Yes, Virginia, L.A. Does Have Microbreweries

Angel City Brewery| Photo: JulieFaith/Flickr/Creative Commons License

Perhaps you saw this cute and well-designed map from The Atlantic titled "The Geography of Craft Beer" in your various Google Reader feeds/Facebook reblogs/general Internet browsings. Through electoral map-centric shadings, it goes through each of our 50 states to find out which have the most craft breweries within their borders. The findings are not so surprisingly West Coast-centric:

- Michigan takes 5th place, with 102 breweries
- Oregon is 4th, with 121
- Colorado is 3rd, with 127
- Washington is 2nd, with 134

And by far outpacing the rest of the pack, nearly doubling second place, is:

- Our own California, with 261

However, as the piece is quick to point out, this doesn't necessarily mean the citizens of California are more lushful than the rest -- the results have to be weighted a bit considering the respective populations, seeing as California has an extra 12 million people over the second most-populous state. So, accounting for how many breweries there are per 100,000 people, the rankings shift dramatically:

- 3rd place: Oregon
- 2nd place: Montana
- 1st place: Vermont

California, meanwhile? Not even on the top ten.

Truthfully, we've been a little behind-the-curve when it comes to the relatively recent micro- and craft-brew trend. And Los Angeles itself -- if this listing of brewpubs in California is to be believed, which it shouldn't completely, because it's full of inaccuracies, but still, it's here is to prove a bigger point -- has been lacking in its own right.

But that's the past, my friends. The days of L.A. being a barren land with slightly-yellowed water from Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors being the only brews around is long gone. Now, they're popping up everywhere that has a water source and large enough space for the vats. Here, for example, are five local breweries in Los Angeles that have been trying to feed the masses their perfectly-orchestrated, buzz-inducing treats for years.

Angel City Brewery
While the brewery proper has only been at their current location as a combo art gallery/brewpub in the beautiful John A. Roebling Building in downtown since 2010, founder Michael Bowe was tinkering with the formula since his start as a homebrewer way back in 1997. Currently, the building's closed to the public as they make a transition into new ownership, but come this fall, the Little Tokyo-adjacent piece of perfection will be mindfully pouring the suds once again.

216 S. Alameda St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
213.622.1261

Eagle Rock Brewery
A hidden gem, not unlike the town that it calls home, the Eagle Rock Brewery isn't a place to just get sauced and try to mack on some attractive folk of the opposite (or same, whichever's your preference) sex -- during the week, even Saturday, it's only open until the crack of 10pm, not exactly partying hours. You won't even find food there (although they do encourage patrons to bring their own snacks, and there's usually a food truck parked outside). But what they do have in their modest tasting room adjacent to the vast vats of beer is some of the tastiest brews you'll find in Los Angeles, their Solidarity Black Mild Ale especially.

3056 Roswell St
Los Angeles, CA 90065
323.257.7866

Craftsman Brewing Company
How much does the fact that a beer won an award at some kind of tasting competition really affect your choice as a beer-consumer? Is it really the fact that it won a blue ribbon in something-or-other back-in-the-day the key reason hipsters throw down $3 (plus $1 tip) for the bland tap water that is PBR? Probably not. Like a lot of awards shows, most beer competitions really mean nothing outside of the beer community itself. But the fact that Pasadena's Craftsman Brewing won a whole bunch of awards back in 2002 is significant to the rest of us: It means they're one of the elder statesmen when it comes to L.A.-based brewing. And for that, they must be paid respect.

1260 Lincoln Ave.
Pasadena, CA 91103
626.296.2537

Weiland Brewing Company
While Weiland Brewery in Little Tokyo hasn't been around for the past 100 years, they are located in a building that served as a brewery a century ago. So, you know, that's something. But the other notable piece of their existence is that, beyond the beer, they have an exquisite Happy Hour (Monday through Friday, 3 to 7 and 10 to close) that includes some of the best cheap treats you'll find anywhere.

400 E. 1st Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
213.680.2881

Bonaventure Brewing Company
And now to class things up a bit with the oldest brewing company in L.A., the Bonaventure Brewing Company, which has been around since 1998. But to get there isn't exactly the easiest. Instead of just being street level like, you know, most businesses, this one's located on the 4th floor of the Westin Hotel in downtown. But if you can find it -- and if you need help, this blog from 2008 has you covered -- then you get some of the best views of downtown L.A. to enjoy with your carefully-crafted microbrews.

404 S. Figueroa St.
Suite 418A
Los Angeles, CA 90071
213.236.0802


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About the Author

Rick Paulas has written plenty of things, some of them serious, many of them not, scattered over the vast expanses of the Internet. He lives in Los Angeles and is a White Sox fan.
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