Food & Drink

Your Essential Guide to Every LA County Brewery

Published On 03/15/2016 Published On 03/15/2016

Historically, Los Angeles has never been a beer town, but that’s changed in the past few years: the city more accustomed to pumping out mixed drinks and popping wine bottles is now home to nearly 50 breweries -- many of which rival those found in more historic craft beer regions (take that San Diego!). In fact, the influx has been so fast it’s nearly impossible to keep track of them all... which is why we’re here to help. Below is a comprehensive guide to EVERY SINGLE ONE of the breweries in Los Angeles County, so you can raise a glass (or three) (or seven) to a brand-new beer scene that’s as sprawling and seemingly endless as the city that created it:
 

8 One 8 Brewing

Canoga Park (no tasting room)
Best beers: Matador Red, Valley Girl Blonde
 
One of the county’s only nano-breweries (meaning they’re really really small), 8 One 8 launched in November 2015 at as one of the West San Fernando Valley’s pride-filled, hometown beer makers. Since they don’t have a tasting room, you’ll have to go to places like Crazy Harry’s in Winnetka or Instant Replay in Canoga Park to try their flagship beers, some of which are still rolling out of the fermenters.

The Brewery at Abigaile

Hermosa Beach (brewpub)

Best beers: Illuminati pils, Vienna lager -- it’s a new brewer, so get ‘em while you can in case he discontinues them.
 
The Abigaile is a restaurant, a brewery, and a punk rock landmark with an ocean view. Built on the site of the infamous church where LA punk bands like Black Flag used to live and play, you can now stop by graffiti-walled Abigaile for globally inspired fancy bites (like Moroccan lamb kibbeh and Chinese-style prawns) from acclaimed Chef Tin Vuong and beers made on the in-house copper brewery. 

Flickr/Mark Dienger

Absolution Brewing Company

Torrance (tasting room)

Best beers: Revelation rye, Sinner stout, root beer

From the fiery depths of San Diego’s homebrew scene to the industrial parks of LA’s original beer city comes Absolution Brewing Company, a religious-themed brewery from two members of SD’s biggest homebrew club. An easy stop on a tour of Torrance’s many breweries, ABC (as it’s sometimes called) makes old-world beers (plus two sodas!) out of a shiny new brewhouse and offers a mug club that’ll net you discounts on pints of it all.

Alosta Brewing

Covina (tasting room)

Best beers: Elias ESB, Mrs. Adams Oatmeal stout, any sour

The sleepy bedroom community of Covina isn’t exactly on most Angelenos’ radars, but maybe it should be: Alosta’s two seasoned homebrewers (one of whom even hosted a public access show on the subject) have been putting out some of the San Gabriel Valley’s best beers. Hop heads steer clear: this is the kind of place that makes barrel-aged stouts, experimental sours, and Belgian-style suds, served alongside weekly trivia nights and epic, themed release parties.

Sarah Bennett/Thrillist

Angel City Brewery

Downtown (tasting room)

Best beers: Social IPA, White Nite

Angel City Brewery has been around since the late ‘90s, but the one that’s been making beer in the Arts District since 2012 is not your father’s brewery. Now owned by Alchemy & Science (a subsidiary of Boston Beer Company aka Sam Adams), Angel City is bigger than ever with a new look, new beers and a snazzy tasting room in a historic old factory that hosts art shows plus only-in-LA community events like weekly yoga classes and their annual Avocado Festival.

Arts District Brewing Co.

Arts District Brewing

Downtown (tasting room)

Best beers: Kablamo Rye IPA, Traction IPA

Arts District Brewing is the supergroup of LA beer: owners include the people behind some of the city’s top craft cocktail and craft beer bars, plus brewing is at the hands of Devon Randall, who previously won medals galore as brewmaster at Pizza Port in Solana Beach. Couple Randall’s hop-forward, San diego-style beers with a dozen vintage skeeball machines and a new food concept from Chef Neal Fraser and you have one of LA’s most exciting new breweries, no question.

Sarah Bennett/Thrillist

Beachwood BBQ and Brewing

Long Beach (brewpub)

Best Beers: All of them. Seriously.

Twice named one of the best brewpubs in the country by the Brewers Association, Beachwood BBQ and Brewing is the most award-winning brewery in LA -- and for good reason. Brewmaster Julian Shrago is a legitimate rocket scientist who quit a job in aerospace to help launch a brewing offshoot of the famous Seal Beach craft beer-focused barbecue restaurant in 2011, and has since made (no joke) hundreds of different beers, many of which never leave the downtown Long Beach brewpub but all of which are, sorry to say, light years better than anything you’ll ever homebrew in your life. 

Beachwood Blendery

Long Beach (tasting room)

Best beers: Each release is a one-off experiment that will never be made again. Try everything while you can.

The experimental barrel-room that Beachwood BBQ and Brewing opened last year is the dorkiest ode to Belgian-style sours we’ve ever seen. Housed in a 100-year-old, exposed-brick building behind the original brewpub, The Blendery is being pumped full of authentic sour yeast strains and has a temperature and humidifier gauge rigged to mimic the exact environment of a barrel room in Belgium. For now, they are only open on days when they release their limited, one-off beers (so call before stopping by) and weekends, though eventually, the room will produce a product that’s as close to a Cantillon (or Oud Beersel or Drie Fontaine, whatevs) gueuze as Americanly possible.

Sarah Bennett/Thrillist

Belmont Brewing Company

Long Beach (brewpub)

Best beers: BBC pale ale, Long Beach Crude, the beer of the month

The oldest-operating brewpub in Southern California still flies the craft flag high, despite its five year-round beers remaining relatively unchanged since the ‘90s. Mononymous brewmaster Blackwell is an award-winning beer maker whose drinkable but flavorful house recipes for basic styles stand up to anything coming out of newer breweries today (the beachfront view ain’t so bad either). Proving he’s not asleep at the wheel, Blackwell’s rotating Beer of the Month always showcases a more modern invention, from Black IPAs to a Centennial SMaSH (single malt and single hop beer).

Bonaventure Brewing Company

Downtown (brewpub)

Best beers: BBC pale ale, Long Beach Crude, the beer of the month

If you’d prefer to drink Blackwell’s time-tested beers surrounded by breathtaking views of the Downtown LA skyline, then hit up Bonaventure Brewing Company, the sister brewpub to Long Beach’s waterfront Belmont Brewing Company. At this BBC, you can chill on the 4th floor deck of the funky architectural marvel that is the Westin Bonaventure Hotel and sip the same award-winning core beers as you’ll find at the other BBC.

