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August 15, 2020

A taste of the Pajaro Valley | Brew Tour

The Pajaro Valley is best known for its agriculture but its craft brew scene is also starting to demand some attention. This short but strong list of breweries and taprooms around the Watsonville area are key stops on anyone’s tour through California’s bountiful brew catalog.

Fruition Brewing

Location: 918 E. Lake Ave., Watsonville 

Website: www.fruitionbrewing.com/

Social media: fruitionbrewing – Facebook, Twitter & Instagram

Contact: [email protected]

Open: Tuesday-Thursday & Sunday 11am-3pm, Saturday & Sunday 11am-6pm.

Services offered during Covid-19 pandemic: Free same day local delivery Tuesday-Sunday. Online ordering with scheduled contactless pick up, and walk-up window for fresh beer to-go.

The lowdown: Fruition Brewing has been open for one year, utilizing local, sustainable and organic ingredients to make fresh beer with attention to balance. Owners David Purgason and Tallula Preston are proud to source California grown grains and local hops from our friends at Akiyama Hopyard, and ingredients from the world class farms in Watsonville and surrounding counties, including JSM Organics, Gizdich Ranch, Coastal Moon Farm, Dirty Girl Produce, Ox and Willow Farm, B & R Farms, & Ken’s Top Notch Produce to name a few. They can’t wait for the day when they can safely re-open their patio and tasting room, but, until then, they are committed to keeping their small team and community safe, while making sure their customers are able to enjoy fresh beer during this difficult time.

Corralitos Brewing Co.

Location: 2536 Freedom Blvd., Watsonville

Website: www.corralitosbrewingco.com/

Social media: corralitosbrewery – Instagram | Corralitos Brewing Co. – Facebook

Contact: 831-728-2311

Open: Porchside pick-up 2-5pm, Wednesday-Sunday

Services offered during Covid-19 pandemic: Porchside pick-up for beer ordered through www.shopcbcbeer.com/

The lowdown: Located in Corralitos on the outskirts of Watsonville. They brew and pour their own hand-crafted ales. Visit their friendly new taproom and experience what all the buzz is about.

The Slough Brewing Collective 

Location: 65 Hangar Way, Watsonville

Website: www.thesloughbrewing.com/

Social media: thesloughbeer – Instagram | The Slough Brewing Collective – Facebook

Contact: [email protected]

Open: Working on opening to the public as it transfers to new ownership. Check back in August. 

Services offered during Covid-19 pandemic: Once open, they will focus on pick-up orders, and will gradually roll out an outdoor seating solution

The lowdown: Formerly Elkhorn Slough Brewing Company, The Slough Brewing Collective is the natural progression of what the original owners intended. The former owners, Michael Enos and Julie Rienhardt, have passed their business down to their Head Brewer, Jorge Vazquez, a Watsonville local and part owner of Akiyama Hopyard, and their friends; Erix Celis, local teacher and community advocate, and Ben Ward, a veteran of the Santa Cruz brewing scene. They hope to keep the joyful, unpretentious spirit of the original brewery alive, while focusing on what brought them there in the first place: community. They focus on the unique and positive way that beer can bring us together when treated right. They will continue to brew many of the Elkhorn favorites, such as the Pajaro Gold and Goose Blind, but will also branch out into brewing new styles, with a focus on simple, but nuanced beer—beers made for talking to a friend over. They hope, in the future, to offer the taproom as a place where the community can feel comfortable and welcome, and where it can gather and learn through events hosted by community groups, and their workshop program. They hope to share a pint with you soon. Follow their social media for an opening date.

BUSHELS A load of apples prepare to be processed at Mann’s in Corralitos for the Santa Cruz Cider Company. —contributed photo

Santa Cruz Cider Company

Location: 65 Hangar Way, Watsonville

Website: www.santacruzciderco.com 

Social media: santacruzciderco – Facebook & Instagram

Contact: 831-288-7049 

Open: Fridays & Saturdays noon-6pm

Services offered during Covid-19 pandemic: Patio garden for on-site, curbside pickup, delivery, farmers market (Wednesday 1-5, downtown Santa Cruz)

The lowdown: A small family business using the local apple harvest to make hard cider. They have a tasting room in Watsonville where you are welcome to join them for a glass or flight. They also have bottles and cans to-go. Owners Nicole Todd and Natalie Henze are involved in all aspects of the business from growing, picking and pressing the apples to fermentation and packaging. They pride themselves on creating a comfortable environment where everyone is welcome to share a cider and maybe learn a thing or two about the rich apple history in Watsonville.

Beer Mule Bottle Shop + Pour House

Location: 45 Aviation Way, Watsonville

Website: www.kickassbeer.com/

Social media: thebeermule – Facebook & Instagram  

Contact: 831-254-9789

Open: Sunday-Thursday 11am-8pm & Friday-Saturday 11am-10pm

Services offered during Covid-19 pandemic: Restaurant and beer garden are open; outdoor seating only

The lowdown: A craft beer bar with a carefully curated list of rotating beer and cider taps and a bottle shop with more than 200 options available for in-house or to-go. They also serve a rotating menu of one-plate meals and have weekly pop-up food vendors.

Tony Nuñez
Tony Nuñez
Managing Editor Tony Nuñez is a longtime member of the Watsonville community who served as Sports Editor for five years before entering his current role in 2019. A Watsonville High, Cabrillo College and San Jose State University alumnus, he covers the city, business, housing, entertainment and more.

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