well, you live and learn.

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Photo of MilwaukeeCrusher
3.39/5  rDev -6.9%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5

El Toro... the brewer of one of the beers I love no one talks about, their IPA. In a large modern building, I was told it was a renovated police station. I did a flight of beers which in all honesty disappointed me a little: not that they were bad but I didn't think they were nearly on par with their fantastic IPA. I also expected to like their DIPA even more but that was not the case. In all, the beers were average to good and there was a barrel aged beer as well to try. Worth a stop if you're in the area but somewhat remote from other alternatives in the area.

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Photo of JeremyDrinksBeer
4.53/5  rDev +24.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

El Toro Brewing is really the only place for beer lovers in South County. They have over 20 different styles of beer as well as their own root beer and orange soda. I love their double IPA, Deuce. The Barleywine is also really good, they usually have more than one vintage on tap. The Ghost Chili Beer is so hot it is undrinkable, even with four people we couldn't finish the 4oz pour. I liked most of the food I have tried, though the kitchen closes early (9pm) if it is slow. The only real downside is that it is pretty expensive for Morgan Hill, with pints up to $8.

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Photo of Seanibus
3.28/5  rDev -9.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 2 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

The service really lets this place down. It is sloppy, slow and inattentive, though at least not unfriendly. Our server took about 15 minutes to even acknowledge us and seemed put out that we were not ready to order food when he finally did show up, despite the fact that nobody had bothered to give us a beer menu when we sat down so we had no idea what to start with drink-wise, which was the real point of the visit.

Despite the poor start, however, it turned out to be a decent visit. The fish tacos were good, the chili was good, and the clam chowder was, well, not terrible. The chicken wings were strange, but still good.

The beer menu is simply too complicated. The sampler trays are set up by a star system - regular, premium, and super premium - but the stars are distributed without any coherence across the menu. The menu is laid out strangely and there is a bewildering selection. For example, the offer a "Supper hoppy" version of their signature amber ale, but you have to choose among four hops which were used to dry-hop the normal beer. They also seem determined to fill every single possible beer niche, from the lightest Mexican lager to dense stouts. It's too damned much work to figure out the menu, which is never a good thing.

Once you wade through the irritating menu, however, the beer is good. The El Torro IPA, their basic ipa, is actually provocative and delicious, with an unusual malty musk.

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Photo of Stewartr
3.6/5  rDev -1.1%
vibe: 3 | quality: 5 | service: 1 | selection: 5 | food: 3

I really liked their beers, and their exception beer selection. Too bad the service sucked big time. The place was pretty much empty when I got there, so the lack of service quality was that much worse. When waitstaff treat you like they are doing you a favor serving you then they need to go find something else to do. The seem to be very attentive to the locals, but passers by pershaps you should not wast your time. The beer is also overpriced for a brewpub. $7.50 for a beer I can get that at the local hotel.

I started with a cask IPA, and 25 minutes later still did not have a beer. The barmaid did tell me that it would take time to settle but I already knew that, most folks will not even order a cask. Twently minutes to settle, and totally ignored in the meantime, give me a break. The barmaid obviously felt it was more important to play on her computer that attend to the very few customers sitting at the bar.

The cask IPA was exceptional, once I got it it was a bit much for early on a Saturday afternoon. I asked for a taste of one of their seasonal beers an LPA they called it. Nothing special, a bit too fizzy for my taste and it absolutely blew me away when I got charged for it. One sip, and I knew it was not something for me.

I was out for a day trip on the bike, I will give them one more time, they have some exceptional beers perhaps they can find some marginal waitstaff.

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Photo of Gobzilla
3.84/5  rDev +5.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Pretty nice bar brewpub from the outside and the inside which I later found out it was the towns old police station and before that was a bank. You could tell it was a bank cause it still had the bank vault off to the left when you walk in. It had a laid back chill vibe, typical of a small town bar but was not over crowded either.

The beers were pretty good and was glad to try three variations of the poppy Jasper which was dry hopped with with different hops. I was more impressed with their darker beers. I wondered why they haven't started a barrel aging program but the Brewer mentioned he didn't like Belgian and sour beer; damn that sucks.

Everyone was really friendly including the Brewer and was happy to answer the hundred question i asked him. The selection was actually better than I thought it would be and was rather impressed by some of their fruit beers too.

