Santa Barbara Craft Beer
I like craft beer and a homebrew when I can. Santa Barbara is not that close to LA, and quite far from San Fran. I can't seem to get all of those great "California" beers. Sure, it gets better every day, but its not close to the beer juggernauts you can get in major cities. I figure I would clue people into my favorite places:
Hollister Brewing Co.: Hands down, best craft/micro beer in Santa Barbara. Everything on the tap list is spot on. The Pope IPA is everything you want from an IPA (excellent aroma, great bitterness) while not being too hard on the abv. Just have a Hip Hop IPA for that. The brewer is constantly keeping the list fresh, while having old standbys around; even the new brews keep close enough to traditional styles. Some people abhor the food, but I enjoy the fish tacos and beer enough to keep coming back.
Keg and Bottle: Impressive selection of bottled beer and the "liquor wall." I started out here searching for great beer, and you won't be disappointed. You can get most well distributed west coast craft beer here, along with an array of international brews. Some bottles are a bit older than they should be, but given the stores location (Isla Vista), they will always turn over more cases of Keystone Light than bottles of German Pilsner. They also have a fair section of Belgians. It is overpriced in some respects, but when you have no where else to go, I think the prices are fair.
Whole Foods: This place surprised me. I went there a few times to shop for food and noticed the beer section was getting bigger and bigger every time. Its now pushed out chilled wine into its own behemoth. While they may not have the breadth Keg and Bottle, there depth into fresh craft beer is unmatched anywhere in the city. I have always found there offerings go from your common Stone IPA to obscure Bruery beers and everything in between. Plus with a steady pipeline of Russian River, no beer snob could protest.