Boomtown Brewery

Boomtown Brewery

700 Jackson St, Los Angeles, CA 90012 (No tasting room)
Best beers: Personal Assistant pale, Ingenue Wit

Part of the brewery boom that turned the Arts District into LA’s hottest craft beer neighborhood last year, Boomtown Brewery is located walking distance from neighbors like Angel City and Arts District Brewing. Unfortunately their tasting room isn’t open quite yet, so to get a taste for now, you’ll have to head to any number of LA craft beer bars currently carrying Samuel “Chewy” Chawinga’s old-world beers (with new-world flavor.)

Bravery Brewing

Lancaster (tasting room)

Best beers: Buster’s Brown, Bartto DIPA, Köbi

One of the first breweries to water the desert cities of the Antelope Valley with craft beer, Bravery Brewing has a solid lineup of American and Euro-style beers and a tasting room that pays homage to Lancaster’s military roots. It’s also the only brewery in the north part of LA County that bottles -- and they bottle a lot of different beers -- making it even easier to take home a taste of the high desert.

Sarah Bennett/Thrillist

Brewyard Beer

Glendale (tasting room)

Best beers: Tropico saison, Split Shift IPL, Black Sunrise black lager

Glendale’s first brewery was born out of a love of homebrewing and the happenstance purchase of a vintage delivery truck, which now sits as a centerpiece of Brewyard’s homey tasting room. With daily food trucks stopping by, dozens of board games to play and beers that are anything but basic, Brewyard is a welcome addition to what is being called the San Fernando Road Craft Beer Corridor. 

Brouwerij West

San Pedro (tasting room)

Best beers: Anything made at the new facility

In a historic old warehouse in the Port of Los Angeles, Brouwerij West is making Belgian-style beers that are sour, funky and filled with grains no one else would think to brew with. The facility opened in February 2016 after owner Brian Mercer spent six years contract brewing flagships, like his triple and quadruple, everywhere from Irvine to the Bay Area. Now, Mercer has a place to experiment outside of tradition -- which he does with gusto on his water-efficient brewhouse, which is powered by solar panels mounted on the roof. 

Claremont Craft Ales

Claremont (tasting room)

Best beers: Jacaranda Rye IPA, Coffee Del Coffee IPA

Hiding in the far-out city of Claremont is Claremont Craft Ales, a not-so-average neighborhood brewery started by the husband and wife team Simon Brown and Emily Moultrie. Over the years, the brewery has expanded its offerings from straight West Coast-style hoppy beers to more nuanced and balanced selections, like barrel-aged beers, cream ale, and stouts. Of course you can still get your bitterness fix with specials like The Dudes, a series of single, double and triple IPAs spiked with everything from fresh hops to grapefruit. Mark it.

Congregation Ale House Chapters

Congregation Ale House

Azuza (brewpub)

Best beers: Praise On Saison, Dark of the Covenant

The brewery arm of the Congregation Ale House mini-chain of gastropubs keeps with the same church theme that brought you the Rapture Dog, “Chosen One” beer specials and, bless, bartenders in Catholic schoolgirl outfits. Installed inside the Azusa chapter, the brewery churns out all of those religiously named ales made by seasoned pro brewer Caleb McLaughlin (currently with the help of guest brewer Tyler King), which get distributed to the other two Congregation locations plus some local draft accounts. Pray at the altar of beer.

Craftsman Brewing Company

Pasadena (no tasting room)
Best beers: Triple White Sage, Poppyfields, anything sour

The oldest production brewery in LA County doesn’t bottle or can and hasn’t grown much since mastermind Mark Jilg started making beer out of a Pasadena industrial park in 1995. Which is just as well for Jilg, an ardent contrarian who prefers to stay true to his brewery’s name than ramp up production to feed the throbbing masses of new-wave beer nerds. When you do find one of his beers (Lucky Baldwins and Maximiliano always have some on tap), it’s most likely flagships like his year-round lager, hefeweizen or British pale ale. Hop heads? Screw ‘em.

Johnny Lee

Dry River Brewing

Downtown (no tasting room)
Best beers: Lady Roja, Copper Witch, Parasol
 
Co-founded by Dave Hodgins -- a green business consultant whose notable clients include the LA Department of Water and Power -- Dry River Brewing wants to be the most eco-friendly brewery in the city. And with a solar-powered heating system that it uses to make every batch of beer at this tiny Boyle Heights nanobrewery, it’s off to a good start. Brewer Naga Reshi comes from a long line of experimenting in far-flung locales (from Brazil to Alaska) and the first few beers released by the brewery in December 2015 are so full of uncommon spices and weird yeast strains that they defy categorization. 
 

The Dudes' Brewing Company

Toorrance (tasting room)

Best beer: Kolschtal Eddy

Sixteen-ounce cans of The Dudes’ flagships like the Double Trunk IPA and Grandma’s Pecan English Brown can be found all over town, but their tasting room is part of the ultimate Torrance beer crawl. There, you can taste beers that don’t make it into cans plus special-releases, like the ones the dudes at Dudes' (yes, the whole thing is a long, drawn-out Big Lebowski reference) made in partnership with local classic rock radio station KLOS and the Surfrider Association.

Eagle Rock Brewing

Eagle Rock (tasting room)

Best beers: Solidarity Black Mild, Ginger saison, Stimulus

Eagle Rock Brewery was one of the three breweries that started pouring in January 2010, ending a decades-long dry spell for new breweries in the region and starting LA down the accelerated path to craft beerdom. Their centrally located tasting room continues to be a destination for newcomers to LA beer, where people can take it easy with well-made wits and IPAs or get freaky with seasonal sours, coffee beers, and special occasion session ales. 

El Segundo Brewing Co.

El Segundo Brewing

El Segundo (tasting room)

Best beers: Broken Skull IPA, Hammerland DIPA, Power Plant TIPA -- hell, all of their IPAs.

The guys and gals at El Segundo Brewing are LA’s hoppy beer gurus, with a seemingly endless stream of single, double, and triple IPAs that are good enough to make San Diego jealous. They’ve even started releasing one IPA per month on the first day it’s bottled, resulting in dankness at your door in 12 hours or less. Oh yeah, they also made a knockout collaboration beer last year with a little wrestler you may have heard of named Steve Austin. As expected, it’s best downed “stone cold.”

