Brewery Travels #30: Los Angeles Metro Area

Driving around the Los Angeles Metro Area, it feels like it never ends. That is especially the case if you’re trying to get somewhere during the notorious rush hour. But there are plenty of reasons to visit. Hollywood, Santa Monica Pier, professional sports, and of course Disneyland all call this section of Southern California home. And recently, a number of breweries have gained notoriety. Compared to the population, Los Angeles does not boast the same numbers compared to other West Coast powerhouses such as Portland or San Diego, but there are plenty of great options spread out across the city and suburbs, and downtown Los Angeles has some of the best taprooms I have visited (you’ll read about two of them below). So, no matter whether you live in the sunshine, or are just here for a vacation, pencil in some time to grab some local beer!

  1. Monkish Brewery, Torrance
  2. The Bruery, Placentia
  3. Angel City Brewery, Los Angeles
  4. Arts District Brewing, Los Angeles


There are several breweries where you need to visit the area in order to drink their beer. Monkish takes this to the extreme, as the only place you can get their beer is at the facility in Torrance. Literally nowhere else. So, unless you live within driving distance, you need to know someone who does! This means that release days are a big thing here. They are becoming increasingly popular, and I am constantly seeing social media posts about someone drinking a Monkish beer. I would recommend that if you are planning on visiting with a group to try going during non-peak hours. It is not an overly large space and is often quite busy. My favorite features are the church pew in the bar area (which is separate from the seating space), and the smiling Monk art work.

Yum. Yum yum yum. Monkish knocked it out of the park with all four beers I sampled. They are probably most famous for IPAs, and LA Hat lives up to the hype. Citra and Amarillo provide the base for this pillowy, juicy beer. Mango and pineapple emerge from the glass to greet you, and it goes down so smooth. For something a little lighter, Subliminal Sequel, fits the bill. A Blonde with Citra and Starling hops, it goes down easy, but has a little more bite than what’s typical for this style. Now we get to the heavy hitters. First, my personal favorite. Invert the Sun is a Barrel-aged Wild Ale with boysenberries. The berries shine through, even with the strong tartness. Just a wonderful beer. Then there’s Deepest Darkness, a Bourbon Barrel-aged Stout. At 14%, this one packs a punch. Rich, like a dense chocolate cake, it has an almost syrupy quality to it, and the boozy warmth lets you know it’s serious. There are also some notes of coffee and graham cracker in the back.

Monkish makes delicious beer. There is no denying that and with such a limited supply they have driven demand sky high! Some breweries are constantly want to go bigger, but Monkish seems to have found a sweet spot south of Los Angeles.

The Bruery

Orange County is a well known destination, and The Bruery gives you another reason to visit. Beginning life back in 2008, they have grown into a formidable force of spectacular beer. As for the name? It’s simply a spelling alteration of Brewery, taking into account the last name of the founder’s last name, Rue. It’s important to note I visited the main location in Placentia, but they have a separate spot for Bruery Terraux, which is where they focus on wild and sour ales (Terreux means Earthy in French btw). The taproom and brewery are situated in the back of a business park and takes a somewhat straightforward approach. There are nice views into the brewery along two walls, but for the most part they let the beer do the talking. Oh, between The Bruery (30) and Bruery Terreux (32) you can order any of 62 beers. It’s almost overwhelming, especially if you like sours the way I do.

Big, bold flavors lead the way here, and Milkshake is Back! In POG Form! takes the cake. A Nitro Milkshake Blonde with passion fruit, orange, guava, lactose, and vanilla, it’s a mouthful. It may be a little sweet for some, but I was a huge fan. All those additives swirl together, and it truly is a ‘milkshake’ of a beer. Midnight Autumn Maple is a Dark Ale with yams, maple, and spices. Candied maple wafts up to you on the nose, and spiced yams star on the tongue. The best description I have is that it’s like Fall in a glass. A Lactose Blend Blonde/Barrel-Aged Wheat wine with vanilla and orange zest, Orange County Dreamsicle comes in at a fairly boozy 9.3%. In my opinion, it does somewhat taste like an orange dreamsicle, just with a little alcohol. My final two beers were from Bruery Terreux, Goses are Red and Tart of Darkness both satisfied my sour cravings. The former is a Gose with grapes, and the grapes gave it a juicier mouthfeel than your typical Gose. The latter meanwhile is an Oak-aged Sour Stout, although the sourness seemed to overpower most of the stout qualities.

You can find their beer in many places across the country, and even multiple countries. I love beers that test my palate, and if you are similar, The Bruery is a place for you.

