.Tapping In

Balefire Brewing Co. brings a working brewpub to a neighborhood eager for it.

The biggest surprise at new local beer outfit Balefire Brewing Co. will be…how unsurprising it is.

“There will be a lot of familiarity for people who knew it as East Cliff and Greater Purpose,” co-founder/ co-brewer Leslie Buchanan says, “and I hope they come back, because they like the beer, of course, but also because they find a sense of hospitality and community.”

BBC launched last weekend with four beers, four founders, eight taps and hard-to-quantify enthusiasm. The opening beers: a dynamic Leeloo American IPA, smooth Moped Irish red ale, O.P.A. session IPA and Wharf Rat blonde ale (along with a Boozy Bubbles hard seltzer and N.A. options).

Other taps will soon provide caskpulled beers, an ECB-style porter, a chocolate-vanilla stout and a citrus-forward pale ale called Naked Beer Falling Down the Stairs.

The double-couple founders: former Steel Bonnet and Highway 1 Brewing beer boss Buchanan (described on BBC’s website thusly: “Her mission is beer, no holds barred”); co-brewer Nate Murphy (“leaving his days of drinking under bridges behind”); Matt Buchanan (“when not tending bar or turning wrenches, you can find him at band practice”) and Stephanie Murphy (“fulfilling her dream of serving beer”).

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Hours are 3-9pm Monday-Friday and noon-9pm Saturday-Sunday to start. Food truck schedules are in the works, basic snacks are available and BYO eats are welcome.

Leslie and Nate worked together at Scotts Valley’s Steel Bonnet, where they discovered they had a lot in common, including proper beverage priorities.

“We have some weird similarities, and neither of us came in with ego or anything to prove,” she says. “We just wanted to make good beer, and things turned out really well.”

Santa Cruz Restaurant Week is here, running Oct. 18-25. Hallelujah/ amen/bon appetit. Upwards of two dozen standout restaurants like La Posta, Gabriella Cafe, Hula’s, Margaritaville and Riva Fish House roll out special three-course set menus at $25, $35, $45 or $55. Flip back in this issue for more. santacruzrestaurantweek.com

Bread Boy has to have one of the more entertaining Instagram feeds and not just for the food porn-grade portraits of epic smashburgers. I’m talking about videos of Bread Boy (aka Lance Ebert) on the open highway, astride a Harley, long hair dancing behind his helmet, shirtless-and-overalls outfit revealing ample ink, a race home in full throttle with the caption: “Loser gets a tattoo of the winner eating fried chicken.” Similar verve goes into the burgers, which he sizzles 4-9pm Mondays and Tuesdays at Avanti Restaurant in Santa Cruz. instagram.com/s.c.bread_boy

Full Steam Dumpling and 11th Hour Coffee represent two Santa Cruz jewels and my top spots for prepared farmers market food and coffee-and-writing sessions, respectively. So it’s doubly dope when FSD appears at 11th Hour 5-9pm Wednesday-Saturday to dish salads, ramen, bao and (yes) a half dozen different dumplings like lamb and scallion, chicken and wood ear mushroom and crispy goat cheese. fullsteamdumpling.com FOOD+DRINK


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