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Modern Times is halving their West Coast footprint as they seek a less perilous financial footing.

Portland, Oakland, Santa Barbara and Los Angeles will be closed. Not coincidentally, those are the furthest away from HQ and in the case of Los Angeles and maybe the others as well, the smallest outposts.

The San Diego brewery bolted out of the gate when they opened and followed that with ambitious plans but the last two to three years have brought lots of challenges and a new leadership team which did not like what they saw and hit the re-trench button.

Hopefully, Modern Times can navigate back with a leaner company.

MT in SB

The coastal march of Modern Times continues as the San Diego brewery is now working on a branch in Santa Barbara on the main drag of State Street. As with all things Modern Times, the name is long and flowery and most will just call it MT – Santa Barbara.

Here are the details on the Academy of Recreational Science:
Located on South State Street in downtown SB
Restaurant will include an indoor bar and table seating
2,500-square-foot outdoor area
Pickup location for online special release sales

To keep a tally, MT has their San Diego locations, Encinitas (in the works), Anaheim (in the works), Los Angeles, Santa Barbara (in the works) and Portland.

It’s Swell

You may have heard, elsewhere or here, that Epic Brewing is overseeing Santa Barbara’s Telegraph Brewing and that IPA was going to be in store for them.

And here it comes….

Here is the press release description, “West Swell is brewed with excessive amounts of late addition Citra and Simcoe hops, then further dry hopped with a combination of Centennial, Simcoe, and Citra. The result is a bright blast of juicy, citrus flavors and tropical aromas.”

The beer will start on draft before moving to 22oz bombers and then in May, 12oz cans. Why no 16oz can stop is a good question.

An Epic Telegraph

The Baptist is working wonders. Epic Brewing which started in Utah and later expanded to Denver has bought a home in California now, in Santa Barbara’s Telegraph Brewing.

The press release and details have been discussed and dissected since the news came out but now that the news has had time to settle, I want to add my perspective.

1. Epic had been shopping for 18 months and they end up in California. The price must have been right or the perceived market size was too large to pass up. Should we be more bullish on the future?

2. Why is hazy seen as the way forward? Especially for a brewery known much more for Belgian and sour offerings? Bad choice in my eyes, because supply will soon dim the cachet of these brewery only offerings.

3. On the purchase, Telegraph’s founder was quoted thusly, it is a “right fit both strategically and culturally.” Let’s hope so. It can be fun to collaborate on one beer but when you are calling HQ each week, it can be less so.

4. Getting some foeders and new equipment will end up being a great thing for Telegraph and should allow them to take another step with their wild beers. Even more important will be the new access to a larger market that Epic has grown.

This deal makes Telegraph a California brewery to watch in 2018.

2nd Visit – Third Window Brewing

Last year after FWIBF16, I made a too brief stop at Third Window Brewing in Santa Barbara. With an extra day added to my itinerary, I was able to make a proper stop and see the progress of one year.

I came away even more impressed and glad to see that 22oz bombers were on sale and that distroto L.A. is happening too from their wooden focused bar on Haley

My favorite that first trip was Walkabout, their orange/chocolate beer. I saved that for last and was not disappointed. It was as good as memory served and clearly outshine a well-done coffee beer. The main attraction was a face off between a hazy IPA, June Gloom and a West Coast IPA, Xexo. The latter being a mere 17 IBU’s but hopped generously nonetheless. I voted for Gloom, though, it had a juicy bitterness without the palate scratching that I associate with the style.

The room was bright and sunny and plenty of info about the beers were available, as were pretzels. I also really like the fact that there is a charity tap. Why more places don’t have one is beyond me.

Third Window has now become a ritualistic stop on the way home from Paso Robles.

On the Way Home from Paso Robles

On the way from Burbank to Paso Robles, it is all about getting there. I take the 5 and do not stop until I reach my destination.

