Santa Ynez Valley Taps into Craft Beer Month

Santa Ynez Valley Craft Beer MonthIn what is proving to be a glorious time in history for beer enthusiasts everywhere…tap real estate is booming! With well over 1,600 craft breweries throughout the U.S.,  California’s Santa Ynez Valley is taking this opportunity to foster the craft beer spirit and is expanding its annual celebration of craft beer from one week to the entire month of May. It is officially Craft Beer Month in the Santa Ynez Valley and to kick-off the festivities, we have a gathered a bit of insight into this brewing revolution.

Why Craft Beer? Flavor.

It is all about having a broad spectrum of flavors and choices. Something the wine industry has forever been exploring and that the Santa Ynez Valley knows so very well, now affords beer drinkers the same palate pleasing opportunities.

A few basics for those who may not be familiar:

  • Craft beer is made by small, independent brewers. This allows fresh, high quality, and carefully chosen ingredients to be used. Often interesting and non-traditional ingredients are also added for a spin on the ordinary. These elements, combined with the heart and soul of the brewmaster, produce innovative and delicious choices for everyone’s tastes.
  • Craft beer is often brewed and transformed by seasonal availability and therefore differs by region. Unique styles and seasonal ingredients pair for an infinite combination of brews.
  • Craft Beer is just that…truly a craft. Beer that is as innovative, diverse and individually unique and surprising as the brewers themselves.

Basic Styles of Craft Beer:

  • Lagers: made with yeasts that prefer lower temps when fermenting and tend to be smoother and mellower than ales.
  • Ales: quite the opposite, prefer warmer processing temps, which typically translates into more of a flavor impact. These usually involve a higher alcohol content and many more varieties than lagers.

Specific Styles of Craft Beer: although too many to list, here are the main players:

  • Wheat beer (Weizens) are often cloudy in appearance and the flavor ranges greatly. Typically lighter in flavor, some may be considered ‘spicy’ and reminiscent of European styles.
  • Brown Ale: Typically a darker amber color, it is a very old style beer and is said to be earthy and less bitter in flavor.
  • Pale ale is one of the world’s most popular beer styles. The aroma and flavor of hops is definite yet balanced with malt. Marked by the often times citrusy character of American hops.
  • India Pale Ale (IPA): Dating back to the time when English troops needed to preserve the life of their beer traveling on their voyages to India, extra hops were added as a natural preservative thus producing the slightly bitter (read hoppy) and crisp flavor profile.
  • Double IPAs or Imperial IPAs. Multiply the amount of hops and added malt for balance and the result is a fairly intense and bold hoppy giant.
  • Stouts are made with black, unmalted barley which results in a heavily roasted flavor and thick head. Little hop flavor but often with hints of coffee, chocolate, licorice, and molasses.
  • Pilsners are relatively young style beer with crisp, strong varying hop flavor and fragrant.

Santa Ynez Valley Craft Beer Month Craft Beer Month in Santa Ynez Valley features more beer events than even the most seasoned craft beer lover can imagine!  Click here for full event details. Some of the highlights not to be missed include:

The 2nd Annual Buellton Brew Fest at the River View Park, Saturday, May 11, 12-4pm, featuring Craft Beer from nearly 30 breweries along with music, food, and fun. Featuring a Craft Soda component for the designated drivers, bring your beach chair, blankets and relax and enjoy the afternoon with the sounds of Burning James and the Funky Flames. Tickets $45 – last year was a sell-out so reserve your tickets early! Price includes unlimited tastings, one meal, and a souvenir tasting glass.

Americana meets Craft Beer! Fast cars, neon lights, hamburgers & shakes, and Surf Rock at the Friday Night Beer Dinner, May10. Chances are you have never paired your beer with a milkshake..but they will show you how! The Buellton Beer Fest is partnering with BIN 2860 and the iconic Mendenhall Musuem guaranteed to make this a dinner like no other!  $75 (tickets are extremely limited).

