Los Angeles is a contemporary cultural juggernaut. The city’s history and global significance are undeniable. With craft beer continually growing nationwide, it was only a matter of time before L.A. became an important and influential craft beer hub.
Despite being California’s biggest city, L.A.’s brewery scene lagged behind the state’s original craft beer hubs like San Diego and San Francisco. Now, with nearly 100 breweries, beer in Los Angeles is beginning to enter the conversation for best on the West Coast. The city’s infinite sprawl houses a diverse range of young breweries looking to secure Los Angeles as a premier beer city in the U.S.
These are the best breweries across L.A. County.
- Monkish Brewing Co.
- Phantom Carriage Brewery
- Smog City Brewery
- El Segundo Brewing Company
- Brouwerij West
- Highland Park Brewery
- Beachwood Brewery and Blendery
- Mumford Brewing
- Three Weavers Brewing Company
- Cellador Ales
Opened during the IBU arms race of the early 2010s, Monkish sought to differentiate themselves with a focus on Belgian-style ales. From Tripels to Saisons, the Torrance brewery quickly gained attention for its tasty classic styles. During the rise of New England IPA, however, Monkish widened their repertoire and became early adopters of the haze craze.
Almost instantly, Monkish Brewing was an international NEIPA brewing superstar. Collaborating with some of the best breweries on the East Coast, Monkish seemingly couldn’t brew enough IPA to meet demand.
Their IPAs certainly are some of the best in the U.S., and their reputation is well-deserved. Still, though, they’ve continued brewing a core range of Belgian-inspired ales. To this day, these beers are amazing and unique in California. Try the wine barrel-aged Haiku De Saison, a mixed-fermentation Saison with delicate tart funkiness and subtle oak.
Taking inspiration from a mix of Belgian beer and horror films, Carson’s Phantom Carriage opened in 2015. Since then, they’ve grown their name throughout the L.A. beer scene and across the country. Sour and wild fermentations being their specialty, their unique brewery and tasting room is lined with rows upon rows of oak barrels.
Recently, Phantom Carriage has also been releasing some New England-inspired hazy IPAs and crisp, Euro pilsners. Locals flock to the brewery for the cool vibe and range of outstanding beers. For an excellent entry into their world of mixed fermentation, try Muis, a Brett-fermented Belgian pale ale. Dry, funky, and refreshing, Muis is an expertly brewed blonde with notes of spice, citrus, and green apple.
Since 2011, Smog City has grown into one of the most popular and important L.A. breweries. They primarily brew classic American styles like IPA, stouts, and porters. Focusing on quality rather than the latest craft beer trends, Smog City has built a reputation for beautifully crafted beers.
All of their beers are brewed with precision in mind. One of the best, their Coffee Porter, is an excellent example of this less-than-hyped style. Roasty, and bitter, but rich and balanced, the porter is a refreshing black beer with notes of chocolate and vanilla.
For an extra special treat, seek out Bourbon O.E., Smog City’s barrel-aged English Barleywine. The soft vanilla oakiness envelops a classic and complex Barleywine warmth. Comforting and decadent, the 13.1% ABV B.O.E is an L.A. classic.
For the best classic West Coast IPA in Los Angeles, look no further than El Segundo. They’ve been specializing in hoppy and clean West Coast flavors since 2011. Along with Smog City, El Segundo is seen as an important leader of the modern L.A. craft beer movement.
Their Citra Pale Ale is a premier example of a California brewery adapting to changing tastes in a hoppy beer. Never losing touch with its origins, with a bitter backbone and dry finish, a double dry hopping of Citra hops creates NEIPA-like juiciness. For a more classic IPA, their flagship Mayberry IPA is a perfectly West Coast hop-bomb, highlighting Mosaic hops.
Another brewery that started with a Belgian focus and since expanded its range, Brouwerij West has grown into one of L.A.’s most popular breweries. Every style they touch is brewed to perfection, with respect for tradition but an eye for the contemporary.
Popfuji is their take on a German kellerbier. Unfiltered, with a substantial creamy mouthfeel, the massive Noble hop aroma is enticingly herbaceous. Refreshing, crisp, and bright, this lager is an excellent entryway into their unique and well-brewed lineup.
Highland Park is a fun, accessible, and welcoming young brewery. Moving to their new Chinatown brewery and taproom in 2018, Highland Park has since exploded in popularity nationwide. Their beautiful new location, along with their original production brewery, allows them to reach a much wider audience.
Highland Park is committed to ensuring only the highest quality beer leaves their brewery. Hello, LA – hopped with the classic duo of Citra and Mosaic – is a modern take on West Coast IPA. Bright, and juicy, but with a firm bitterness, it’s drinkable and timeless. Their NEIPA range is also excellent, like Cloud Party, which gets an extra squeeze of juice from a massive addition of Galaxy hops.
Beachwood focuses on American styles and proudly serves a selection of over 30 taps from their Long Beach taproom and BBQ restaurant. Their IPAs are top-notch but don’t sleep on their refreshing and crisp lagers, like the Hayabusa Japanese rice lager.
In 2014, Beachwood opened up Beachwood Blendery, a barrel-aged sour and wild ale facility. In contrast to their focus on bitter and hoppy beers, the Blendery takes a completely different approach. They use long-term aging and mixed fermentations to craft delicious Belgian-inspired beer. Strawberry Provence is a lambic-style sour ale with additions of strawberry and Herbes de Provence. Fruity, with balanced acidity, the mix of savory herbs adds earthiness and intrigue.
Carving out its own style in Downtown L.A., Mumford Brewing has amassed a loyal following with its dedication to the craft. Brothers Todd and Peter Mumford started their small family brewery and taproom in 2015.
Over the years, Mumford has brewed the beers they want to make, never compromising on quality. Keeping their rotating production quite small, the cozy Downtown taproom always has something new to try. Recently, a focus on perfecting the NEIPA seems to have inspired them. Check out their Box Logo series for lusciously creamy, juicy, and resinous hazy IPAs.
Three Weavers were the first craft brewery in what is now a blossoming beer scene in Inglewood. Opening in 2013, they wanted to provide their community with great-tasting beer and serve it in a welcoming, friendly taproom. They’ve grown into one of the biggest independent breweries in L.A. County and can be found all over California.
Attention to detail across their limited range of styles has made Three Weavers a much-loved option for local drinkers. From balanced IPAs, to clean and refreshing beers like Seafarer Kolsch-style ale, every beer is precise and consistent.
Ambitiously conceived in 2016, Cellador’s oak-centric experiment has paid off wonderfully. Fermenting only in oak, this small North Hills brewery makes some of the finest mixed-fermentation ales in the country.
Fascinating and unorthodox combinations of fruits, spices, and sugars dot their lineup. Various spirit and wine barrels add woodsy complexity to each beer, ranging from subtle toast to in-your-face oakiness. Their simplest beers, like Saison Du Rosier, a barrel-fermented Saison, are deliciously complex, yet drinkable. More experimental batches are equally delicious, and often mind-bending. The Carrot King, a lambic-style sour bottle conditioned with carrot juice, is odd but delicious with a sweet carrot finish.