Craft Beer is Debuting at SLO’s Famous Farmer’s Market

Remember the days when SLO was down for extensive partying in the streets?

Me neither. But given what the local elders have told me over the years, this small college town used to be poppin’ on holidays like Mardi Gras and during the infamous Poly Royal weekend.

There were less laws, less make-believe reasons to dish out noise violations, and less condemnation for the American-born right to day drink in public.

It was a simpler time, a boozier time, if you will. And it ended because we let it get out of hand — all good things must come to an end.

But it seems like the city is starting to trust us again. Whether you’re a student or a long term resident, moves are being made in your area to allow more casual consumption of alcohol.

Cal Poly revamped its on-campus pizza parlor, “Ciao,” last year, and the new joint is called “Mustang Station” where they serve beer on tap.

Now you can buy a pitcher of 805 and bring it to the bowling alley next door while you knock over pins and pretend like you’re not wasting your parents money to take this fun, but useless, 2-unit class. That’s what I did and I loved it.

While the classic downtown bar scene hasn’t shifted too much, there has been an explosion of craft beer spots surrounding Higuera Street and beyond.

In the last five years we’ve seen Barrelhouse Brewing Co. from Paso Robles open a downtown location, Libertine Brewing from Morro opened a full restaurant and 76 taps on Broad Street in January, and Central Coast Brewing, a beer staple of SLO since 1998, is expanding later this year.

The city knows what’s up. Craft beer culture in California has been slowly picking up speed in the last two decades — now it’s finally and fully arrived in San Luis Obispo.

The city has matured, the residents have expressed their cravings and criticism, and now we are starting to work our way back to a trusting relationship.

Tonight marks the beginning of a new era in SLO; the famous Thursday Night Farmer’s Market is getting a bit of an upgrade. Five local breweries will be featuring their creations on Broad Street and Chorro.

The participating breweries include SLO Brew, Libertine Brewing Company, BarrelHouse Brewing Co. Central Coast Brewing, and Underground Brewing Co.

The breweries are permitted to sell their bottles and cans, varying merchandise, and food. However, beers are not allowed to be opened within the Farmers’ Market, due to open-container laws.

The most exciting part of this new Farmer’s Market feature, “Brewers on Broad,” is that each month one of the participating breweries will offer beer tastings. Libertine Brewing Company will be the first-ever to offer tastings, starting this evening.

Libertine will be pouring their Edna Saison and Hoppytine. Both beers are barrel-aged wild ales, Libertine’s speciality, and will have a more tart and funky flavor profile.

The Edna is a table saison named after Edna Valley, the wine region southeast of San Luis Obispo. The beer is light in color, low in alcohol content, fresh, aromatic, and perfect for summer. Libertine describes the Edna as “very complex with hints of oak, lemon, fresh cut grass, pepper, and melon.”

The Hoppytine is a wild golden ale that’s been dry hopped with a blend of hops (sapphir, glacier, mosaic, and equinox, if you wanna get specific). It’s great for the IPA-lovers who are still getting into sour beers.

If you’re over 21 you can get yourself one of these local craft beers tonight at the Downtown SLO Farmers’ Market, which takes place every Thursday from 6–9 p.m.

Just keep it civil, y’all. If we do this thing right, maybe we’ll bring Mardi Gras back by 2040.