Let's face it. Los Angeles just doesn't have the same beer scene as some of its California sibling cities like San Diego or San Francisco. But there are few gems to be found.
We are embarrassed to admit it. We hadn't ever even heard of Dry River Brewing before a local told us about it. But having now tasted their beers, we say, without any doubt, that this is the best brewery in Los Angeles. Wow. Wow. Wow. All of their beer is fermented in oak barrels, yet is expertly blended to create some of the best sour beers being made in America. Seriously. If you only visit one brewery in Los Angeles, make it Dry River Brewing.
Less than one block away from Dry River Brewing is Indie Brewing Company (you can see it from Dry River's doorway). Indie offers several good beers, but the highlight was their Indie Alt-Rock, a take on German altbier and one of the best altbiers we've tasted outside of its native Dusseldorf. Alt-Rock is, in itself, worth a trip to Indie Brewing.
Eagle Rock Brewing was the first new brewery in decades to open in Los Angeles when it opened its doors in 2009. Of the many breweries that have opened since Eagle Rock paved the way, few have matched the consistent quality of the beers at Eagle Rock. It's definitely worth going to taste their wares.
In case you haven't heard, craft lagers are huge now. Unfortunately, in our experience, there are many more bad ones than there are good ones. But Los Angeles' Boomtown Brewery has made a fantastic one in Mic Czech. Close your eyes, take a sip and be taken away to Prague.
In the South Bay area of Los Angeles is Smog City Brewing. Their brewery in Torrance is certainly worth visiting, but we prefer their outlet at SteelCraft in Long Beach. SteelCraft is an outdoor urban eatery featuring several vendors all operating out of shipping containers. Get some good food, order a pint and grab a table. Who wants to be indoors in southern California?
If you're flying out of LAX, then you must stop at Three Weavers Brewing; it's only a couple of minutes away. Three Weavers has almost two dozen different beers on, many of which are collaborations with other local brewers. Tasting flights come in sets of five, but they have so many beers on tap, you might need to order two to try everything that interests you.
Hooray for Hollywood!