Thursday, September 21 , 2017, 6:21 am | Fair 58º

 
 
 
 

Tara Jones

Tara Jones Haaf: Top Three (Hidden) Reasons to Drink in the Santa Ynez Valley

The BackRoom is nestled inside Valley Brewers in Solvang and features varied brews on tap as well as mocktails made with shrubs by Broken Clock Vinegar Works. Click to view larger
The BackRoom is nestled inside Valley Brewers in Solvang and features varied brews on tap as well as mocktails made with shrubs by Broken Clock Vinegar Works. (Tara Jones Haaf photo)

Let’s face it. We Santa Barbarans do not like to drive more than five to 10 minutes to get to any destination. If you suggest to someone who lives in Santa Barbara to drive to Goleta, you’ll likely be met with a look of raised eyebrows and a face that says, “Are you kidding?”

Obviously, trips to the Santa Ynez Valley are even farther out of the question and often are reserved for special occasions or when friends come to town.

However, I’ve come across three good (somewhat hidden) reasons to visit the valley this summer with or without friends.

Brothers Spirits

Brothers Spirits is tucked away behind Tesora Sweets and Treasures, sits catty-corner to Industrial Eats on Industrial Way and has a cool, weekender vibe in its tasting room.

The brother duo at this distillery are crafting creative spirits like the vodka distilled from various locals wines, Agave Azul that rivals an authentic tequila, Western-style gin and a well-balanced limoncello.

Forget the Lysol lemon flavored syrup you may have had in the past, as this limoncello is the antithesis of that and is refreshing without being overly sweet.

Brothers Spirits is producing a varied line of spirits and will be releasing new cello flavors later this year.
Brothers Spirits is producing a varied line of spirits and will be releasing new cello flavors later this year. (Tara Jones Haaf photo)

Still thinking you’ll wait till summer to make the trek? Then keep an eye out for its new varied fruit cellos coming later this year.

Brothers Spirits is located at 201 Industrial Way, Suite D in Buellton. Hours of operation are noon to 6 p.m. Thursday through Tuesday.

The BackRoom in Valley Brewers

If you’re into brewing your own beer, making your own wine or just want to learn the ins and outs of kombucha or cheese-making, then Valley Brewers is the place to shop.

Owners Sandy Harrison and Chris Kelly are incredibly knowledgeable and helpful in showing customers around their store to find all the proper equipment and ingredients one would need to get their own project off the ground.

Once you’re done shopping the goods, take a load off and enjoy a cold one in The BackRoom — the hidden bar behind the store’s “bookshelf” door. While most of the rotating beers on tap in this bar are local, some rare and hard-to-find imported brews can be found behind the bar from time to time and are best enjoyed on the sunny back patio.

The bar list at The Bear and Star features farm-to-bar concoctions that offer a unique spin on cocktail classics. Pictured are the Ranch Hand (left) and Grand Avenue Smash.
The bar list at The Bear and Star features farm-to-bar concoctions that offer a unique spin on cocktail classics. Pictured are the Ranch Hand (left) and Grand Avenue Smash. (Tara Jones Haaf photo)

Valley Brewers and The BackRoom is located at 515 Fourth Place in Solvang. Hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Monday.

The Bear and Star

Typical reasons to visit the far reaches of Los Olivos usually include wine tasting, but there’s more to that one-horse town than wine.

The Bear and Star, Fess Parker Wine Country Inn & Spa’s newly renovated and revived restaurant boasting refined ranch cuisine, has quite the cocktail list at the front entrance bar. The drinks on the menu are farm-to-bar style but boast a creative twist like the Grand Avenue Smash.

This creative blueberry cocktail is savorier than the traditional julep cocktail it’s modeled after, but still refreshing enough to enjoy on a summer day.

The Bear and Star is located 2860 Grand Ave. in Los Olivos. Hours of operation are 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

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

Valley Brewers in downtown Solvang is the one-stop shopping destination for all DIY and home artisan foodie and libation ventures. Click to view larger
Valley Brewers in downtown Solvang is the one-stop shopping destination for all DIY and home artisan foodie and libation ventures. (Tara Jones Haaf photo)
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