Dining Out

True brew at three North Coast spots: Libertine Pub, Cambria Beer Co. and Cambria Ale House

Taps line the walls and bottles fill the icebox at a trio of North Coast spots that are sure to delight beer lovers

Special to The TribuneOctober 18, 2012 

Beer lovers have several new spots for suds on the coast, and there’s an inaugural beer festival on tap as well! Here’s a look at three: one in Morro Bay and two in Cambria.

Libertine Pub

801 Embarcadero, Morro Bay, 772-0700
Hours: Monday-Thursday 3-10 p.m., Friday-Sunday 12-10 p.m.

The dictionary defines “libertine” as “a person who is unrestrained by convention,” and that’s certainly the free-spirited direction being taken by the recently tapped Libertine Pub in Morro Bay.

In addition to its 20 draft beers and more than 100 bottled selections, this is a place that not only plays surf movies, but also spins vinyl … yes, vinyl, as in records.

“We want to have our own feel and be different,” said general manager Tyler Clark.

To that end, the pub also serves up beer-infused cocktails and blended beer drinks that go far beyond the typical Black and Tans. In addition, Clark has begun brewing Libertine label beer in unique styles such as sour beer, and he noted that there are new food items rolling out that will fully incorporate beer as an ingredient, such as a salmon dish using both ale and ground grain.

Those creations will be featured along with the current “Pub Grub.” This menu offers characteristic brewhouse fare such as wings, skins and chili, along with fish and chips or salmon tacos, burgers or calamari, Cajun sausage sandwiches or a “Sloppy José.”

Libertine Pub opened over Memorial Day as an adjacent expansion of Burt Caldwell’s Embarcadero Grill, explained Clark.

The pub’s 20 taps “are always rotating” and aren’t dedicated to any particular genre of suds. “If it’s good, I’ll bring it on,” said Clark. Some recent selections have included Allagash Curieux, Lost Abbey 10 Commandments, and New Belgian Brett Beer.

(Libertine Pub will be one of 14 breweries and restaurants pouring craft beers at the inaugural Morro Bay Beer Festival, Oct. 20, 12-4 p.m. at Tidelands Park, morrobaybeerfest.com. Tickets are $28 advance, $38 at the door, and proceeds benefit the Morro Bay Fourth of July festivities.)

Cambria Beer Co.

821 Cornwall, Cambria, 203-5265
Hours: 12-6 p.m. Sunday, 12-7 p.m. Monday-Tuesday & Thursday, 12-8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, closed Wednesday

Who knows how many beer careers have been started by a homebrew kit? Such is the case with Aaron Wharton, who received one from his wife, Jennifer, 17 years ago.

In March 2012, the couple launched Cambria Beer Co. on Cornwall Avenue, just off the main drag of the West Village. Their craft brewing system produces just 93 gallons at a time, and so far the everchanging lineup on the four taps has included pale ale, IPA, amber, Belgian Whit, porter, stout and a Saison.

“Being so small, we’re really flexible,” said Aaron. “The fun part is that you never know what you’re going to get — it’s really like ‘Brewer’s Choice!’ ” He added that patrons are welcome to “BYOF” (bring your own food), and kids can enjoy a glass of their very own brew, Sprecher’s Root Beer.

Cambria Ale House

2084 Main Street (East Village), Cambria, 395-1295, http://cambriaalehouse.com
Hours: Monday-Thursday 1-10 p.m., Friday 1-11 p.m., Saturday-Sunday 10 a.m.-11 p.m.

Entrepreneur Jeff Hentges originally drafted the name Sealabrations for his establishment when it opened it January, 2012, but he’s since gone with a more straightforward moniker — Cambria Ale House.

In addition to a lengthy list of bottled beer and local wines, the Ale House features 14 rotating taps with selections such as Lengthwise Golden Ale, Figueroa Mountain Pale Ale (from Buellton), and Deschutes Black Butte Porter.

Hentges noted that “we’re also brewing our first beer — an olallieberry blonde,” and he’ll be opening a Cayucos Ale House soon as well.

Katy Budge is a freelance writer from Atascadero. Contact her at ktbudge@sbcglobal.net

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