Let’s be honest. I’m not a huge beer drinker, so I enlisted the help of beer expert, Phillip Johnson, owner of SoCal Brew Bus to give us a rundown. Phillip broke it down by LA neighborhood to give us the hotspots that every beer lover has to hit up as well as some great food options. Here’s a beer lover’s guide to LA!
What does Los Angeles have to offer those looking for locally produced craft beer?
Up until recently, not a whole lot. The explosion of craft breweries around the country (from 1500 in 2000 to more than 4,000 in 2015) has created the great beer cultures of more well known West Coast beer cities like San Diego, San Francisco, and Portland. Until recently, beer lovers in LA would be hard pressed to find their own locally produced craft beer.
However, that’s all changing. You are now living in LA’s own golden age of brewing. Growing from only a handful of breweries a few years ago to now more than 50 in LA county (and growing all the time), right now is the perfect time to get out and explore our many great breweries!
The heart of the entire Los Angeles brewing scene lies in Torrance with six breweries and two brewpubs. Our favorite beer hotspots in the South Bay are:
- Strand Brewing for their spacious tap room and lineup of classic west coast style beers
- Smog City for their well rounded tap list of award winning beer
- El Segundo Brewing for anything hoppy
- Brouwerij West for a superb lineup of Belgian style ales
- King Harbor Brewing for their waterfront taproom right on the boardwalk in Redondo Beach.
Be sure to check out Phantom Carriage for the most unique experience of any LA taproom!
Breweries have been slow to adopt the Westside as their home. Three Weavers is in Inglewood should get your attention for their great afternoon sun-soaked patio. For IPA fans, try the Expatriate, you won’t regret it. Also, be sure to check out regional favorite Firestone Walker’s newly opened Propagator restaurant and brewpub in Venice.
Be sure to check out: Santa Monica Brew Works tap room, opening soon.
This year ushered in the rise of the Arts District in Downtown as a brewery hot spot. Long time resident Angel City Brewery is now joined by Arts District Brewing, Mumford Brewing, Boomtown Brewing, and Iron Triangle Brewing.
The best part? Everything is close enough to *gasp* consider walking between breweries. Looking to dive deeper? SoCal Brew Bus offers all-inclusive guided walking brewery and art tours in the Arts District, bringing beer drinkers to world famous street art and exploring the culture of the neighborhood.
Be sure to check out: International brewing stalwarts Mikkeller and San Diego favorite Modern Times, both presently constructing tap rooms in DTLA.
One of LA’s best family and dog friendly patios, Golden Road is also the biggest brewery in LA, specializing in a rotating lineup of IPA centric brews. Bonus: Golden Road is also home to one of the area’s best vegan menus.
If you are looking for a more intimate experience, seek out Highland Park Brewery inside the Hermosillo Bar. Highland Park Brewery is creating unique beers to rival any brewery in the country – and people are starting to take notice. If you don’t want to make the schlep all the way down to Escondido, Stone Brewing has a satellite tap room in Pasadena for tasters and growler fills.
Be sure to check out: One of LA’s oldest breweries, Eagle Rock Brewery (and associated Public House restaurant concept) offers a solid lineup of beer and is a pillar of the LA brewing community.
San Fernando Valley
MacLeod Ales serves up the British pub experience (complete with strewn peanut shells) in an old garage in Van Nuys. Try the cream ale on nitro, if available. Heading out towards Ventura County, stop by Ladyface Ale Companie in Agoura for a great menu of Belgian-inspired food and beer and the Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company tap room in Westlake Village.
Be sure to check out: 101 Cider House in Thousand Oaks for their unique ciders (pineapple mint anyone? Dry hopped farmhouse ciders? Yes please!).
San Gabriel Valley
Perpetually underrated Progress Brewing in South El Monte would be my first stop. Try anything barrel aged and you won’t be disappointed. Head further east to Pomona for upstart Homage Brewing (and the coolest growlers you’ve ever seen) and their Brett-IPA. Finally, don’t forget about Claremont Craft Ales and their tall-boy cans you can find around town.
Be sure to check out: Ohana Brewing in Alhambra and ask for their Spa Water Saison, brewed with cucumber – delicious!
Long Beach is home to LA’s most decorated brewery: Beachwood BBQ. Brewmaster Julian Shrago pumps out an insane amount of great beers. More than once Beachwood BBQ has been named the country’s best brewpub. And the food is pretty damn good too. Looking for a food pairing suggestion? Order a Full Malted Jacket with the smoked baby back ribs. Down the road in Lakewood is Timeless Pints, a neighborhood brewery featuring food trucks and a great trivia night.
Make sure and check out: Beachwood Blendery, a new offshoot next to Beachwood BBQ, offering their proprietary one-off blends of sour and funky beer.
Excited? Looking for more info? Have an event in mind? Head over to SoCal Brew Bus and take a look at one of our all-inclusive brewery tours. Forget about driving, parking, scheduling, and let us do the planning, includes guided tastings (beer flights included) and gourmet catered lunch. You can even rent out the whole bus for you and your friends on a VIP private tour!
SoCal Brew Bus is giving away a free Arts District Walking Tour through The LA Girl Society this week, so join now to enter and win!
Featured Image Source: Girls Who Like Beer