Boutique wine, beer, and spirits makers’ passion and iconoclasm set the tone at welcoming light-industrial hangout.
To experience the creativity and fervor of Paso Robles’ indie beer, wine, and spirits scene, plan a stop at Tin City, a light-industrial complex 4 or so miles south of downtown. The passion and iconoclasm of the artisanal entrepreneurs here set the tone at this welcoming hangout.
Boutique Winery Tasting Rooms
A dozen-plus small wineries make and sell wine at Tin City, among them Field Recordings, Levo, Desparada, and Nicora. Aaron, named for owner-winemaker Aaron Jackson, who makes age-worthy Petite Sirah, is worth investigating. For Italian varietals check out Giornata, (“A foot in Paso, the other in Italy”). ONX Wines near the back of the complex is known for sturdy yet polished blends from mostly Rhône grape varieties.
The tasting experiences these enthusiastic pioneers provide tend to be more informal than ones at wineries or in downtown tasting rooms, and you’re very likely to meet the people who hand-crafted your beverages. Chat more than a minute or two with any of them, and it’s easy to understand why they’d chuck sensible careers to pursue their dreams. You may even find yourself hankering to follow suit.
Darts and a Distillery
On the complex’s eastern flank, facing the train tracks, the delightful Lefondusac positions itself as a “winery bar” and sells its “Garagiste” wines on tap by the glass. Even more so than its peers Lefondusac aims to break the stuffy wine-tasting mold with a party atmosphere enhanced by indoor dart and outdoor bocce games. Around the corner, Wine Shine, Tin City’s resident distillery, makes artisanal brandies from high-quality local grapes plus small-batch spirits.
BarrelHouse Brewing Co., the anchor tenant, is by far the most popular of the beverage makers. The brewery has made a name for itself with its BarrelHouse Blonde, IPA, Rye IPA, Stout, and other beers. Its bar and beer garden attract crowds, the latter particularly so on days it presents live music.
Tin City Tips
BarrelHouse opens at 2 pm from Monday through Thursday and on Friday and weekends at 11 am, closing at 8 except on Friday and Saturday when it’s open until 9. The wineries’ days and hours open vary. Many are open from Thursday or Friday through Sunday or Monday. Two good stops for food are Tin Canteen (pizza, pasta, California Coastal cuisine) and, next door, Etto Pastificio (grab and go cheese, charcuterie, and the like).
Tin City appears in 8 Reasons to Visit Paso Robles Now.
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This story first appeared online in 2017; it was fact-checked and updated in 2020.