Where to Drink Beer in LA This Summer
Whether you’re craving something sour, stout, or a classic pale ale, these are the best breweries to enjoy a pint this summer.
Los Angeles county is home to over 90 breweries, crafting everything from hazy IPAs to barrel-aged sours, and new ones keep popping up. It’s not just about the quantity either— members of the L.A. Brewers Guild collectively took home 31 medals at the 2021 California Craft Brewers Cup and five at the 2021 Great American Beer Festival. As if that wasn’t tempting enough, many breweries have added on above-average food programs and invited some of the city’s most exciting new pop-ups to take over their beer gardens, so you never have to drink on an empty stomach.
Simply put, there are plenty of breweries and bars to enjoy great craft beers this summer and well into fall. From Downtown LA to North Hollywood and Long Beach, here are the 21 best breweries and beer bars to grab a pint, from sour beers to hoppy IPAs.
Tucked at the edge of the Arts District, Boomtown Brewery has almost 20 beers on tap, from the year-round Bohemian pilsner to seasonal fruited ales. The taproom features large indoor and outdoor spaces and there’s a food truck weekday evenings and starting from 1 pm on the weekends. The taproom also showcases artworks from local and international artists and they launch a new Artist Series beer with an artist-created label every six to eight weeks.
Brewyard Beer Company
This Filipino and Japanese-owned brewery won quite a few medals with their Jewel City California Common-style lager, a style of beer developed during the Gold Rush era in California (also known as steam beer). The pair also experiments with ingredients from their respective heritage. Try the Yoi Yoi brewed with ume and sushi rice, or the Ube Macapuno Delight, an Imperial brown lager brewed with ube and coconut.
Benny Boy Brewing
One of the latest additions to LA’s brewing scene brings both beer and cider to Lincoln Heights, with a large patio to enjoy them in. Opened by husband-and-wife team Ben Farber and Chelsey Rosetter, Benny Boy brews beers in the old-world tradition, which Ben learned during an apprenticeship in Belgium. As a new production, the beer menu is relatively small but diverse, with beers ranked from light to dry and ciders ranked from dry to semi-sweet, including the option to make your brew a Snakebite—a half-pint of beer with a half-pint of cider poured on top. The patio also hosts rotating food pop-ups from BBQ to pizzas.
The team behind Lawless has been brewing beers for some time, but they finally opened a taproom in spring 2021, making them North Hollywood’s first craft brewery. There are plenty of different styles to try here, but start with the award-winning Blacklight, a Czech dark lager, or NoHo Boho, a Bohemian pilsner. For more unique offerings, try Lawless Latte, their golden coffee stout or Birns & Sour, a fruited kettle sour made with peaches.
Paperback Brewing Company
Angelenos may have seen Paperback’s canned IPAs, like the hazy Bunny With a Chainsaw, at Trader Joe’s and other retail stores before the taproom opened, since the pandemic derailed their original opening plans and they pivoted to focus on wholesale. They have since opened in a 6,000-square-foot, WWII-era aircraft hangar, with David “Zambo” Szamborski, former head brewer at 21st Amendment, as their brewmaster. The beer list is hops heavy but they offer plenty of other styles and collaborations with other breweries.
Long Beach Beer Lab
Brewmaster Dr. Levi Fried used to run a medical research lab, and there are plenty of science and laboratory references in the decor of Long Beach Beer Lab. Fried brought the experimentation to brewing, with beers like the creamy Dreamsicle double IPA and a sour blueberry porter. They also have their own in-house bakery from co-owner and baker Harmony Sage, plus pizzas and sandwiches.
Smog City Brewing Company
Smog City is one of LA’s bedrock breweries and one that is just as comfortable producing hoppy IPAs, barrel-aged imperial stouts, interesting sour concoctions, or throwing out lagers for their annual Smogtoberfest. Best of all, they have four locations so you’re never far from their wide array of beers. The Torrance location has a rotating lineup of food trucks, from BBQ to fresh seafood. The brewery is also kid- and dog-friendly.
El Segundo Brewing Company
ESBC recently celebrated their 10th anniversary and features some of the hoppiest beers you’ll find in LA, plus a wide selection of IPAs. Their mastery is demonstrated with a Triple IPA that’s simultaneously strong and aggressive, while still being extra drinkable. Or opt for their 2020 Old Jetty bourbon-barrel-aged barley wine that clocks in at over 14% ABV, for something heartier. They also run a pizza joint called Slice and Pint that offers a menu of (surprise, surprise) pizza, plus popular Italian-American dishes like fried calamari strips and meatballs marinara, with many dishes featuring ingredients sourced from local farms.
Enegren Brewing Company
Every beer town worth its salt should have a pilsner and lager brewery to call their own. For Angelenos that place is Enegren Brewing, which focuses on German-style lagers and ales, with a communal beer hall, views of the brewery, and a large outdoor biergarten. Located just outside of LA proper, sipping on their excellent single-hop pilsners is worth the drive and there are 12 beers on tap to choose from. If you’re feeling bold, the Big Meat Rauchbier brings the smoke.
The place to go to indulge your sour side is out near the Van Nuys Airport where you’ll find Cellador Ales—one of only a few oak barrel-fermented craft breweries in the United States. Owner and head brewer Kevin Osborne and his team are wizards with peaches and nectarines, which you can sample in brews like Mas, a farmhouse ale with late-harvest nectarines, and Verboten, a vermouth-inspired wild ale. They also make a few wine-beer hybrids such as Moon Water, a wild ale with Pinot Noir grape skins, for an easily drinkable concoction with low tannin and notes of plum and spice.
