The 14 Best Santa Barbara Breweries

What are the best Santa Barbara Breweries you absolutely must check out? Well, we’ve done the work to figure that out for you! We have sampled their brews, spent time in their taprooms and read all the online reviews to come up with our take on the top Santa Barbara Breweries to explore this year! 

Santa Barbara Breweries

Home brewing was legalized in California in the 70’s and since then tons of great breweries have been popping up all over this coastal state. Santa Barbara, on the central California coast, is no exception. With an amazing brewery on almost every corner of State Street in the Funk Zone, and further out hot spots with more breweries in Goleta and Carpinteria, you won’t have to look too hard to find an expertly crafted beer in this sunny beach town.

Explore local craft breweries with our Brewery Near Me tool! Instantly discover the best and most highly rated breweries wherever you are!

What are the top breweries in Santa Barbara?

From the beach on one side, to the backdrop of picturesque mountains, the views and the vibes are like none other. The best breweries in Santa Barbara have their flagship core beers and experimental brews, along with fun events and entertainment like trivia night, board games, and live music. Most have decent food of their own or a food truck parked outside, chosen to pair with their brews.

Whether you’re a Santa Barbara local or just visiting, having a guide for the best breweries to check out is always a good idea. So here you go!

How we picked the best Santa Barbara Breweries?

With every ‘top breweries’ post that we write, we make sure to do diligent online research to determine who makes it on our list. From reading online reviews and reviewing beer selections, to checking other authority websites and of course, sampling their beers. We do our best to take all the information we collect and give you our opinion of the top breweries in Santa Barbara.

However, we know we aren’t perfect and if we’ve missed a Santa Barbara brewery that you think should be on this list, contact us and let us know who the brewery is and we’ll do our best to include them!

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The Best Santa Barbara Breweries

Alright, let’s get to it, shall we? Here’s our list of the top Santa Barbara Craft Breweries!

Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co.

The most well-known and loved brewery in Santa Barbara, Figueroa Mountain Brewing, is also one of the fastest growing breweries in California. Though they’ve got taprooms all over Southern California and along the Central Coast, their downtown Santa Barbara location in the popular Funk Zone is why we’re here.

It all began with a father and son, both with a burning passion and desire to create the highest quality craft beer on the Central Coast. Their can artwork shows off local landscapes while the actual beers are named after local landmarks. Talk about supporting and appreciating local!

Customer Review: Great beers on tap. Highly recommend award Winning flight. Courteous service. Tie up with lucky penny who can deliver pizza and food here. Overall great experience.

Topa Topa Brewing Co.

Topa Topa Brewing Company is another rapidly expanding craft brewery with tasting rooms all over the lower Central Coast. Named after the Topa Topa Mountains east of Santa Barbara, this brewery focuses on all things local with an aesthetic matching that of an outdoor lifestyle of surfing, hiking, and sun bathing.

Located in Funk Zone’s Waterline Project, they share their space with Lama Dog who has impressive bottle shop featuring hundreds of local craft brews. Here you’ll find high end food and high prices but it’s well worth it!

Customer Review: The friendliest microbrewery I’ve been to in Santa Barbara so far. They actually take time to tell you about their beers, their ingredients and so on, which is what the best breweries do, or used to do. I plan to go back this evening.

Third Window Brewing

Third Window Brewing is located in The Mill, a vintage barn built in 1904 for a feed mill. A truly beautiful space with one of the best patios in Santa Barbara, and it’s dog friendly! They make quality beer crafted from indigenous ingredients, including homegrown barley, native yeast, and orange blossoms from their own tree outside. Their beer list changes frequently as they love to experiment with new styles and recipes. Also, we hear that they might have the best burgers in the world… we’ll let you be the judge!

Customer Review: Cool spot to step in for a beer. Great variety on tap. The brewery is rustic ranch styled, decorated with wine barrels, and lots of greenery. This makes for a home-y place to share a toast. Cheers.

Island Brewing Company

Island Brewing Company is a family owned and operated, award-winning microbrewery in Carpinteria, just 10 minutes down the Pacific Coast Highway from Santa Barbara. They have a beautifully located brewery and tap room with great views of the beach and Channel Islands, and live music on weekends! The craft beer lineup has something for all taste buds, from easy drinking favourites to stouts and bourban barrel aged ales.

Customer Review: Great place, nice atmosphere, friendly staff and patrons. This place has a lot of nice features. Trainspotting! Public park across the tracks, dog friendly, free parking and delicious beer. Nice place to bring friends or just hang out on the patio with a book or some work. Highly recommend 😉

M. Special Brewing Company

M. Special Brewing Company really is something special. They live true to their motto “Good Beer. Every Time”. With a new downtown Santa Barbara location, things are definitely picking up for M. Special. It seems their most loved beers are those that represent the true California flavors, from grapefruit IPA’s to tangerine ales, they do it all and they do it well!

Customer Review: Their Slogan can be any more correct! “Good Beer. Every Time.” Great place to watch sports with all the TVs inside and on the back patio.