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Photo of ThreeWiseMen
4.28/5  rDev +17.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

I stopped in here on Sunday around noon for lunch and a couple of pints. It was my first time stopping, but definitely won't be my last.

The pub was relatively empty for the entire time that I was there (roughly 11:45am through 2:15pm), but that gave me a good chance to talk with the bartender, who also happened to be the owner and brewmaster. Geno was very talkative and candid, though a bit temperamental. I liked him though, and after he presented me with my discounted bill I liked him even more.

I only sampled the El Toro IPA and Deuce Imperial IPA - both of which were very good - but I wish I could've sampled several of the others. Geno had around twenty draft beers to choose from, including two vintages of his barleywine ('04 and '08), an imperial stout, several fruit ales, and three variations of Poppy Jasper. The line-up was impressive to say the least.

Both of the beers I ordered were served in pint glasses at a proper temperature. The sandwich I ordered was very tasty, as were the fries that came with it.

As for aesthetics, the brewpub was decorated with a lot of local and beer-related memorabilia. Everything was kept very clean, and the arrangement was relaxed yet orderly.

My only complaint about this place are the beer prices (the food prices were reasonable). Pints start at $4.50 and go all the way up to $8, with most of the beers falling in the $6 range. Six packs go for a whopping $13.99!

I make frequent trips between San Luis Obispo and San Francisco, and Morgan Hill is right on the way. I'll definitely be stopping here again.

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Photo of rayjay
3.3/5  rDev -9.3%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 2 | selection: 4 | food: 3

Very good and fresh selection of beer, including pub-only brews. Definitely pricey at $5.50 per pint though (gasp!). That's more expensive than buying a pint of El Toro in San Fran!

Food is okay, typical bar food with a few vegetarian options, but nothing extraordinary. Expect lots of cheese and bacon on the menu.

Service is a bit biased towards the locals...we stopped in on a recent road trip with our 3 kids and were treated like 2nd class customers. The host was cool but our waitress ditched us for long periods of time and other tables lapped us from a service point of view. She seemed a bit frustrated that we didn't immediately know what we wanted to order, but it was our first time looking at the menu!

Atmosphere is fairly dull, although it's a nice big open room.

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Photo of brewfeller
4.47/5  rDev +22.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 3.5

I was visiting the San Jose Area from Oklahoma and decided to drive down to Morgan Hill to give this place a try. I am SO Glad I did! It was worth the trip. They have 24 of their own beers on tap! Amazing! 3 different IPA's, 3 vintages of Barleywines, 2 Different Hoppy Ambers a Porter and a Stout, A wheat, A hefeweizen, a black raspberry wheat, a peach wheat, California Common, and a few others... wow. The brewer is very ambitious indeed. I went 2 different times during my stay in San Jose to try as many as possible. I tried 6 samplers the first time and 6 the next and still only hit half of the line up. I can tell you that I was impressed with every one of the beers. very well done. I had also made a trip to 21st amendment in San Francisco between my 2 trips to El Toro. I have to say I like El Toro's beers better. Don't miss this place!
Cindy, the brewers wife, was tending bar and she was awesome to talk to, very friendly and informative. I didn't get to meet Gino the brewer but maybe next time. And maybe next time I will be able to try the 12 taps I missed on this trip.

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Photo of RunDWP
4.22/5  rDev +15.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

Always wanted to check this place out for the past year, finally had a chance to go and wasn't dissipointed. I sat at the bar and even though the bartender was a fan of Desmond Howard from Michigan, and I'm a graduate from THE Ohio State Unversity, he's all right.

The brewpub itself was an open air stlye interior, with light colored walls and furnature. Behind the bar was an impressive array of maybe 15 taps they made. I had three and they were all good. For the record, it was the Poppy Jasper, the Team California Common, and the Imperial Stout. I had the El Toro burger and onion rings, and nothing fancy, but it was a good burger. The menu is pretty standard brew pub fare, but I was really there for the beer, anyway.

I picked up a couple six-packs of Poppy Jasper and their Deuce Double IPA (I've had a glass of that one already, it is well done) on the way, out, and surprised at how little I ended up paying.

People say the South Bay is starved for good beer. I don't know if you consider Morgan Hill the Sout Bay, but I say the good beer's right here.

