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8 Craft-Brewery Taprooms for LA Beer Lovers

By Lesley Balla
June 23, 2014
Photo by: El Segundo Brewing

It’s not surprising that the local beer scene is getting bigger and better. While the rest of the country and California celebrated the rise of craft beers for years, LA was in a drought. But with recent, slightly looser regulations, more and more craft breweries are opening around the greater Los Angeles area, from Downtown LA to Torrance. And while many of the beers are available on tap in the city’s best beer bars, there’s nothing quite like sipping it from the source. In addition to brewpubs like Golden Road, Ladyface Ale Companie and Beachwood BBQ, where you can get house-brewed beers as well as great food, here are eight spots where you can sip straight from the source in the brewery itself. The trend is growing too: look for taprooms at The Dudes' Brewing and the crowd-funded Three Weavers Brewing soon.

  • Photo by: Eagle Rock Brewery

    Eagle Rock Brewery

    This was first brewery to open within the Los Angeles city limits in more than 60 years. Known for “Beers for the People,” brewmaster Jeremy Raub focuses on artisanal, high-quality beers like Solidarity, a dark-colored yet light-bodied malty beer, Populist IPA and Manifesto Wit Bier among others. Along with his wife Ting Su, who started a women’s beer forum, and dad Steven, the Raubs have helped foster the beer community around LA and beyond. You can taste or buy their brews at more than 250 spots around LA, Orange and Ventura counties. But a visit the ER tasting room yields a larger selection, or at least the chance to try something small-batch and seasonal and fill a growler or two. Plus, there are trivia nights (every second and fourth Wednesday of the month), food trucks (Friday and Saturdays from 7-10 PM), and brewhouse tours (Sundays).

    The Facts: Taproom hours are Wednesday through Friday, 4-10 PM, and Saturday and Sunday, noon-10 PM.

    3056 Roswell St.; 323-257-7866

  • Angel City Brewery

    Having just moved from Torrance to the Arts District in 2010, this brewery and public house is a new staple for the Downtown LA scene. New owners (formerly of Vermont’s Magic Hat Brewing) took over, joining brewmaster Dieter Foerstner at the helm. The historic Roebling & Son’s building — once storage for steel rope that was used in bridges across the country — has been transformed into a party, event and art space. And if you just want a pint, there are 19 taps serving an ever-changing roster of classic (Angeleno IPA, Eureka! Wit) and limited-edition beers (Imperial Chai Stout, Loquat “Lo Lo” Wheat Beer), a bar on the ground floor, tables in the loading bays and now a bar on the second-floor mezzanine.

    The Facts: Hours are Monday through Wednesday, 4-10 PM; Thursday and Friday, 4 PM-midnight; Saturday, noon-midnight; and Sunday, noon-10 PM.

    216 S. Alameda St.; 213-622-1261

  • Photo by: Smog City

    Smog City Brewing

    Run by Jonathan Porter, the brewmaster, and his wife Laurie, this small brewery has grown quickly since it launched in 2011. Make sure you get a chance to drink their farmhouse-style L.A. Saison and Groundwork Coffee Porter, a 2012 Gold Medal winner at the Great American Beer Festival, at restaurants and bars across the Southland. Set among warehouses in Torrance, the new taproom is the base to taste things like the low-ABV Little Bo Pils and the super-huge Death by Hops, a whopping 9.3 ABV double IPA, plus other seasonal and experimental brews. There are more than a dozen beers to choose from on any given day. You can also get growlers to-go and take a tour of the facility.

    The Facts: Tasting-room hours are Wednesday through Friday, 4-9 PM; Saturday, noon-8 PM; and Sunday, noon-6 PM.

