Recommendations for a single evening in Monterey/Carmel/Pacific Grove

Discussion in 'Pacific' started by John_M, Dec 16, 2014.

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  1. John_M

    John_M Moderator (6,007) Oct 25, 2003 Oregon
    Premium Member Beer Trader

    So, the GF and I will be flying down to visit family for the holidays, getting into SFO on Saturday (12/20/14). We're going to drive down to Monterey the first night, and will be there till Monday morning. The itinerary for the weekend is already pretty full, but I was thinking we might have some time to hit a beer bar/bistro/restaurant for a snack and a brew or two that first evening. I've checked Beerfly (places) and did a topic search in this forum, but really didn't see anything that stood out (we're staying a half mile from the Monterery Whole Foods, so I think we're good on bottles). Any recommendations about some cool place with an interesting tap list? Thanks!

    Also, I think this has probably come up before, but does SARA typically provide any advance notice for their bottle releases? We'll be in Santa Cruz Monday and Tuesday, and I was thinking of swinging by on Tuesday if there was any chance they might be doing some sort of "pre-Christmas holiday" bottle release.

    Thanks guys!
     
  2. rrryanc

    rrryanc Disciple (311) May 19, 2006 California
    Beer Trader

    No advance notice. Swing by anyway?
     
  3. John_M

    John_M Moderator (6,007) Oct 25, 2003 Oregon
    Premium Member Beer Trader

    It's going to be a pretty busy Tuesday, so I'm not sure we can include a visit to SARA to hang out and drink beer. Also, I've been before, and while their beers are pretty good, I confess I didn't find my visit there to be quite the religious experience a lot of folks seem to have. I might feel differently if I was into sours... but I'm not.

    Maybe I'll give them a call on Tuesday and see if they're doing anything special that day.
     
  4. thequillen

    thequillen Initiate (137) Nov 27, 2010 California
    Beer Trader

    Unforunately there's only been a couple of bottle releases on Tuesdays this year. Most are typically Friday or Saturday, but as far as I know, there's no set way of how they do these things. So your chances are as good as any I suppose.
    Also, if you're not into sours, why would you want a bottle from them?
     
  5. billf

    billf Initiate (85) Jul 31, 2012 California
    Beer Trader

    The best/quickest way to find out what is available on any given day is to either watch the FB page between 2:00-3:00 or walk in the door at opening.
     
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  6. rrryanc

    rrryanc Disciple (311) May 19, 2006 California
    Beer Trader

    Unapologetically after trade bait then, eh?
     
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  7. John_M

    John_M Moderator (6,007) Oct 25, 2003 Oregon
    Premium Member Beer Trader

    Man, you guys are tough! :-)

    Nope, that's what I use my de Garde stuff for (trade bait). However, I do go to the occasional bottle share up in Portland, and that's what I would save it for.

    de Garde stuff is pretty easy to come by in PDX. SARA stuff, not so much...
     
  8. AndresR

    AndresR Aspirant (237) Jul 19, 2009 California
    Beer Trader

  9. Oakhtar

    Oakhtar Disciple (333) Jul 6, 2013 California
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    I would hit up SARA on the way down to Monterrey on Saturday. As was said above, most recent releases have been on Friday or Saturday, should have better luck picking up bottles on Saturday vs. Tuesday.
     
  10. John_M

    John_M Moderator (6,007) Oct 25, 2003 Oregon
    Premium Member Beer Trader

    Thanks, but I think we're set on dining options this trip. Place looks great though.
     
  11. SDReaper

    SDReaper Zealot (579) Aug 15, 2013 California
    Beer Trader


    You only live once though, might as well get fat doing it.
     
  12. John_M

    John_M Moderator (6,007) Oct 25, 2003 Oregon
    Premium Member Beer Trader

    Agreed. So we're going to Grasings on Sunday, Tampico's in Santa Cruz for blue nachos con todos and litros of margaritas on Monday, and then Italian over at the Avanti on Tuesday. I think we got the "getting fat with mama Cass" part down.
     
  13. AptosBeerDrinker

    AptosBeerDrinker Initiate (177) Aug 9, 2011 California

    Peter B's Brewpub (located inside the Portola Hotel in Spa in Monterey) is actually quite a bit underrated in my opinion. It's not the spot if you're looking to slay whales but it's a chill, sports bar type vibe with above average beer. Food is pretty good as well.
     
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  14. AptosBeerDrinker

    AptosBeerDrinker Initiate (177) Aug 9, 2011 California

    Have you been to La Posta? Another good option for Italian in SC.

    Lupulo is definitely worth a visit too.
     
  15. John_M

    John_M Moderator (6,007) Oct 25, 2003 Oregon
    Premium Member Beer Trader

    We always discuss going to other places in town, but invariably end up going to our old standby's. I like the unpretentious, family atmosphere to the Avanti, not to mention the gentle pricing there. Food there has always been very solid. Plus, I like the fact that it's been around for a long, long time now (even used to run into Randall Graham there sometimes, back in the day).