Figueroa Mountain

Westlake Village (brewpub)

Best beers: 101 California Kolsch, Lizards Mouth IPA

The Central Coast is home to several award-winning breweries (Firestone Walker, anyone?), but none have launched quite the expansion plan as Fig Mountain, which has pushed out of its original Buellton digs with a half-dozen tasting rooms and brewpubs from Arroyo Grande to Santa Barbara. After much anticipation, Fig Mountain opened its sourthernmost location, just inside L.A. County lines in Westlake Village where they tap award-winning beers like Danish Red Lager and Davy Brown Ale and brew some locals-only originals on the in-house system.

Five Threads Brewing Company

Westlake Village (taproom)

Best beers: Aria Red Rye and Bliss IPA 

Five Threads gets its name from its beer's main ingredients: water, malt, yeast, hops and -- wait for it -- you. That's right, you're considered one of the most important parts of this Westlake Village brewery's beers, which include hop-forward favorites and several nitro porters and stouts. Their community-driven tasting room was funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign and their beers can be found on draft at bars across the Conejo Valley. Make this a stop on your 101 freeway brewery crawl. 

Golden Road Brewing

Near Glendale (brewpub)

Best beers: Heal the Bay IPA, 329 lager

Craft beer in LA took a major blow last year when Golden Road got bought by Anheuser-Busch, but just because the city’s biggest brewery is now on the bankroll of the big guys doesn’t mean that the place is all Bud Light and bald eagles. Co-founder Meg Gill is still around to ensure their hop-forward beers remain brewed on site and the train-track-adjacent restaurant still has some of the best vegan food (and burgers!) a beer-lover could ask for. 

Highland Park Brewing

Highland Park (brewpub)

Best beers: Wake Up Session Coffee Beer on Nitro, Hello LA IPA, anything with Brett in it

It might tempting to lump Highland Park’s only craft brewery in with some of the negative gentrification that’s taken over York Blvd in the last few years, but the small-batch beer experiments coming out of the former “back room” of a one-time Mexican escort club (!!) are far more than hipster fodder. At Highland Park Brewery (under the same roof as The Hermosillo), brewmaster Bob Kunz makes clean, dry IPAs, and funky Brett-aged saisons with the same aplomb, constantly trying new yeasts, new hops, and new flavors in beers that will never leave the bar.

HopSaint Brewing Company

HopSaint Brewing

Torrance (brewpub)

Best beers: Cacophony IPA, Eleven-Eight strong mild

Brian Brewer was born with a name that destined him for beer greatness. After helping put The Brewery at Abigaile on the map with hoppy wonders like Cacophony IPA, he left to start HopSaint, which opened in December 2015 with Cacophony and a handful of other beers on draft. Built into a vintage Mid-Century building that once housed a Jewish deli, Hop Saint proves that the brewpub just might be the modern diner, where families can go to eat farm-to-table grub while mom and dad get tipsy on well-made beer. 

Innovation Brew Works

Pomona (brewpub)

Best beers: Reign On Black IPA, Green and Gold 

How does anyone Cal Poly Pomona even go to class anymore with Innovation Brew Works just a block away from campus? Operated by the school’s foundation, Innovation is more than a brewpub where anyone can grab a cheap pint and a pizza, though. It’s more like a living, drinkable laboratory for students studying brewing science through the school’s extension program (which, yeah, totally sounds like the best college course ever). As a bonus, Cal Poly Pomona is a legendary agricultural school too, so if you sign up for the classes that are conducted in the brewhouse, you’ll be making beer from locally sourced grains in no time. 

Iron Triangle Brewing DTLA

Iron Triangle Brewing

Downtown (tasting room)

Best beers: Iron Triangle IPA, Iron Triangle Dark ale

With Golden Road technically no longer considered craft, Iron Triangle swoops in to take the title of LA’s Largest Craft Brewery, with 10,000sqft of brewery space in the Arts District filled with an ocean of shiny new stainless steel. Founder Nathan Cole had dreams of an IPA-focused brewery for years and opened his doors in early 2016 with solid showings from brewer Darren Moser (formerly of Maui Brewing). 

Kinetic Brewing

Lancaster (brewpub)

Best beers: Potential Blonde, Rusted Gear Amber

Kinetic was the Antelope Valley’s first brewery, and it’s still one of the best. A prime location in Downtown Lancaster and a theme that pays homage to the surrounding aerospace history helped the early spread of craft beer in a part of the county sort-of isolated from the rest of LA. Being the oldest, it seems only fair that they’re also the first to expand. Land has already been purchased for Kinetic’s massive new duds, which will be a sprawling beer Disneyland not unlike Stone’s World Bistro and Gardens in Escondido. 

King Harbor Brewing

Redondo Beach (brewery and tasting room)

Best beers: The Quest (single-hop series), The Swirly, 70 & Sunny saison

King Harbor’s two tasting rooms could not be more different. One is inside of the brewery itself, a strip mall storefront with grand views of the towering silver tanks that make all the beer possible. The other is a waterfront bar on Redondo Beach’s International Boardwalk, filled with surfers and day drinkers, overlooking the boats and seafood restaurants of the vintage pier development. You can get the same beers at both, but we recommend the waterfront taproom, not only because it’s better for soaking up the sun, but because it’s one of the few places in LA to get fills of the 32oz part-can, part-growler known as a crowler.

La Verne Brewing Co.

La Verne Brewing

La Verne (tasting room)

Best beers: "B" Street Pineapple Blonde, Hacienda cream ale

Owned by a pair of homebrewing, hot-rod loving family men, La Verne Brewing takes full advantage of its location across the street from the Pomona Raceway by keeping their personal car collection on display and hosting race-day events. They also have the benefit of pulling their brew team from the pool of recent science grads at nearby University of La Verne, making their tasting room more a community hub than a brewery. 

The Lab Brewing Co

Agoura Hills (brewpub)

Best beers: Vanilla Coffee porter, Take Her Home Triple

Hanging out mid-way on Agoura Rd between Ladyface Ale Companie and Sundowner Brewing is The Lab Brewing Company, which used to operate out of a namesake brewpub until a revamp last year turned it into the Twisted Oak Tavern. Beers, thankfully, remain the same, with large copper fermenting vessels providing the focal point of the restaurant and the elusive “Dr. Hops” at the reigns.

