While a great butcher at the farmer's market would probably make the ideal shopping situation for me, I was intrigued to see a beer tasting sign posted at the Friday market at Swift/Ingalls. Around the corner from the market, behind Kellys Bakery I found the Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing Company. The had their door rolled up with a tasting bar in front and the brewhouse in plain sight. I got to meet one of the brewers and chat about beer while sipping the 3 brews they had on offer. They are a whole grain brewery with a 200 gallon capacity (I think this is what he told me).
They had a pale, amber and IPA on offer and a red ale that was in the works but not finished. The brewer admitted to being a serious hop head and this showed in his beers. Fairly modern in style with highish alcohol and a big hop flavor. I thought the pale was the best balanced and let its hop aromas shine. The amber could have been called an ESB and not gotten me to raise an eyebrow. Definately not a generic amber. The IPA was also good and I liked that he left it a bit chunky and not totaly filtered. They were also selling bottles of the Pale and IPA from their first bottling run with no labels yet. ($3.5) I bought 2 to take home and enjoyed them in the sunny SC afternoon.
Overall very nice people (they let me wander around and check out the equipment)with well crafted and very fresh beer. A must try if you like hopppy beer and are on the West Side. The brochure I got claimed they will have tasting hours from noon - 6 Thurs-Sun. They expect to get bottles into local stores soon as well.