The sky seems to stretch forever from the porch of Corralitos Brewing Co. Tucked away off of Freedom Boulevard, halfway between Corralitos and Watsonville, the brewery lies nestled in one of the most agriculturally fruitful regions in the world and overlooks vast fields and an open horizon. Back in 2015, when they opened their doors to the public, it didn’t shock owner Luke Taylor that the land the brewery is on was zoned for agriculture, but it was surprising that beer wasn’t considered an agricultural product.
“They wanted to change our zoning to commercial, because apparently beer had nothing to do with agriculture. We thought that was pretty funny,” says owner Luke Taylor. “They said we could have put a winery here, but not a brewery.” But they fought to keep their zoning, and became one of the few breweries in the nation zoned for agriculture.
Corralitos Brewing’s Zoned Ag bottle series honors that designation and the tradition of agriculture in the area with a succession of barrel-aged beers conditioned on heaping helpings of fruit from local farms. In the last year and half, I’ve been impressed by Corralitos’ well-crafted brews, which run the gamut of American, Belgian and sour styles. The beers in the Zoned Ag series stand out for their intense yet complex flavors. Each begins as a different base beer, and spends several months in oak barrels before fruit is added. After several more months, each barrel is tasted for quality before blending. The results are truly unique beers with mouth-watering fruit aromas and flavor, buoyed by tartness and funk.
“We really want to support our community, especially our agricultural community, with this series,” says Taylor.
Blackberry and peach are currently available, and pluot, blueberry and golden raspberry are due to be released throughout the summer. All bottles are sold exclusively through the taproom, which is definitely worth a visit.