After a weekend in Santa Cruz and Monterey Bay Aquarium, we headed north back to The City via Highway 1 coast scenery. We were planning to stop at Pigeon Point Lighthouse when we noticed a brewery on this lone stretch of California coast.
Being early in the day, we were the only patrons in the pub and ordered a sample tray at the bar and chatted with the waitress. The Knuckle Down Brown was thin for the style and my least favorite. Of my favorites, Amberdextrous is an amber ale that's slightly light but very flavorful with a hop bite and a burnt wheat bread underneath; Anna the waitress helped with the brew. Also in the running for best beer was Trollup, a Belgian ale infused with strawberries. Overall, Trollup was a hazy yellow Belgian Ale with a solid yeast funk. The strawberry flavor was light but it's a tough fruit to get a bold taste.
French Mexican is a glistening yellow saison with a white head that's infused with jalepeno peppers. Sounds like an odd combo (and it is), but the yeasty spice mixes nicely with the pepper for a very aromatic nose. Best in the place.
I loved this stop because they really seemed to be working hard to craft a brewery out of the stark coast. Every brewery story I've read seemed to come alive in Highway 1 Brewing. It's the only brewery I've seen marked off by kegs to separate it from the bar—definitely a brewery that is digging deep to make it work. Most of the ales had a house taste from the yeast, but the attitude and heart was apparent in the unique and bold beers. Even though every beer didn't work, I would love to return in a year or five to taste them when they completely get on their feet.