Grain, once it’s cooked to make the wort that becomes beer, is of no use to the brewmaster. So spent grain from Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing is sent to northern Monterey County, where it helps nourish 100 sheep at Garden Variety Cheese. Three varieties of sheep cheese are then sold at the brewery ($7 for a quarter pound) and also offered with tasting flights of four beers ($7). Local partnerships such as this make SCMB and its organic beers unique.
A similar partnership exists with the North Coast’s Swanton Berry Farms who grow the organic berries used in the brewery’s seasonal Olallieberry Ale. The farm’s olallieberry jam is also available at the brewery.
For lunch and dinner, the SCMB partners with neighboring Kelly’s Bakery, which delivers sandwiches, salads and entrées. The bartender called in our order while we tasted the beers.
A pint of the Olallieberry Ale ($5) had a hint of both the berry’s sweet and tart characteristics. Flagship pints ($4.50) include the India Pale Ale with hoppy bitterness. In the Devout Stout, with its creamy cocoa-colored head, I noted undertones of sweet and smoky chocolate, and in the Dread Brown Ale, smoothness with fine carbonation.
The quickly delivered lunch included Kelly’s pressed Grilled Ham and Gruyère Sandwich ($7.50). Griddle marks lined the crisp bread that was filled with thinly sliced meat and cheese, and served with cornichon gherkins, Dijon mustard, and olives. The Chicken Durango ($9.50) on a large Francesi roll was spread with jalapeño-flecked mayonnaise and overflowed with white meat, green avocado and soft white onions.
On Oct. 10, between 4-9 p.m., enjoy live music at the brewery’s 3rd Annual Sausagefest with the local meats of El Salchichero and homemade mustard, relish and sauerkraut.
Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing, 402 Ingalls St., Santa Cruz, 425-4900. Open daily noon to 8 p.m. santacruzmountainbrewing.com