SLO Brew Opens at Last!
The new SLO Brew opened Thursday, June 30th, to the public and I can tell you from my excellent experience there that the new venue is outstanding! Already one of our most popular brewpubs and destinations for live music featuring great bands, now it’s bigger and better than ever!
As soon as we entered I spoke with co-owner Rodney “Rod” Cegelski, whose partner is Hamish Marshall. During the media luncheon both men were clearly excited about the improvements and the opening of the new SLO Brew. Rod told us quite clearly, that SLO Brew isn’t meant to be strictly an attraction for college students: “We wanted to make the Brew attractive to people of all ages. It’s not just for people who fill it for the concerts.”
The modern yet rustic decor is impressive and perfect for this popular brewpub, with spacious, comfortable booths, a long bar to belly up to, and many tables for family dining. I loved the new creekside patio which is sure to be a favorite for people dining at lunch or in the early evening, and for sharing drinks and conversations with friends.
General Manager Todd Brown oversees The Brew, The Lofts, and The Rock on Broad Street beside the airport, which should open just a few weeks from now. Locals know Todd who was previously at Lido restaurant over a decade. Todd spoke to us about the Lofts, their new hotel on the floor above SLO Brew where guests can rent one, two, or three bedroom suites. They also have a convenient lounge on the upper level that can be rented for meetings or private parties. The music schedule is arranged through a partnership SLO Brew has with The Knitting Factory Presents.
Much as I enjoyed SLO Brew’s Reggae Red, they have an excellent wine list of mostly local wines that are priced lower than at most Central Coast restaurants. Although I always prefer wine as my drink of choice, this place is going to be a beer lovers dream come true. Brewmaster Steve Courier, who’s been the head man at SLO Brew since 1997, explained they will be able to create new brews they couldn’t do until now. “We’ll still have a small system here (on Higuera St.) to do new styles we couldn’t do before,” Courier explained. “We’ll be making fresh beer that goes straight to the taps.” The big production at The Rock will include their new canned beers, which Rod explained: “Cans keep beer fresher and it transports better. It’s the new trend.” Steve concluded his talk by saying, “We want to bring the flavor of SLO to everyone in handcrafted brews.”
Brown explained that the management team is committed to service, nostalgia, and adding upon the rich history of SLO Brew. They worked with local businesses to create the gorgeous new SLO Brew interior. At SLO Brew and the Lofts, they worked with their neighbor alongside San Luis Creek, Celadon House to create the cool pub house vibe. Upstairs there are five suites, one with access to the rooftop deck overlooking the ‘hood, and the green creekside area. The new Carissa Club Boardroom offers the perfect spot for private parties, and it will be equally popular as a meeting room for business.
I loved everything about the new SLO Brew pub. But you know me, I was even more excited about the improved pub menu created by their new chef, Thomas Fundaro.
We started out our media tour with some killer appetizers in the bar. It was a help yourself buffet with more than we could possibly eat. But let me tell you, I thought the nachos and pizzas were wicked, meaning they were so delicious it was difficult to resist them.
The “Dueling Nachos” feature duck versus pork, or you can order just one or the other. I was happy to get to taste both, and I loved both types, talk about creative. One side of the plate had crispy tortilla chips covered in duck confit in a rich, black mole sauce with roasted corn salsa and feta cheese. The other side had Hatch pork green chile with cotija cheese, onions, and cilantro. Major yum!
Every aspect of the new SLO Brew has been well thought out and improved at every step along the way. And I must say, I was impressed by it all!
The last two photos are murals on the wall of the front dining room that illustrated the brewing process. There’s no doubt about it, SLO Brew will retain its status as the hottest place to drink, enjoy food, and see killer live music in SLO. Yet they have also managed to make it attractive for every taste!
All I can say now is, welcome back SLO Brew!
736 Higuera St. (at Garden St., their former home)
San Luis Obispo, California