Some of the finest quality beers you can find in California are Lagunitas Brewing Company, The Bruery, BarrelHouse Brewing Co, Monkish Brewing Co, The Rare Barrel, Knee Deep Brewing Co, Stone Brewing, Anacapa Brewery and Eel River Brewing Company.
Fun fact: 95% of Californians live within a 10-mile distance of a brewery! California has more craft breweries than any other state in the USA. The whopping 1100 breweries in the Golden State guarantee that you will find an ice-cold brew anywhere you look. Today, we’re going to take you out on a tour of the breweries that are worth a stop when you’re passing through California – or even if you live here!
Best California Breweries By City
If you’re looking for something more local, you can check out our other California brewery articles below.
Chula Vista Breweries
Elk Grove Breweries
Garden Grove Breweries
Huntington Beach Breweries
Long Beach Breweries
Los Angeles Breweries
Moreno Valley Breweries
You can also look at our best breweries in America article if you are looking for something in a different city or state.
Best Breweries in California
Famous for its craft beer culture, here are some of the best breweries California has to offer:
- Lagunitas Brewing Company
- The Bruery
- BarrelHouse Brewing Co.
- Monkish Brewing Co
- The Rare Barrel
- Knee Deep Brewing Co.
Lagunitas Brewing Company
With a perpetual summer party vibe, the Lagunitas Brewing Company is considered one of the best California breweries. Their open taps don’t discriminate – everyone is welcome here. The brewery’s main goal is to use their beer to bring everyone together, fostering a mutual respect for each other’s differences. Crafting hop bears since 1993, the brewery has plenty of indoor and outdoor seating, and the live music keeps the vibe cheerful.
Lagunitas IPA – India Pale Ale is their signature beer. Medium amber in color, with an ABV of 5.7%., and made with 43 different hops, it’s a bit hoppier than what you’re used to!
The Bruery’s team promises: Like Nothing You’ve Ever Tasted Before. And boy do they deliver! Everything about this brewery is unique, from its name and history to its relentless efforts to bring you new and innovative brews. Taking inspiration from global cuisines to make your jaw drop with their unquestionable talent, they love making conversation-sparking beers. Get ready to be wowed with every tasting from their tap room.
It’s hard to pick one favorite among their many winners. The Mash & Grind is a bold choice with strong coffee tones and brown sugar, pineapple, and raspberry jam hints. On the other hand, the award-winning Saison Rue is a French/Belgian-style farmhouse ale with malted rye and fruity and spicy yeast notes.
The Original Craft Beer Club searches out exceptional craft beers from around the country and then delivers the monthly beer club selections direct-to-your door.
BarrelHouse Brewing Co.
Located in the rolling hills of San Luis Obispo County, BarrelHouse Brewing Co features beautiful beer gardens with a waterfall, conjuring up a delightful setting for guests to sample their award-winning beers. The brewery plays host to various events, including live music, throughout the year.
You can’t go wrong with the award-winning options: BarrelHouse Stout and the BarrelHouse IPA. Another local favorite is the Brazz Monkey, a special taproom brew with scents of citrus and honey.
Monkish Brewing Co
A hard-to-find brewery, Monkish Brewing Co. is worth all the trouble of locating it. Don’t be fooled by their small-sized tasting room; this Belgian-inspired brewery has a cult-like following and long lines before every new beer release. There is an abundance of free snacks, 80s music, and friendly and knowledgeable staff, and the delicious ales and sour and hazy IPAs will ensure that you stay there till you have your fill.
We recommend trying the Glamoro, all-Citra, dry-hopped double DIPA, Nelson Sauvin, Galaxy, and Or Life Is Foggier. Different flavors – all of them well worth the money!
The Rare Barrel
Most breweries experiment with multiple types of beer; however, sour beer is the specialty at The Rare Barrel. This award-winning craft brewery explores innovative ways to tickle your taste buds. The brewers procure ingredients and transform them into sour beers using a mix of experimental and conventional methods.
Visit the tasting room over the weekend to sample Tigerlily, a sour beer with ginger and hibiscus notes, or the Ensorcelled, a mix of an oak-aged red sour and black Brettanomyces beer.
Knee Deep Brewing Co.
Find yourself a collection of delicious hoppy brews at Knee Deep Brewing Co. and some wild experiments. Their warehouse-like tasting room features award-winning flavors resulting from rogue experiments. The brewery offers a lively environment, live music, and special food truck hosting days.
For a citrusy and pine-filled taste, try the flagship brew and, coincidently, the most famous one too – Hoptologist Double IPA. Punching you straight in the face with its hop power, Simtra Triple IPA uses Citra and Simcoe to deliver a dank hop aroma.
Best Breweries in California with Food
Here are some more of the best breweries in California with food to fill your bellies.
Stone Brewing’s name will always appear as the All-Time Top Brewery on planet earth. No, we’re not biased; these are the words of BeerAdvocate magazine – and Stone Brewing has achieved this honor twice! Pioneers of the West-Coast-style IPA, this brewery has inspired a generation of hop enthusiasts. The adjacent Bistro & Gardens hosts extensively popular dining and drinking events. They not only promote ethical eating by sourcing their own produce, but their restaurant also has a delightful display of 32 taps and more than 100 bottled craft beers.
Sunday’s available-only option is herb-roasted slow-cooked prime rib. Served with horseradish cream, au jus, and a baked potato with chives, butter, and sour cream, it is a delight and one of their most sought-after meals. Pair it with a 2013 Stone ESPRESSO Imperial Russian Stout to make your tastebuds sing.
David Johnston, the Brewmaster for Anacapa Brewery, combines the best of traditional brewing methods and high-quality ingredients to deliver a rotation of 30+ beers. From hand-crafted microbrews to a complete menu of scrumptious dishes, this sweet nugget tucked in Ventura offers everything you could possibly want for a fun night out. The tiny brewery, with its rustic brick-exposed walls, has a vibe that keeps you coming back for more.
Let us help you order the perfect meal. Starter: Beer Battered Stuffed Jalapenos, Main: BBQ Pulled Pork, and top it all off with Pierpont IPA with 6.2% 50 IBUS. Delish!
Eel River Brewing Company
USA’s first certified organic brewery, Eel River Brewing Company, is famous for sourcing its locally produced ingredients through sustainable methods. Synonymous with eco-consciousness, this 300+ award-winning craft brewery offers the best of both worlds: tasty cuisine and deliciously daring and different brews. Their craft brews claim to change people’s views about beers. The brewery has a vibrant atmosphere, adorned walls, and plenty of IPAs, stouts, and porters.
The Redwood Philly sandwich has a finely shaved house-made Tri-tip, melted provolone cheese, and sauteed onions on a butter grilled French roll and topped with a Monterey Jack “WIZ.” Pair your sandwich with a Chillax IPA – a juicy dank hop bursting with citrus and tropical aromas and bold tropical fruit flavors.