By Donna Polizzi
Solvang, Buellton, Santa Ynez, Los Olivos and Los Alamos are each a haven for great restaurants, bars, breweries and wineries. With so many options, it is difficult to decide what to do on any given day.
Be prepared. There is so much to see and do in the Santa Ynez Valley that even a set plan can lead to an unexpected adventure.
Keys 2 the Coast recently set out for a day trip to explore the best places to go in Buellton.
The original plan was to check out Loring Wine Company at 201 Industrial Way, right off Highway 246. It’s locally known that their expertise is in producing excellent chardonnay and pinot noir, but there is a bigger story.
Did you know that Loring Wine Company has a fantastic chef? They do, and April bakes artisan cookies on site to pair with Loring and Company wines.
This was the first time that Keys 2 the Coast had heard of cookies and wine pairing. We were delightfully surprised. April’s delicious cookies magically enhance the flavor of their already delicious wine.
You too will be a fan when you bite into these unusual cookie concoctions. Some of our favorites are the Lemon Brule, Montmorency Cherry, Mexican Hot Chocolate, and Fig and Gorgonzola. It’s definitely a delightful sensation for the taste buds. The cookies melt in your mouth.
Who would expect that a burst of flavor from a cherry and vanilla cookie would pair so fabulously with a 2014 Mateo Russian River Pinot? Wine tasting at Loring Wine Company is more than just sipping delicious wines. It is truly a savory and sweet experience.
Bonus! Sharing the same parking lot with Loring and Company are Alma Rosa Winery, Industrial Eats (which has delicious food), and the unexpected highlight, Dorwood Distillery. The Dorwood Distillery experience was a delightful addition to spending an afternoon exploring, dining and drinking fine wine and spirits.
Your day is guaranteed to come alive when you walk into the Dorwood Distillery and tasting room, which is owned by the charming Jay Lockwood.
Distill my beating heart! Dorwood Distillery is a wonderful place to taste and learn about small, handcrafted, batch spirits. The tasting room is quaint and nicely decorated.
Once you start tasting, you begin to realize just how different this is from any other place on the Central Coast. You get to meet the maker, and the offerings are impressive.
Vodka is made from Santa Barbara County grapes. Every single batch is hand-made using locally sourced ingredients. Tastings include whiskey, gin and two different types of limoncello.
The White Hawk Malt Whiskey has a great smoky flavor, which is surprising since this whiskey had no barrel influence. Instead, it is distilled with Texas, Irish Scotch, in a 100 percent mesquite smoked barrel. I can only imagine how this would taste served up with some Santa Maria Style barbeque.
The G7 Gin is not your dad’s gin. It also is made with Santa Barbara County wine grapes and is delicious served up hot, like a cup of tea. This tea is guaranteed to put a spring in your step on a Monday morning.
Limoncello is a totally different experience. Think of a sugar bomb straight to the tongue. Most limoncellos are 50 to 60 proof, but Dorwood Distillery’s Limoncello is a whopping 80 proof, and it has just the right amount of sweet and sour.
Imagine a heavenly sip by the pool while soaking up the sun. It is the perfect adult lemonade. If you enjoy a little spice in your life, and who doesn’t, the Habapeño Limoncello makes your tongue do the tango! There is no comparison.
As Jay told me, “At Dorwood, we don’t do tastings, we do experiences. We do what it takes to serve the best spirits to be had.”
If spirits and wine are not your forte, less than a block down the street is Figueroa Mountain Brewing’s brewery and tasting room. They have an outdoor patio that overlooks huge fermenter tanks that hold the beer before it is kegged, bottled and canned. Inside the tasting room, you can sometimes catch the brewers at work, creating some of the most popular beers such as Lizard’s Mouth or Aqua Santa.
The outside patio is a great place to sit. They have plenty of comfortable seating and it’s fun to sit and eat delicious food at the picnic tables or you can sit around a fire pit. Figueroa Mountain Brewery has more than 20 different beers to choose from. What’s your pleasure? IPAs, blondes or stouts?
Keys 2 the Coast was pleased to discover what we like to call the “Industrial Way Crawl.” Life is meant to enjoy to the max. Get out there and have some fun. Cheers, prohst, sláinte mhaith, salute, genstzt and kanpai to a great day!