Ladyface Ale Companie

Agoura Hills (brewpub)

Best beers: Dérailleur Biere de Garde, La Grisette Belgian Wheat, Russian Lullaby Imperial stout

In the shadows of Ladyface Mountain sits no ordinary brewpub. Plopped into the far corner of a freeway adjacent shopping center, Ladyface Ale Companie is the beer-loving bistro in the South of France (er, uh, Hills of Agoura) you never knew existed. With delicate Art Nouveau aesthetics and a menu that includes French onion soups and croque monsieurs, it actually seems more like a place to kick back with some wine. And yet, their Belgian-style beers, eclectic ales and barrel-aged specialties all pair perfectly with the chef-driven, Euro-inspired food. 

Lucky Luke Brewing Co

Lucky Luke Brewing

Palmdale (tasting room)

Best beers: The Tillman Tart saison, The Millwright oatmeal stout

Brian Schmitz is a longtime member of the Brewing Enthusiasts of the Antelope Valley Region homebrew club, known for being able to brew anything he puts his mind to. Open since November 2015, the family-owned Palmdale production brewery (with a sleek, wood-covered tasting room) has tapped delicious results from Schmitz’s well-oiled experiments with hops, Belgian styles, and, more recently, sours.

MacLeod Ale Brewing Co.

MacLeod Ale Brewing Company

Van Nuys (tasting room)

Best beers: The Session Gap, The Little Spree, Jackie Tar

In England, a beer is only called “real” when it’s made the traditional way -- naturally fermented and served out of casks not a regular ol’ CO2-using draft system. And when MacLeod Ales opened in Van Nuys in summer of 2014, they became not only the first tasting room in the San Fernando Valley, but also the first brewery in all of LA to specialize in “real” British-style beers. Though they’ve recently loosened their restrictions and started making some American-style beers (a cream ale, a hoppy amber, an IPA), the spirit of traditional beers from across the pond lives on. 

Monkish Brewing Co

Torrance (tasting room)

Best beers: Try everything, but especially anything bottle conditioned.

LA’s original Belgian-only brewery leads the charge with old-school techniques and new-world thinking. Traditional styles, like triples and blondes, get a tea-like infusion from adjuncts as varied as chamomile and pistachios while typical table beers get the American-esque single-hop treatment. To make things even more interesting, the brewhouse has in the last few years become an oaky wonderland (think: barrels and foeders galore), meaning their output is now even more varied, with brewmaster (aka “The Barrel Whisperer”) Henry Nguyen adding bacterias and yeasts to experimental beers, coaxing his babies into some of the funkiest saisons since gym socks. 

Mumford Brewing

Downtown (tasting room)

Best beers: Black Mamba, Bleacher Beer

A pretty tasting room on the fringes of the Arts District is what draws many to Mumford Brewing. But once inside the clean, white space (where you can play board games and listen to hip-hop), the beers are what keeps bringing people back. As part of the crop of new breweries that opened in downtown LA in 2015, Mumford’s expertly made house beers (which range from a cream ale to LA’s only year-round black IPA) are available to savor on site or in 32oz crowlers to go. 

Ohana Brewing Company

Ohana Brewing Company

Alhambra (tasting room)

Best beers: Saison Noir, #Hashtag Hops IPA

Ohana’s actual brewery is buried somewhere in the tangle of industrial buildings south of downtown LA -- not a place you’d want to go visit a tasting room even if they had one. But they schlep their finished product all the way up to Main St in Alhambra, where their branded storefront serves as a tasting room, merch store, and growler fill depot. With a World Beer Cup win under its belt and a history of hiring young brewers who use the Hawaiian-themed brewery as a place to build their skills, Ohana is a training ground for LA’s next great beer.

Pacific Plate Brewing

Monrovia (tasting room)

Best beers: Horchata stout

Horchata stouts are all the rage in Southern California, where the sweet Mexican drink dominates palates. But for them, Pacific Plate’s Horchata stout isn’t a novelty, it’s a necessity -- two of the three brewers are Hispanic, and the brewery’s vision as a whole is to bring flavors from Latin-America into craft beer. The result is the cinnamon-spiked horchata milk stout, an agave wheat beer, a mango IPA, and the house Belgian ale, Copa de Oro.

Phantom Carriage Brewing Company

Carson (tasting room)

Best beers: Start with Muis and work your way down the draft list

As LA’s resident creepy, sour brewery, Phantom Carriage gypsy brewed for a few years before opening the gloomy, barrel-filled digs that reflect its true personality. In their case, gloomy is a good thing -- the brewery is named after a Swedish horror film and co-owner Martin Svab is pretty obsessed with scary European movies. That’s why the Carson tasting room has the lighting of a 16th-century church, experimental sour beers with ominous-sounding German names and an on-site movie theatre where Svab’s favorite movies are projected during special events. 

Wild World of Beer

Pocock Brewing

Santa Clarita (tasting room)

Best beers: Letter of Marque DIPA, Hopped Up Ol’ Red

You might think -- judging by its logo of a beefy looking male chicken flexing and ready to fight -- that Pocock is just another fancy word for rooster. But in fact, the name of this latest addition to the Santa Clarita Valley brewery scene is actually a reference to one of its brewmasters, Geoff Pocock, who along with his brother-in-law Todd Tisdell opened Pocock Brewing in late 2015.

Progress Brewing

S El Monte (tasting room)

Best beers: Bronco Pale Ale, Hemingway IPA, barrel-aged one-offs

A few months after opening with a hand-welded brewhouse in the working class Latino suburb of South El Monte, the chemists behind Federal Brewing were ordered to change its name (we won’t bust the meanie who made them do it but it rhymes with “Schmederal Far”). It’s all good, though, because now they are Progress, a far more appropriate name for the only brewery and tasting room in this part of the county. On any given day, local politicians and industrial workers can be found mingling in the tasting room, taproom workers talk craft beer in Spanish and people stop by on their way home to pick up some of the cheapest growlers, grumblers, and crowlers in LA.

Red Car Brewing

Torrance (brewpub)

Best beers: South Bay IPA, South Loop porter

One of LA’s original brewpubs still makes beer the old English way (which is decidedly NOT the Olde English way), with barley and hops from the motherland across the pond. Yes, this even includes their IPA. Located in an old telegraph office in Downtown Torrance, the name “Red Car” pays homage to the public transit line that used to run through the city and helped make it a destination way before craft beer did.

