Our Favorite Beers From Local Breweries
In the past few years, Los Angeles has gone from only having a few upstart breweries to suddenly having over 45 operations across the county with new ones seeming to pop up every month. From the South Bay to the San Gabriel Valley, the Arts District to the San Fernando Valley, L.A. now offers a wealth of options for beer lovers in a range of styles. We even have the L.A. Brewers Guild now to help us keep track of the ever-expanding roster. So, whether you're craving a super-hoppy IPA, a tart sour or a smoky porter—or really anything in between—here are our favorite beers from local brewers. And, with so many great breweries in the region—and more opening all the time—this list is by no means exhaustive, so let us know your favorite brews in the comment section below.
Take a vow of libations at Monkish (via Facebook)
MONKISH BREWING CO.
This Torrance favorite focuses much of their efforts on complex Belgian-style beers and farmhouse saisons, and utilizes creative ingredients like Sichuan peppercorns, lemongrass, and pistachios for select brews. They also use spent wine barrels and giant oak vats for their sour and wild ales. While the brewery is known for steering clear of IPAs, they recently took their first foray into hoppier territory with First Things First, a collaboration with Brooklyn's Other Half Brewing, and released in limited quantity four-packs. Opened in 2012 by husband-and-wife team Henry and Adriana Nguyen, the brewery offers a cozy, family-like atmosphere with a few seats within the taproom and additional seating around barrels and tables in the brewhouse. There's no food for sale, but you can eat free pretzels to your heart's content.
While you'll definitely want to keep an eye out for their special releases for sale in artfully-labeled bottles, some of the regular highlights include Seme Della Vita, a Belgian-style tripel brewed with pistachios and vanilla beans; Haiku de Saison, a mixed-fermentation saison aged in white wine oak barrels; and Feminist, a tripel spiced with hibiscus.
Monkish Brewing Co. is located at 20311 S Western Ave, Torrance, (310) 295-2157.
Tarte Noir at Eagle Rock Brewery (via Facebook)
EAGLE ROCK BREWERY
Considered the first brewery to open in L.A. in over 60 years, Eagle Rock Brewery has been pouring quality brews since 2009. The family-owned operation, founded by Jeremy Raub, wife Ting Su, and father Steven Raub, offers a range of well-balanced styles and a taproom that serves as a great community hub, despite its relatively small size. They're also big on charitable causes and education, offering brewery tours, homebrewer seminars, and the Women's Beer Forum, a tasting class and discussions with guest brewers held on the third Thursday of the month.
From their year-round offerings, Populist IPA is a crisp, citrusy and balanced favorite, while Solidarity Black Mild is a solid choice for a smoky chocolate English-style ale. Definitely keep your eye out for their seasonal brews, brewery collaborations and limited bottle releases, too, like the delicious Tarte Noir, a dark sour ale. You'll typically find a food truck parked in their lot most nights that will keep you from floating away, or you can always head to the Eagle Rock Public House up on Colorado Blvd. for a beer and a bite.
Eagle Rock Brewery is located at 3056 Roswell St, Glassell Park, (323) 257-7866.
So many important decisions to be made at Beachwood Brewery (via Facebook)
This multi-award-winning Long Beach brewery consistently delivers with their IPAs, but their other offerings are no joke either. They offer an impressive and lengthy rotating roster of craft beers, available at their original Seal Beach spot, the larger Long Beach one—where you can also score some of their delicious dry-rub BBQ—and the Blendery, where they develop their funkier and more experimental barrel-aged lambic-style and sour beers. Their Long Beach Brewery and BBQ location even won the best brewpub in America award at the Great American Beer Fest in 2014.
Brewmaster Julian Shrago and his team offer an excellent selection of house brews, including the award-winning Mocha Machine imperial coffee porter, the Un Atout Belgian-style saison, the Citraholic IPA and the Full Malted Jacket scotch ale.
Beachwood BBQ & Brewing is located at 210 E 3rd St, Long Beach, (562) 436-4020. Beachwood Blendery is located at 247 Long Beach Blvd, Long Beach.
Getting sour at Smog City (via Facebook)
SMOG CITY BREWING CO.
