Friday 25th May 2012
I arrived here by taxi from the opening night tasting at the Festival of Californian Beers and was initially shocked to see a queue from the front door going around the block! However, on closer inspection it turned that it was for the music area on the ground floor.
I squeezed past the throng and went upstairs to the bar and brewery. Despite the pandemonium downstairs this room was only half full. I took a stool in view of the bar and brewery and looked at the beer list on a blackboard.
The choice was extensive, comprising of the following from the regular range: Pale Ale (4.7%), Honey Blond (4.4%), Blueberry (4.2%), Cali Wheat (3.5%), IPA (6.7%), Reggae Red (5.0%), Porter (5.8%) and Pilsner (4.4%). Seasonal offerings were: Oatmeal Stout (5.1%) and Irish Stout and finally there was a guest beer: Firestone Walker DPA.
I had a six beer taster set and this is what I thought of them. Pilsner I thought was true to the type, maybe it could do bit more bitterness in the finish. Pale also wasn't that bitter but was, nevertheless, a good light beer.
Oatmeal Stout was a very good beer being quite dry. Irish Stout had a very medium taste with not much bitterness or dryness. Looking at my notes it seems possible that I (or the barman) had exchanged the stouts.
Porter had a nice even balance with medium bitterness. Finally IPA was fairly typical of the West Coast style although possibly a little fruitier than most. I thought it was excellent.
One of the brewers, seeing I had the sampler set, asked me what I thought of them and I answered that I had liked them and told him that it was pleasing to drink some beers that weren't over the top in strength. He thought it helped with the music room downstairs. On that subject I was impressed to look at the list of bands that have played there since the pub opened in 1988. Two that caught my eye were The Strokes and Green Day. Their appearances must have been earlier in their careers as they are now known world-wide.
The food looked good and with such a fine selection of in-house beers, this brew pub is totally recommended.
SLO Brewing, 1119 Garden Street, San Luis Obispo, CA. 93401. Tel: 805 543 1843
Official bar / restaurant opening times: Monday 16.00-21.00;
Tuesday and Wednesday 11.30-21.00; Thursday to Saturday 11.30-22.00;
Sunday 09.30-21.00. I suspect the finish times are actually the last entry times.
The pub is located downtown and is close to local bus routes. The railway station is around fifteen minutes from downtown. It is served by Amtrak with three daily trains to Los Angeles and one to Oakland (for San Francisco) and further north. SLO is also served by long distance buses and has a regional airport.