Rev Brewing Company

Covina (tasting room)

Best beer: Chocomil porter

It’s a brewery. It’s a winery. It’s all organic. And it’s in... Covina? Rev Brewing is an anomaly in LA, and it’s trying to make the “urban winery experience” a reality. Of course this is isn’t the vineyard itself, but Rev’s tasting room is adjacent to its fermenting vessels, where they’ve also installed a small production brewery, which started as a way to appease beer drinkers who accompanied people coming to taste their wine. There now seem to be more beers than wines on the menu, including interesting experiments like a fermented-pineapple tepache ale and stouts aged in Jack Daniels barrels.

Sarah Bennett/Thrillist

San Fernando Brewing

San Fernando (tasting room)

Best beers: Sonora Wheat, Wolfskill IPA

Holding it down at the top of the newly christened “San Fernando Road Craft Beer Corridor” is the city and street’s namesake brewery, San Fernando Brewing Company. A massive tasting room filled with board games is where you’ll drink beers named after local landmarks made by two old homebrewing friends. Their wheat beer is also made with a variety of the grain that used to grow on the very land on which the brewery sits. History never tasted so good.

San Pedro Brewing Company

San Pedro (brewpub)

Best beers: James Brown ale, Port Town pilsner

As one of LA County’s oldest brewpubs, San Pedro Brewing Company has an old-world feel. All wood and brass like a British pub, the place is always full of locals to this working-class port city, especially UCLA fans and especially on game day. A solid menu of pub food coupled with reliable, well-made beers makes it the ultimate low-key hangout when you’re in the Harbor Area. Look out for a production-brewery offshoot, Port Town Brewing, which is opening in a nearby historic building within the next year.  

Sanctum Brewing Co.

Sanctum Brewing

Pomona (tasting room)

Best beers: OMNI Hop DIPA, Up All Night stout

Sanctum, Pomona’s only brewery, was started by a couple of homebrewing friends and built with the help of a successful Kickstarter campaign. Thankfully, Pomona’s only brewery is also a great one, with beers brewed in every style (and even some that aren’t to any style) plus a beautiful, Downtown Pomona tasting room that has high ceilings, copper bar tops, and reclaimed wood on the walls and tables.

Smog City Brewing

Torrance (tasting room)

Best beers: Amarilla Gorilla, Kumquat saison, The Nothing, Cuddlebug, Little Bo Pils

One of the best breweries in LA, Smog City is doing it all right: a tasting room that has become a comfy neighborhood bar; beers as varied as IPAs, imperial stouts and sours; and a friendly staff more than happy to walk you through it all. Though their bread and butter rests on brewmaster Jonathan Porter’s expert hoppy beers and pilsners, Smog City has garnered somewhat of a cult following for their special barrel-aged releases, which draw crowds to their Torrance space in the hopes of nabbing a coveted hand-numbered bottle. 

Flickr/Four Brewers

Strand Brewing Company

Torrance (tasting room)

Best beers: 24th Street Pale, Musashi Black IPA

After five years of being one of the leaders in LA’s latest craft beer revival, Torrance’s first production brewery finally outgrew its first home. In 2015, the home of South Bay’s go-to session beer -- 24th Street Pale -- moved into a new facility up the road. The new place is 40 times bigger than its original spot (and has a bigger tasting room to match), ensuring that no matter how high the demand gets for its year-round favorites, there will be plenty of room to grow.

Sundowner Brewery

Westlake VIllage (tasting room)

Best beers: It’s always rotating, but anything hoppy.

The brewing arm of the Malibu Sundowner Winery is a tiny little thing tucked into the back of Wades Wines in an office park between Agoura Rd and the 101 Freeway. It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but open the front door and you’ll first discover one of the most extensive selections of craft beer (OK, and wine, too) in this end of town. Walk deeper into the space and you’ll find a low-slung taproom, where house beers brewed in experimental small batches are available for sipping on site or growler fills to go. 

Three Weavers Brewing Company

Inglewood (tasting room)

Best beers: Stateside Session IPA, Deep Roots ESB, Kill the Lights black lager

Los Angeles is lucky to have brewer Alexandra Nowell. After working at powerhouses Sierra Nevada and Drake's in Northern California, Nowell took a chance on the then-nascent LA beer scene and landed at Kinetic, where she won two GABF medals her first year in town. Now, she co-owns Three Weavers Brewing Company which is not only an outlet for her precision-brewed, award-winning (and soon-to-be award-winning) beers, but it’s also contributing to the revival of Inglewood, a city that (thanks to the incoming NFL stadium) is primed to become LA’s next unlikely dining, drinking, and entertainment destination.

Timeless Pints Brewing Company

Timeless Pints Brewing

Lakewood (tasting room)

Best beers: Mike & Doug’s Infamous Duo (Huckleberry Oatmeal Stout, IPA Blend), The Timeless Tale

Driving to Timeless Pints gets you so close to the Long Beach Airport, you’d think the brewery was on the landing strip. But this neighborhood production brewery and tasting room is technically in Lakewood, which made permitting a lot easier and also drew in customers from the surrounding suburbs. A lot of brewers say their beers tell a story, but with whimsical names like A Precarious Proposal and The Good Mannered Belgian, Timeless Pints' beers actually do. Well, kinda.

Transplants Brewing

Palmdale (tasting room)

Best beers: Cumber Some, Palmdale Poppies, Trance Plants IPA

“Ales for the Unrooted” is Transplants Brewing’s slogan, and after a grand opening in January 2016 that featured a dozen off-style beers, it’s not hard to see why. Beers that could easily devolve into novelty infusions -- like a cucumber ale, a saison with peppercorns, a coffee chicory stout -- are actually balanced and drinkable. And their standard IPAs, with nothing but hops added to the mix, are even better. The husband-wife team behind the brewery’s core beers were well-known in homebrew circles for racking up medals at local, regional and national competitions. Now they’ve built their hobby into a business in their hometown of Palmdale.

Wolf Creek Brewing

Valencia (brewery, brewpub, and tasting room)

Best beers: Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing Session IPA, Little Red Ryeding Hood

Wolf Creek opened in 1997 as the Santa Clarita Valley’s only brewery. That it also had great food and a community-driven atmosphere was a bonus. Until only a year ago, they remained the only brewery in the suburban area just north of LA proper, but they never rested on their singularity, continually pushing themselves to stay up with trends and make better beers than ever. Feeling like that industrial-park-tasting-room experience? Head to their production facility, just down the street from the brewpub where it all began.