On the opposite corner from Highland Park Brewery in Chinatown is where you’ll find the second location of Homage Brewing. They’re known for their saisons and a good place to start is the Saison Spritz line of Belgian Saison-fruited beers (the current summer saison is made with watermelon and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes). The vibe during the day is chill, but the outdoor biergarten at the Chinatown location has a small dance floor that stays packed at night thanks to their own resident DJ.
At one end of the Bixby Knolls beer corridor stands Ambitious Ales, which took over the space of an old camera shop. Their Central Perk Coffee beer won the gold at the 2021 California Craft Brewers Cup. You can take that beer or maybe the New Zealand Style Pilsner, Gandalf the Crisp filled with 100% Motueka Hops, into the backlot beer garden and order up a pie, wings, or garlic knots from nearby Thunderbolt Pizza.
Shadow Grove Brewing
Most brewery taprooms are utilitarian in design, but this newish brewery that opened last year makes you feel like you are falling into a beery forested wonderland, with branches snaking out of the booths in this 2,600-square-feet of indoor and outdoor space. Combining the two co-founders’ penchant for British-style beers and shared background in theater design, not only does the brewery sport an inviting decor, they also have a beer list that diverges from your usual IPAs to feature brown ales, bitters, and lagers.
All Season Brewing
It is not easy to medal in the ultra-competitive IPA category at the Great American Beer Festival, which makes brewer Erick Garcia’s recent bronze medal all the more impressive. Taking over the former Firestone Tire outlet, much of the original architecture and design has been preserved, with the addition of a glass-encased 15-barrel brewhouse, plus indoor-outdoor seating. All Season positions itself as a bar first, with well drinks and craft cocktails available alongside a lengthy beer list that includes crushable American- and Italian-style pilsners, hoppy IPAs, malt-centric lagers, and rustic saisons. Start with an $8 pint of the citrus and floral Bullitt IPA, then play a few rounds of Skee-Ball and stop by on-site Chica’s Tacos to get your taco and nacho fix.
Ogopogo Brewing, named after a Loch Ness cousin from Canada, represents the first brewery in the city of San Gabriel. Brewers and owners Jason De La Torre and Ryan Edell are stalwarts in the Southern California brewing scene (Mason Aleworks, Saint Archer, Golden Road), and have infused their obsession with folklore, mythology, and palindromes into their beer names, like the Boeman Belgian White Ale that’s named after the Dutch boogeyman, or Lusca, a sour IPA brewed with mango and pineapples.
Highland Park Brewery
Situated across the street from Los Angeles State Historic Park, Highland Park Brewery is a lovely spot to sit on a patio with a craft beer in hand. Bob Kunz and brewing team are multi-threat, style wise, but increasingly known for their pilsners such as the crisp Timbo, with Citra and Mosaic hops. HPB is also a serial collaborator with the likes of Firestone Walker from Venice and Other Half Brewing from New York. The food menu features elevated bar fare like Spicy Sesame Chicken Tots, a Crispy Chicken Biscuit, and a bacon-wrapped Wagyu beef Street Dog.
Located in the bonafide craft beer hotspot that is the Arts District, Mumford Brewing is where you’ll want to head if you’re looking for collaborations with cool breweries such as Other Half from Brooklyn and MadeWest in Ventura. Owner and brewer Peter Mumford is known for pushing the boundaries on Hazy IPAs, but has proven equally adept at sticky-sweet stouts as demonstrated in their Stick Figures series. The brewery’s latest release is the Laces Out, a West Coast IPA with Chinook, Citra and Simcoe hops, and Faderer, a crisp West Coast pilsner.
Three Weavers Brewery
Brewemaster Alexandra Nowell is a leader in the California brew scene, and her expertise is on display in beers that come out of their Inglewood taproom and will soon arrive at their upcoming SoFi stadium-adjacent outpost. The bright and fruity Expatriate IPA leads the line, with citrus-forward Cloud City Hazy IPA representing another solid choice, but we recommend that newcomers start with the easy-to-drink, malt-driven Deep Roots amber ale. Whatever you decide to order, trust that it’ll pair well with nearby Randy’s Donuts.
MacLeod Ale Brewing Co.
English-style beers haven't taken hold here in America yet, but Los Angeles does have this Van Nuys spot that’s tucked in the middle of car repair shops and offers up bitters, pales and ESB's with a sessionability that’s characteristic of Great Britain. Make sure to get a proper pint from the hand pump. It’s also one of the few spots where you can pair Old World-style British ales with fresh pizzas that are made with 48-hour-fermented dough and housemade mozzarella, plus appetizers like spicy housemade meatballs and a Philly pretzel with housemade beer cheese.
Glendale Tap’s excellent rotating tap list landed them on the list of the 20 best beer bars around the world according to readers of Craft Beer & Brewing and it’s easy to see why from their 52 beers on tap. They pour beers from all over the world, but the focus is on West Coast brews like Tenth Ann’y, a triple IPA from San Diego, and Livin Lomita Loca, a red lager from Lomita, CA. They also host some great food pop-ups to go with those beers, from gumbo to birria tacos.
Beachwood BBQ & Brewing
It’s a given that whatever you buy with the Beachwood name will be great, but the warmer weather may call for the West Coast-style IPA Amalgamator or the crisp Japanese lager, Hayabusa. If you choose to visit their Long Beach location, you can also partake in their excellent BBQ fare and also find some unique, barrel-aged sours from their nearby Blendery.