As the small batch and craft beer movement continues to explode, Los Angeles is slowly but surely proving that you don’t need to travel far to get your SoCal hop and malt fix. You don’t even need to venture into downtown Los Angeles. Right here in the South Bay a number of new and exciting breweries are serving up an eclectic mix of beers that are worthy of national recognition.
Los Angeles is a city full of artisans who like taking matters into our own hands—including brewing beer. The craft beer boom is one of the best things to ever happen to barley and hops and there are dozens of craft beer bars thriving in the South Bay. One of the newer trends regarding beer is local breweries that double as bars. With less time between barrel to tap, you know you’re getting maximum flavor and there’s no way to get a fresher bottle of brew than at one of these local breweries.
So put down your Bud Lite and check out our list of the South Bay’s best brewpubs and taprooms. Cheers!
The Brewery at Abigaile
Craft beer has had a hard time finding a foothold in the region’s hard-partying beach towns, but this Hermosa Beach brewpub serves up some top-tier IPAs alongside creative and quality pub food in a historic venue with a killer view. Their dishes are always evolving based on the availability of quality market ingredients. Things can get crowded on weekend evenings, but the Brewery at Abigaile is one of the hidden gems of the L.A. craft beer scene.
1301 Manhattan Ave., Hermosa Beach
King Harbor Brewing Co.
The year-old Redondo Beach craft brewery has developed a loyal local following on the strength of its three core beers and comfortable tasting room. Abel Brown is an American brown ale with a light body that’s bolstered with an addition of cold brewed coffee, the eponymous IPA is an explosion of tropical hop aromas, and the California Saison features local lemon peel and lemon verbena.
2907 182nd St., Redondo Beach
Establishing itself as a must-stop local beer destination, Torrance offers up a number of top breweries to check out.
Absolution Brewing Co.
This Torrance craft brewery puts a modern spin on Old World brewing traditions; its lineup of small-batch brews is skewed toward IPAs that showcase the aromas of modern hop varieties and the flavors of British malts. Growler fills are available in the taproom, which also offers nonalcoholic craft root beer and cream soda.
2878 Columbia St., Torrance
The Dudes Brewing Co.
The beach house garage vibe of this Torrance taproom belies the technology in the state-of-the-art brewery that’s producing cans of such fan favorites as Double Trunk IPA and Grandma’s Pecan brown ale. Tasters, growler fills and a jovial atmosphere are on offer, and the Dudes bring a dash of irreverence to the L.A. craft beer scene.
Their laid back atmosphere of the tasting room has lots of room to sit back, chill out and enjoy a brew poured from one of their 13 tap handles fueled by a 3.5 barrel pilot system. The tasting room sits inside their state of the art brewery where you can sample tasting flights, pints and half pints right where all the magic happens and even purchase growlers and 4-packs to go.
1840 W. 208th St., Torrance
Monkish Brewing Co.
A family-operated brewery that opened in 2012, Monkish focuses on Belgian styles, interesting ingredients (lotus seed and hibiscus flower, for example) and wood-aged beers. You won’t find IPAs here—they flat-out don’t brew ’em—but who needs an IPA when you can find a blonde Galaxy Defender infused with grapefruit, or the Seme Della Vita, a tripel brewed with pistachios and vanilla?
Founder and brewer Henry Nguyen is not afraid of the funk, and he’s obsessively collected a veritable menagerie of microorganisms in used wine barrels and giant oak vats to create his sour and wild ales. First timers should opt for a sampler of four beers: head to the tasting room bar, where they’ll give you four wooden tokens and a glass. Beers are poured one at a time and you must bring them back for a quick rinse before your next drink, but if you can’t finish all four in one sitting, save your chip and use it for another visit.
20311 Western Ave., Torrance
Smog City Brewing
Just around the corner from Monkish Brewing Co., you’ll find Smog City Brewing. There are a lot of breweries in the South Bay, but none is better regarded or more well-rounded than Smog City in Torrance. Smog City stands out among its peers as it excels at brewing a variety of styles. From palate-pummeling IPAs (Amarilla Gorilla, Hop Tonic) to quaffable lagers (Lil’ Bo Pils) to farmhouse ales featuring locally foraged fruit (Kumquat Saison, brewed in partnership with the nonprofit Food Forward, whose aims is to eliminate produce waste), some of the best beers in Los Angeles are being crafted by the creative minds behind Smog City, and beer fans are catching on. The Grape Ape IPA is a particular must-have, incorporating a harmonious union between hops and grape varietals, bridging the gap between beer and wine.
The family-run brewery started making beer in 2011, and built up enough of a presence in LA’s craft beer scene to open their own brewery in 2013. Its minimalist warehouse tap room allows customers to view barrels and brewing equipment and offers a decently priced tasting tray of their year round brews and seasonal flavors. The tap room is a visual experience, but the hours are limited.
1901 Del Amo Blvd., Unit B, Torrance
Strand Brewing Co.
The first production craft brewery to open in the now jam-packed Torrance, Strand Brewing long ago outgrew its tiny brewery and tasting room, which seemed to always overflow with loyal local fans. It’s secured a lease and permits for a larger facility and plans to open the new taproom this summer. Strand’s signature 24th Street Pale Ale balances big hop character with plenty of malt, and it’s made the brewery many fans.
Original location: 23520 Telo Avenue #1, Torrance
New Location Coming Soon: 2201 Dominguez St., Torrance
Beachwood Brewing and BBQ
Beachwood has established itself as the undisputed top brewery in Los Angeles and for good reason. Named Best Large Brewpub and Best Large Brewpub Brewer at last year’s Great American Beer Festival (the Oscar’s of beer), Beachwood has managed to excel so quickly by doing basically everything right. In particular, the IPAs by brewmaster Julian Shrago and his team are brilliant examples of the aromas and flavors of the hop plant. From stellar coffee forward stouts like Tovarish and several top notch variations of West Coast IPAs, Beachwood continues to get better and better. The recently announced Beachwood Blendery, Beachwood’s 4500 square foot sour-focused space that will be adjacent to the original downtown Long Beach brewpub, has beer geeks everywhere hopping in anticipation.
210 E 3rd St, Long Beach
Open since 1999, this San Pedro brewpub is one of the oldest brewpubs in Los Angeles, and the beers just keep getting better. There menu is loaded with sandwiches and seafood treats, and the brews cover the classic brewpub styles (IPAs, amber ale, blonde ale) with a few welcome surprises (like the Longshoreman Pilsner — a perfect choice to enjoy on the patio).
331 W 6th St, San Pedro
Brouwerij West – Coming Soon
Brouwerij West is a three year old beer company in southern California. They make beer in classic Belgian style with mostly Belgian ingredients.
Their permanent home at the Port of Los Angeles, San Pedro is currently under construction and will open in late 2015. Time will tell whether this new addition to the craft beer party can maintain a spot on this list.