And just in case you were like “but... what about my favorite” here are some other breweries that were disqualified… for various reasons:

Just outside LA County but kinda part of LA beer:
Enegren (Moorpark)
Honey Wagon (Tehachipi)
Institution Ale (Camarillo)

Contract breweries:
Solarc
LA Ale Works
Cosmic Ales (building in Torrance)
Fireman’s Brew
Reel Ales

And the LA beer revolution’s not done yet. These brands are all opening breweries very, very soon:

Cosmic Ales (Torrance)
Brouwerij West (San Pedro)
State Brewing (Gardena)
Whittier Brewing (Whittier)
Scholb Premium Ales (Torrance)
Wild Parrot Brewing (Pasadena)
Henson Brewing Company (Burbank)
Port Town Brewing (San Pedro)

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Sarah Bennett is a freelance journalist who is way too into craft beer. Follow her adventures on Twitter: @thesarahbennett 

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1. Abigaile 1301 Manhattan Ave, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254 (South Bay)

Built on the site of a church-turned-punk rock venue, Abigaile is a restaurant and brewery located a few blocks from the ocean in Hermosa Beach. The menu changes daily, but the kitchen's commitment to global influences and domestic ingredients means you'll find anything from braised lamb belly poutine to a pho chicken salad. With five or so house-brewed beers on tap, it's hard to tell if Abigaile is a brewery that serves really great food, or a restaurant that makes its own beer. Either way, it's a no-fail spot for good food, drink, and ambience, especially if you're dining with a large group.

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2. Absolution Brewing Company 2878 Columbia St, Torrance, CA 90503

Torrence has a burgeoning craft brewery scene with five breweries, and Absolution Brewing Company has proved itself to be a hard-hitter. The owners, practicing Catholics, took a fun spin with the name. Located in an industrial park near City Hall, the sizable brewery and on-site tasting room are decorated with modern-meets-rustic decor.

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3. Alosta Brewing Co. 692 Arrow Grand Cir, Covina, CA 91722

Acosta’s home brews have won awards at local, regional and national competitions, and between them the brewers have over 30 years of experience. If you like earthly flavors with a bit of spice, try their signature 1887, a Belgian Tripel with supporting bitterness. Alosta often hosts food truck vendors (because nothing goes better with beer than waffles or BBQ) and other events— stop in Thursdays at 7 for Trivia Night.

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4. Angel City Brewery 216 S Alameda St, Los Angeles, CA 90012 (Downtown)

Located in the historic John A. Roebling warehouse in the Arts District, Angel City Brewery has become a leader in the craft beer scene, selling its top-notch brews throughout California, Nevada, and, of course, in-house at the brewery with a rotating selection on tap. Its signature beers range from staples like the Angel City IPA and Pilsner to gems from the warehouse collection like the Peach Berliner Weisse to limited-time brews like a Salted Caramel Gose. You can toss 'em back in the art deco space or in one of the numerous restaurants and bars at which they're sold.

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5. Arts District Brewing 828 Traction Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90013 (Downtown)

Located in LA’s historic Arts District, this brewery hosts a 15-barrel layout that’s capable of producing 3300 barrels each year. Its sprawling main room and outdoor patio are great for large events, and an entertainment area comes equipped with bar games, ping-pong, darts, and more. It's a brewery, it's an arcade -- it's a brewcade.

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6. Beachwood BBQ & Brewing 210 E 3rd St, Long Beach, CA 90802 (Long Beach)

Beachwood's Long Beach location is perfect for relaxing after catching some surf -- get a few brews, an indulgent entree (mac and cheese, without a doubt), and kick back. Beachwood specializes in BBQ fare in a laid back, diner-style setting. Quaint midcentury modern touches take the decor one step farther and go perfectly with the "so good it must be homemade" plates.

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7. Beachwood BBQ Blendery 247 Long Beach Blvd, Long Beach, CA 90802

Beachwood Blendery team uses two methods to produce their signature taste: the first is a traditional approach which uses un-malted wheat, aged hops, a copper-lined koelschip. The second, a modern approach, creates new-style sour beers with local water and quantified yeast and bacteria, aged in both steel and oak. This experimental brewery is the modern-day American dream.

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8. Belmont Brewing Company 25 39th Pl, Long Beach, CA 90803 (Long Beach)

The oldest brewpub the LA area has been serving quality food and drinks for more than 25 years (you better have gotten them something something silver for their anniversary, or did you forget about it?). Menu items include seafood, salads, poultry, and breakfast meals. Stop in for happy hour from 3-6pm Monday-Friday for 40% off appetizers. Plus, it’s hard to beat the oceanfront location.

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10. Brouwerij West 110 E 22nd St, San Pedro, CA 90731

In a historic old warehouse in the Port of Los Angeles, Brouwerij West has mastered the bar, brewery, beer garden trifecta. They specialize in Belgian-style beers that are sour, funky and filled with grains no one else would think to brew with. They definitely think outside the box in this awesome water-efficient brewhouse, which is powered by solar panels mounted on the roof.

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11. Congregation Ale House 201 E Broadway, Long Beach, CA 90802 (Long Beach)

The Congregational Ale House is a monastic-themed bars turned brewery with outposts in Long Beach, Azusa and Pasadena. CAH sought to bring a community and the spirit of Old World beers to LA. The chapters serve weekly drink and meal specials, including Serves food and weekly specials, including a la carte and combo options. With a diverse tap list, Congregation’s pourin’ for the masses.

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12. The Dudes' Brewing Company 1840 W 208th St, Torrance, CA 90501

Although cans of The Dudes more popular beers -- like Double Trunk IPA and Grandma’s Pecan English Brown -- can be found at a number of bars and liquor stores all over town, fans shouldn't dismiss the microbrewery's taproom. There, special-releases are available, along with other great brews that are not packaged and distributed.

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13. Eagle Rock Brewery 3056 Roswell St, Los Angeles, CA 90065

Eagle Rock Brewery was one of the three breweries that started pouring in January 2010, ending a decades-long dry spell for new breweries in the region and starting LA down the accelerated path to craft beerdom. Today, both newcomers and experts alike can come in for their IPA fix, or get freaky with seasonal sours, coffee beers, and special occasion session ales.

