Rustic vibe

San Juan’s 18th Barrel offers 18 types of beers and wines

HAPPY MEDIUM Anthony and Monica Ramirez at their new tasting room, 18th Barrel in San Juan Bautista. Photo: Bev Stenehjem

It was jam-packed on opening day at the 18th Barrel wine and beer tasting room. Owned by Monica and Anthony Ramirez, it is the newest business to take the corner of Third and Polk Street in San Juan Bautista. It’s got a rustic, steampunk decor with open-beam ceiling, granite counters, reclaimed wood tables and cement floor. Split down the middle: one side of the business offers beer tasting and the other side offers wine tasting. “We offer the best of both barrels,” quips Monica. “We decided to meet in the middle where both wine and beer lovers would be happy.”

The 18th Barrel offers 18 varieties of locally sourced craft beer on tap. Similarly, 18 different wines are poured. Each month will feature a different wine region in California.

A sampling of their wine menu included a viognier from Hollister, a chardonnay from Monterey, a pinot noir from Paso Robles, a Santa Cruz cabernet and a red blend from Gilroy.

Beers include lagers, pale and dark ales, IPAs and more.

“The vibe is casual and fun, like a neighborhood ‘Cheers,” explained Debbi Sanchez, good friend and guest. “Monica and Anthony make everyone their friend and anyone feel at home.”

Guests, 21 and over only, can relax inside their pour room or on their large, outdoor patio.

Anthony chimed in, “We love being a part of downtown. We plan to promote and cross-market as many other restaurants and bars as we can. We want everyone to be successful here.”