Central Coast Brews

Part of SCCBB’s Summer of Beer Series

by Eleanor

Humdinger Board

The Central Coast of California is more known for its wineries than its breweries but Chauncey and I didn’t let that stop us from trying out some brews at Humdinger and ManRock while on a recent trip to Arroyo Grande. Hungry and thirsty after walking on Oso Flaco Lake Trail, we wandered into Humdinger Brewing to check out their tap and food offerings. Weren’t we lucky that it happened to be a Tuesday and we could get 3 tacos for $11?

The tacos were delicious as were the four beers we tasted: a kolsch, sour, pale ale, and hazy. The lemony kolsch quenched our thirst nicely. The sour, tart and fruity but not overly sweet, went down easily. The pale ale was gently hoppy and each taste brought out more flavors. The hazy’s haze was recognizable as fog and completely satisfying.

If there are three levels of beers with Level One for beers that are standouts (Russian River’s Pliny the Elder, for example), Level Two for beers that are respectable, well done but might not linger in your memory, and Level Three for beers that don’t quite hit the mark, I’d say Humdinger produced some solid Level Two beers.

Not so for ManRock. Their indoor and outdoor spaces were inviting, even at 4 in the afternoon, and Chauncey and I set ourselves up on The Porch, as it was called, ready to sip another flight of beers before heading back to our cabin among the oaks. (By the way, the temp never went above 75 while we were in Arroyo Grande and vicinity).

ManRock Porch

We were sorely disappointed. Out of eight beers (two flights), we finished only three pours–Sea Foam POG, Critical Density hazy, and Galactic Melt DIPA. The rest we found had the same dank, moldy, bitter taste which neither of us found pleasant. It seemed as though the brewers were trying hard to go for something unique that would make their creations memorable but ended up with some weird, Level Three concoctions.

Five checks but only four beers. Chauncey can’t count. The bartender made the call. So, was third from the left “Cosmic Crypto” or “Galactic Melt”? Chauncey was too embarrassed to ask. So, was that tropical fruit or mango and nectarine? “Wet leather” was Chauncey’s guess.

I’m sure the next time we get up to the Central Coast, there will be more breweries with beers to sample and maybe a few that make it to Level One.

— Cheers,
Contributing Editor Eleanor

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