The Ultimate Guide to the Best Microbreweries in Santa Cruz County

Beer Brewery

Santa Cruz County, a stunning coastal region in California, is renowned for its breathtaking beaches, vibrant art scene, and stunning natural landscapes. The county is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts and surfers alike. But did you know that Santa Cruz is also a haven for craft beer connoisseurs?

Yes, you heard it right! Santa Cruz is home to an array of microbreweries crafting unique, artisanal beers that are making waves in the craft beer community. This guide will take you on a journey through the best microbreweries in Santa Cruz County, showcasing their unique brews, sustainable practices, and the passionate brewers behind these establishments.

Santa Cruz has emerged as a prominent hub for microbreweries in the United States, gaining a reputation for its diverse and innovative craft beer scene. This region, known for its rich agricultural resources and a community supportive of local and organic products, provides an ideal environment for microbreweries to flourish. The area’s brewers are celebrated for their creative approach, often incorporating local ingredients and unique brewing techniques, making Santa Cruz County a destination for beer enthusiasts. The proliferation of microbreweries in the county reflects a broader trend of craft beer’s growing popularity and the increasing appreciation for artisanal brewing methods in the U.S.

Humble Sea Brewing Co.

Located on the Westside of Santa Cruz, just off Highway 1 on Swift Street, Humble Sea Brewing Co. is a bustling brewpub that has been expanding over the past few years. Known for their hazy IPAs and their flagship beer, ‘Socks and Sandals’, Humble Sea Brewing Co also offers an array of other award-winning beers. Their Helles lager and ‘Kookumber Gose’ both bagged top awards at the World Beer Cup and Brewers Cup of California respectively.

You can find them at 820 Swift Street in Santa Cruz.

Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing

Just around the corner from Humble Sea, Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing is known for its commitment to organic brewing. This brewery stands out for its philosophy of “Think Organic. Drink Organic,” emphasizing the use of organic ingredients in its brewing process. The brewery is open every day, providing a dine-in beer garden experience for its visitors. Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing offers a unique experience with its focus on organic and quality-focused brewing, making it a distinctive destination in the Santa Cruz area.

They are at 402 Ingalls Street #27 in Santa Cruz.

Live by the Beach

Shanty Shack Brewing

Shanty Shack Brewing in Santa Cruz was established by co-owners Brandon Padilla and Nathan Van Zandt, who first met at a homebrew supply store and recognized a shared passion for brewing. Their initial brewing experiments took place in unique locations like a dilapidated shack and a run-down church, leading to creative names like “Chanti Shack” and “The Beer Church.” They started as a Community Supported Brewery, delivering homemade beers to their community. Officially opening in December 2016, Shanty Shack Brewing has become a local hub for enjoying craft beer, vibrant music, and community gatherings.

You’ll find the Shanty Shack at 138 Fern Street in Santa Cruz.

New Bohemia Brewing Company

Drawing inspiration from European brewing traditions, New Bohemia Brewing Company crafts perfect lagers like the Pilsner Soquel, featuring yeast obtained from Budvar in Bohemia for added authenticity. They also serve ales, making it a must-visit for any beer enthusiast. NuBo as it’s called is located in the Pleasure Point area and is a great place to stop off after a day on the surf or sand.

NuBo is at 1030 41st Avenue in Santa Cruz (Pleasure Point).

Sante Adairius Rustic Ales

Sante Adairius Rustic Ales, tucked away behind the Cliffwood Heights neighborhood in Capitola, is a brewery known for its emphasis on traditional brewing methods and quality ingredients. Their approach to brewing combines a respect for tradition with modern techniques to create unique and flavorful beers. The brewery has a taproom in Capitola, offering a space for visitors to enjoy their wide range of beers. They have a commitment to crafting beers that are both high in quality and rich in flavor, making them a notable name in the craft beer community in the area.

Santa Adarius can be found at 103 Kennedy Drive, Capitola, CA

Discretion Brewing

Discretion Brewing in Soquel, is a family-owned company dedicated to crafting handcrafted, exquisite beer. Their brewing journey began as a family dream, with a focus on producing beer that embodies wisdom, wit, and kindness, deeply rooted in the Santa Cruz community. They emphasize sustainable practices, being the first Santa Cruz brewery to invest in solar power and striving to minimize water usage. Discretion Brewing sources high-quality ingredients to support sustainable farming and diverts all spent grain to local farms, demonstrating their commitment to environmental responsibility and community connection.

