Friday, October 19 , 2018, 10:41 pm | Fair 60º


Tara Jones: 2015 Is the Year of the Beer in Santa Barbara County

Captain Fatty's, Rincon Brewery and brewLab are among brewers adding to the local scene

The tasting room at Rincon Brewery, which is owned by former Island Brewing Co, brewer and workers Shaun Crowley and Alma Billgren; Mark Hyatt, former owner of Santa Barbara Outfitters; and Kevin Clarks, owner of Corktree Cellars.
The tasting room at Rincon Brewery, which is owned by former Island Brewing Co, brewer and workers Shaun Crowley and Alma Billgren; Mark Hyatt, former owner of Santa Barbara Outfitters; and Kevin Clarks, owner of Corktree Cellars.  (Tara Jones photo)

Step aside sheep (or is it the Year of the Ram?). For Santa Barbara County, this is the Year of the Beer.

With new breweries popping up around every corner, Santa Barbara County has a spot for just about everyone no matter where you live.

I recently stopped in at three new breweries to check out what was on tap, and was pleasantly surprised to find that not only was there a wide variety of beers being brewed in our fair county, but everyone truly does have their own unique take on the brewing process.

Captain Fatty’s

After years of home brewing, Preston Angell, Bryan Anderson, and Jon Wadell joined forces and childhood nicknames to start Captain Fatty’s in late 2014.

With a mission to make beer that is both good for the connoisseur and the guy who’s never had a beer, these guys are off to solid start with some unique brews, including their light, dry Apricot Saison and the coveted, hoppy Vortex IPA.

“What sets us apart is our relatability and how approachable we are,” says Angell.

And approachable they are!

When I stopped in for a quick taste of what was on tap, I was greeted with a handshake and a smile from Wadell, who quickly served up a flight while I watched as children played in the custom kids corner of the tasting room.

“We are sort of a daycare with beer,” chuckled Wadell. “This is a great place to ride your bike to so you can sit and have a beer while your kids play in the corner.”

Offerings from Captain Fatty's include, from left, Apricot Saison, Pacific Tide Blonde and Classic Dry Stout. (Tara Jones photo)

And if you’re not big beer drinker, check out the root beer they brew on site, and maybe throw in a scoop of vanilla ice cream while you’re at it!

Join the $150 annual Captain’s Crew beer club, and get first taste at new beers on tap, a t-shirt, a growler, and the envy of all your friends. And for all the regular guys out there, a flight of four beers is $8 and a tulip pint of beer is $6.

Captain Fatty’s is located in the rear entrance of 6483 Calle Real, Unit D in Goleta. Hours are Thursday-Friday, 4-8 p.m.; Saturdays, 1-8 p.m.

Rincon Brewery

Located on the corner of Cactus Lane and Carpinteria Avenue, the newly established Rincon Brewery offers an ambitious menu of nine beers (with more to come!) and a rotating list of four guest beers and hard ciders on tap.

This locals-only brewery offers a standard list of classic beers from saison to IPA to a classic brown ale.

The savory and sweet Mac Brown, a perfect winter beer, has notes of toast, chocolate and toffee, while Indicator, Rincon’s signature IPA, is flying off the shelf with its intense citrus, floral, pine flavors.

If you’re looking for a place to watch the next game, get on over to Rincon to enjoy classic pub fare and a refreshing brew.

Become a “board member” with their $145 Dawn Patrol package, and get a t-shirt, 32-oz. growler, and a 4-oz. pour. And for the general public, pints are $5 and samplers are $6.

Rincon Brewery is at 5065 Carpinteria Ave. in Carpinteria. Hours are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday, 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m.; Wednesday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.


Started by three home brewers who randomly met through friends seven years prior, this cozy tasting room boasts an earthy, down-home vibe indicative of a rugged Northern California space.

While sniffing and sipping my way through a rotating menu of 16 beers, I was greeted by an outdoorsy, bare-footed Rob, one of the owners of brewLab, who walked me through the brewery explaining how all their grain is locally sourced.

When the grain is spent, it is sent to Bren School of Environmental Science & Management at UCSB to be used as cricket feed — where the crickets are later ground into a high protein powder for human consumption — or it is sent to a Casitas Valley farm for pig feed.

Every part of the electric run brewLab was designed with the environment in mind, while providing ample space to brew small-batch beers that boast an artistic flair.

Their unique menu covers all the classic style brews as well as some not-so-familiar styles such as Lavender Verbena, a lightly citrus, heavy floral “chick beer”; and the Drunken Llama, made with bourbon soaked coffee beans.

And keep an eye out for a gluten-free beer that is rumored to be brewed later this year.

brewLab is a great place for the adventurous taster who is looking for beers that color outside the lines while soaking up the vibes of the “enviro geek” crowd.

Enjoy a 3-oz. taster starting at $2.50, 8-oz. pour for $4.50, or 14-oz. pour for $7.

brewLab is at 4191-8 Carpinteria Ave in Carpinteria. Hours are Friday-Saturday, 4-9 p.m.; Sunday, 2-7 p.m. 

Tara Jones leads Eat This, Shoot That! and welcomes reader tips and ideas for future columns. She can be reached at [email protected]. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

The brewLab tasting room is located in the heart of the Carpinteria Business Park on the north end of Carpinteria Avenue. (Tara Jones photo)

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