Welcome to Discretion Brewing, where locals often welcome those who are visitors. That’s how I felt when I visited my newest friend, Dustin Vereker, Discretion’s Chief Beer Ambassador at their brewery in Soquel, Santa Cruz. What are his duties, you ask? Primarily being the jovial and outgoing front-facing personality of the brewery itself. A big grin awaited us as I walked into the intimate and rustic taproom. The cooks and staff were still strolling in, rummaging through their daily plans on the verge of starting another busy day at the watering hole.
The first thing you notice is the natural lighting of the place. Almost instinctively you’re drawn to the outside veranda of tree stumped seats and overhanging vines – their own beer garden. On a sunny afternoon, it feels like a friend’s backyard. On a packed summer day, it feels like a block party.
Next up, the details are hard to miss. The tap menu is beautifully designed with custom plates for each custom beer, hand-drawn obviously and super creative. The memorabilia and tap handles all display the shape of a mechanical human head with embedded gears working as the brain.
Last, the food. I could sense my stomach gurgling as I read the menu. Even though I recall just having eaten breakfast an hour ago, I was ready for round 2. Their farm-to-table restaurant sources and serves local ingredients that are ever-changing - similar to their beers. Prepared by Chef Santos Majano @ The Kitchen, their tasty bites and offerings sure looked incredible.
What’s the secret behind this operation?
“So the word discretion and its definition [dih-skresh-uh n] are quite interesting to us. When most people associate our type of business [the alcoholic beverage industry per se] with indiscretion, we see it in an opposite light. Akin to drinking responsibly and taking our own liberty with these recipes, we pride ourselves in our discretion to brew and serve what we love. Who would have thought a seemingly random word we found in the dictionary one day would give us so much meaning.”
I’m not sure if that explains the secret but it does explain the culture. And it sure meshes well with their clientele.
These guys are continuing to expand at rapid rates, recently putting up a cold room, to chill kegs, and upgrading both their brewing and bottling capabilities. Their new system will increase the beer bottling speed by at least an order of magnitude. That’s pretty impressive and good news for us! Additionally, Dustin showed off some of their latest barrel aged batches of strong ales and potential sours. These guys aren’t afraid to experiment and keep things fluid. Though if this is your first time, then start by trying their best sellers from the crisp and refreshing German Pilsner, Shimmer Pils (5.3% abv), to the more complex aromatic Rye IPA, Uncle Dave’s Rye IPA (6.5% abv).
I’m not sure how else to say it but these guys have all the right ingredients to be your favorite brewery. I'm confused how it took me so long to find such a solid brewery. The people are outgoing and welcoming, the beers are tasty and unique (without the fear of experimentation), and their branding and image is so creative – oh, and it’s a family owned business, so that’s pretty much a home run. But seriously, these guys have the brewing chops, as proven by their numerous GABF awards, and the minds. I’d recommend you try one of their beers next time you’re in Santa Cruz!