Originally Posted by jbaysurfer
Yes to all the suggestions, including, and importantly, taking the 101 south toward SoCal rather then the 5. The 1 (as suggested) is absolutely one of the most majestic drives on earth, but if time is an issue, stick to the 101.
One suggestion that is an absolute MUST, amazing and unique experience, drinking world class sours and barrel aged beers, is the Barrelworks in Buelton. It's Firestone Walkers Sour and barrel age facility and it's about 1:45hr south of the Paso tasting room/main brewery. Do not miss it. I promise it'll be one of the highlights of your trip.
PM me if you're going there. I'll meet ya. And I can also steer ya toward the right brewery experiences in Santa Barbara as well.
Barrelworks is probably the best brewery-related experience I've ever had. If you like sours and perk up at the phrase, "bourbon barrel aged," you absolutely have to go there.
I'll also second the suggestions of:
Lagunitas (their smoked pork nachos are incredible)
Additionally, I'll say that if you're going to Stone Escondido, hit up Lost Abbey in San Marcos. Excellent West Coast beers under the Port Brewing label and amazing Belgian stuff under the Lost Abbey label.
In your original post you mention going to Golden Road and Beechwood. They don't get mentioned a lot, but both are fantastic. Good food and great beer at both breweries. They're both seriously underrated.