Coming back after the FWIBF is different and I had multiple plans for where to brewery stop on the return 101 journey. I finally settled on a stop in Paso that was non-Firestone related and a stop in Santa Barbara.
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There is a great little winery grouping off Marquitas Road near Firestone’s main expanding campus that also includes the rapidly expanding Barrelhouse Brewing. I stopped as the “other” brewery opened and sampled their new, big DIPA, Big Sur which I found to be quite good. Didn’t quite land in a dank or citrus or floral style box but rather ticked off a little from each. I also had a sampler of a pre-release of one of three new sours that will be released soon to mark the occasion of the new building across the gully. Eleanor was made with prickly pear and had a lovely red, sparkle to it and it was puckeringly tart too. I only wished it wasn’t so damn hot out. I wanted to relax a bit near the rock work and bubbly fountain.
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I walked from Barrelhouse around the corner and down the street to Field Recordings for some wine. Because, the Central Coast is wine country too, plus Field Recordings cans some of their wines and in fact uses the Beer Monks who help some SoCal breweries can too! Even more cool is that they have a can club (that you should join) where you can get wine that uses additional beer ingredients. I tasted their version of a Chenin Blanc meets Wit Bier and it was really refreshing with both the wine and beer aspects making their presence felt. I really enjoyed their Chardonnay. You can find their wines at Silver Lake Wines where you can also find the koozy as label wine/beer hybrids (when available)
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Then a long drive with flashes of the ocean to Santa Barbara and the new Third Window Brewing. Tucked next to a winery space on the corner of Haley & Laguna in a brown, tin shack looking building it can be hard to find since the logos and signage blend into the exterior like a chameleon.

Once inside, there is a lovely little space and some interesting beers to sample. Despite the heat the Chocolate/Orange Stout was excellent. Tasted just like the ball shaped chocolate that I would get for Christmas. The other Belgian-style riffs were all light and tasty. Speaking of light, their pilsner is called Light and is a really solid version.

I will have to do a Santa Barbara brewery crawl in the coming months to check them all out.

Not the 1st or 2nd

Looks like Santa Barbara has added a new brewery to the mix with the cool name of Third Window Brewing and if a recent taproom list is any indication…..
l’Eveaire #1.0 Berliner Weisse co-fermented with Winter Raspberries.
Batch 002 #1.0 Light Lager
III #1.0 Belgian Blond
Saison #1.0 Farmhouse Ale
Walkabout #1.0 Stout with Foraged Oranges, 24 Blackbirds Cocoa Nibs and Madagascar Vanilla Bean
…they aren’t afraid to try multiple styles. Plus, if the website photos are to be believed, it has a rustic sort of wine tasting room charm that is much different from the usual industrial chic of many brewery taprooms.

When/if, I visit, I will duly report back on the quality of the beer itself.

Featured Review – Two from Pure Order Brewing


I started my duo of Reinheitsgebot influenced beers from Santa Barbara’s Pure Order Brewing with what they call a red wheat with the moniker Red Eye. They reference dunkel on the label but this beer felt lighter with hints of strawberry to it. Did I hold onto it for too long?  Was my first thought upon sipping for the first time. Before long though a light grain taste started peeking through the hazy, dull and nearly black beer. The promised raisin notes surfaced as well.

Crooked Neck Hefe has a better name and a cool tall tie-in to the Santa Barbara Zoo but I fear it also fell into a too old trap.  Hints of clove and banana are underneath. But there is a starting to turn edge to it that even some warming up can’t alleviate. I can’t in good conscience review it here.  What I do know is that these beers either didn’t have good transport to L.A. or they were more delicate than others in the style.

I will try again and amend this post with further results.


Telegraph Brewing Company should not be an “obscure” reference to beer geeks especially with their forthcoming Dia de las Obscuras Rare Beer Festival. The event held on Sunday, May 3, 2015 (in two separate sessions) at the Telegraph tasting room in downtown Santa Barbara will be one-stop shopping ot 10 barrel-aged and wild-fermented Obscura Line of experimental beers.

This is a spin-off or sequel to the Noche de las Obscuras from last year’s Santa Barbara Beer Week.

If you want more of Reserve Wheat and Gypsy Ale then get your tickets and additional details about specific beers HERE!