Grapes, Hops & Shots
A Pick Your Poison Guide to What’s Tasty & Trendy in Monterey County

Celebrate Monterey's Best Libations at Special Tastings, Restaurants and Events

Monterey County, Calif., April 22, 2015 – Whether you casually partake or are considered a wine aficionado, Monterey County presents oenophiles with ample variety. Trek down the Salinas Valley River Road Wine Trail, sip clever cocktail combinations at the Bull & Bear Whiskey Bar , or enjoy a unique selection of Craft Artisan Ales at brewery jewel, Post No Bills - Monterey offers a generous pour of inspiration for everyone.


With over 45,000 acres of grapes and 175 unique wineries, experiencing all of Monterey County’s wine options can’t be done in one trip, but we dare you to try! Get your glass ready for the Carmel Wine Walk-by-the-Sea, which for $65 provides tasters a flight at their choice of 9 of 14 tasting rooms on the ticket. Samplings from Scheid, Wrath, Caraccioli, and Manzoni among others are all within steps of one another in downtown Carmel by-the-Sea. If you’re searching for something fresh in Carmel, look no further than the Alexander-Smith tasting room. Near the historic Golden Bough Theater, this new offshoot of wines from Paraiso features site-driven Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from a sustainable estate vineyard in the Santa Lucia Highlands.

Another tasting experience awaits in Carmel Valley where you will find a flight of one-of-a-kind wineries like Bernardus, Holman Ranch, Joyce and Parsonage or at Salinas Valley’s Hahn, where you can ride an ATV through their lush vineyards and take in stunning vistas before tasting their 91 point SLH Pinot Noir or 92 point SLH Estate Syrah. Enjoy responsibly on the Grapevine Express with a $10 all-day pass, and be sure to stop in at Joullian and try their Gold Medal winning 2013 Highland Chardonnay.

Plan ahead and visit for a celebration of Monterey County’s wines and winemakers in colorful Carmel for the 23rd annual Winemakers' Celebration on May 2. Downtown will transform into an old-European style street festival and present more than 100 incredible wines from the region.


Calling all adventurers! You can Slay the Dragon, ride the Corkscrew or claim Victory at the authentic English Ales Brewery in Marina. Specializing in lightly carbonated ales, every ounce of barley pop they serve is crafted from scratch at their local brewery. No matter your thirst, all ales are available in 5 or 15 gallon kegs, growlers, mugs or by the pint. Visit just about any bar or pub on the peninsula and you will find one of their creations, or stop into the Café, adjacent to the brewery, for some good old fashioned pub fare such as the traditional Ploughman’s lunch of sharp cheddar, a crusty roll, imported English pickle onions, and a Branston pickle.

A new craft brewery opens every day in America, and the ferocious appetite for unique and innovative beer is no different in Monterey. New kid on the block, Alvarado Street Brewery, which opened in May 2014, is capitalizing in style. With a bustling lunch scene, glimmering brew drums and inventive approach of owner J.C. Hill, the brewery is quickly making a name among locals and visitors alike. The iconic Peter B’s Brewpub, connected to the Portola Plaza Hotel & Spa, pumps out 18,000 gallons of brew annually. Join over 1200 members in their Mug Club and experience specialty tastings and get personalized brew memorabilia.

Over 76 beers on tap await you at the Cannery Row Brewing Company, just steps from Monterey Bay and historic Cannery Row. Want to enjoy that brew with a view? Their outside seating and deck is the perfect place for meeting friends or listening to live music on the weekends.

The Monterey Beer Festival is the hub for suds in Monterey County and beyond. Set to open at the Monterey County Fair & Event Center on Saturday, June 13, you can quench your thirst with a lager, stout or malt from more than 80 unique specialty breweries. Insider tip: beat the crowds with your VIP ticket and enjoy a cold one an hour early.


Looking for a place to grab a tantalizing aperitif after work? Voted best Happy Hour in Monterey, Hula’s Island Grill has the right medicine. Attractively priced tropical cocktails like “The Painkiller,” “Dr. Funk” and the “Blood Orange Martini” are served as the nightly prescription to both blue and white collar crowds.

Don’t be scared; take a late-night stroll over to Restaurant 1833 where Hattie the Ghost, a famed Monterey socialite who lived in the 192-year-old Stokes Adobe, still dwells according to local legend. Of course, there’s a less mysterious reason to visit: unique elixirs such as the Kentucky Waffle or Commander-in-Chief from the bar’s celebrated mixologists, or for the bold, inhaling absinthe vapors from a flaming snifter, all set to the deep melodic sounds of non-traditional DJ’s. 1833 is a special place where the sentiment and creativity of the cocktail program keep the brave coming back again and again.

Located in the Carmel’s Cypress Inn, Terry's Lounge is a popular spot for locals, especially for those with four-legged friends. The "Yappy Hour" cocktail menu draws inspiration from owner Doris Day's favorite costars: the whiskey mixed Jimmy Cagney, brandy topped Cary Grant, gin friendly Ronald Reagan and rum infused Kirk Douglas.

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Jacob S. Shafer/Monterey County CVB


Monterey County is located 120 miles/192 km south of San Francisco and 345-miles/552 km north of Los Angeles along the classic California corridor.  The region boasts 99 miles of prime Pacific Coastline, the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, three historic missions, 40,000 acres of premium vineyards, 26 golf courses and over 250 lodging properties.  Monterey County includes the Monterey Peninsula, Big Sur, North County and the Salinas Valley.  The Monterey Peninsula Airport (MRY), just three miles from historic downtown Monterey and minutes from the area’s major attractions, is served by non-stop flights to and from Denver (DEN), Las Vegas (LAS), Phoenix (PHX), Los Angeles (LAX), San Diego (SAN) and San Francisco (SFO). Visit for more information.