Food & Drink

ManRock, Toro Creek breweries court Central Coast beer lovers

A flight of beers at ManRock Brewing Co. in Grover Beach features Fear the Reaper (amber), Murder (double IPA), Sabatoge (strong ale), Eat Crow (triple IPA) and Hop Dealer (barleywine).
A flight of beers at ManRock Brewing Co. in Grover Beach features Fear the Reaper (amber), Murder (double IPA), Sabatoge (strong ale), Eat Crow (triple IPA) and Hop Dealer (barleywine).

Tap into the second annual Central Coast Craft Beer Week, Saturday through March 29. Sponsored by the Central Coast Brewers Consortium (CCBC), the event will showcase local breweries, brew pubs and special collaboration brewing projects.

Click here to see the 2015 Central Coast Craft Beer Week schedule of events »

Two of the CCBC breweries being featured during the week are ManRock Brewing Co. and Toro Creek Brewing Co.

ManRock Brewing Co.

11750 El Camino Real, Grover Beach (Near A.J. Spurs) | 270-3089 |

Tasting room hours: Monday-Thursday 4-10 p.m., Friday 3 p.m.-midnight, Saturday 1-10 p.m., Sunday 1-8 p.m.

Though Mike and Deshia Hiebner’s ManRock Brewing Co. was established in September 2012, its Central Coast legacy dates back to the 19th century.

Mike Hiebner’s maternal great-grandparents were Henry Mansfield and Franny Plaskett. They owned much of the land around Plaskett Creek Campground in Monterey County from 1888 until 1964, when they sold most of it to the state of California.

Each of them had their “own” offshore rock — Plaskett Rock, which is still on most maps, and Mansfield Rock … as in ManRock.

The label’s core beers cover the gamut, from the flagship Fear the Reaper amber, to honey nut brown, to several IPAs. However, as Deshia Hiebner pointed out, “Our IPAs are more of an East Coast style, rather than West Coast — they’re maltier, and not overly hoppy.” Typically, there will also be a pale ale available, as well as a stout and/or porter.

(The Grim Reaper undercurrent is also thanks to the Hiebners’ heritage. In part because of a scythe hanging in his dad’s woodshop, his family has had a longtime, playful fascination with the character, which shows up on some of the label’s packaging and especially in many of the beer names.)

ManRock originally opened in a tiny spot off Grand Avenue in Grover Beach, but in May 2014 the brewery moved to a much more visible space on El Camino Real, just down from A.J. Spurs.

“We have a great core group of people who were loyal to us and helped get us to the next level,” Deshia Hiebner said. “That’s really what got us here (to the new location), the love and support of the community.”

The much larger facility not only allows for more brewing capacity of the small-batch beers, but also has a spacious outdoor patio complete with a wood-burning pizza oven.

Pizzas are available every night of the week; burgers are  served up on Wednesdays, and upcoming Mondays will see the unveiling of “Shrimp Night.” On Fridays, there’s live, mostly local music; that program will expand to weekend afternoons as the weather warms up.

The tap room boasts 17 taps, and though the goal is to have the majority pouring ManRock beers, the Hiebners also gladly put up guest taps. Recently, the choices included Coronado Brewing Co.’s IPA and Hanger 24 Craft Brewery’s Orange Wheat and Betty IPA.

Toro Creek Brewing Co.

It’s not unusual to find “estate” wines, but “estate” beers? That’s exactly what the three brothers behind Toro Creek Brewing Co. are aiming for — sourcing almost everything they need for their signature brews from the family’s organic farm, from hops to barley to wild yeasts.

Mirroring the triangle within Toro Creek’s cleanly stylized bull’s head logo (which is also used for their tap handles), the brothers each bring specific and complimentary skill sets to the equation.

As a senior project for his business administration degree at Cal Poly, Brendan Cosgrove wrote up a plan for a craft brewery. His brother, Kyle Batoor-Cosgrove, graduated from Cal Poly with an agriculture degree, and another brother, Caleb McLaughlin, is an award-winning brewmaster with experience at Congregation Ale House and Rogue Ales.

Though the label doesn’t have a tasting room, Toro Creek quietly made its debut at the 2013 Beaverstock event, and the label’s Saison, Red Ale and Oatmeal Stout are available at select spots throughout the county. Check the website for locations, or just look for that distinctive silver tap handle.