Another widely-respected South Bay outpost, the award-winning Smog City taproom offers an excellent selection of thoughtful and creative brews. What began as a homebrew operation has quickly blossomed since Jonathan Porter and his wife Laurie opened up the Torrance brewery in 2012. Hop-fans are bound to love their Hoptonic and Amarilla Gorilla IPAs, while their gold-medal-winning Coffee Porter offers a great chocolaty heft and the Little Bo Pils is refreshing on a hot day. You'll also find plenty of rotating seasonal brews, like their Kumquat Saison or The Nothing, a double chocolate imperial stout, as well as some nicely funky barrel-aged sours. Their taproom isn't huge, but there's still plenty of seating. And while they only sell a few snacks like chips and jerky, there's usually a food truck set up in the parking lot outside the warehouse space.
Smog City Brewing Co. is located at 1901 Del Amo Blvd, Torrance, (310) 320-7664.
HIGHLAND PARK BREWING
Small, but mighty, Highland Park Brewing turns out some fantastic and often unexpected brews. Nestled behind Hermosillo Bar on York Blvd., founder Bob Kunz—formerly a brewer at Craftsman in Pasadena—and the rest of the team offer an excellent selection of experimental, small-batch Belgian ales, IPAs and barrel-aged saisons and sours, as well as some fun porters and stouts. They've used everything from fruit and herbs harvested from backyards in the neighborhood to actual ham for their Ham Porter.
Their list rotates pretty regularly, but you'll usual find the popular Beer Spaceship, a pale ale with fruity Galaxy hops and the hop-tastic 1Up, a West Coast super IPA with Mosaic hops. They offer growler fills on select brews and the occasional bottle release, but your best bet is usually just grabbing a seat at the bar or getting cozy in a booth to familiarize yourself with their offerings.
Highland Park Brewing is located at The Hermosillo, 5127 York Blvd, Highland Park, (323) 739-6459
Xibalba Belgian-style ale from Dry River Brewing (Photo by Danny Jensen/LAist)
DRY RIVER BREWING
One of the latest additions to the burgeoning L.A. craft beer scene, Boyle Height's Dry River Brewing offers some of the most complex and funky beers in town, while also working to be the greenest brewery as well. While their taproom is still in the works—they're aiming for sometime in the fall of 2016—you can find their beautifully-labeled saisons and sours at beer shops and bars, as well as every fourth Sunday at the Mar Vista farmers' market. Head brewer Naga Reshi has helped start breweries around the globe, and has brought numerous wild yeast strains back from his travels, which includes everywhere from Brazil and Alaska. They also utilize locally grown hops, fruits, herbs and spices for their barrel-aged and bottle-conditioned brews. They're also striving to reduce their environmental footprint as much as possible through energy and water efficient methods. We're fans of their Para Sol blonde sour ale and Regalo, a barrel-fermented wheat wine bottled with champagne yeast.
Dry River Brewing is located at 671 S Anderson St, Boyle Heights, (213) 375-5235.
MACLEOD ALE BREWING CO.
This Van Nuys brewery brings a welcome twist to the L.A. beer scene by focusing on English-style ales that are traditionally cask-conditioned and served around 58 degrees. You'll find that many of their beers offer unique flavors and often a lower-alcohol content than you'll find with the hop-heavy beers elsewhere. Their "Buy Your Friend A Beer" board is a hospitable addition and don't be surprised if the Scottish owners' bagpipe band strikes up a tune. You'll also find food trucks parked outside of their warehouse taproom in the evenings and also during the day on the weekend. If darts are your game, they offer boards, as well as a league and open tournament. We definitely recommend The King's Taxes Scottish ale and their Lost in London oatmeal stout.
MacLeod Ale Brewing Co. is located at 14741 Calvert St, Van Nuys, (818) 631-1963.
