Today we take another trip. Not quite as far as we have gone in the past (LA or Oregon), so therefore, more accessible to the day-tripper!
First a couple of nods to the facets that led myself, with family in tow, to the Santa Cruz Ale Works. First: My son’s love of trains (he gets it from his Pop). My son turned two in early September, which required a trip to the full size train Mecca that is Roaring Camp. If you haven’t gone, you should. It’s stepping back in time to a more sensory visceral era.
Second: My wife’s, as well as my, desire to never feed our children a hot dog.
And Third: The app “Food Tripping”. This app is for the people on the go that abhor the thought of stopping at Carl’s Junior, Burger King, or Taco Bell to refuel. The app points out the gems behind these neon behemoths. The year round farmers markets, the vegetarian restaurants, the artisan beer/coffee places.
Food Tripping brought us to the doors of Ale Works. Otherwise it is safe to say that we would have never known it existed.
Santa Cruz Ale Works rests as the last door on a line of industrial, non-conformist office buildings. If not for the app and the well-placed a-frames leading up to the property, we would have assumed we were very lost. Turns out that we were exactly where we wanted to be.
We struck at the vegetarian options on Food Tripping. The front (restaurant portion) of the brewery was small and make shift. Chandeliers made from sawed off kegs. Cement floor and picnic tables inside. A tall and perfectly accented 7-10 person L-shape bar, and a large screen television bringing me up to date on everything that had been happening week one in the NFL.
We were enthusiastically welcomed with the other 6 patrons there, by barkeep Adam. This was our first taste of just how Santa Cruz this place is. Laid back, positive energy and again…extremely welcoming. I had the general sense that personal interaction is a natural talent of Adam and he is right where he should be to add to the success of this nonchalant place.
Shortly after we placed our order of a Veggie Sando, Mediterranean wrap and a mess of homemade pickles, we were served and further greeted by GM/Head Chef Jeff. More “Santa Cruz” ensued. He was brief but positive with our interaction until we had a chance to form an opinion on quality, then he returned (not too quick, certainly not too long) to see how we were enjoying our meal. Through a full mouth of fresh vegetables and feta cheese I muttered “AWESOME”. I have said this before, but bears repeating. You can taste homemade, and everything here is homemade. Smoked meats, deviled eggs (daily), fresh baked bread, sauces, krout and the pickles…everything is made in house by Jeff!
Just before we left, but not before an introduction to my plan to include them in Alive Magazine, Marc, the owner made an appearance….on a Sunday! That says a lot!
His story is awesome. Realizing that his degree in communications would be a tough match for his passion to home-brew, he went over the pond to Northern England and the University of Sunderland to achieve a degree in Brewing Technology. Just in case you didn’t know, Europeans know their beer, and now, thanks to them, Marc knows his beer better. He always knew what to do, now he knows the tech.
So this is why Ale Works makes my list. Awesome and fresh food made from scratch on site, great veggie options in addition to regular deli-fare, and above all else…Customer service, and I didn’t even try the beer. A clean and safe place to be with a flip-flop mentality.
I wish this team nothing but continued success!
150 Dubois St. Santa Cruz California, 95060