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14. El Segundo Brewing Company 140 Main St, El Segundo, CA 90245

This brewery was created to brew hoppy beers, because that's what Rob Croxall wanted. Now, the brewery not only sells its beer across LA, but it also offers the option to order a keg -- which is super important. And for those of you who don't actually know anything about craft beer and would like to begin fitting in, they offer classes like Craft Beer 101 (not a joke). Sign us up.

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15. Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co. 30770 Russell Ranch Road, Suites E & F, Westlake Village, CA 91362 (Westlake)

Fig Mountain has pushed out of its original Buellton digs with a half-dozen tasting rooms and brewpubs from Arroyo Grande to Santa Barbara. After much anticipation, Fig Mountain opened its sourthernmost location, just inside L.A. County lines in Westlake Village where they tap award-winning beers like Danish Red Lager and Davy Brown Ale, and brew some locals-only originals on the in-house system.

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16. Five Threads Brewing Company 31133 Via Colinas Ste 109, Westlake Village, CA 91362 (Westlake)

Five Threads gets its name from its beer's main ingredients: water, malt, yeast, hops and -- wait for it -- you! That's right, you're considered one of the most important parts of this Westlake Village brewery's locally brewed craft beers. Their community-driven tasting room was funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign and their beers can be found on draft at bars across the Conejo Valley. Make this a stop on your 101 freeway brewery crawl.

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17. Golden Road Brewing 5410 W San Fernando Rd, Los Angeles, CA 90039 (Glendale)

Golden Road is the perfect place for anyone who loves drinking while playing games, because they've got giant Jenga, ping pong, and more, plus tons of outdoor seats, and some of LA's best local beer that's brewed right there. Enjoy a pint with some of the venue's delectable globally-inspired pub fare.

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18. Highland Park Brewing 5127 York Blvd, Los Angeles, CA (Highland Park)

Located inside the Hermosillo bar, LA's Highland Park Brewing serves up highly flavorful small-batch brews that'll excite the inner beer geek in you. Offering a variety of ales, IPAs, porters, lagers, and wheat beers, you owe it to yourself to sample 'em all. A shuffleboard table and other bar games add to the fun.

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19. HopSaint Brewing Company 5160 W 190th St, Torrance, CA 90503

HopSaint is a standalone restaurant and microbrewery that houses a 10 barrel system. Menu items include all the smoked and fire-cooked meats of your dreams, complemented by an array of seasonal, refreshing IPAs and bottled wine. Expect cool decor like tables made from old skateboard decks. Keep a lookout for beer events every month.

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20. Innovation Brew Works 3650 W Temple Ave, Pomona, CA 91768 (Pomona)

Just a block away from Cal Poly Pomona, Innovation Brew Works is operated the school's foundation and offers cheap pints, pizza, and other pub grub. What makes this place so unique is that it serves as living, drinkable laboratory for students studying brew science. Also available are beers from Dale Bros. Brewery of Upland, Claremont Craft Ales of Claremont, and Ritual Brewing Co. of Redlands.

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21. Iron Triangle Brewing Company 1581 Industrial St, Los Angeles, CA 90021 (Downtown)

The local brewery loves its hometown: the name itself is a homage to the LA Aqueduct, one of the largest public works projects in the US and one that brought the city into its golden years. Centrally located in the Arts District, IT’s ambiance is influenced by the creative and eclectic area to produce some seriously good and unique ales. It’s massive 40,000 square feet home is great for hosting large and small events alike.

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22. La Verne Brewing Co. 2125 Wright Ave Ste C15, La Verne, CA 91750

La Verne Brewing takes full advantage of its location across the street from the Pomona Raceway by keeping their personal car collection on display and hosting race-day events. They equally take advantage of their University of La Verne-adjacent location, pulling their brew team from the pool of recent science grads at nearby University of La Verne. The result? A tasting room more community hub than brewery.

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23. Twisted Oak Tavern/The Lab Brewing Co 30105 Agoura Rd, Agoura Hills, CA 91301

A revamp has turned The Lab Brewing Co into the Twisted Oak Tavern. Lucky for us, the beers have stayed the same. The Lab continues to serve as the in-house brewery, and brewmaster Roger Bott has rightfully earned his title of Dr. Hops. Menu items include flatbreads salads, burgers seafood and more. Try the candied applewood smoked bacon to start, covered in a sweet, sweet cinnamon glaze.

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24. Lucky Luke Brewing Company 610 W Avenue O Ste 104, Palmdale, CA 93551

Open since November 2015, the family-owned Palmdale production brewery (with a sleek, wood-covered tasting room) has tapped delicious results from Schmitz’s well-oiled experiments with hops, Belgian styles, and sours. And if you have any questions, especially helpful beer tenders stand at the ready.

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25. MacLeod Ale Brewing Co. 14741 Calvert St, Van Nuys, CA 91411 (West Valley)

The authentic, cask-only, British ales at this Van Nuys brewery are the product of a couple who spent years in the United Kingdom and wanted to bring the old-world ales to LA. In some ways, their beers are the opposite of many West Coast craft breweries, but that's what makes them special. Check their twitter (@MacLeodAle) to see which food trucks will be serving from the taproom that day.

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26. Monkish Brewing Co. 20311 S Western Ave, Torrance, CA 90501 (South Bay)

This brewery has its tasting room in Torrance, where guests can sample and purchase the Belgian style beers produced on site, with the notable exception of any IPAs. Snacks are available, but they also welcome you to bring your own food. Sandwiches and personal pies in a taproom? Now that's our kind of picnic. Red gingham blanket optional.

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27. Mumford Brewing 416 Boyd St, Los Angeles, CA 90013 (Downtown)

Founder Peter Mumford has spent years working Napa wineries and is a research scientist by trade. The Downtown space is complete with a brewing system and and on-site bright and airy tasting room. Prices range $5-$7 for pints and $2 tasters, and growler fills are $14-$16 (plus an optional $10 for the jug). This Boyd Street locale brews pale ales, stouts and saisons using locally-sourced ingredients.

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28. Ohana Brewing Company 7 S 1st St, Alhambra, CA 91801

Ohana’s actual brewery is buried somewhere in the tangle of industrial buildings south of downtown LA but they schlep their finished product all the way up to Main St in Alhambra, where their branded storefront serves as a tasting room, merch store, and growler fill depot. With a World Beer Cup win under its belt, Ohana is a training ground for LA’s next great beer and you can expect them to be the first to showcase the Next Big Thing.

