San Diego has dominated the Southern California microbrew scene for years now, but Los Angeles is quickly catching up. Some 65 craft beer breweries now call Los Angeles home, and they’re attracting locals and tourists alike with artsy warehouses and award-winning brews. Bonus: many breweries offer guided tours that allow patrons a behind-the-scenes look at the brewing process. With new breweries and tasting rooms popping up all over the city, the time has never been better to learn a bit more about craft beer—we pick a few of the top spots for sipping.
Golden Road Brewery and Pub’s brightly colored corrugated steel warehouses are unmissable in this industrial section of Atwater Village, and the scene inside is just as impressive: Witness massive steel kettles and stills, barrel rooms, and even a bit of the canning process on the free weekend tours. Lucky beer fans may be offered a taste directly from a conditioning tank, if the timing is right and the guide is willing. Check-in with the bartender to register for a tour, and grab a pint of the super drinkable Wolf Pup Session IPA to take along while you’re at it. Free tours available Friday through Sunday at 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m., and 4 p.m.; reservations recommended.
Eagle Rock arguably kickstarted the craft brewery boom in LA when it opened in 2009 as the city's first new craft brewery in decades. Its staff and brews live up to that legacy: Sample eight of its best beers on tap at the intimate bar—the Manifesto, a Belgian Style Witbier, is especially lauded for its fresh, crisp flavor. The cozy tap room caters to locals with an array of lighter beers, and free tours operate every Sunday. Take an informative wander through the next door microbrewery, where friendly and knowledgeable guides are on hand to answer any questions. Don’t hesitate to ask about the beer brewing process or Eagle Rock’s own rich history. Free tours available on Sundays at 3 p.m.; reservations not required.
Located in a 104-year-old former steel cable warehouse in the Arts District of LA, Angel City Brewery’s brewhouse and taproom packs historic character. The vast main bar offers 15 tap beers, and Downtown Taco’s food truck resides permanently on the lot for hungry drinkers. Check in at the Merch Shoppe to join a tour, which includes an exploration of the various event spaces in the taproom as well as a look at the microbrewery. Sniff different hops and yeast varietals with the knowledgeable guide, then reward yourself with a few generous tastes post-tour. Definitely opt for the bold IPA, Angel City’s most popular pour, and try the Srirachelada Ale if it’s available — with strong tomato and lime flavors, this one almost passes as a bottled cocktail. Free tours available Monday – Friday, 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.; weekends on the hours from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Reservations not required.
While most of the entertainment at ADBC — think Skee–Ball, ping pong, and a photo booth— is in the brewpub itself, don’t hesitate to ask the host for a look at the inner-workings of the popular space. The free tours are given on a request basis, so although there is no set schedule, the Arts District Brewing staff is happy to accommodate its curious customers with an informative walk through the tanks and stills. Unlike other breweries in LA, Arts District has a full liquor bar in addition to its 22 house taps; select one of the rotating beers on nitro, like The Full Mug coffee porter, for a creamier, smoother experience. Free tours available during business hours, on an as-needed schedule; reservations not required.
Constructed completely from reclaimed materials — think wood and metal from torn-down industrial buildings under the old Sixth Street Bridge — the cozy tasting room at Dry River Brewing is a work of art itself. Getting a look past the plastic curtain into the barrel room is truly a treat — most of Dry River’s beers are aged in oak barrels, some from California wineries, to add depth and dimension to the already interesting beers. As a perfect example, the brew house's flagship beer — the Lady Roja — is fruit-and-floral-forward with an unmistakable red wine tannic finish. Tours available on the last Sunday of the month, at 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.; $10; reservations recommended.
Grab a pint from the tasting room, then join a free Sunday tour at Three Weav3rs for a look at the rows of stainless steel stills. Each tour ends with tastings of Three Weav3rs’ newest and freshest beers in the spacious tap room—it’s decked out with rotating pieces by local artists. Sip a Seafarer Kolsch, one of the brew house’s core beers, available to take home in a canned six-pack as well. Families are welcome; food is not available for purchase, but visitors are encouraged to pack a picnic or order takeout and spend the day. Free tours available Sundays at 4 p.m., 5 p.m., and 6 p.m.; reservations not required.
The most recent addition to this list, Wiretap houses a state-of-the-art microbrewery and stripped-down taproom in a former carpet mill. Wiretap’s $35 tour includes a walkthrough of the facility, a tasting flight, and samples from a few of their more rare beers like the Serial Czechnology, a crisp and refreshing pilsner. Because the guys at Wiretap are just getting off the ground, email for a tour (which will likely be private for your group), and arrive curious and thirsty. Tours available Friday through Sunday, between 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.; $35; reservations required.