Monday, February 2, 2009

Telegraph Brewing

I finally made it to Telegraph Brewing over the weekend. I have been meaning to do this for about a year. I had read about Telegraph's quality beers, but when I got to taste its beer I knew I needed to pay a visit. Unfortunately, my visit only consisted of a stop to fill a growler and buy a bottle of Golden Wheat Ale. I was pressed for time so could not chat with the owner / brewer, Brian Thompson, who was pouring beers and who filled my growler.

Telegraph is located just off the 101 in downtown Santa Barbara. It is next to a winery in a light industrial area. Its tasting hours are limited to Friday and Saturday afternoons. The tasting room is on the right as you walk in and was filled with groups that looked like they could easily have fit in next door at the winery, not the typical craft brew crowd. I took this as a good sign not only for Telegraph but for craft beer, too.

The whole facility is clean and inviting, as the tasting area is in the midst of a working brewery. In addition to tastings, it sold growlers and its bottled beers, along with T-shirts. It offered tasting notes on its beers, and will pour full beers in appropriate glassware. Its growlers were $12 and only $8 for refills. (For comparison, Ballast Point charges $12 to $22 for refills, depending on the type of beer you purchase.) Its bottled beers were only $3.99, which is nearly half-off what I pay in San Diego.

In addition to the Golden Wheat, I got a growler of California Ale, Telegraph's flagship beer. When I first purchased this beer a year ago I was expecting a nondescript, amber ale-type of beer. Instead I discovered a marvelous Belgian-style saison. It is rich in color and full of flavor. It is an underrated beer and one of my favorite beers of 2008.

If you have not tried a beer from Telegraph, I highly recommend its beers. Even its dodgy Winter Ale is worth a try.

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