Ladyface Ale Companie (Photo by Danny Jensen/LAist)
LADYFACE ALE COMPANIE
Nestled in Agoura Hills, Ladyface feels like a world away from L.A.'s more warehouse-based breweries in the South Bay or Arts District, and we welcome the escape. Just over six years ago, owner Cyrena Nouzille and head brewer David Griffiths began serving their Belgian-style beers at their charming French-inspired brewpub with a beautiful patio. In addition to their extensive and delicious food menu and live music on Saturdays, we strongly encourage trying their Blind Ambition, a Belgian-style amber, the floral Chesebro Imperial IPA, and The Iron Lady, their 6th anniversary Belgian golden strong ale brewed with viognier grape must.
Ladyface Ale Companie is located at 29281 Agoura Rd, Agoura Hills, (818) 477-4566
CRAFTSMAN BREWING CO.
Founder and Owner Mark Jilg has been winning the hearts of beer drinkers since he started brewing in Pasadena in 1995. Despite the longstanding-loyalty, Craftsman doesn't have a tap room and reportedly Jilg doesn't plan on opening one. Thankfully you can find his brews at numerous bars around town. Keep an eye out for the standard-bearer 1903 Pre-Prohibition Lager, the Smoked Black Lager and Triple White Sage, a Belgian-style tripel with, you guessed it, sage. Craftsman's limited-release, seasonal sour beers are also worth tracking down if you can.
Craftsman Brewing Co. is located at 1260 Lincoln Ave #100, Pasadena, (626) 296-2537 (ALES)
ARTS DISTRICT BREWING CO.
Another of the latest additions to the downtown brewery scene, Arts District Brewing Co. offers a beautiful 17,000-square-foot space where you can play ping pong, skeeball, cornhole and darts, while enjoying a brew. Opened by nightlife guru Cedd Moses, Eric Needleman of The Spirited Group, and Brian Lenzo, founder of Blue Palms in Hollywood, the brewery is run by Devon Randall, who previously was the head brewer at the hugely popular Pizza Port in San Diego's Solana Beach. Some of our favorite pours include their Porter Rico imperial porter, the Velveteen Rabbit oatmeal stout, the Spirited saison and the Traction IPA. And should you work up an appetite with all of that skeeball and beer-drinking action, fear not, you can order plenty of great food from the window of the adjacent restaurant Fritzi from chef Neal Fraser, including their Bar burger, veggie carrot dog and tater tots.
Arts District Brewing Co. is located at 830 Traction Ave., Arts District.
Spooky sours at Phantom Carriage (Photo by Danny Jensen/LAist)
PHANTOM CARRIAGE BREWERY
If you're looking for some of the funkiest, sour beers in town, as well as the spookiest taproom possibly ever, look no further than Phantom Carriage. Decked out with skeletons and other year-round Halloween fun, this relatively-new Carson brewery even features a horror movie screening room. They also offer an excellent selection of sandwiches and shareable bites, cold-brew coffee and a large fridge with some hard-to-find beers from other breweries. Just as the brewery's name is taken from a 1921 Swedish horror film, you'll find many of their barrel-aged, wild and sour beers also offer nods to the genre's classics. We definitely recommend Bergman, a wild blonde sour; Lugosi, a strong dark sour; and Dolores, a dark farmhouse ale. Keep an eye out for their special releases and fun taproom events as well.
Phantom Carriage Brewery is located at 18525 S Main St, Carson, (310) 538-5834.
Another relatively new contender to the growing South Bay brewery scene, Three Weavers has quickly made a name for themselves. Their spacious taproom and patio offer ample room to wile away an afternoon, playing board games, catching up with friends and, of course, sipping quality suds. Their beer selection offers a little something for everyone. Some of our favorites include their Blood Junkie imperial red ale, their first anniversary First Rodeo IPA, Midnight Flight imperial stout, and Keller Dweller, an unfiltered German-style beer.
Three Weavers Brewing Company is located at 1031 W Manchester Blvd. in Inglewood, (310) 400-5830.
The Brouwerij West taproom and brewery (via Facebook)
Brouwerij West has been treating beer lovers to their artfully-labelled, Belgian-inspired ales at craft beer destinations around L.A. and beyond since 2010, and they just opened their first permanent location along the Port of L.A. At their spacious warehouse spot, you'll find new brews, as well as existing ones, including their farmhouse ale, My First Rodeo, and the Dog Ate My Homework, which is a saison made with blackberries. Some of the new offerings will include a Belgian-style white ale made with Seville oranges, and a bitter blonde ale. The tasting room features a long bar built with reclaimed wood and communal tables, with the production equipment visible behind. Eventually they hope to open a beer garden in the building's 10,000 square foot courtyard with Sycamore trees. And they're permitted for live music outdoors every night of the week and have plenty of parking.
