There’s no doubt that Paso Robles is known for its wine, but let’s be honest…not everyone’s a wine lover. Lucky for them, that’s not all that Paso has to offer to thirsty travelers and locals alike. Craft breweries and distilleries seem to be popping up as often as new wineries, some of which at wineries themselves! Here’s a list of some you may know, and some you’ll wish you had known.
Firestone Walker Brewing Company
This is the big one. Firestone is currently the 4th largest craft brewery in California, and is a recognizable name nationwide. Whether you’re looking for something light and refreshing like their ‘805’ Blond Ale, or something dark and hoppy like the mighty ‘Wookey Jack’ Black Rye IPA, they deliver at every point of the craft beer spectrum. Be sure to also check out their on-site restaurant, the ‘Taproom’, specializing in brewhouse bistro cooking with an emphasis on local flavor.
BarrelHouse Brewing Company
While they may not be one of the largest, Barrelhouse puts every bit as much passion into their finely crafted offerings. Being located in the heart of Paso Robles Wine Country, this brewery is even more connected than you might think. According to owner, Jason Carvalho, “Our brewing team has just as much experience making wine as they do brewing beer. Our team’s approach to brewing lends to unique, balanced portfolio beers and incredible barrel projects both non-sour and sour.” This type of approach ensures a unique take on beer and cements BarrelHouse as a key player in the Paso Robles Craft Beer scene.
Tent City Beer Company
Originally known as ‘Molly Pitcher Brewing’, Tent City is an Atascadero based brewpub with five house beers and a host of choice craft beers from nationwide boutique breweries. Tent City is a great place to try something new, because they have new rotating beers on tap every week. This is the sort of place that brings people together and shows that the Paso area gets ‘craft beer culture’.
Re:Find Handcrafted Spirits
Located at Villicana Winery, Re:Find is heading up the Paso Robles craft distillery movement with their vodka, gin, rye whiskey and more. Owners Alex and Monica Villicana promote and encourage sustainability by utilizing unused resources from their winemaking processes. Known as sangée, this ‘extra juice’ is often removed to concentrate and enhance the quality of wine. Many winemakers just discard it at this point…but not Alex and Monica. They triple distill it to create high quality vodka and gin, as well as other craft spirits. Try it for yourself by visiting their tasting room on Adelaida Road in Paso Robles.
Surrounded by wineries on Highway 46 West, Krobar Distilery is also a product of the Paso Robles Wine Region. With a combined 38 years of industry experience, founders Stephen Kroener and Joe Barton are now distilling brandy, whiskey and gin with a custom-made closed steam still. This system uses less water and energy than a traditional still. When you check this place out, be sure to try the brandy, which has an incredible full mouthfeel and some real weight to it!
Bristol’s Cider House
While not quite beer and not quite spirits, cider is another beverage Paso Robles is becoming known for. If you’ve heard of Lone Madrone Wine then you’ve probably heard of Bristol’s Cider. Owner/Winemaker Neil Collins began crafting this artisan apple alcohol in the Bristol tradition (named for the town in England where Neil grew up) after moving to California and seeing that there was nowhere to get it! Bristol’s Cider House is the only official ‘cidery’ on the Central Coast, and offers up a whopping nine unique hard ciders, as well as occasional food and live music.