With all the recent developments in L.A.’s craft beer scene, it's easy to forget that there’s a more developed and similarly thriving craft beer industry just over the county line in Orange County.
L.A.’s own Golden Road Brewing is expanding to Anaheim with a large new production brewery and pub, and while the brewery is still being built out, the new tasting room will begin pouring beer on Saturday. Fifteen of Golden Road Brewing's beers will be available on tap (including the fan-favorite Gingerbread Stout), and the first 200 beer fans at the new outpost will be treated to free tacos from Soho Taco. The tasting room won’t be filling growlers yet, though they will have cans available to go.
The new Golden Road Brewing facility is just across the street from Angels Stadium in Anaheim, right in the middle of what’s become the center of Orange County’s beer scene. While you’re in the neighborhood, you’ve got plenty of other nearby tasting rooms to visit.
Anaheim Brewery’s tasting room is about a mile west of the 57 Freeway in the Anaheim Packing District, and the handful of beers offered run the stylistic gamut from an amber lager to a dark, yet drinkable stout. Growlers and six-packs are available to go, and there are many food options in the Packing District building. 336 S. Anaheim Blvd., Anaheim, (714) 780-1888, www.anaheimbrew.com.
Bottle Logic Brewing is another popular Anaheim craft beer destination, and the beers here are diverse and well-honed. Taster flights are a great way to get a sense of the dozen or so house beers on tap, and growler fills are available for nearly everything on the list. 1072 N. Armando St., Anaheim, (714) 660-2537, www.bottlelogic.com.
The Bruery’s Placentia tasting room falls just over the Anaheim border, but it is a must-visit for dedicated beer lovers, especially if you have a taste for the sour beers. Just beware of the often elevated alcohol content of the Bruery’s offerings — they have a tendency to sneak up on you. (Don’t miss the tour sign-up sheet when you visit. 717 Dunn Way, Placentia, (714) 829-1403, www.anaheimbrew.com.
Noble Ale Works is a local favorite serving some refined IPAs alongside brewmaster Evan Price’s take on English-style ales and more experimental beers such as the tea-infused Gosebusters and the infamous Naughty Sauce. The tasting room is open from noon to midnight on Saturday and until 8 p.m. on Sunday. 1621 S. Sinclair St., Suite B, Anaheim, (714) 634-2739, www.noblealeworks.com.
Those were just a small taste of the craft breweries cooking up ales and lagers in Orange County, and there are also a handful of excellent brewpubs in the area. Try the Tustin Brewing Co. or any of the Taps Fish House locations (Corona, Brea and Irvine) if you’re looking for lunch to go with your craft brews.
On Saturday, one of the best breweries in the state is also visiting Orange Country for the latest installment of “Walker’s Wild Ride.” The co-founder of Paso Robles’ Firestone Walker Brewery fills his restored 1964 Land Rover with rare sour beers from the brewery’s Buellton barrel aging facility and drops off a keg at a handful of local bars. On Saturday, the Lion — as he’s affectionately known — will stop by Provisions Market, Haven Gastropub, Hollingshead’s Deli, and Native Son Alehouse, trailing beer lovers in his wake like the Pied Piper. Check out the event’s Web page and plan your O.C. expedition to coincide with one of Walker’s stops.