Passport Craft Beer Tasting adventure – During entire month of May, visit at least 6 designated passport stops for craft beer tasting paired with a special discount and you will be entered into the Beer Country Giveaway.  Participating stops in Solvang include: the Wandering Dog Wine Bar, Solvang Brewing Company, Randy’s Taproom, Sante Wine Bar & Lounge, The Good Life, and Valley Brewers. Passport stops in Buellton include: Firestone Walker Brewering Company’s Barrelworks, Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company, Avant Tapas & Wine Bar, and the Winner’s Circle at SYV Marriott. Passport stops in Los Olivos are: Bin 2860 Wine Shop, and Los Olivos Cafe & Wine Merchant and the Passport stop in Santa Ynez is the Ranch & Reata Roadhouse.

Craft Beer Education – For those thirsty to learn all about craft beer, figueroa_mountainFigueroa Mountain Brewing Company is offering a Beer Class with FMB Brew Master, AJ Stoll. valley_brewersValley Brewers is featuring both a Yeast Starter Class, and a Free Cheese demo, where you will learn how to make cheese fondue; a great food pairing with beer!  The Wandering Dog Wine Bar is hosting Friday night Beer Classes, an Ales vs. Lagers Class, a Beer Styles Class, and a High-End Specialty Brews event. wandering_dog Bin 2860 will be hosting beer-themed classes with topics ranging from ales vs. lagers to sour beers to yeast classes as well as brewing demos.

Special Craft Beer Deals can be found at Solvang Brewing solvang_brewingCompany anytime during Craft Beer Month and Firestone Walker Brewing Company’s Barrelworks Firestone Walker Brewing Companywill be releasing a Library Anniversary Ale every Friday.  Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company is offering special “pint nights” and progressive brew tastings throughout the month.

Special Craft Beer Events are hoppin!

Santa Ynez Valley Marriott With the entire month of May devoted to Craft Beer, make it a midweek rendezvous or even a relaxing weekend getaway. Book your stay at the Santa Ynez Valley Marriott, making it your home-base for all the local craft beer festivities. Starting Gate Restaurant Santa Ynez Valley Marriott Craft Beer Month MenuTake advantage of our featured $20.13 dinner entrees carefully paired with fabulous craft beer selections at the Starting Gate Restaurant. Our Winner’s Circle Lounge is proud to be a featured stop on the Craft Beer Passport event and is featuring 15% discount on food & offering beer flights. The fabulous local beer selections include:





Santa Ynez Valley’s Mother’s Day Toast

wineTulip18392572_sLooking for a memorable way to celebrate Mother’s Day? How about a relaxing getaway nestled in the enchanting, rolling hills of Santa Ynez Valley’s wine country. It’s the stuff mothers’ dreams are made of…Solvang’s Danish bakeries with made-from-scratch pastries, gourmet restaurants featuring fresh local ingredients and inspired cuisine, unique shopping and art galleries…all paired with world-class yet unpretentious wine tasting. A seamless blend of sophisticated style and unhurried, small town charm is the ideal escape for the mother in your life this May.


Check out our Santa Ynez Valley Mother’s Day ideas sure to make it a special occasion:

  • Solvang Village Farmers MarketWednesdays 2:30-6:30pm visit Solvang Village Farmer’s Market where local chefs routinely peruse the availability of fresh ingredients for inspiration and tonight’s menu offerings! Featuring fresh produce and flowers, culinary treats and much more.
  • Solvangs Third Wednesday Wine WalkContinue the Wednesday adventure with Solvang’s Third Wednesday Wine Walk kicking off May 15. Stroll through the Village of Solvang from 3-7pm and take advantage of the many wine tasting rooms offering special discounts. Tickets are $20 and include a Solvang Third Wednesday logo glass, map and tasting at 5 places of your choice.
  • Wandering Dog Wine BarWandering Dog Wine Bar presents Styles of Beer, Friday, May 10 from 6-7pm. This is an exciting opportunity to learn about various styles of beer while sipping and discussing in a relaxed and wonderful venue. Class includes 6 beers along with light cheese and crackers for $20. Please call 805.686.9126 to make reservations.

