Wine & Beer

A new brewery is coming to Arroyo Grande — in a familiar spot

Here’s the story behind new Arroyo Grande brewery Humdinger Brewing

Humdinger Brewing, a new brewery opening in the Arroyo Grande Village, will make small-batch artisan beer. The business is located on West Branch Street.
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Humdinger Brewing, a new brewery opening in the Arroyo Grande Village, will make small-batch artisan beer. The business is located on West Branch Street.

A new brewery is coming to the Village of Arroyo Grande, and it’s moving into a familiar spot.

Humdinger Brewing is the brainchild of two home brewers: Lee Samways and Justin Amy. The pair, who met through local home-brewing clubs, decided to go into business together on Easter Sunday and quickly found a place to set up shop.

Their brewery will be located at 116 W. Branch Street, which previously housed Italian tapas restaurant Sconos and, before that, Comfort Market.

“It was almost exactly what we were looking for in terms of size and location,” Samways said. Luckily, the owner of the building was looking for a brewery to move in, Amy said, noting that the building was originally used as a bar in the 1930s.

Samways and Amy said they hope to open up by Nov. 1, but realistically may open their doors closer to the beginning of 2020.

“We knew the Village of Arroyo Grande was the last spot in the area that needed a brewery, so that’s why we chose this area to jump on,” Samways said.

The space is about 1,500 square feet and includes an outdoor area. Both men invested about $50,000 each initially, Samways said.

“To make the dream work, it’s worth it,” Samways said. “I wouldn’t want to go the rest of my life wondering what if.”

What kind of beer will the brewery serve?

Amy and Samways said the brewery will likely be “pretty IPA-forward,” since Indian pale ales continue to be popular, but they also plan to serve up some lagers, which they described as an up-and-coming beer craze.

The two are excited to showcase a combination of their brewing styles. Amy’s approach is more traditional, they said, while Samways’ is a little more out there.

“Justin is a really good brewer,” Samways said. “He makes really awesome, really clean, correct-to-style beers and my style is a little bit more weird.”

Amy excels at “making a really good hazy IPA, or a really good pilsner, or a really awesome coffee blonde,” Samways said.

For Amy, brewing beer started a few years ago as a hobby, and grew into a quest to make the best craft beer, he said.

“Anything I’m really passionate about as a consumer, I end up going, ‘How do you make this? What are the mechanics and science behind this?’ “ Amy said.

Samways said he likes to push the envelope with more nontraditional brews that use ingredients like black toast and pineapple.

“The cool thing about beer is that you can take anything from your day-to-day life and you can turn that into a beer,” Samways said. “So if you like Reese’s peanut butter cups, you can make a Reese’s peanut butter cup beer. You can make it into whatever you want it to be.”

Amy said he hopes the brewery will become a destination for people who love beer, but it may also offer events like trivia nights, depending on what their customers want.

“What we like to do is serve beer, but we want to make it fun for everyone,” Amy said.

Where did the name ‘Humdinger’ come from?

Amy and Samways came up with the name of their brewery while they were batting around other ideas.

“Humdinger’s part of my daily vernacular,” Amy said. “I forget what the name was but I said, ‘That sounds like a real humdinger!’ And then I saw Lee’s ears perk up and he said ‘Humdinger ... I like the way that sounds.’ ”

The pair thought the name would help the brewery fit in with the rest of the Village and, well, it’s just fun to say.

“We loved it because a lot of breweries seem kind of pretentious and we’re not those guys,” Amy said. “We wanted to be fun, so we chose a fun name. But our beer’s going to be serious.”

For more information, check out Humdinger Brewing’s Facebook and Instagram pages, and the company’s website,

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Gabby Ferreira is a breaking news and general assignment reporter at The Tribune in San Luis Obispo. A native of Houston, Texas, she was a reporter in Tucson, Arizona; Indianapolis, Indiana; and Palm Springs, California, before moving to San Luis Obispo County in 2016.