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Local Collaborations: Celebrating History with Commemorative Brews

Omid and at Discretion Brewing
The Boardwalk’s Chief Operating Officer Omid Aminifard (left) and Discretion Brewing’s Chief Beer Ambassador and Co-Founder Dustin Vereker (right) brewing the first batch of Giant Dipper Golden Ale

Are you over 21 and a beer drinker, an IPA aficionado, or an ale enthusiast? The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk has established a reputation for more than just fun rides and scenic ocean views. Through a series of notable hoppy collaborations, with local breweries, the Boardwalk has brought custom brews to the beach, offering a unique way to enjoy a sunny day in Santa Cruz.

Boardwalk representatives learning about the Giant Dipper Golden Ale from Discretion Brewing expert. Left to Right: Kevin Tsukushi (Boardwalk Foodservice Operations Manager), Valente Gutierrez (Boardwalk Foodservice Service Supervisor), Toph Cox (Discretion Brewing Beer Ambassador), Omid Aminifard (Boardwalk Chief Operating Officer)

As a locally owned and operated company with a long and rich history in Santa Cruz, the Boardwalk takes pride in partnering with other local businesses to create products that are uniquely Santa Cruz. These collaborative beers are crafted to embody the spirit and character of the Boardwalk, while providing a taste of the local flavor.

Discretion Brewing’s Giant Dipper Golden Ale

The latest addition to the Boardwalk’s lineup is the Giant Dipper Golden Ale, created in collaboration with popular local brewery Discretion Brewing. Launched May 18th, this light and refreshing beer is available in cans and on tap at various locations along the Boardwalk. This brew is a true testament to collaborative effort, involving the expertise of Discretion Brewing and the creative input from the Boardwalk’s Foodservice and Creative teams. The can’s design, featuring the Giant Dipper 100th logo, was crafted by the Boardwalk’s Art Department, adding a special touch to the commemorative brew.

Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing craft beer collaborations.
Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing craft beer collaborations.

From 2011 to 2015 the Boardwalk collaborated with Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing on a series of four commemorative beers: Horsetail Ale, Casinos IPA, Giant DIPA, and Boardwalk Blonde. Horsetail Ale was created to celebrate the centennial of the Looff Carousel; starting the tradition of custom brews to celebrate important anniversaries. The Giant DIPA’s release also coincided with the 90th anniversary of the Giant Dipper. The Boardwalk Blonde label featured an image from the Boardwalk Archives of Marilyn Matthews during a 1950s commercial photoshoot. At the time the photo was taken the image showed up on billboards in the area advertising the summer season at the Boardwalk. In 2012 Matthews attended a season kick-off party and posed with her likeness on the label 55 years later. That same year the International Association of Amusement Parks & Attractions (IAAPA) awarded the Boardwalk the Brass Ring for “Best New Menu Item” for the Horsetail Ale and the Boardwalk Blonde!

Bathing Beauty model Marilyn Matthews posing with Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing’s Boardwalk Blonde featuring her likeness on the label.

In recent years, Boardwalk Dreamin’, a West Coast IPA brewed by Humble Sea Brewing Company, has become a favorite amongst visitors. The collaboration continued the tradition of creating distinctive flavorful beers that capture the essence of the Boardwalk experience.

Humble Sea’s Boardwalk Dreamin’

The creativity doesn’t stop with what’s inside the can–the label designs are equally significant. They capture the Boardwalk’s vibrant history and charm, making each brew a visual and sensory celebration. From archival images to pop art, these labels bring a bit of the Boardwalk to life, adding another layer of enjoyment for beer enthusiasts and visitors alike. 

Santa Cruz Brewing Co.’s label for their lager beer, ca. 1906/1907

Beer and the Boardwalk have a history going back over 100 years. In 1906/1907 Santa Cruz Brewing Co. used the image of the new Casino as a part of their logo. Longtime Boardwalk historian, Skip Littlefield, noted that the Santa Cruz Beach Company (the entity responsible for the construction of the Casino and expanding the Boardwalk until 1915) was elated to be featured on the label. The Casino’s architect, William H. Weeks, even provided the rendering used by Santa Cruz Brewing Co., highlighting the deep historical ties between the Boardwalk and local brewing.

These special collaborations offer a delicious way to experience the magic of the Boardwalk. So, next time you find yourself in Santa Cruz, raise a glass to the creativity and community spirit that makes these brews so special. 



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