Our Santa Barbara–raised friend Peter Stearns, the food scientist who discovered how to ferment aguas frescas into refreshing alcoholic beverages, just released this new flavor in time for Día de los Muertos. Adorned with a design that melded artists from San Francisco and Mexico City, it’s a spin on his original Tangy Tamarindo, with the addition of Mosaic and Cascade hops, and the result is a refreshing mix of sour citrus, warm bruised apple, and that appropriately skunky herbaceousness. The gluten-free, 6 percent alcohol combo is sure to appease fans of crisp ciders, sour beers, and hoppy ales at the same time, allowing all to lift a glass of the bubbly brownish liquid to toast the well-lived lives of friends and family who’ve gone on to that big brewery in the sky. Only 200 cases made. See hardfrescos.com.
Update on the Fermented Aguas Frescas with Santa Barbara Roots
When we first met Santa Barbara High grad Peter Stearns almost two years ago, he’d just released Hard Frescos upon the world. The Cal Poly–trained food scientist developed the extremely unique line of alcoholic beverages by creating proprietary yeasts that would ferment challenging ingredients commonly found in Mexican aguas frescas, like tamarind and hibiscus. It was an unclassifiable category for the feds, like a fruit wine but fermented like beer, and Stearns knew that finding a niche above the saturated market of sugary and cheaply made hard sodas would be tough.
Since then, Stearns, with the support of his Mexico City–residing sister, Grace, has been fine-tuning the concept, promoting its gluten-free, low sugar (seven grams), low caloric (135 cals), and 5.7 percent alcohol content while also rebranding with an “hecho en la Ciudad de Mexico” look, courtesy of Mexican designers. They opened a taproom in San Francisco, partnered with a brewery in Mexico (which has become their R&D headquarters for forthcoming seasonals like Hoppy Tamarindo Beer), hit the Mexico City market hard, and started selling Frescos on draft, which will hit Santa Barbara soon.
The current flavors, which are refreshing alone but also make a great mixer for tequila, mescal, or vodka, are Hibiscus Juicy Jamaica, Guava Citrico, and Tangy Tamarindo, with Spicy Ginger and Kola Seed coming soon. Stearns is expanding distribution across the 805 right now — among a growing list of establishments, Corazón Cocina, Rebar Coffee, The Creekside, Whole Foods, Mesa Fuel Depot, Coast Village Chevron, and Keg ’n’ Bottle in Isla Vista currently sell Hard Frescos — and he’s excited to be one of the few gluten-free options pouring at the Surf ’n’ Suds Beer Festival in Carpinteria on August 12.
The sun is back after a rainy winter and Bay Area residents are ready to hoist a glass to that. We're especially excited to grab a Woods beer and soak up the sun at its Treasure Island beach club, or enjoy an Outer Sunset crawl at Woods Outbound and Seven Stills' recently unveiled taproom. Meanwhile, in the heart of the city, the Tenderloin's bar revival continues with cocktail standouts like The Douglas Room and Rum & Sugar. With new bars focusing on themed food and cocktail pairings, or champagne with caviar, you can grab dinner and drinks (with a group or alone) in venues like Over Proof and The Riddler. It's a fun season to spend a weekend on the town. Let's "cheers" to the area's dozen hottest local bars.
A chill Outer Sunset taproom delivers well-priced Mexican bar bites, house beers (including growlers to go) and a selection of shandies blended from Seven Stills beers and fermented aguas frescas from Hard Frescos. The playful digs have a laid-back neighborhood vibe and eclectic decor, with communal tables, colorful chairs and playful wall murals.
Happy hour is that precious reprieve from San Francisco's unrelenting drainage of your bank account. It's the time of day when anything seems possible — even a beer that won't require taking out a mortgage or choosing between snacks OR drinks. And with more and more hot spots opening around town, that means more and more happy hours to choose from.
Current excellent additions range from mezcal-heavy cocktails to stellar discounted wine, and some even have food to choose from. Want to snack on Spanish tapas? More in the mood for Italian-accented classics? This list has you covered.
RANKED #13: Seven Stills & Hard Frescos - Lawton Taproom
Whiskey distillery and brewery Seven Stills has opened an outpost in the Outer Sunset, which includes a brand-new happy hour with $5 beers. It happens Wednesday through Friday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., and all day Sunday.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE.
Through the collaboration between Seven Stills Brewery & Distillery and Hard Frescos, the Lawton Tap Room maintains a solid rotation of craft beers from Seven Stills and alcoholic aguafrescas from Hard Frescos.
Order: Pineapple Guava Saison
Hours: Wednesday, Thursday, Friday: 3–10PM, Saturday: 10AM–11PM, Sunday: 10AM–9PM
READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE.
Hard Frescos now offers its line of self-titled hard sodas. The 5 percent alcohol-by-volume hard sodas are naturally fermented in small batches using real fruit and cane sure to offer a refreshing, clean finish, the company says. Hard Frescos are available in four flavors: Citrico, a combination of citrus and guava fruits; Cola Buena, a blend of kola seed and spicy cinnamon notes; Juicy Jamaica, a hibiscus tea flavor; and Tangy Tamarindo, which is the flavor of real Mexican tamarind fruit with apple notes, it adds. The line comes in single 16-ounce cans or packaged in four-packs of 12-ounce bottles that retail for $9.99.
Hard Frescos, San Francisco
Distribution: Select markets