Santorini isn’t just home to beautiful whitewashed houses and volcanic landscapes, it is also the home of the Santorini Brewing Company! The brewery can be visited daily during the summer, and they are a short bus ride away from the central bus station in Thira.
At the brewery, the staff are happy to explain the brewing process and history of the company. They can also serve samples of the beers, sell bottles to go, and sell official brewery merchandise. Be aware that it isn’t a bar that will serve beer.
The first beer that we tried is the classic Crazy Donkey, which was Greece’s first IPA. I really enjoyed the Crazy Donkey as it was hoppy with an aromatic bitterness cut with a island twist.
Next up was the Yellow Donkey, a lagered ale. It tasted like a light citrus beer. I would recommend it for sipping on a warm summer beach day.
The final beer we sampled at the brewery was the Red Donkey, which was closer to a red ale. This was a full-bodied, malty rich beer.
A small operation, you can see the different parts of the brewing process from the ingredients to the machine that machine that puts the labels on the bottle. They also have a small gift shop with souvenirs such as t-shirts (I got mine!), glassware, and bottle openers all emblazoned with the adorable donkey logo.
The beers that are too small batch to open for sample are available for purchase. This includes the Slow Donkey. Barrel aged for 5-6 month, the Slow Donkey is a complex, dark, and rich.
Waiting for our bus to the beach, we both cracked open our bottles on the front stairs of the brewery. With no posted bus schedule, it could be awhile before the next bus to the beach arrived. A few sips in, we see the bus rounding the corner and spring up to flag it down. Many of the island buses are large charter buses, and the middle door opened up to let us in. Open bottles in our purses, we hopped aboard the bus that had barely slowed to a stop. Before the doors could even close, the bus was heading down the road! The man collecting the tickets grabbed my arm and flew me forward safely into a seat.
Wild bus ride aside, it was a beautiful but breezy day at Kamari beach. On the opposite side of the island from Oia, the flatter terrain is home to many of Santorini’s beaches. Renting a beach chair with an umbrella is well worth the small fee as it includes beach-side drink service and wifi.
Our afternoon at the beach was followed by one of the most impressive sunsets in the world from the town of Oia. There are plenty of nooks and crannies along the streets to stake out for the sunset, but a restaurant or bar near the tip of the island provides a space to watch in style.
A day of exploring and beach going works up quite the appetite. In Oia, we found the lovely Roka Restaurant. Carved out of an old sea captain’s home, the decor and food were just as whimisical. The evening was temporate enough for us to sit outside, but they had plenty of indoor seating, too.
Using fresh and local ingreditents, the dishes at Roka did not dissapoint. The Skioufikta, or Greek pasta, was devine. Cherry tomatoes, garlic, onions, olives, basil, and goat cheese all came together on fresh pasta to create a very memorable meal.