Saturday, January 19, 2019     Volume: 19, Issue: 46

Santa Maria Sun / Eats

Naughty Oak in Orcutt is the go-to spot for craft beer


I can’t wait for the beer version of Sideways to come out. It will feature two women traversing the back roads of the Central Coast, looking for the best breweries, lamenting about the woes of middle age, and of course drinking a lot of local beers.

Just like we have some of the world’s most famous wineries here, the region is also rapidly becoming known as a hotspot for craft brewing. One of my personal favorites is Naughty Oak Brewing Company in Orcutt, a visually stunning brewery and bar that exudes a special kind of warmth that stands out among local breweries.

One of the best things Naughty Oak Brewing Company does is create beers for every palate. American wheats, dry porters, Mexican lagers, Belgian blondes, IPAs, ambers, ales, and so much more create a well-rounded brewery menu.

I had recently convinced my fiancé to take ballroom dance lessons with me and as a result, we started a tradition of wrapping up our dance lessons with a trip to Naughty Oak for some beer tasting. Wednesday night is Trivia Night, a fun event where lively patrons compete armed with their knowledge of sports, pop culture, and more to win prizes.

For $15 on Trivia Night, we got to sample about 12 of their beers, everything from the Bee-R honey wheat to the Salty Dog porter. It’s enough for two people to share or if you have a safe ride home, you can tackle it yourself.

There’s something that can’t be written into words about lazily sampling 12 craft beers on a picnic bench and watching a sunset across the sleepy Orcutt horizon. That intimate, down-home vibe is a deliberate creation of Stephen Kitts, co-owner and brewmaster, who took smart steps to ensure the brewery had a distinctly personal vibe.

By eliminating the glass between the taproom and the seating area, Naughty Oak strips away much of the elitism of craft brewing and brings it back to its garage-made roots. The result is approachable yet highly refined beers that are complex in design and easy to understand.  

We started with Beer-R, the first beer on their menu. The beer gets its name from honey sourced from the California Bee Company, along with a hint of orange. It’s a very floral aroma, but don’t be scared off if you dislike sweetness in your beer.

In addition to serving up beers like the thick rich stouts and hoppy IPAs, Naughty Oak Brewing Company is also a lively entertainment spot, with locals and craft brew fans flocking to events like Trivia Night every Wednesday.

The tasting also includes a Belgian beer called Le Tombeau, which just so happens to be Naughty Oak’s first Belgian offering. It’s a blonde ale with hints of non-distracting fruit essences. I inhaled the Le Tombeau because it’s refreshing and quite simply delicious.

Naughty Oak’s Rebel Red is another big standout on their menu. It’s such a solid, reliable beer that I had to leave with a can. They sell 64-ounce cans of certain beers on the menu, canned right in front you, which is also a very cool thing to watch.

The menu offers a beer called The Willing and one called The Able that will set you up for many puns throughout your tasting experience. The Willing is a double IPA so get ready for a wallop of hops. The Willing has a big citrus bite and finishes very crisp and smooth and was also one of my big favorites. The Able comes with a strong scent of grapefruit and big hoppy flavor, but also backs off with a citrus finish.

But my two favorite beers on this highly pleasing menu were the Foreman and a stout called the Salty Dog. The Foreman, truly a bossy beer, is a thick, rich, chocolaty porter, with something like coffee or chicory notes at the end. It’s a mouthy, bold beer but stops just shy of being heavy.

Get Naughty
Naughty Oak Brewing Company is located at 165 S. Broadway St., suite 102, Orcutt. More info: 287-9663.

The Salty Dog, which earned the title as my favorite beer that evening, is a dry stout packed with lots of flavors. Plus, they serve it on nitrogen because who doesn’t love little bubbles in your drink? Unfortunately, that also means you won’t be able to take it home in a can or growler, but you will be able to savor it until the sun goes down over at Naughty Oak.

Arts and Lifestyle writer Rebecca Rose once got a $100 tip as a bartender because she knew how to make a “salty dog.” Contact her at


Woody’s Boba Drinks honeydew slushie with pomegranate pearls.

Presqu’ile Winery has one of the best pinots I’ve ever tried in my life. Their 2014 Pinot Noir Steiner Creek Vineyard is cultivated from grapes grown about 3 miles from Cambria. According to their website, “four inter-planted Dijon clones and sandy, cobbled soils lend structure, minerality, and an inherent earthiness to this wine.” At $48 a bottle, it’s an absolute steal. The winery is located at 5391 Presquile Drive, Santa Maria.

Woody’s Boba Drinks honeydew slushie with pomegranate pearls (pictured) is so popular I hear about it almost every day from colleagues who love their “popping pearls.” A large slushie is just about $5, which makes it worth a try. Woody’s is located at 319 Town Center West, Santa Maria.

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