Happy 2nd Anniversary to Flat Fish!

Camarillo Barrelworks co-owner Chris Brown behind the register

Wine, wine, wine.

That’s all I do right?

Actually, I drink quite a few sips of beer too!

Truth is, my spouse is not as enthused about wine as I am. He’s actually much more into beer, which I also really enjoy. While I have written about beer and spirits, t’s just not the focus of this blog and I’m not as fond of beer with food as I am with wine.

But IPAs and pulled pork are one of my favorite pairings, and pulled pork and an IPA from the Mill at Mammoth Mountain is a favorite lunch when we’re skiing.

So when Diane asked if I wanted to go to Flat Fish Brewing’s Second Anniversary Party with live saxophone by Brandon Ragan and a BBQ food truck, I was game to go, and so was my spouse.

We’d been meaning to get over there since they opened. After all, Sue has worked at Cantara Cellars for years, and Flat Fish beer is brewed by Cantara’s Mike Brown, and they are located on the same site, Camarillo Barrel Works (126 N. Wood Rd. Camarillo, CA 93010,) just off the 101 freeway less than an hour north of Los Angeles (depending on where in LA and when you’re driving of course!)

For most of 2020, we’ve had a good excuse for not getting out there: COVID. In fact going to Camarillo Barrel Works was the first time since early March that we’ve actually gone out to eat or drink together since COVID hit (except for one birthday breakfast outdoors in Morro Bay!)

I’ll admit, I was a little wary, but I knew that the Camarillo Barrel Works space is LARGE with high ceilings, and I knew from Sue that they were being very careful.

As we entered, hand sanitizer was by the door, and tables were reserved for specific parties. Most people were inside the barrel room but as we were late to make our reservation, we were in the tasting room. Because it was such a blustery day, the large patio was closed, and the colorful red and yellow striped umbrellas were inside.

I actually liked being in the tasting room. Although we couldn’t see Brandan Ragan play, we could hear him fine and we could watch the late afternoon sun and the patterns of the clouds in the sky. While the old tasting room was more like a cozy bistro, the new tasting room is more industrial, but with plenty of light from the bank of windows.

From top to bottom, and circling around in order, M and I sampled all 4 IPAs. As an IPA lover, I was in heaven!

On the beer menu we found nine to choose from, and we could sample all of them for $24. With 5 ounce pours, that’s a lot of beer!

Diane tasted a splash of the red and the stout, and went for a pint of the red; she enjoyed it so much she got a second one! I went for three IPAs: the hazy anniversary IPA “Bat Ray”,  a hazy “Swiveltail”, and the Long Drift (and that’s it since I was driving!). Marshall tried samples of the Octoberfest the “Feisty Forktail”, the “Crank Bait”, and the stout, but he liked my Long Drift best and got a pint of that.

Once we had our beer ordered, next we had to decide on food from Ventura BBQ Co.

Not hard for me as I already knew I wanted pulled pork with my IPAs! Marshall and Diane both went with brisket and they were happy with their pairings. Marshall really liked the Mac n cheese side, Diane appreciated that the Cole slaw didn’t have too much mayo, and we were all fans of the deep fried tater tots. The brisket was so good that Marshall stopped by the food truck on the way out to tell them so, and Diane, who hadn’t eaten beef in three years, went for it!


Overall it was a great first outing for us. Who knows what’s to come but in the meantime, breweries and wineries are doing their best to serve you. Go visit!

PS And for me? This is blog post #998 since I started this blog in November 2007!

2 thoughts on “Happy 2nd Anniversary to Flat Fish!

  1. I had a delightful time. Getting out does wonder for my spirit, as I live alone I need interaction with people for my sanity. Those in live music and my soul is extra nourished. The beer and brisket was very delightful and nourishing as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, music, beer, company — all awesome! and it felt reasonably safe also! I hope we’ll be able to continue to keep stuff like this going over winter– we have such mild weather. But I worry we keep bars and restaurants open at the cost of keeping schools closed. I’d rather have schools open, personally, and not just because I have a school aged kid but for the mental and intellectual health of the students. Also easier for parents to work from home. These times are so tough!


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