**Although individual registration it is sold out…

Team ASPCAConsider contacting the race’s Charity Partners: ASPCA, MMRF, and Lazarex Cancer Foundation Charities & Fundraising. Be a part of a special kind of cause by joining TeamASPCA or one of the other teams in the Wine Country Half Marathon. Click on the link to learn how you can walk or run to help save the lives of millions of animals (and enjoy some great wine!): Team ASPCA

  • Fess Parker Vineyard and Winery Finishers PartyFinishers Party at Fess Parker Winery & Vineyards Saturday May 11 2-5pm  is another fabulous way to celebrate the marathon and unwind with friends & family. Relax in the sunshine, out on the lawn at Fess Parker Winery, rimmed by mature oaks, and enjoy a Santa Maria style BBQ, two glasses of fabulous wine (of course!) and live music.
  • Zaca Mesa Winery Los OlivosGSM Blending Event at Zaca Mesa Winery – Come spend the afternoon on May 11, 10-1pm, with the talented winemaker, Eric Mohseni! He will instruct you on the art of blending the red Rhone varietals. From barrels to bottle you will have the chance to create your own Grenache, Mourvedre, and Syrah blend, done to your taste! Everyone will get to take home a bottle of their own wine to show off with family and friends. Lunch with the winemaker will be included: A gourmet picnic provided by Fresco Valley Cafe.

Cimarone Estate WInery

  • Celebrate the wonderful mother in your life with a day of wine tasting at Cimarone Wines in Los Olivos. Featuring free tastings Saturday May 11, join Cimarone and relax – you deserve it!

bottle-shock-movie-poster-2008Kalyra-1000737440 Join Kalyra Winery in their Summer Movie Night Annual Kickoff featuring:  BOTTLE SHOCK, Saturday May 11 5-9pm, on the big screen at Kalyra’s outdoor amphitheater. Admission is free to this fabulous outdoor movie adventure.They’ve wanted to show this fantastic flick since last year. Every wine enthusiast NEEDS to see it. It’s the true story of how California wines, starting in Napa, got put on the world map when Napa was a dusty hippy town in the 70’s. Arrive early to stake out your place on the grass (first-come/first-serve), and enjoy food, wines by the glass, music on the patio, and beautiful wine country sunsets prior to the movie. Bring your own blankets and chairs. No RSVP necessary!

Sunstone Winery Mothers Day Blending EventSunstone Winery’s Special Event: A Mother’s Blend is an exclusive Mother’s Day Wine Blending Experience May 12, 10:30-12 noon. Celebrate Mom with Sunstone at their intimate wine blending experience on the grounds of the majestic Sunstone Villa. Guests will start the morning with a gourmet selection of pastries, charcuterie, and mimosas while enjoying the Villa and sweeping views of the Santa Ynez Valley. After a glimpse into the origins, history, and traditional use of each grape varietal, Moms and guests will work together and create their own distinctive Bordeux blend to take home in a beautifully wax sealed bottle. Additional bottles of your custom blend will be available to purchase and take home as the perfect momento of the day. Unable to spend Mother’s Day with your Mom? Why not create the perfect blend and send the gift her way.

Santa Ynez Valley Marriott

Honor the mother in your life with a Mother’s Day getaway and book your stay at the Santa Ynez Valley Marriott today. It is the picture perfect escape that is sure to make mom feel appreciated…luxurious linens,relax by the pool, work on your forehand at the on-site tennis courts and a fabulous Mother’s Day Brunch. Santa Ynez Valley Marriott Mother's Day BrunchWhen the mood strikes, venture forth and explore everything the Santa Ynez Valley has to offer, from over 141 wineries to the scenic streets of Solvang. It’s a fabulous opportunity to renew her spirit in the serenity and beauty of the Santa Ynez Valley.


Romance in the Santa Ynez Valley

Surprise your loved one with the gift of wine country romance…cupid approved!

Santa Ynez Valley MariottThe enchanting Santa Ynez Valley, celebrated for its world-class vineyards and wineries, miles of rolling hills, gnarled oaks, blue skies, innovative cuisine and artistic treasures, is the ideal destination for an intimate romantic getaway.

We’ve gathered some fresh ideas for you and your valentine to explore in and around the bountiful Santa Ynez Valley.

