Dunbar Brewing is a true cash-only bar, meaning they only take cash and they only play Johnny Cash. Doesn’t get more honest than that. I recently enjoyed some live tunes by someone other than the man in black (local alt. country band The Whiskeyjacks) while sipping on the Santa Margarita brewery’s own Scottish Heavy. The malty, smoky flavor tricked me into thinking I was drinking something packed with alcohol, but the truth is, it was only a “wee” bit heavy. At about 6%, I was able to consume two tall frosty pints without falling off my barstool. Which is more than I can say for some other folks who attended the show.
• Dunbar Brewing Company's Scottish Heavy – About $6 a pint; 2200 El Camino Real, Santa Margarita.
Did you know that Jocko’s only charges a $7 corkage fee when you bring your own bottle of wine to dinner? This delighted me almost as much as the thought of pairing this lusty, luscious Cab with the Nipomo steak house’s thick, oak-pit-barbecued Spencer, cooked juicy-pink on the inside and crusty-charred on the outside. I mean, c’mon! This new Vina Robles release was aged for 20 months in oak barrels (French, American, and Hungarian). Talk about a pairing made in oak-pit barbecue heaven. With hints of tobacco and a shot of structure-imparting petit verdot, I honestly couldn’t imagine a better wine to pair with your next celebratory steak. So get out there and celebrate till you have to unbutton those jeans!
• Vina Robles' 2012 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon – $24 per bottle; 3700 Mill Road, Paso Robles.
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