Wednesday, November 21, 2012


It was an east coaster, Aaron Goldfarb, who alerted me to the coming of SANTE ADAIRIUS RUSTIC ALES. "You know this place?", his email said, sent with a hyperlink. I did not. They hadn't actually started business yet, but it was "coming soon" - right there in my backyard. Capitola, CA, right next door to Santa Cruz, which is pretty much my immediate family's home away from home, and where we spend every sixth weekend or so just for kicks. A Belgian-inspired, experimental brewery devoted to barrel aging and artisanal craft ale. How good could it really be, right? lol

So I waited for it to open, and when it finally did, I waited for a time when they'd open their tasting room at hours in which I could visit. First it was Sundays for a few hours, then both weekend days, but it never seemed to work out. Then one time my wife, son and I finally arrived down there to find them closed; and another time, we found that my 9-year-old couldn't come in the door and party with me. Alcohol laws and all. Rather than making my family wait in the car while I drank, which is of course what I truly wanted to do, we moved on as I cried rivers of tears (on the inside) and kept my face stoic and solemn.

Finally - finally - this past weekend, I ran a half marathon in Monterey, and got to hit up SANTE ADAIRIUS both on the way down and on the way back, rewarding myself both for my training effort and for completing the race. Naturally, I would have stopped here anyway. Let me just cut to the chase here, after trying four of the five beers they were pouring: I believe we have a new contender for Russian River's throne for Best Bay Area brewer. Granted, neither Santa Rosa nor Capitola truly self-identify as "Bay Area", each being 90 minutes in opposite directions of San Francisco, but that only underscores my point for how phenomenal Sante Adairius's beers are. 

I tried CITRA PALE ALE, NONNA'S BLEND #2, SAISON BERNICE and CHAVEZ over my two visits. Only the pale ale was "normal" for the style, and OMFG, it was incredible. A creamy pale ale that tasted like it has literally been brewed five minutes ago, with a nice hop bite and some tartness. Absolutely loved it, and it led me to buy my first growler ever, a total beer dork rite of passage! They broke my growler cherry. How about that. I spent the past two nights drinking it, and my enthusiasm remains unabated. My growler shall evermore be at the ready for trips down to Santa Cruz.

NONNA'S BLEND #2 was an 8% barrel-aged blend that tasted of wine and syrup and nutmeg, almost like a tart Christmas ale. SAISON BERNICE was a smooth, also tarty, almost tripel-like saison, and CHAVEZ was purportedly a stout, and while my notes are a little rusty and I got carried away with conversation whilst drinking it, I loved it like I love my family, America and the San Francisco Giants baseball club.

This brewer's going to be a great many people's favorite in the months to come. I happened to miss the window for their bottled releases by a few days in either direction, which totally bummed my high, and as I understand it, Sante Adairius is proving to be so popular with Santa Cruz county local beer fiends that those bottles are nearly impossible for an interloper like myself to get anyway. I suspect they're approximately where Vinnie and the Russian River crew were in about 2006; give them some time and they'll be blowing your taste buds away as well.


Derrick Peterman said...

I have to check this place out, and congrats on your half-marathon.

Brewmar said...

My feelings exactly. This last weekend I got to try their "northern influence" a tripple IPA. Boy that was the best beer I had ever had. loads of pineapple and greatfruit flavors, definately thought to myself these guys are going to be competing with the big dawgs like russian river.

I am very excited to see these people grow, I will be visiting frequently!