Captain Fatty’s

Captain Fatty’s Brewery in Goleta is bringing the community together one unique beer at a time. The craft beers that come out of this establishment are like none other. (Their Walk the Plank Milk Stout is topped with a tasted marshmallow, come on!) They love to support local by collaborating with local businesses and showcasing local artists. Along with their creative beer menu, they also have root beer on tap for the youngsters! A family-friendly spot that the whole crew can enjoy.

Customer Review: Our favorite place for amazing beer!!! So many options and not one bad beer! We love to stock up on their cans to take home!! 🍺 Cheers!

Institution Ale Co.

Institution Ale Co. on State Street is the best brewery to visit if you’ve got an appetite! Their house made artisanal pizza is well loved among Santa Barbara locals and tourists alike. The beer menu is divided into light, malty, and hoppy and within those categories are a whole lot of different flavors! With huge open windows, a great patio, and arcade games inside, this is not a place you want to miss!

Customer Review: Great beer selection, delicious food, and helpful, knowledgeable staff! We tried several beers and had a pizza – all were great.

Rincon Brewery

Rincon Brewery just recently opened their new location in the growing Funk Zone in the Santa Barbara area and it’s already a buzzing hot spot in this artsy neighborhood. This new location is known for their cozy patio and their small yet amazing food menu consisting mostly of panini’s and flatbreads. The beer line up has something for every palate and new releases are always brewing. Check out their Jelly Bowl, a wheat ale brewed with seasonally changing fruit!

Customer Review: First visit and really enjoyed yourselves . Good beer, great service, yummy flatbread pizza 🍺😍

Draughtsmen Aleworks

Draughtsman Aleworks is a local brewery in Goleta but they’ve recently opened a second taproom on State Street in Santa Barbara, CA. Hitting all the bases in terms of styles and flavours, Draughtsman Aleworks often experiments with seasonal and rare barrel brews, they even have a 99% gluten reduced beer they call the “Cereal Killer”. Check out their State Street taproom in the Mosaic Locale where you’ll also find Argentinian empanadas, locally roasted coffee, cider, and a wine bar with great wine.

Customer Review: What a hidden gem!! Felt like we were in a friend’s backyard. With so many places leaning hard into IPAs these days, it was refreshing to see a place with a robust and diverse selection. And the boys working were very nice.

The Brewhouse

The Santa Barbara Brew House is a sports bar and grill with a restaurant and about two dozen taps of their own beer. They’re dedicated to the premise that you will never leave hungry, thirsty, disappointed or unamused and they’re doing a fine job staying true to that. Even your dogs will have a great time sampling the food menu dedicated only to furry friends! Their clever and crafty beer names keep things interesting with the Blurred Vision and Motivation Destroyer, both definitely worth a try!

Customer Review: Great local brewhouse. Plenty of house brews and guest beers. Happy hour and dark brew specials. Pub food. Nitro stout and great service.

Hollister Brewing Company

Hollister Brewing Company, located in the Camino Real Marketplace of Goleta, right near the airport, Isla Vista and Old Town is a convenient stop for some excellently brewed craft beer. They have a great food menu that pairs perfectly with their house brewed beer. If you’re in the area this a must-stop.

Customer Review: Wonderful service good food great beer definitely would stop by on my way through town again.

Night Lizard Brewing Company

Located on the popular State Street with many other breweries, Night Lizard Brewing Company is a family owned brewery committed to helping the environment and using local ingredients. All of their beers are named after endangered species of central California and beyond, with a whopping 10% of all profits going towards environmental education and protection!

Their large taproom hosts trivia nights, live music, and you can watch sports on their huge projector screen! A fun atmosphere and delicious beer paired with environmental awareness… this place is doing it right!

Customer Review: If you’re into quality brewed beers and light crowds then this place is a must. There is a range of beers from light body beers to full body beers. I personally recommend the nitro smores stout. Cheers to good beer.

Brass Bear Brewing & Bistro

Brass Bear Brewing & Bistro is a stylish brewery just one block from the beach that offers quality craft beers, wine, cider, and a great food menu. Their patio features a supervised kid area so your kiddos can have fun while you take some much deserved time to enjoy a hot meal and a cold beer. Every now and then they host events like comedy nights, workshops, and specialty dinners under the stars.

Customer Review: Favorite brewery in the area. Amazing customer service, great brews, cool beer flight tray, and just amazing ambiance with everyone there being so friendly with dogs.

brewLAB

brewLAB is an artisanal nano-brewery that specializes in small batch experimental brews that push the limits of flavor profiles. They rarely repeat recipes when they brew beer so most are only available for a very limited time. The perfect spot for adventurous beer enthusiasts looking to try something completely different. Located in Carpinteria, just 10 minutes away from downtown Santa Barbara, you’ll never find these beers anywhere else.

Customer Review: Amazing beer, huge selection and exceptional service….I highly recommend going here!

Enjoy the best breweries in Santa Barbara!

Make sure to go and check out Santa Barbara’s best craft breweries, grab a locally brewed pint (or 2) and support your local brewers!

If we’ve missed a brewery on our list that you think should be added, contact us and let us know who the brewery is and why you think it should be added to our list of the top breweries in Santa Barbara!