Rolling vineyards. Craft breweries. Natural hot springs. Farm-to-table food. Paso Robles, California is one of the best weekend getaways in California for foodies & booze travelers, and one of the best places to visit on California’s Central Coast!
But too many people make the mistake of assuming that wine tasting in Paso Robles is the only option for booze-loving visitors, although like, lets be real… the wine tasting there is amazing.
Even my know-it-all husband, who grew up down the road from Paso Robles in Morro Bay, was shocked to discover that how much more than just wineries Paso Robles has to offer (psst: we’ve also got guides to the best Paso Robles wineries and things to do in Paso Robles).
On our many trips to Paso Robles over the years, we’ve gotten to know the many amazing craft breweries in Paso Robles serving up inventive sours, west coast IPAs, and barrel-aged porters.
But that’s not all: there’s also a plethora of Paso Robles distilleries, serving up spirits related to wine like grappa, vodka and brandy, all made from wine grapes and craft distilled in small batches. And yes, they’re yummy.
Simply put, Paso Robles is a booze traveler’s dream destination. And we, dear readers, are very much booze travelers. Just call Paso Robles the Hermione Granger of the booze world!
Here’s our guide to the best breweries in Paso Robles, plus a few picks for distilleries and restaurants to round out the perfect weekend getaway.
Planning a trip to Paso Robles & the Central Coast? We’ve got several articles to help you plan your trip! Take a look or view them all here:
Psst: Paso Robles is one of the best detours a Highway One road trip! We’ve created a detailed 10-day California Coast itinerary to help you plan your perfect Pacific Coast Highway road trip. Enter your email below and we’ll send you a printable version, plus tips to plan your trip.
Printable Highway One Itinerary
This FREE printable Highway One itinerary will help guide you on your road trip! Plus, we’ve included our San Francisco walking tour, and we’ll send you some helpful tips to plan your trip.
2021 Update: Heads up – storms in February washed out a big chunk of Highway One in Big Sur. Unfortunately this happens every few years – the precarious nature of the highway is part of what makes it such a landmark! But before your trip, you should be aware of any detours or road closures and plan accordingly. The chunk of highway that’s closed currently allows you to visit Big Sur – but not drive through it. You’ll have to take a detour on Highway 101 (connecting around Cambria) and Highway 68 (connecting around Monterey) if you’re driving between Los Angeles and San Francisco.
How to Get to Paso Robles
Paso Robles is located on California’s Central Coast, which is halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco. This makes it an easy trip from almost anywhere in California – Northern or Southern.
Paso Robles is quite close to the coast: maybe 40 minutes away, accessible by driving through gorgeous rolling hills and incredible scenery. It’s a quick drive from the Pacific Coast Highway, so don’t skip a visit while you’re road tripping the most beautiful highway/road trip/coastline in the world (not that we’re biased … well we are, but we’re right).
Likewise, when you visit Paso Robles, don’t forget about its sister towns in San Luis Obispo county, such as Morro Bay, Cayucos, or San Luis Obispo itself. You can easily spend a week exploring the Central Coast (and we think you should).
This entire area is where Jeremy grew up – specifically, in Morro Bay – so it’s near and dear to our hearts. But if you’re foodies, wine snobs, and/or booze tourists (*raises hand*), Paso Robles is the star of the show.
- Travel Tip: Give yourself at least 2-3 days to experience Paso Robles. A day trip to Paso Robles will limit you to only a small handful of wineries, breweries, distilleries, and restaurants, and that’s really unfair to yourself. Better make it a whole weekend instead. Treat yo-self! Our guides to things to do in Paso Robles & the best wineries in Paso Robles will help round out your weekend getaway!
The Best Paso Robles Breweries
For a long time, when you thought West Coast beer, you thought IPA. Or maybe you didn’t, but trust me, it’s a thing. One of the pioneers in West Coast IPAs was (and is) Green Flash Brewing. After 11 years as Brewmaster at Green Flash, a brewer by the name of Chuck decided to move up north to Paso Robles and start his own craft brewery with his wife MJ.
We’ve seen quite a few beer operations while we’ve been traveling, but none of them screamed passion quite like Silva Brewing. Tucked away in a room not much larger than a garage, the entire team of only four employees (wait that can’t be right, hold on let me check my notes….holy crap, it’s right) toil away to craft the dozen beers on tap, AND they’re releasing new flavors almost weekly!
Silva Brewing opened in December 2016, but the combined force of love and Chuck’s vast knowledge and reputation from 19 years in the beer industry have already made Silva Brewing a powerhouse in the Paso Robles brewery scene.
If you’re a fan of Green Flash, you’ll love Silva Brewing’s flagship brew, the Paso Pale. Also worth checking out are the “Nut Farm” Walnut Nitro Milk Stout, “Mind on my Orange” Belgian Style Saison, and “S-Shot” Smoked Porter. You read that right. Smoked. Porter.