Your Santa Ynez Valley romantic adventure awaits…

Santa Ynez Valley Marriott Valentine's Day Dinner“Share the Love” Valentine’s Dinner, February 14th at the Santa Ynez Valley Marriott
A fabulous four course gourmet dinner served in the elegant Jockey Club includes:
Amuse Bouche & Salad Course
Lobster Tail with Newberg Sauce or
Filet Mignon with Balsamic Syrup and Goat Cheese or
Portebello Napoleon
Dessert First seating 6pm ~ Last seating 9pm, $80 per couple, plus tax, Reservations are suggested – 805.688.1000

A Wine Fantasy in February 

A Wine Fantasy in February Santa Ynez ValleySanta Ynez Valley’s most popular wine tasting passport event, taking place this year February 15 – 18. With passport in tow, visit 15 world class winery tasting rooms located in Los Olivos, Solvang, Buellton and Santa Ynez, over the four-day weekend. This is a stellar opportunity to discover new wines and revisit old favorites. On Saturday, each tasting room will be serving catered hors d’ourves and you will have the opportunity to meet many of the vinters and owners. Take home a signature logo glass along with your memories. Passports are $45 and available online. Buy your passports early, as this event will sell out!  Designated driver tickets are available for $10 each and include soft beverages and hors ‘dourves on Saturday.


Valentine’s Day Dinner 

Firestone Winery Los OlivosJoin Winemaker Paul Warson at the Firestone Winery in Los Olivos as he guides you through a thoughtfully constructed cocoa themed menu paired with award winning wines. February 16, 6:00-9:00pm, Wine club members:$60,  Non-members $75. Tickets will go fast, so please RSVP to



The Garagiste Festival: Southern Exposure

Garagiste2013SYVlogo-215x300Cutting-edge Wine Making without the Rules! A non-profit festival featuring 30 of Santa Ynez Valley’s signature high-quality, small-production, artisan winemakers, all pouring under one roof on February 16th, in Solvang. This is an unprecedented event combing personal winemaker interaction and renegade spirit. Showcasing high-quality, cutting-edge, small production, commercial wineries that produce fewer than 1,200 cases a year, the one-day festival begins at 11:00 AM with “The Ultimate Barrel Tasting – Oak Flavors Tasted and Explained”  seminar. Winemaker and vineyard owner Michael Larner, of the renowned Larner Vineyard, and winemaker Ryan Render, of Rendarrio Vineyards and cooperage Tonnellerie Saint Martin, bring their knowledge of viticulture, winemaking, and barrels to the table. Attendees will learn (and taste) how different oak treatments – from type to region to toast – can affect the finished product and change the profile of a single wine.  Grand Tasting runs from 2 PM – 5 PM. VIP All Access Pass:  $80 per person, Grand Tasting – $50 per person. Tickets available online.


Valentines Carriage rides in SolvangValentine's Day Carriage Rides Solvang Relax with your Valentine! The 30 minute horse drawn carriage ride includes: Wine-tasting at a local winery (21 and over only), a rose for your sweetheart, a handcrafted fudge-art heart piece with your names on it and dessert or coffee drink at Solvang Trolley Ice Cream Parlor.


If you are looking for an even more adventurous romantic plan…

bike-tourWine tasting series on bike. Why not combine cycling the beautiful scenery with great wine and food to create the perfect valley experience. Local operations are custom-tailored and day tours can include a romantic gourmet picnic lunch within the wine tasting and cycling routes.

wine-taste-horsebackWine tasting series on horseback
. Local stables offer horseback riding and wine tasting tours in the gorgeous Santa Ynez Valley. The scenery is breathtaking, and what more romantic way to travel from vineyard to vineyard than on horseback with your loved one?

Nijoqui Falls Santa Ynez Valley

Take a hike and a picnic at Nojoqui Falls. The Nojoqui Falls Park has a short trail to gaze at the falls in a gorgeous outdoor setting. The park has plenty of places to enjoy a picnic for two after you’ve taken in all the beautiful scenery.


 Santa Ynez Valley Romance Package

Santa Ynez Valley Marriott Romance Package Searching for that memorable gift for your someone special? Combine one or more of the fantastic local Santa Ynez adventures with a romantic stay at the Santa Ynez Valley Marriott.

Celebrate your love with a romance-filled escape that includes:
A bottle of champagne or wine upon arrival, roses and truffles, and deluxe overnight accommodations for two.
Also includes your choice of: sumptuous breakfast buffet for two featuring cooked to order omelets at the Starting Gate Restaurant or breakfast for two in bed from room service. Why not pair your overnight stay with the Santa Ynez Valley Marriott’s  “Share the Love” Valentine’s Dinner on February 14th.

SYVMarriott-Valentines-2013-adMake this Valentine’s celebration one to remember!