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Photo of bcm119
3.55/5  rDev -2.5%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 3

A spacious brewpub with lots of TV's and a sunny back patio. Modern, minimalist style. Long arcing bar downstairs with surrounding tables; upstairs is open in the middle and looks down on the bar.
The atmosphere doesn't do it for me at all, so I'll stick to the beer. The selection is huge-- there were at least 15 beers on tap, all brewed by El Toro. I did some tasters of their hoppy offerings, specifically the IPA, double IPA, "red IPA", and a couple dry-hopped Poppy Jaspers. All the IPAs were decent to good. The Poppy Jasper is available in 3 different single-hopped versions. In my opinion none of them really worked too well; Poppy Jasper is a nice amber with a good apricot-malt flavor that does not go too well with the high-alpha hop varieties they used, but it was interesting to taste the differences in hops. Overall a quality line-up of beer. Food is average or even a bit below-- they really focus on gut-busting fare.
Not my style of place at all --open, bright, a bit sterile, and bad music-- but the beer is good and worth a quick side trip if you're passing by on 101.

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Photo of JWD
3.9/5  rDev +7.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3

I visited this brewery with my wife and 1 year old boy on the way home from Monterey where we were vacationing for the week, I had to make this a destination as i have heard many good things so here we go,

A- This is a big brewpub(2 stories) when i was there it was very quiet and inviting for a family.

Q- The beer without question is outstanding, i had the YO sampler and 2 of the deuce as well as an ipa and an oat stout, all were delicous. Food was good as well they had a fairly extensive menu for a brewpub, i am used to pizza and beer like russian river.

S- was good, but there was nobody there so the expectation is high, we were the only people there at the time of arrival.

S- this was good a ton of options for everybody regaurdless of likes.

F- I had the philly cheesesteak and it was just ok and my wife had a salad but that does not count as you cannot screw that up.

Overall- big pub with above average beer that just needs to work some small issues out and yeas i will revisit this place,

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Photo of beerjournl
4.9/5  rDev +34.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

We stopped at El Toro last night after seeing a bumper sticker on the back of a truck in Santa Cruz, and then getting a suggestion from a coworker at our company the same day. Too much coincidence, so we had to go. We've toured this area a lot and had never been this far south, so we were up for the adventure.

Walking in we were pleasantly surprised that this was a big nice place with a lot of televisions. We were greeted by the owner/brewer and proceeded to make our way through the taps, sampling everything possible. Not a dog in the bunch! The beer is truly quality and shows the brewers dedication and experience.

We were very impressed by the various years of the Yo. It is rare that you can find such a lineage on tap, so get it while it lasts.

The food was very good and the wings were cooked perfectly with a crispy outside and tender juicy inside. We also had the dog tacos which are hot dogs wrapped in a tortilla and deep fried. Good stuff.

We will be coming back to this place at every chance, every time we are in town.

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Photo of t0rin0
4.14/5  rDev +13.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

Stopped here on my way home last week and then again a couple days later on my way out of town. On the first visit I got there just after the kitchen closed but I sampled about 10 different tasters and talked with the brewer Geno for about an hour and a half.

The place is very clean and nice, lots of tvs and a nice looking bar area. The tap selection was impressive as well. The brewer is a real nice guy and answered all my questions. We talked about beer of course but as time went on we bullshitted about having an engineering degree, about various airplanes, and then about growing hops and how people are killing the cascade hops outside with their cigarette butts.

I sampled the past 3 years of the Yo winter brew as well as some IPAs, a DIPA, a doppelbock, a RIS, and a black raspberry beer. At the end of night he made me a mixed 6 pack of some of their bottled beers and I went on my way to San Jose to meet another BA that had some russian river beer for me. I paid $23 plus tip for 10 samples and a mixed six pack. Not bad.

On the second visit I tried the various fruit beers they had to offer and picked the bartenders brain for a few minutes before heading out again.

Overall this is a real nice place, can't comment on the food but the atmosphere is very enjoyable.

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Photo of bbothen
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 4 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3

Have stopped in here on several occasions. Huge place located right on the main drag of Morgan Hill.

Plenty of booths & tables downstairs. With games & such upstairs. The bar is very nice with actual pieces of Poppy Jasper, a local stone, in the bar itself. Nice touch. Big screen tv above the bar & flatscreens through out the place.

