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The Brewhouse's Pete Johnson

Paul Wellman

The Brewhouse's Pete Johnson


Hawking’s Wit

Tasting Santa Barbara BrewCo and The Brewhouse’s Collaborative Ode to Stephen Hawking


Before there was M.Special’s tangerine-tastic Sabado Tarde, before there was Topa Topa’s hop-powered Chief Peak IPA, and even before Telegraph opened pre–Funk Zone, the 805 was nearly bereft of breweries.

In fact, when the Santa Barbara Brewing Company (BrewCo) opened in 1995, they beat Firestone Walker to market by a year. BrewCo introduced craft beer to 21-year-olds undertaking the State Street crawl whose birthday bashes had previously only consisted of comped Jägerbombs and Flaming Dr. Peppers. Within a couple of years, The Brewhouse opened on Montecito, causing some to wonder whether this town was big enough for two, count ’em two, brewpubs.

Time-warp to present-day S.B., home to a dozen breweries/tasting rooms by year’s end. While beer lovers will welcome Modern Times’ dank IPAs and roasty stouts and Institution Ale’s Mosaic Pale Ale, BrewCo and The Brewhouse aren’t letting their age — or a kitchen fire — keep them from their deserving spot in our beer-soaked sandbox.

Earlier this year, as The Brewhouse reopened from said fire, BrewCo’s Dave “Zambo” Szamborski and Brewhouse’s Pete “Hop Duvel” Johnson — both veterans of the science sector and avowed space geeks — put their heads together to come up with the perfect homage to the late astrophysicist, Stephen Hawking. For the man who explained the cosmos to millions, the star brewing duo concocted a Belgian-style witbier, typically spiced with orange peels and coriander. But they added ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, and peppercorns, which are the ingredients found in chicken jalfrezi, Hawking’s favorite spicy Indian dish.

The beer bursts with a bouquet of fresh-ground cardamom (sourced from State Street’s Vices & Spices) yet remains savory, not sweet. It would pair wonderfully either with BrewCo’s maple-glazed salmon or The Brewhouses’s apricot-chipotle-glazed pork chop. Take a sip at S.B. BrewCo (501 State St.) and The Brewhouse (229 W. Montecito St.) while supplies last!

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