You’ll find Discretion Brewing at 2703 41st Avenue Suite A in Soquel.

Life’s a Beach

Steel Bonnet Brewing Company

Steel Bonnet Brewing Company, established in 2014, is a small, family-owned brewery located in Scotts Valley, California. They specialize in crafting high-quality beers in a variety of styles, ranging from traditional cask conditioned British ales to intensely hopped American IPAs. The company prides itself on producing small batches of craft beer, ensuring quality and variety in their offerings.

The brewery is known for its cozy and educational tap room where visitors can sample different beers, learn about the brewing process, and even take home growlers of their favorite brews. Steel Bonnet is a place where friends can gather to enjoy good beer and good company.

Steel Bonnet is located in the Victor Square Shopping Center at 20 Victor Square, Scotts Valley, CA.

Fruition Brewing

Fruition Brewing inWatsonville, was founded in 2019 by UC Santa Cruz alumni David Purgason and Tallula Preston. Their journey began when they met through mutual friends at Seven Bridges Organic Brewing Supply, sharing a passion for beer and a vision to create a space for community gathering. The brewery operates on a 10-barrel system built from a variety of repurposed wine and dairy tanks and a custom-built direct-fire kettle. Emphasizing sustainability, Fruition Brewing is both a certified Green and carbon-neutral business, using local and organic ingredients from Watsonville’s world-class farmers. They focus on brewing a rotating selection of beers that balance well with their use of local and sustainable ingredients, making Fruition a significant presence in both the Santa Cruz and Watsonville craft beer scenes.

Fruition Brewing is located in the East Lake Village Shopping Center at 918 E Lake Ave, Watsonville, CA.

Woodhouse Blending and Brewing

Woodhouse Blending and Brewing is a dynamic and evolving project that focuses on crafting small batch beers. The brewery aims to be an integral part of the community, providing a space where everyone can come together to enjoy the best of what the city has to offer. It is dedicated to showcasing diverse talents and creativity, celebrating artists, musicians, chefs, and makers from all walks of life. Woodhouse Blending & Brewing also features a range of events and offers a variety of beers, including traditional styles and innovative barrel-aged blends, to cater to beer enthusiasts and aficionados.

You’ll find them near the Sashmill at 119 Madrone St. Santa Cruz, CA.

LĂșpulo Craft Beer House

LĂșpulo Craft Beer House, located indowntown Santa Cruz, has established itself as a significant destination in the local craft beer scene. This establishment has been a community hub for over five years, offering a unique and seasonal menu that pairs perfectly with their impressive selection of curated beers, wines, and ciders. They feature a constantly rotating selection of 16 small-production beers on tap and over 100 bottles, focusing on locally-sourced products and inspired by Mediterranean and Latin-American cuisines. LĂșpulo’s approach to their beer selection emphasizes quality, with a “less is more” philosophy that ensures fresh and well-curated offerings. The environment at LĂșpulo is designed for various social settings, whether it’s an intimate date, a large group gathering, or simply enjoying a game with friends.

You’ll find LĂșpulo Craft Beer House at 233 Cathcart Street, Santa Cruz, CA


In conclusion, Santa Cruz County is a true paradise for beer lovers. With a variety of microbreweries offering unique brews and a commitment to sustainable practices, there’s something for every craft beer enthusiast in Santa Cruz. So, the next time you’re in the area, don’t forget to take a brewery tour and experience the vibrant craft beer scene in Santa Cruz County!

Access Off-Market Inventory

Google Map of Microbreweries in Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz Beach Homes for Sale

Filter search


Check out this article next

The Perfect Three Day Weekend Getaway in Santa Cruz

The Perfect Three Day Weekend Getaway in Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz, California, stands as a captivating and vibrant destination, perfect for a delightful three-day weekend getaway. Nestled along the stunning Pacific coast and idyllic…

Read Article
About the Author
Seb Frey helps long-time Bay Area homeowners make their next move easily the next one yet. If you're looking for a minimum of hassle, maximum net cash on sale, and certain results, contact Seb today.