Food is average. Basic burgers, pizzas, sandwiches type fare. Have had a bbq pork sandwich, blue cheese burger, and a pizza. All ok.

The service is a little cold at the bar. Not bad or rude by any means. But you don't get welcomed with open arms & smiles either. At least on my trips here. Not an issue for me, but it is what it is & should be mentioned.

The beer selection & quality is what keeps me coming here & is what's really important. They have at least 17 taps of different brews, maybe more & 2 house made sodas. last time I was their they had 3 different dry hopped versions of their signature brew, Poppy Jasper, with 3 different kinds of hops. Very cool. The imperial stout is great. They had 3 vintages of Yo, their x-mas barley wine.

Go here for the beer. You won't be disappointed.

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Photo of Lothore
3.95/5  rDev +8.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4.5

A- This place had a nice brewpub atmosphere. It looked like they had actually put a lot of effort into the restaurant and it was definitely conducive to drinking.

Q- The quality of the beers was excellent. Living in Gilroy my whole life I have always been close but never known about this gem. I will certainly head up here more often.

S- The service actually seemed pretty slow. Granted there were tons of people at the bar, it took quite a while to get my order but I wasn't in a big hurry.

S- This is where this brewpub really had a chance to shine. It seemed like they had about 15 taps, most if not all was their own brew. This is by far the biggest selection of any brewpub in the area.

Overall I was only at the bar for a short time but you can bet I will be coming back. Definitely a must see if you are in the area.

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Photo of bradybeer
4.55/5  rDev +25%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Located in downtown Morgan Hill and in an old bank El Toro has a clean, modern, and somewhat industrial style. Walking in through the patio and under hops vines you enter directly across from the bar. The bar is in the front and seating to the sides and directly ahead. I didn't go up stairs but my wife said there are games up there.

We were fortunate to have the best and most knowledgeable server, Amanda, I have ever had in over 350+ brewery visits. Amanda was great, her suggestions on what to try and how they should taste made the experience unforgettable.

We split 3 tasting flights of 6.
El Toro 500 Barley Wine
Yo 1055
Yo 968
Yo 789

El Toro Oatmeal Stout
El Toro Imperial Stout
El Toro Whiskey Barrel Aged Stout
Deuce Imperial Ale

Extra Hoppy Jasper with Columbus Hops
w/ Simcoe Hops
w/Centennial Hops

Then we ended with El Toro Bravo IPA and my wife had the Blackberry Wheat.

I can't say any beer we tried missed the mark-they were all drinkable-and some like the Barley Wine, the Yos, and the Imperial Stout were incredible.

The food was good-we tried the wings and we split the club and the linguisa sandwiches. Also, because it was my birthday I received a free root beer float.

All of this food and beer for about $55!

This has be one the best Brewpubs in the bay area that I have visited-possibly the best in the south bay. I just wish it was closer to SC.

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Photo of clickpush
4.43/5  rDev +21.7%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

On a road trip to South Bay this was my first stop. After the Celebrator write-up I just had to see for myself. Showed up lunch time on a Monday, only a couple other tables were sat in this huge restaurant/brew pub. The woman who was hostessing seemed very cold, somehow started the experience off on the wrong foot, but then the server redeemed the whole place, offering suggestions, being knowledgeable about the beer, the food, everything else.... The Blue Burger was excellent, got it w/ a bowl of avocado soup which was very tasty, and then split two samplers with my buddy. Tried 8 different beers, yet there were over 20 El Toro beers to pick from. I was ecstatic to see their Batch 500 on draught, a barley wine they brewed in 1999. Still had plenty of body and I was disappointed (still am!) that they were out of growlers at the location. It was $8 for a 4-sample tray of their specialty beers, and I believe $5 for 4 samples of their mainstay brews. I tried their '99 BW, a winter warmer from '02 called Yo (they offered '02, '03, and '05 vintages), the porter (delicious!) and their Russian Imperial Stout, also delicious. I would love to head back here on a weekend and see what kind of atmosphere they can come up w/ then!

Cheers to El Toro, and thank you for offering more than the amber and pale ales at the pub, the dark beers were much loved and much appreciated.

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El Toro Brewing Co. in Morgan Hill, CA
3.62 out of 5 based on 378 ratings.
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