Brouwerij West is located at 110 E 22nd St., San Pedro, (310) 833-9330.
EL SEGUNDO BREWING CO.
If you love hoppy IPAs, chances are you've enjoyed a few from El Segundo Brewing. Conveniently located just down the road from LAX for a sudsy homecoming to L.A., their recently expanded taproom offers a great place to sample their delicious range of pale ales, IPAs and Double IPAs. Some of our favorites include their Citra Pale Ale, Mayberry IPA and Hammerland Double IPA. But we also enjoyed their recent collaboration with WWE wrestler "Stone Cold" Steve Austin—who lives part time in El Segundo—for the well-balanced Broken Skull IPA. They also offer great cask-conditioned options like Dad's Army Cask, a traditional English IPA. Should you get hungry, you can order food from nearby restaurants, or take a stroll over to the recently opened Sausal for their delicious Alta California cuisine.
El Segundo Brewery is located at 140 Main St, El Segundo, (310) 529-3882.
MUMFORD BREWING CO.
Another new downtown beer destination, Mumford Brewing started pouring last year at the nexus of Little Tokyo, the Arts District and Skid Row. Founded by homebrewing brothers Peter and Tom Mumford (no relation to the band!) with the help of Tom's wife, Tien, the brewery offers tasting flights, half pints, full pints and growler fills, as well as the rare crowler machine, which lets you fill up and seal their 32 oz. cans. Their spacious and bright taproom is a great place to enjoy their range of styles, which includes the refreshing L.A. Crema cream ale, the citrusy Boyd St. IPA, and their signature Black Mamba black IPA, which is also offered as a version made with Stumptown coffee on nitro if you're looking for a pick-me-up. They offer board games to challenge your friends, and while there's no food, there are plenty of great nearby options that you can bring in to keep you sated.
Mumford Brewing Co. is located at 416 Boyd St, Los Angeles, (213) 346-9970.
Pups welcome. (Photo via Facebook)
GOLDEN ROAD BREWINGThough Golden Road was bought by Anheuser-Busch in 2015, everything is still made onsite. Their breezy, family-friendly Glendale-adjacent location offers plenty of seating inside and out, plus lawn games! You can take a free tour of the facilities on the weekends, though we enjoy stopping by on weekday afternoons when the crowds are a little more subdued. The menu consists of tasty salads, sandwiches, burgers and snacks. We like the fried avocado tacos and the rosemary roasted turkey melt. Brew-wise, we usually order the nutty Get Up Offa That Brown, the Golden Road Hefeweizen, and if in season, their Back Home Gingerbread Stout.
You can also catch them in their new spot in downtown L.A.'s Grand Central Market, and they've got a bar that just opened up in Anaheim. Dog are welcome at both their L.A. and O.C. locations. —Juliet Bennett Rylah
Golden Road Brewing is located at 5410 San Fernando Rd. in Glendale, (213) 542-6039.
(Photo via Facebook)
ANGEL CITY BREWERYThe brewery was founded in 2007, moved to their current space in 2010, and was sold to Boston Beer Co. subsidiary Alchemy & Science in 2012, though we still consider them a great local spot. Their open, industrial space in the Arts District is a pleasant venue to spend an afternoon. It's huge, with plenty of places to chill, and you can grab a bite from the rotating selection of food trucks found out front. You can even bring your dog. Events include art shows, live music, comedy, trivia nights and more. You can also schedule a tour of the brewery.
Some of our favorite brews are the West Coast Wheat, the Angeleno IPA and the seasonal Winter Vanilla Porter. But it's also worth noting that they offer a tap to the side of the bar that offers flavored water, because it's important to stay hydrated. —Juliet Bennett Rylah
Angel City Brewery is located at 216 S Alameda St. in the Arts District, (213) 622-1261.