Silva is also constantly releasing new, experimental beers, like the fruity and tart Kettle Sour Rosé, a light pink sparkling Rosé beer fermented in white wine barrels. It’s the perfect halfway point between wine and beer – and that’s perfectly Paso Robles!
Earth & Fire Brewing Co.
Earth & Fire Brewing Co. is not just a microbrewery – it’s Paso Robles only nano-brewery! Earth & Fire brews rustic, unfiltered craft beer just a few blocks away from the downtown square.
With a small selection of just 4 rotating beers, you’ll be able to try literally everything on the menu.
Come here for relaxed fun (like, giant Jenga and trivia nights kind of fun), befriending adorable puppies (we love a dog-friendly brewery!) and of course, delicious beer.
Barrelhouse Brewing Co.
Sure to get Tyga stuck in your head, Tin City (AKA Marquita Crossing) is a perfect place for a self guided booze crawl while in Paso Robles! Essentially, it is a collection of tasting rooms and craft breweries all built around one block.
The idea behind Tin City was to provide a convenient place for consumers to taste the best cider, beer and wine in Paso Robles without needing to visit the actual wineries in or breweries in Paso Robles.
The spot has become a local favorite, and it’s the place to be on a Saturday night (or so we hear … we’re way too lame for that sort of activity.)
You can walk the entirety of Tin City in just five minutes, but you won’t want to take so little time because there are SEVENTEEN (!!!) tasting rooms for you to duck into! Most of them are wine tasting rooms (this is wine country, after all) but for craft beer lovers, don’t miss BarrelHouse Brewing Company.
A craft brewery with a beautiful outdoor seating area and a wide selection of beer, BarrelHouse Brewing Co. is best known for craft beers like their Mango IPA and Barrel-Aged Stouts & Sours, plus wackier creations like the delicious and totally unique craft Hard Seltzer infused with tea.
And not that this effects the taste of the beer, but we are definitely suckers for gorgeous packaging, and BarrelHouse has rad limited release can and bottle designs.
It’s the perfect spot to enjoy a refreshing brew outdoors on the patio while enjoying one of the daily rotating food trucks and, on occasion, live music concerts!
- Psst: Like hard cider? Us too! Next door to BarrelHouse Brewing is Tin City Cider, that has a wide array of ciders including the Templetucky, a mouth watering apple and blood orange cider fermented and aged in a bourbon barrel! As a Californian married to a Kentuckian, that makes us very happy.
Santa Maria Brewing Co.
Santa Maria Brewing Co. is one of the oldest Central Coast breweries, creating award-winning beer since their founding in Nipomo in 1994.
Today, they have multiple taprooms and several delicious varieties of craft brewed beer. Try one of their many varieties of refreshing IPA – Blood Orange is our favorite – or the Black Gold Chocolate Porter.
Firestone Walker Brewing
If you’ve spent more than 5 minutes in California, you’ve probably seen 805’s eponymous logo.
805 is an incredibly famous California beer, and not just because its name represents the area code of a huge chunk of California residents (including my husband, who will never give up his 805 phone number). It’s a damn good beer, and it’s brewed right in Paso Robles at Firestone Walker!
The Firestone Walker brewery is a fantastic place to sample some lesser-known and tasting-room-only Firestone Walker beers. And you’ll also find a menu full of delicious gastropub brewery food to pair with your beer – the Mac & Cheese and the soft pretzel are especially good!
If you’re new to craft beer, Firestone Walker is a fantastic place to take a tour to understand how it all works.
By the way: pulling up to the brewery, you may notice a strong smell of molasses. We have no idea why, but it smelled amazing.
Other than 805, we also recommend trying the Nitro Milk Stout and the sour beers, Krieky Bones and SLOambic. They’re bang on if you’re a fan of Belgian Krieks or Lambics!
And no trip to Firestone would be complete without a taste of their other flagship beer, the Double Barrel Ale.
Or heck: try ’em all! Flights are around $7 for 4 beers, unless you have fancy taste like we do and order the more expensive pours (our flight was $11, which is still pretty darn good).
California Coast Beer Company
This craft brewer is a newer addition to the Paso Robles brewery scene. Located near downtown in a former auto body shop that has been lovingly refurbished using recycled materials, the brewery features a gorgeous, dog-friendly patio – shared with the winery next door, in classic Paso Robles fashion.
California Coast Beer Co. specializes in classic American ales and lagers along with Belgian-style beers. You’ll find something to please every palate, from a light and refreshing Lager (yep, really) all the way to a dark, malty porter, with several crisp IPA’s and Pale Ales in between – cuz, ya know, California.
In a state full of delicious and refreshing IPA’s, KiloKilo may actually have some of the very best – and yes, that’s a TALL order!
Stepping into the KiloKilo beer garden on one of Paso Robles’ many sunny days, you might feel a bit like you’ve flown to Hawaii. Lean into it and order a poke bowl or a Loco Moco wood-fired pizza – and pair it with a refreshing Milk Shaka Tangerine IPA.
