Home to Island Brewing Company, Rincon Brewery, and brewLAB, Carpinteria boasts more breweries per capita than most cities on Earth. By my calculations, that’s one brewhouse for every 4,500 residents, which is three times more than Santa Barbara and five times more than San Diego County, the widely promoted Beer Mecca of SoCal and beyond.
But rather than scratch and claw at each other to vie for the seaside city’s limited share of mouth, the three breweries got together to collaboratively brew a beer for the annual Surf ’n’ Suds beer festival, which happened at Carpinteria State Beach earlier this month. The beer is called Tres Cervezerias Pilsner. Despite the Spanish name, it’s not in the style of a Mexican lager — which is a booming craft category right now — but rather an American take on a traditional Czech style.
Whereas classic Continental pilsners are made with only Pilsner malt and somewhat spicy Saaz hops from the Old World, this beer’s malt bill contains just enough specialty malts to keep the alcohol content low. Meanwhile, it’s hopped with a combo of modern American Simcoe hops as well as Australian Galaxy hops, making the whole thing brighter. Unlike Czech or German offerings that are grassy, this one is more pineapple-y and lemongrass driven. Best of all, it’s awfully pound-worthy, befitting these hot days.
If you missed it at the fest, you can always enjoy the beer at all three of the Carp tasting rooms: Island Brewing Company (5049 6th St.; islandbrewingcompany.com), Rincon Brewery (5065 Carpinteria Ave.; rinconbrewery.com), and brewLAB (4191 Carpinteria Ave., Ste. 8; brewlabcraft.com).