    We're only going to be in Santa Cruz for a couple of nights, unfortunately, otherwise I'd definitely branch out and try something new.

    Appreciate the tip on Peter B's. Sounds like it might be just what I'm in the mood for.
     
  16. AptosBeerDrinker

    AptosBeerDrinker Initiate (177) Aug 9, 2011 California

    Nothing wrong with that.

    Another option in Monterey is the newly opened Alvarado St. Brewery. I've had a decent IPA from them (can't remember the name off hand) everything else has been just ok but I've only been in there a couple times. Overall, Monterey is a bit of a beer desert which is kinda weird and Carmel is even worse.
     
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  17. John_M

    John_M Moderator (6,007) Oct 25, 2003 Oregon
    Premium Member Beer Trader

    Seems like it's always been that way, and like you, I'll be damned if I know why. I still remember stopping by the old Monterey Brewing Company years ago (the tasting room was located essentially right in the parking lot near Cannery Row), and I was stunned by how bad the beer was. That had to be roughly 20 years ago (was living in Sacto at the time), and there was just nothing else around there back then. After doing a forum search and checking Beerfly, I reached the same conclusion you pointed out. Seems like little has changed.

    Well, at least the selection at Whole Foods should be decent, and I'll try to make it to either Peter B's or the Alvarado. Once again, much obliged for the recommendations.
     
  18. t0rin0

    t0rin0 Poo-Bah (2,315) Dec 30, 2006 California

    Do you like BBQ? If so you can stop in Aptos at Aptos St BBQ. They do live music (blues) most nights, have a good tap lineup, and make some great BBQ. Also, the new brewery in Monterey is a nice place (Alvarado); the beer is just decent but the food is good.
     
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  19. John_M

    John_M Moderator (6,007) Oct 25, 2003 Oregon
    Premium Member Beer Trader

    After living 7 years in Memphis, I'll readily admit that I'm something of a BBQ snob. However, I'm always willing to try new things, especially when it comes to restaurants in Santa Cruz county (as generally, I've always found the restaurant scene surprisingly outstanding for such a small area).

    So while I'm skeptical when anyone outside of the deep south tells me a place has "great BBQ," I'm thinking this might an interesting lunch break stop on Monday or Tuesday.

    Thanks!
     
  20. John_M

    John_M Moderator (6,007) Oct 25, 2003 Oregon
    Premium Member Beer Trader

    Good advice, but I have a couple of quick questions.

    We'll be picking up our car at SFO around 5:00, and so probably wouldn't get down there till around 6:30 or so. Would they likely still have bottles available by then, assuming Saturday just happens to be a bottle release day? Also, would there be any problem just giving them a call, to see if they're doing a bottle release that day, and/or if they still have any bottles left?

    I've made that drive over 17 literally a million times, but that doesn't mean I want to make it a million and one, unless it's for a very good reason (like a SARA bottle release pick-up). :-)

    Thanks!
     
  21. t0rin0

    t0rin0 Poo-Bah (2,315) Dec 30, 2006 California

    Then you know never to bother with a tri tip sandwich because places don't know how to cold smoke anything. Get the cubed beef (they have a spicy and non spicy version). The pulled pork is pretty good too. The sides are alright. The music is good too.

    It's actually a chain owned by a couple of brothers. The newest location is somewhere you may end up driving right by if you're in downtown Santa Cruz. It's right on 1/Mission called Mission St. Havent been in most of a year but I hear they've expanded to 20something taps. Aptos is the best of the 5 locations.

    If you're driving down from SF take 1 and see the sights. Hop Dogma is a fun place in Half Moon Bay / El Granada. They are doing some barrel aging using the barrels from the local wineries. Walking distance from the beach. Further down the coast a little ways past the lighthouse (Pigeon Point, in Pescadero) is a little roadside diner that also brews, aptly called Highway 1 Brewing. Beer is whatever but it's a nice area.

    There's also a cidery just north of Santa Cruz called Bonny Doon. It's actually a winery that also does some cider. Havent been yet so I cant comment on the quality but I think they distribute around the state. Might not even be worth a stop but just thought I'd mention it in case you're into cider.
     
  22. Oakhtar

    Oakhtar Disciple (333) Jul 6, 2013 California
    Beer Trader

    If they release the bottles on Saturday vs. Friday you should definitely be fine. If they release on Friday, they will likely give a status update on the amount of bottles they have left for Saturday right before they open at noon. They did just post their holiday hours and it looks like they are closed on Sunday for a holiday party, so they may even have bottles left on Tuesday, assuming they do a release this weekend.

    Good luck!
     
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  23. dksl16

    dksl16 Initiate (194) Sep 12, 2008 California
    Beer Trader

    I was in Monterey over Thanksgiving. Peter B's was terrible with the exception of their Citra IPA which was actually pretty great. Didn't try anything at Alvarado but the space was nice and their own beers looked interesting. Plus they had some stuff from Rip Current.
     
