Story and photos by Dee Davila
Of the many restaurants that are available in downtown Monterey, none are as prolific for their beer as Alvarado Street Brewery is. With many awards under their belt, it’s no surprise that they have captured the hearts of tourists and locals alike.
Alvarado Street Brewery was founded in 2014 by father and son John and J.C. Hill with one goal in mind: To bring the community together and create a welcoming space for all around the one beverage they felt most people enjoyed. Nearly a decade later, Alvarado Street Brewery has three locations in the Monterey Peninsula serving Salinas, Monterey and Carmel-by-the-Sea.
Nellie South, who was the manager on duty at the Monterey location when I visited, was ecstatic to talk about Alvarado Street Brewery’s brief history, their offerings and their purpose.
We are here to, obviously, bring good beer and good food to everybody,” said South. “We are a palace where everybody is welcome.”
The Monterey brewpub itself is a combination of a comfortable sitdown dining experience along with a beer garden in the back for those who seek a more casual experience. The beer garden has its own serving kiosk so those in the back don’t have to walk to the front for a second or third beer. The decor is also reminiscent of an actual garden with greenery and vines surrounding the seating area, making for a warm and cozy atmosphere amidst the cool coastal weather that Monterey sees.
One of the beers on tap included the award-winning Mai Tai PA, a year-round available American India Pale Ale beer that gives notes of tropical passion fruit and mango balanced by the light bitterness of the Mosaic hops.
Not every beer is bitter and hoppy at the brewpub. They offer a wide selection of sour beers for those looking for fruity and tart beverages. The Pink PMB, which stands for peach, mango and banana, is a luscious and rich beer with tastes and aromas that remind me of fizzy Odwalla or Naked smoothies, but with alcohol. At 8% alcohol, this Imperial Sour is deceptively powerful and packs a punch as well.
They also serve a wide variety of foods at the Monterey location. One of the food options include the margherita pizza which is served with fresh cherry tomatoes and a luxurious and velvety cheese that coats the mouth with flavor. Some of the other options are the many salads such as the beet and burrata salad and an array of burgers, including a lamb burger for the adventurous. Alvarado also offers vegan and vegetarian dishes so no one feels left out when dining out here.
While Alvarado Street Brewery is a few minutes away, they are worth the 10-minute drive or Uber ride into downtown Monterey for the experience as a whole. The busy environment makes for a fun and engaging environment to distract from the daily grind that school demands.
Those interested can find the original Alvarado Street Brewery at 426 Alvarado Street, Monterey. Visit their Carmel-by-the-Sea location at Mission Street & 7th Ave Carmel Plaza, Suite 112 or the newly-opened Salinas location at 1315 Dayton St.
South also had a few recommendations of her own. She said “My favorite beer is Howzit Punch, the passionfruit, orange, and guava sour. For the food, I’d have to go with the loco-moco or the brie and apple pizza.”