Once Upon A Brew Pub – Cambria Beer Company

Cambria is one of my wife and my favorite costal towns in southern California. It’s a quaint, quiet little place, west of San Luis Obispo and just north of Morro Bay. Since we had visited Cambria before and really enjoyed it, we thought it would be a great place to celebrate our tenth anniversary. Much to our pleasant surprise there was a newly opened microbrewery. They celebrated their one-year anniversary with a party on March 23, 2013. Sadly I wasn’t able to attend. The brewery and tasting room are located just off the main street in a bright little beach cottage. It is well lighted with plenty of natural sunlight during the day. There is no food offered, but you are welcome to BYOF (bring your own food). The taproom has two seating areas and has pastel colors on the walls. Now for the important part: the beer. There were only three beers on tap our first day in town, but they were tapping a fourth on the following day, so we returned to sample the fourth, a West coast IPA.

As we entered the taproom we were greeted, silently, by two scare crows on a bench. We just happened to be in town for Cambria’s annual Scarecrow Festival. Most of the local businesses were quite innovative with their ideas. The festival added a lot of fun and color to this small town.

I have been following Cambria Beer Company on Facebook. The brewery has moved across the street, the taproom has been expanded and they have come out with several very interesting beers. I am looking forward to my next visit, hopefully in October. Cambria Beer Company seems to change beers on a regular basis. On reviewing their web site the only two beers I sampled that are on tap on a regular basis are the Toyon American Amber and Green River IPA.  Brewmaster is Aaron Wharton who with his wife Jennifer, are the proud owners.

Toyon American Amber

The aroma was a pleasant mixture of malt and hops with neither overpowering the other. Amber in color, this was a medium bodied beer with initial malty sweetness followed by a touch of caramel. Malt flavor and hop bitterness were mutually supportive and well balanced. This beer is like an American Pale Ale with more body and caramel. A well brewed amber.

5.2 % ABV, 25 IBU’s

Dortmunder Export Lager

Moderate noble hop with a notable although not overpowering Pils malt aroma. Balance and smoothness are a hallmark of this style and this beer fits that well.  Crisp, refreshing with a medium body. Smooth to the palate, the balance of this brew continues through the finish with the hop bitterness lingering just a bit. This is a very Quaffable Dortmunder.


Mild to moderately prominent phenols of (clove) and fruity esters (banana). The balance and intensity leaned more towards the clove rather than the banana, which, I prefer. The flavor was fairly well balanced between the clove and banana with a slight vanilla character, which enhanced the banana. A soft, somewhat bready flavor of wheat and Munich malts complimented the overall enjoyment of this beer. The beer was slightly cloudy from the yeast that was in suspension. Well rounded, with a relatively dry finish.

6.5 % ABV

Green River IPA

This one was not on tap on my first visit, but since they were going to tap it the next day I had to stop by and give it a shot. It was very much worth the effort, (Cambria being such a large town and all!). It had a wonderful prominent citrusy floral hop aroma.  A clean light malty sweetness was noticeable in the background. Hop flavor and bitterness reflected an American hop character and was fairly aggressive. The malt flavor was low to medium with enough backbone to help balance the bold hop character. There was a medium-light mouth-feel, smooth with a touch of alcohol warmth.  A decidedly bitter and moderately strong American IPA. A well-done IPA.

6.8% ABV, 78 IBU’s

Samples of some creative displays at the annual Scarecrow Festival.
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Don Williams has been a home brewer since 2002. He is a recognized BJCP (Beer Judge Certification Program) judge, and has taught brewing classes. Don’s job requires extensive travel, and he enjoys visiting brew pubs in various parts of the country. He and his wife live in Cottonwood, CA.

Don Williams

Don Williams has been a home brewer since 2002. He is a recognized BJCP (Beer Judge Certification Program) judge, and has taught brewing classes. Don enjoys visiting brew pubs in various parts of the country. He and his wife live in Kalispell, Montana.

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