In the past five years, local breweries with tasting rooms have popped up all over Los Angeles. The equation works again and again: an industrial space, visible fermentation tanks behind a friendly staffed bar, picnic tables, giant Jenga games, and food trucks parked outside. Throw in LA’s beautiful weather and you have a recipe for year-round, relaxed enjoyment of quality craft beer right from the source.
Pioneers such as Smog City and Eagle Rock Brewery continue to serve up great beers in a fun atmosphere - they're well worth many repeat visits. The following breweries are continuing the tradition, bringing the neighborhood beer garden to Angelenos from the San Gabriel Valley to the South Bay.
Arts District Brewing Co.
Continuing a veritable explosion of brewing in DTLA, Pouring With Heart (formerly 213 Hospitality) opened Arts District Brewing Company in 2015 with nine beers - today it offers upward of thirty. A sprawling indoor/outdoor space with plants, long communal tables, private event space, and - very importantly - a wall of restored vintage Skee-Ball machines, it is an all-ages playground with a wide range of beer styles and strengths at your fingertips.
Boomtown Brewery opened its Arts District taproom to the public early in 2017 after a few years of supplying to local bars. They offer a little something for everyone: a blonde, an IPA, a hefe, a Czech-style pilsner. For the more adventurous palates, there's a blonde sour, barrel-aged imperial stout and others. Keeping with the neighborhood’s vibe, their vast warehouse space is plastered with murals and occupied by sculptures created by local artists, right down to the fixtures.
Brewyard Beer Company
Glendale’s first craft brewery is run by two lifelong friends who have operated as amateur mechanics, fledgling musicians, and finally home brewers that went pro with Brewyard Beer Company in 2015. Specializing in “California Common” beers, all of their offerings are made with a unique process that the brewers will happily explain if you happen upon them at their open-floor brewhouse and taproom. Frequent food truck appearances and weekly events like trivia nights and “paint nights” complete the transformation of this warehouse space into a cozy gathering spot.
An acclaimed member of the South Bay brewing scene, Brouwerij West (pronounced BROO-ery) found a permanent home in 2016, in the wide-open space of renovated Warehouse #9 near the LA Waterfront in San Pedro. Their kid- and dog-friendly indoor/outdoor seating area has the added bonus of being next door to Crafted at the Port of Los Angeles, a huge, weekend artisan market. It’s a beautiful invitation to sip on an innovative Belgian-style saison or a brett-fermented sour while shopping for handmade candles and local artists’ work.
For two years, brewer Kevin Osborne has been quietly shaking up LA’s beer community with his nano-batch, 100% oak barrel fermented ales with meticulous quality control. Hyper-seasonal and not shy on the use of fruit and brettanomyces yeast, these unique brews go a long way toward their stated goal of creating “a sensory experience that is euphoric,” an experience only enhanced by the artist-commissioned bottle labels. The intimate Van Nuys tasting room is dog- and family-friendly, and promises flavor explosions aplenty.
Dry River Brewing
This Boyle Heights establishment is one of LA’s most unique breweries and is an extreme example of the DIY ethos of craft beer. Self-described “artisanal, independent, family-owned, local, sustainable, community-based,” not only is the beer made on site, but all the furnishings are as well. The community-oriented ethos plays out in hiring practices and charity partnerships, and the intimate, quirky tasting room is an experience to be remembered as much as the flavorful and unexpected sour, session, and barrel-fermented concoctions available on-site and to take home.
Located in the slender neighborhood between the LA River and the Golden State Freeway, Frogtown Brewery started as a passion project for a couple of home brewing buddies. Since 2015, their dog- and family-friendly taproom has served as a relaxed destination for locals and a fun stop off the LA River Bike Path. Beers run the gamut from strong to sessionable, light to dark, crisp to densely hoppy - plenty of options to taste in a flight and choose a favorite to take home in a growler.
Highland Park Brewery
For five long years, the only place drinkers could find pints of Highland Park Brewing’s small-scale, high-quality beers was at the Hermosillo on York Boulevard. While it is still a great drinking experience to hunker down at this historic neighborhood bar with one of HPB’s "holy trinity of lagers, hoppy beer, and mixed fermentation," a spacious brewing facility and taproom opened in Chinatown in 2018. All your outside-seating, string-light needs are finally satisfied, with a tasty menu of Mexican-inspired bar bites to boot.
Ladyface Alehouse & Brasserie
Not a newcomer, but still unknown to many, this Agoura Hills brasserie is a favorite among fellow brewers. Craft and quality are at the fore in the creation of their award-winning Belgian, French and American style ales. For fans of barleywine and out-there Belgian styles, along with continental-influenced pub fare, it’s a must-hit.
Los Angeles Aleworks
Beer blogger and community stalwart, Kristofor “Kip” Barnes went through a “tenant brewer” period at Alhambra’s Ohana Brewing and a crowdfunding campaign to open up the first brewery in the Hawthorne neighborhood of southeast LA. With so much planning that went into the product, the tasting room does not disappoint - there's a steady stream of food trucks, sports on TV, and 25 constantly changing taps, many with onsite-only offerings.
MacLeod Ale Brewing Co.
Anglophiles: head to Van Nuys. Founded by a husband and wife team of bagpipe enthusiasts, the first brewery to open in the San Fernando Valley is a singular experience in L.A., serving British style ales from a cask alongside the more bubbly brews you might be used to. Cask ale, or “real ale,” as it’s called by its proponents in England, is naturally effervescent beer poured straight from the cask at cellar temperature (about 50 degrees) with no additional carbonation. The dog- and kid-friendly tasting room is frequently visited by food trucks and hosts trivia nights and live music on the weekends, adding to that friendly neighborhood pub feel.
As South El Monte’s first craft brewery, the two chemists who founded Progress Brewing take their responsibility to the drinkers of the San Gabriel Valley seriously. A respected brew program using English, German and American malts offers a range of entry points for craft beer neophytes, aiming to inspire big-brand drinkers to try something new. Lots of TVs showing L.A. sports teams, a genial crowd, and ample outdoor space make this a neighborhood favorite.
Santa Monica Brew Works
Producing their sun- and surf-inspired beers for Westside bars since 2012, Santa Monica Brew Works finally opened their own taproom several years ago, with a full line of year-round and seasonal selections, as well as apparel and growlers for sale. Draughts such as the 310 California Blonde Ale and the PCH Golden Porter show off a commitment to the beach life even before you get to the artwork with skaters and palm trees on the walls. Check their website for a food truck schedule and event calendar.
Three Weavers Brewing Company
This Inglewood gem has dispelled the idea that west coast beers are all hop-bombs since opening in 2014. Brewmaster Alexandra Nowell and owner Lynne Weaver serve up a program that includes an English style Porter, American Pale Ale, Kolsch and of course a classic west coast IPA to satisfy as many palates as there are visitors to this cool indoor/outdoor tasting room. No food is available at the brewery, but a neighboring pizzeria is more than happy to step up with delivery. Their community-centric vibe is apparent in the communal tables and selection of family-friendly board games.
Trustworthy Brewing Co.
Trustworthy Brewing Co. recently changed its name from the harder-to-remember Verdugo West Brewing Co., now bearing the moniker of its most popular IPA. Since opening in 2017, the brewery has grown exponentially—more than doubling its production each year and even opening up a second location in Las Vegas. Head Brewer Chris Walowski shows no signs of slowing, and you can be sure to find his extremely wide range of "inspirational beers" at the Burbank brewery, which aims to provide a "welcoming and educational taproom experience” to one and all.