    1901 Del Amo Blvd.

  • Strand Brewing

    Started by surfing buddies Joel Elliott and Rich Marcello in 2009, the Hermosa Beach brewery has grown exponentially in a relatively short time. From serving a couple beers to places mostly around the South Bay, now Strand’s tap-only beers, including the flagship 24th Street IPA, can be found in more than 200 bars, restaurants and hotels across Southern California, including Father’s Office and Simmzy’s. But four days a week you can belly up to the small bar for tasters and pints from 10 taps, and pick up bottles and growlers for home. You’ll find the famous 24th Street IPA, along with Atticus IPA, Black IPA, Beach House Amber and other limited releases throughout the year.

    The Facts: Thursday and Friday, 4-9 PM; Saturday, noon-8 PM; and Sunday, noon-6 PM. Kids are welcome, but all imbibers must be 21 or older. No food on-site, so bring your own.

    23520 Telo Ave.; 310-517-0900

  • Ohana Brewing Company

    This newer outfit started brewing in South Central in 2012, the brainchild of Andrew Luthi, who may just be the youngest brewer in the country, along with brewers Eric “Riggs” Villar and Eric McLaughlin. Opened since April in Alhambra, just behind the craft-beer darling 38 Degrees Ale House, the small tasting room has six taps flowing for 4-oz. pours of things like #Hashtag Hops IPA, Hollenbeck Amber Ale, Saison Miel and the Surf Shack Akala, a Belgian-style sour ale. Growlers are available, but they don’t have the Ohana logo. That’s because Luthi wants you to be able to use them at any local brewery.

    The Facts: Taproom hours are Monday through Thursday, 4-9 PM; Friday and Saturday, 4-10 PM; and Sunday, 11 AM-5 PM.

    1756 E. 23rd St.; 213-748-2337

  • Photo by: El Segundo Brewing Co

    El Segundo Brewing

    A true passion project, owner Rob Croxall left the world of aerospace finance to brew beer. He and Certified Cicerone Thomas Kelly are working toward becoming a go-to in the South Bay beer scene. The teensy tasting room gets a little claustrophobic if it’s filled — and it often is — but the beer geeks don’t mind. It’s a good spot to try the hop-centric IPAs, as well as the lighter Citra Pale or the heavier Hyperion Vanilla Stout. Growlers are available.

    The Facts: Taproom hours are Monday through Thursday 5-9 PM; Friday, 4-10 PM; Saturday, noon-10 PM; and Sunday, noon-7 PM.

    140 Main St.; 310-529-3882

  • Monkish Brewing Co.

    First, it’s Monk-ish, not MonkFish, which everyone seems to see as the name. Monkish because owner Henry Nguyen, a beer hobbyist who got interested in Belgian beers while studying theology in Scotland, wanted to pay homage to the European monks who traditionally make amazing beer, but it’s also a nod to Nguyen’s own religious beliefs (he has a doctorate in theology). The brews lend toward subtly sweet, like the Oblate, a fruity beer with elderflower, and the strong, like the Feminist tripel made with hibiscus. The tasting room at the brewery is a decent size with lots of natural light, a few tables and more than 10 beers on tap. Growlers are available, as are tours of the Torrance brewery.

    The Facts: Taproom hours are Thursday and Friday, 4-9 PM; Saturday, 1-8 PM; and Sunday, 1-6 PM.

    20311 S. Western Ave.

  • Stone Company Store

    North San Diego’s Stone Brewing is one of the top producers in the state and country, but you don’t have to go so far south to sip brews from its own taps. This small store and tasting room is literally steps from the Gold Line Del Mar Station stop, tucked into a fairly new building near La Grande Orange and Luggage Room Pizza (and a few other beer-centric bars, to boot). There are all sorts of beer-themed gifts to buy — T-shirts, pint glasses, candles and hot sauce — but also 20 taps from which to sip. Grab a pint of the most recent Enjoy By IPA or a limited-release barrel-aged brew, sit on the patio and contemplate the next pint. After all, you took the Metro like a champ.

    The Facts: Open daily from 11 AM-9 PM, Sunday through Thursday, and until 10 PM on Friday and Saturday.

    220 S. Raymond Ave.; 626-440-7243

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