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29. Pacific Plate Brewing Co. 1999 S Myrtle Ave, Monrovia, CA 91016

Latin-American craft beer is king at this small microbrewery, which has perfected the sweet Horchata stout (or, more accurately, the cinnamon-spiked horchata milk stout). Other Latin-inspired brews include an agave wheat beer, mango IPA, and the house Belgian ale.

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30. Phantom Carriage Brewery 18525 Main Street, Carson, CA 90248

Named for a Swedish horror film, this intentionally gloomy-looking, dimly lit bar is known for its experimental sour beers and alternative fermentations. Alongside these rotating, German-esque brews are a few creative small plates, like pulled pork sliders and a Bavarian pretzel.

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31. Pocock Brewing Company 24907 Avenue Tibbitts Ste B, Santa Clarita, CA 91355

The family-run craft brewery is serving up flavorful and exciting beers. There’s a great selection from light to dark, Hef to Stout. Try the West Coast Red, a fun take on traditional red ale, but with green citrus hints mixed into the toasty, roasted flavors of traditional red ale.

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32. Progress Brewing 1822 Chico Ave, South El Monte, CA 91733

El Monte's Progress Brewing specializes in niche, small-batch brews. Selections include a pale sour, "The Frida," a "Centurion" Belgian strong ale, and a Blonde Kolsch-style, among others. Visit the brewery to sample the goods and munch on snacks provided by local food trucks (peep the calendar on their site to see what munchies are in store).

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33. Red Car Brewery 1266 Sartori Ave, Torrance, CA 90501

Red Car's a Torrance area brewpub serving up delicious beer (obviously), but also delicious, uncomplicated pub fare because there really is nothing better than a burger and a brew. Try the in house brews, which range from India Pale Ales and Porters to wheat lagers and golden ales.

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34. Rev Winery 1580 W San Bernardino Rd Ste H, Covina, CA 91722

REV is the trifecta of a brewery, winery, and food truck service joint. A tasting room is located adjacent to its fermenting barrels. Experimental batches include the Tropic Thunder, a blonde ale infused with pineapple, resulting in an earthy taste with a tropical finish. Located in an industrial park, you need to call the number posted to get past the entrance gate, which feels like a real speakeasy experience, and totally worth seeking out.

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35. San Fernando Brewing Company 425 Park Ave, San Fernando, CA 91340

SFB Co. produces refreshing and original Valley-inspired craft beers. The taproom overlooks the brewery, which creates an old-school, from-the-ground-up atmosphere. If you’re a coffee fan, you must try their Stoney Point Stout, a roasted American style with chocolate and coffee aroma. Check their website's schedule for upcoming events celebrating holidays and hosting food trucks.

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36. San Pedro Brewing Company 331 W 6th St, San Pedro, CA 90731

One of LA County's oldest brewpubs, San Pedro has been around for 16 years and features great food and fresh ales and lagers brewed on the premises. Spirits are offered in addition to brews and there's live entertainment weekly as well as game day showings. This brewpub attracts lots of locals due to its low key vibe and consistent, reliable service.

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37. Sanctum Brewing Co. 560 E Commercial St #21, Pomona, CA 91767 (Pomona)

Birthed by a group of homebrewing friends and a successful Kickstarter campaign, Sanctum is Pomona's only brewery -- and a mighty fine one, too. The rotating beer menu features beers brewed in every style which, when combined with the taproom's high ceilings, cooper bar tops, and reclaimed wood on the walls and tables, creates the perfect atmosphere for any occasion.

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38. Smog City Brewing Company 1901 Del Amo Blvd, Torrance, CA 90501 (South Bay)

What started as a little homebrew has grown into Smog City Brewing Co, who now have earned three Great American Beer Festival medals. The big winner? Their Groundworks Coffee Porter. We're gonna say you should probably give it a try, since it is gold medal material.

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39. Strand Brewing Co 2201 Dominguez St, Torrance, CA 90501

Strand has long been recognized as a pioneer in the LA brewery scene— it was among the first wave of craft breweries in the city. Strand’s movin’ on up with a recent relocation to a Torrance industrial park into a generous facility. The tap room has a 12 ft long bar and communal seating, great for hosting group vents (Christmas party anyone?). Plus, the outdoor area often hosts food trucks and live entertainment.

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40. Malibu Sundowner 30961 West Agoura Rd, Suite 323, Agoura, CA 91361

In the back of Wades Wines, this brewery offshoot of Malibu Sundowner Winery features a low-slung taproom offering experimental small batch beers as well as barrel aged and casked brews. The taps are continuously rotating and you can sample different beers in addition to filling up growlers to take home.

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41. Three Weavers Brewery 1031 W Manchester Blvd, Inglewood, CA 90301

This beer "community" is located in Inglewood and serves craft beers, like its Stateside Session IPA, Midnight Flight Imperial Stout, and the Hounslow Porter. The selection of beers changes regularly, with usually around ten or eleven options on tap at the Tasting Room. Food (when available) is courtesy of third party chefs and restaurants.

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42. Timeless Pints Brewery 3671 Industry Ave, Lakewood, CA 90712

TPB grew from a garage operation to the first non-brewpub in LA to make beer. The craft brewery with local roots now has a variety of styles on tap, each beer with an artfully designed logo graced on keg rings and growlers. TPB hosts many events, including trivia nights and food trucks— from Brooklyn Deli and Grillfellas to Bonedaddy and Hungry Dog, there’s a beer for every meal. Stop in the tasting room, open Thursday through Sunday.

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43. Transplants Brewing Company 40242 La Quinta Ln Ste 101, Palmdale, CA 93551

Alongside standard beers: IPAs, seasonal brews, etc., Transplants Brewing Company also offers a number of flagship, off-style experimental beers, like the Palmdale Poppies (focuses on poppy leaves instead of hops), Cucumber Some (brewed with cucumbers), and the Cream Cycle (a pale ale made with orange zest and vanilla).

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44. wolf creek brewing 25108 Rye Canyon Loop, Santa Clarita, CA 91355

Wolf Creek Brewing in Valencia has been around since 1997, but they're constantly pushing themselves to stay up to date and innovative with their brews. They offer samples of six four-ounce pours so new members to their group of loyal followers can try out different brews. Wolf Creek is also committed to producing great food, from pastas and pizzas to burgers and sandwiches in addition to decadent desserts.

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