Santa Cruz Good Times

Apr 20th
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Circle of Friends

dining discretionDiscretion Brewing brings the community together through food and brews

Some 2,300 years ago, the classical Greek philosopher Plato proclaimed, “He was a wise man who invented beer.” In the millenniums since, uncountable cultures have fiddled with the recipe of ancients, creating a multitude of styles and flavors based on available ingredients.

This month, Discretion Brewing joined the county’s craft beer revolution in a red barn-like building that is tucked behind Café Cruz and SC41 Furniture on 41st Avenue. The family-owned business is built around a vision of community, which applies equally to customers and suppliers.

A homey collection of garage sale kitchen tables are surrounded by comfortable sky-blue wood-slat chairs on lacquered cement floors. There is also a long communal table made from thick wood planks. Tiny lights dance from the ceiling like stars.

The brewery ships its spent grain to Fogline Farm. Located in the Soquel hills, this organic integrated farm uses pasture-raised livestock to control pests and weeds and provide natural fertilizer for their organic fruits and vegetables, which find their way back to the brewery’s kitchen.

We ordered 3-ounce samples of the four beers ($6.50), arranged in order of increasing hoppiness.  Song in Your Heart (4 percent ABV), a mild brown ale, was the color of maple syrup with a hint of sweet smokiness. The soft yellow Shimmer Pils (5.3 percent ABV), was a very refreshing true lager in the popular German pilsner style. Good Faith (9.3 percent ABV) is a strong ale with toffee undertones. Uncle Dave’s Rye (7 percent ABV) is a hoppy IPA. Prices range from $3 to $5 depending on variety for 10- and 16-ounce servings. Growlers to go are $10 to $15.

A Czech proverb tells us, “A fine beer may be judged with only one sip, but it’s better to be thoroughly sure,” so we ordered a couple of IPAs to drink with our lunches. Discretion’s kitchen is run by the folks at Main Street Garden and Café and its seasonal menu is based on what comes from the gardens at the café or Fogline Farm.
dining discretionfish
Most dishes are available in large and small sizes. There are snacks, such as warm, house-marinated olives ($4/$6), bruschetta with orange marmalade and roasted garlic ($7/$10), vegetarian soup, and pilsner-braised Brussels sprouts.

A half dozen deep-fried Swordfish Bites ($12) were encased in a cloud of pilsner batter and rest atop lemony aioli. They were joined by a side salad of mizuna greens, sliced baby radishes and bits of avocado.

The meaty Strong Ale chili ($6/$10) with ground pork and bacon was just spicy enough, topped with red onions and Irish Dubliner cheddar. The cheese’s hearty flavor just knocked my socks off. The sweet, tender cornbread with crunchy bits of grain was cooked in an old-school corncob mold.  


Discretion Brewing and Tap Room, 2703 41st Ave., Soquel, 316-0662. Open daily from 11:30 a.m. until 8 p.m. Visit

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