Tasty Craft Beer & Food in Santa Barbara’s Newest Brew Pub

by Beer Answers on October 11, 2009

union ale logo

The new Union Ale Brewing Company (Santa Barbara, CA) has an interesting menu of traditionally American dishes with a little extra kick.  On a recent visit, we decided to share three items: a flatbread pizza, order of mixed (gourmet) fries, and a standout burger.

We actually found Union Ale when researching for good craft beers and eats for a short trip to Santa Barbara online at Urbanspoon Santa Barbara.

Let’s start with the pizza: a sausage pizza made with turkey sausage that had some spice to it that combined red onion, carmelized leeks, provolone cheese, Gran Padano cheese, Heffeweizen fennel smoked tomato sauce and fresh herbs. It looked like a traditional pizza meaning it was round versus elongated like most flatbread pizzas we have seen. The crust was great and did not get soggy from the sauce. The spice of the sausage worked well with red onion, carmelized leeks and tomato sauce. The cheeses just added to the overall taste without becoming the predominant ingredients. It all comes together and is very tasty. (I wish I had photos to share this yummy food–forgot to snap any…)

Union Ale offers three versions of fries: regular fries, sweet potato fries or a combination of both. Next you get to select them being tossed in either Sea Salt or a Parmesan/rosemary mixture. You then complete the order by choosing two of a number of dipping sauces. We chose  the Combination with Parmesan/rosemary, and a honey garlic and a BBQ sauces. The serving is 1 LB. and much too big for the two of us, but we did enjoy trying, unsuccessfully, to finish them off.

Lastly, we ordered the Union Club Burger with crispy bacon, smoked cheddar, basil, leaf lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise on a sourdough roll. This was thick, cooked to our Medium/Rare request and was absolutely delicious.

Given this selection, we asked our server, Ren, what would be the best choice of beer to go along with the meal especially with the Pizza and Burger. He decided to confer with others in the back and returned with a single recommendation for both, Firestone Walker Brewery’s, Oaktoberfest, 5% abv., a German Style Lager, a beautiful amber color and a great taste.

This beer recommendation was perfect. It combined well with both the spiciness of the pizza and the heartiness of the burger rather than competing with both dishes for top honors. It was as good with the last bites as it was with the first ones.

We are looking forward to returning back to Santa Barbara and Union Ale to see how it progresses. Our experience was extremely positive and will not only return but will recommend it highly.

In many cases, restaurants in their early days, have growing problems, but Union Ale seemed like it had been in operation for some time. Finding out it was only open for a couple months, we were surprised. Our server, Ren, was friendly, knowledgeable about their beers and menu.  Our late lunch at Union Ale was great!

Check out Union Ale’s delectable menu, beer offerings and complete details here

A good place to research restaurants for some (larger) cities is urbanspoon.com

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