A Visit to Alvarado St. Brewery and Restaurant
For the past few years, we have had a very positive connection with Alvarado St. Brewery out of Monterey and Salinas, CA. We’ve had the beers, we’ve partied with the owners and brewers at different festivals. We’ve even had owner/brewer JC Hill on our podcast twice. Until recently, we had yet to visit the brewery. An opportunity arose for my family and I to take a long weekend trip to Monterey California, with the main purpose of rest, relaxation and a bit of tourism. We lucked into staying at the local Marriot that is a mere half block away from Avarado St. Brewery and Restaurant.
Taking a different approach when visiting a brewery to then write about it, I did not contact anyone from Alvarado Street Brewery in advanced. I have had countless amazing experiences over the years at breweries and brewpubs, and this is partially due to getting extra accommodations and hospitality. I wanted to see Alvarado Street Brewery through the eyes of the locals and tourists. Monterey from my standpoint is a nice little “town” with shops, restaurants, a wharf, aquarium and coastal activities near and around Pebble Beach. The first thing we did after putting our luggage in our hotel room was to go to lunch at Alvarado Street.
We walked up to a very bustling restaurant, while it was seemingly packed, there was no wait. Immediately to the left and behind the main bar was a very small brewhouse. There may have been a staff member in there, but there wasn’t a full-on brew happening. We were seated at a high top and were directed to pull the menu up on our smart phones. They gave my little one the crayons and the kids menu immediately. Right away, we got the family joint vibe, this wasn’t anything like a tasting room or a craft beer bar, very inviting to non-beer geeks. The menu was very focused with typical gastropub fare. We have a very attentive server, but with the place being jammed packed, we had no expectations for prompt service. Surprisingly, they got our food and beer order off quick and the food came out really quick. I asked for the freshest clear hoppy beer under 7%, and was delivered Riwakan Dependent, a 6.5% single hopped West Coast IPA. It was perfect.
We scooted out and did some other family activities to maximize our long weekend in Monterey. When everyone wanted to wind down in the hotel room, I decided to take that half block walk back to the brewery to try a few more of those fresh beers. Even many hours later, the place was still packed. I bellied up to the bar and ordered a 5% Nelson Pale Ale, called Nelson F.C. It was a great expression of one of my favorite hops. I finished out this trip with a Schwartz Bier, named Salute Your Schwartz. It’s one of my favorite beer styles and it’s not as available as it should be. At this point, I gave up my cover and sent a text to the owner JC and told him the Schwartz bier is amazing. He told me the inspiration is Moonlight’s Death and Taxes, a world class beer in its own right. I called it a day before I was tempted into trying the stronger hoppy beers on the menu. I needed to play it cool and be energized for the next day’s touristy activities.
We got up fairly early on Sunday, had brunch and then did the famous 17 Mile tour from Monterey to Pebble Beach. If you haven’t heard of it, Google it and do it, it’s wonderful. My youngest and I split off because she wanted pizza “from that place we went to yesterday.” “Oh sweetie, do you mean Alvarado St. Brewery?” One more half block jaunt to Alvarado St. Brewery we go. She ordered her pepperoni pizza just to only eat the pepperoni off and I ordered the Pork Belly Pizza. It was a good choice and paired it with Best Part of Waking Up Nitro Milk Stout with Coffee and Vanilla. It was so good and only 5%. That’s it, I experienced Alvarado St. Brewery as a normal customer and I absolutely loved it. I did wonder if they locals and the tourists knew how good the beer was or if they were just wondering in randomly.