  24. John_M

    John_M Moderator (6,007) Oct 25, 2003 Oregon
    Premium Member Beer Trader



    I know it's a very pretty drive, but that just adds too much time onto our trip. Plus, I have to make a wine stop at K&L in Redwood City, and while we could back track and take 92 over to Half Moon Bay, again, that's just too much extra driving (and my GF gets car sick easily). I appreciate all the suggestions, but I think we're going to have to save them for another trip.

    That being said, I'm pretty sure we're going to add Aptos St. BBQ onto the itinerary (or maybe one of their other locations - we'll be staying close to Ocean St. and the Pacific Garden Mall). It sounds great!
     
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  25. thequillen

    thequillen Initiate (137) Nov 27, 2010 California
    Beer Trader

    Come to the aptos location on Monday for lunch. I pour there a couple times a week.
     
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  26. LakerLeith

    LakerLeith Zealot (539) Aug 11, 2013 California
    Beer Trader

    Seriously, go there! You will NOT be sorry you went!

    They usually do have some bottles for sale on the day after release, but if it's something like West Ashley, there will be a line by noon, and unless you are in that line at noon, you won't likely be getting anything.
    And while you can give them a call, it would be easier for you to just check their Facebook page or their Instagram for the update close to opening time. I have found that sometimes you may have to call 4 or 5 times before the phone is picked up. (gets loud/busy in there)
     
  27. John_M

    John_M Moderator (6,007) Oct 25, 2003 Oregon
    Premium Member Beer Trader

    Well, we'll be driving back from Monterey on Monday, and we'll need to make a lunch stop at some point. I'm thinking Aptos St. BBQ is going to be that place.
     
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  28. John_M

    John_M Moderator (6,007) Oct 25, 2003 Oregon
    Premium Member Beer Trader

    Yeah, this sounds like good advice to me, and is pretty much what I plan to do. We should be at Seatac around 2:00, and hopefully any information on the facebook will be current by then.
     
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  29. John_M

    John_M Moderator (6,007) Oct 25, 2003 Oregon
    Premium Member Beer Trader

    Just wanted to say thanks for all the great recommendations. The Alvarado St. Brewery and Grill turned out to be an excellent recommendation, as did the Aptos St. BBQ. The latter spot was really outstanding, and I think has now become part of our regular rotation. The pulled pork salads were excellent, and the tap list was very impressive. Got a glass of Older Viscousity and Cuvee de Tomme, and could have easily spent the rest of the afternoon depleting my wallet (grand cru Angel's Share, Santa's Little Helper, Red Poppy, etc.). Just may have to stop by again after dinner at Avanti's tomorrow night for the Sierra Nevada special event.

    Many, many thanks...
     
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  30. Zhiguli

    Zhiguli Initiate (140) Jul 12, 2012 California

    I really like Carmel by the Sea and would spend it all there.
     
  31. billf

    billf Initiate (85) Jul 31, 2012 California
    Beer Trader

    Always a good bottle share at Sante every Tuesday, bring something along, just sayin....
     
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  32. thequillen

    thequillen Initiate (137) Nov 27, 2010 California
    Beer Trader

    Glad you enjoyed it man! Was that you that brought in the dalmatian? Or were you someone else?
     
  33. John_M

    John_M Moderator (6,007) Oct 25, 2003 Oregon
    Premium Member Beer Trader

    No, we came in around noon, stayed for about 45 minutes and took off. Just got the two small glasses of the OV and Cuvee and took off (had a busy day in front of us, so we couldn't stay long). I think that was you (thequillen) who served us, but I wasn't positive, so I didn't say anything (I was the guy you convinced not to get the Angel's Share Grand Cru, if that helps).

    Really impressed by Aptos St... we'll definitely stop by again (I'll try to get it added to the data base, along with the new Burger outpost I spotted up the road on Soquel Dr. as well).
     
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  34. AptosBeerDrinker

    AptosBeerDrinker Initiate (177) Aug 9, 2011 California

    All that Lost Abbey/Port beer was left over from a tap takeover they had a week or so ago where Tomme Arthur was in attendance.

    I think that speaks to what these guys are doing. The food is really great as well.
     
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  35. John_M

    John_M Moderator (6,007) Oct 25, 2003 Oregon
    Premium Member Beer Trader

    Yes, I just learned that tonight (from the Lagunitas rep over at SARA)... and yeah, that was exactly my reaction as well. Very, very impressive.
     
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  36. thequillen

    thequillen Initiate (137) Nov 27, 2010 California
    Beer Trader

    Yep! That was me, and I totally remember you from that. Glad to hear you had such a great experience and that I'm not entirely crazy with my beer recommendations :wink:
     
  37. Sisky

    Sisky Aspirant (268) Dec 16, 2012 California
    Beer Trader

    Based on this thread, I stopped into Aptos today for lunch. Amazing bbq and beer selection. Staying the night in Santa Cruz but still not hungry enough for dinner after all that food!
     
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