Angel City

This is such a cool place. They call the John A. Roebling Building in the Arts District home, and the 104-year-old warehouse provides a unique joint to enjoy a beverage. Fun fact; the John A. Roebling’s Sons Co. that called it home manufactured cables for several of our countries most famous bridges (Brooklyn and Golden Gate). Inside is a smorgasbord of features, most of which appear to be original to the brick structure. An interesting spiral slide of some kind sits prominently near the entrance. The upper level is open to the floor below and sits directly above a fairly large gift shop area. I enjoyed viewing the local art hanging up, especially a photo project dedicated to dogs from local shelters and in the bathroom? Artificial turf on the walls, because why not? There were also bags (or cornhole) in back, and two food trucks were parked out front.

The big winner at Angel City was White Night, a Golden Stout on nitro. As to be expected, it has a smooth body, and a lighter roast of coffee takes center stage. To quench my thirst for tartness, Kumquat Sour stepped up. Bright, and more fruit forward than other sours, it was a nice change of pace from the rest of my flight. The other three I had were fine, but nothing stood out like White Night. Really, Marilyn is probably not brewed to stick out, as this comfortable blonde is a solid beer for those getting introduced to craft. Angel City IPA was about what I expected, a typical West-Coast style. The Irish Coffee Stout was significantly more boozy than typical Irish Stouts, coming in at 10%. This was apparent as you drank it, but it still had a lighter body to go with the coffee and cocoa notes.

Angel City is one of those taprooms where you can imagine bringing a group of friends and having a blast. The uniqueness of the space made for a memorable experience, and one I would enjoy revisiting at some point.

Arts District

Speaking of taprooms, Arts District also brings the heat. Located a few short blocks down the road from Angel City in the (no surprise) Arts District, there is one thing that takes them to the next level. Just on the other side of the bar area from where you walk in, there is a room with FIFTEEN skee-ball machines, yeah, fifteen. There are a few other arcade games, but skee-ball reigns king here. This is another venue that would be perfect for a night out with friends. The 15-bbl brew house cranks out a nice variety of beer, and a window connects the neighboring restaurant Fritzi Coop allowing patrons to scoop up food. One feature I thought was fun is that you can purchase merchandise from a vending machine, including a variety of t-shirts.

Every now and then, I run into a well-made Gose. Clacson fell into this group. The salinity level was just right, and although there seemed to be a little more lime than normal, I enjoyed it. Cowboy Curtis, a Smoked Porter, struck a nice balance between the smokiness and silky chocolate. On the back end the smoke did seem to build a bit. For the easy-drinking option I ordered Whammy, which is the interesting combination of a Wheat Amber. It did well of melding the characteristics, as sweet bread mixed with grainy qualities. My IPA of the stop was the Rye IPA Rye on my Shoulder. It had the customary bitterness that separates West Coast IPAs from the rest of the country, along with pine and grapefruit dancing along the way.

Between Angel City, Arts District, and if you’re willing to walk a little further, Boomtown Brewing, this small section of LA has one of the best groups of taprooms I’ve visited. Whether you want to focus on one or hope between them, you’re sure to have a terrific time!


I cited Boomtown, but others such as Smog City and Bottle Logic deserve a mention as well. It seems like there are pockets where breweries seem to be bunched up. I mentioned that you could walk between those in the Arts District, but Smog City is right by Monkish, and there are several others within few blocks. And there’s a brewery right across the street from Bottle Logic (although I did not have time to stop by). This means that while you may have to drive a bit to find a brewery, once you do get there often times others close by. So, whether you are a hard-core beer geek wanting to get your hands on a Monkish IPA, or you are just someone who wants to hang around downtown and have a blast, there is a brewery in the LA area for you!

Next Article

Let’s trek back down I-5 to San Diego. I mentioned how impressive the craft scene is here and limiting the city to one article simply wouldn’t be fair. So, four more breweries will be featured!

Life Update

For those of you who do not follow my social media accounts, I recently shared some unfortunate news. I have been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, which is when it is caused by genetics. This of course means I will need to cut back on beer somewhat. It also means that my wife and I will no longer be traveling around the country, as we will return to our home in Milwaukee in order to receive more consistent care and better health coverage. I still plan on visiting as many breweries as I can, but they will be more spread out. Traveling has allowed me to share so many wonderful experiences, and while I’m sad this part of our life has come to a close, I look forward to what lies ahead.

Current Brewery Count

308 breweries across 137 cities in 29 states. For up-to-date counts, follow my social media accounts:

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Joel Geier

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