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Learning by brewing 

After "Sideways" redefined Santa Barbara County as the viticultural Mecca of the western hemisphere, The Cliffs Resort in Shell Beach and Central Coast Brewing in San Luis Obispo have decided to take the Central Coast onward and upward through the mouthwatering magic of malted libations.

Leave your whining college roommate behind, bring an appetite for sensational suds, and let the Central Coast brew masters educate you on all the complexities of beer. This one-of-a-kind, two-weekend edutainment package, offered exclusively by The Cliffs Resort, immerses participants in all aspects of beer, from the craft of brewing to the rewards of drinking.

On the first weekend of this beer enrichment program, guests will spend two nights at the luxurious oceanfront resort and two days at Central Coast Brewing, learning to brew the beverage of their choice. From the lightest of pilsners to the heartiest of stouts, the brewery stocks all the necessary ingredients for making ales, lagers, porters, meads, and barley wines. And an extensive tasting session gives participants a chance to determine precisely which beer they prefer.

A month later, the guests will return for another weekend at the coastal resort and two more days at the brewery, to bottle their brews and design custom labels for their bottles.

In addition to the eye-opening lessons in beer making and tasting, the $879 package includes award-winning Sunday brunch at the SeaCliffs restaurant, a bottle of McShane Hill's Beer Bath, and four nights for two at The Cliffs Resort.

For more details or to make reservations, contact The Cliffs Resort at 773-5000.




Those who remain partial to the more subtle nuances of the vine-grown fermentations will delight in the release of Niner Wine Estates first vintage. Pam and Dick Niner purchased their Paso Robles vineyard land four years ago and last month began bottling their first wine, to be released this fall. The inaugural vintage will be available in a limited edition of fewer than 5,000 cases, with several choice varietals, including Sauvignon Blanc, Barbera Rosato, Barbera, Sangiovese, Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon. To learn more, call 239-2233 or visit ...

... The Pacific Dance Center, under the direction of Karen Garman, has expanded to include performing arts and physical fitness classes for students of all ages, from 1 1/2 years old to senior citizens. With 25 years experience as a children's teacher, Garman has joined forces with Brandon Farmer to offer more theatrical background to the dance center. The group will be performing "The Jungle Book" at Cuesta College on June 11, and hopes to produce Tim Burton's "The Nightmare Before Christmas" later in the year. For more info, call Pacific Dance at 772-6763. ...

... Open Air Flowers is moving out of its downtown kiosk in front of Firestone Grill. The florist may be homeless for a few weeks, but don't fret, they'll be cropping up again across the street at the newly opened Court Street center. The local business will continue to blossom in its new location. In the meantime, call 541-8787 or 541-1417 for your blooming needs. ...

... Spa, salon, and studio owners chained to paper calendars can exchange their pencils for a mouse and modem thanks to MindBody Software's new web-based management tool designed specifically for personal service professionals. MindBody Software was founded in San Luis Obispo in 2001, starting as the solution for a Pilates studio whose entire client database consisted of recipe boxes and index cards. For solutions to your software fiascos, contact MindBody at 546-2000. ³


Staff Writer Jeff Hornaday compiles
New Times' Strokes & Plugs. E-mail him at

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