On their brewery menu, you’ll find KiloKilo specialties as well as “Guest Taps” from other Paso Robles breweries, which just goes to show how tightly knit the brewing (and wine-making, and distilling) community is here!
Bonus: The Pour House
Although technically not a Paso Robles brewery, the Pour House is the best taproom to sample craft beer in Paso Robles.
Before we went to The Pour House, we had the same conversation with multiple locals:
“Do you like beer?”
“Go to the Pour House.”
They were right, of course. With 27 rotating taps, The Pour House is Paso Robles’ one-stop-shop stop for anyone looking for a refreshing beer.
When we visited, most beers on tap were from the Central Coast, and all from California. Except for like, PBR, but like…does that really count?
The Pour House is a great two-for-one-stop as well, because located in the back of the building is one of our favorite Paso Robles breweries, Silva Brewing!
The Best Paso Robles Distilleries
Although Paso Robles has an incredible brewery scene, it’s undeniably most famous for its wine. But in Paso Robles, vineyards, breweries and distilleries all go hand in hand!
Most of the Paso Robles distilleries we visited were either part of an existing winery, or crafting spirits using the byproducts of the wine industry, like grapes and barrels – much like the best Paso Robles breweries take advantage of delicious barrels and wine-making remnants to craft creative, flavorful brews.
There are loads of distilleries in Paso Robles, and they’re all helpfully laid out Paso Robles Distillery Trail website. You can use their helpful map to plot out your route. Here are our 3 favorite distilleries in Paso Robles:
- Re:Find Distillery: Re:Find distillery was started by the Villicana Winery owners in an attempt to minimize waste. They take the prized free-run juice that is typically discarded in the winemaking process and turn it into high quality, uniquely crafted spirits. Try the cucumber vodka or the herbaceous gin, two of their most popular specialties.
- KroBar Distillery: Tucked away behind the Barton Family Wines tasting room next to a coop of gently clucking hens sits the tiny tasting room of KroBar craft distillery, one of the best distilleries in Paso Robles. Here, you’ll find grape-based brandy, herbaceous gin, and wine aperitifs. But KroBar doesn’t stop there. It’s moved past its wine roots into the land of pure experimentation: rye whiskey, gin aged in rye whisky barrels, even sweet-smelling bourbon.
- Red Soles Stillhouse: Sharing the tiny tasting room of Red Soles winery, Red Soles’ specialty is California Hooch, a grape-based cross between moonshine and brandy and the basis for all of their drinks. Try it in everything from Absinthe to Limoncello to a Cinnamon Hooch that smells like fall!
- Willow Creek: The distillery at Opolo Vineyards specializes in brandy distilled with fruit. Try their Bartlett Pear Brandy as well as a mouth watering Walnut Brandy made from the walnut grown on the vineyard. Keep in mind, the distillery only offers tastings over the weekend.
The Best Paso Robles Restaurants
It would be a disservice to Paso Robles’ amazing beer and food scene to not include some of the best restaurants in town. After all, nothing pairs better with beer than a delicious meal, and most of the drink menus at Paso Robles’ restaurants are filled with local offerings! Did we mention how tight-knit the community is here?
So, do the responsible thing and break up your day drinking with a meal at one of these delicious Paso Robles restaurants:
- The Hatch: This is one of the best restaurants in Paso Robles and located right downtown, calls itself calls itself “A Simple Rotisserie and Bar.” But with menu items like bone marrow, burrata on toast, and grilled octopus, it seems to be anything but simple. Be sure to order the special of the day, and don’t forget to pair it with a local beer from their extensive menu.
- Fish Gaucho: This is a contemporary California-Mexican restaurant and tequila bar located in downtown Paso Robles. Try the short rib tacos and elote paired with a smoked fire and blood cocktail, made from blood orange juice and mezcal.
- Orale: Think of a cross between a chic, locally-sourced food house and a traditional taco stand and you’ve got Orale. Their delicious, flavorful tacos are to die for! Try their street tacos, which come with your choice of meat, or one of their more robust parrilladas, which are basically fajita-style meats served to you in a sizzling hot pan.
- Thomas Hill Organics: We love a good farm-to-table restaurant, and Thomas Hill Organics really does the trick in Paso Robles. They serve organic local dishes with Central Coast wine selections, and the results are truly delicious. Try the clams & chorizo appetizer or a grilled locally-sourced pork chop with apple butter and mashed potatoes.
Psst: We wrote a whole post on Airbnbs in Paso Robles. Check out 7 Stunning Airbnbs in Paso Robles here.
Is your mouth watering? We’re feeling a little thirsty, personally … which Paso Robles brewery are you headed to first? Drop us a comment below!
Planning a trip to Paso Robles & the Central Coast? We’ve got several articles to help you plan your trip! Take a look or view them all here:
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