Torrance may be the capital of the South Bay brewery scene, with fan favorites such as Smog City Brewing and Monkish, but the surrounding municipalities are not missing out on the brewery boom. The craft beer wave is moving inland, and Gardena is the latest South Bay city to get a brewery of its own. State Brewing Co., which opened this spring, has a tasting room that offers locals a breadth of beer styles with a focus on personal expression.
While State Brewing Co.’s brews have been available on draft around town for a few months, the brewery’s tasting room offers craft beer lovers the best look at the whole picture. The tap list covers the style bases, from the hoppy to the dark-and-roasty styles, with plenty of IPA variations to satisfy the finicky hophead. Not only are there IPAs in the West Coast style (clear, dry and bitter) and new-school hazy IPA style (less bitter with a emphasis on fruity, juicy hop flavors), there are some “hybrids” (Remember Gardena IPA) that blend the aromatic punch of the trendy hazy IPAs with a more structured, bitter finish.
While it seems a new brewery can’t get off the ground in Southern California without a strong IPA game these days, some of State’s most promising brews fall into more niche styles. The dark beers such as Project Vanilla (a bold stout brimming with vanilla bean essence) and Marcellus Wallace porter (named for the “Pulp Fiction” antagonist), show off both the brewer’s creativity and skills working with tricky roasted malts. Both brews hit the sweet spot between coffee-ish bitterness from barley kilned dark and the residual sugars that lend body and balance.
State Brewing Co.’s focus is on brewing the core brews for their retail accounts throughout the South Bay and greater L.A. area, but the brewing team also gets to play on small batches of tasting room-exclusive beers. The experimentation allows for fine-tuning of those aforementioned hybrid IPAs, as well as forays into new territory like the lactose-spiked “milkshake” IPAs, Belgian-inspired table beer dosed with fruit, and even brews featuring bourbon barrel-aged coffee beans.
The comfortable tasting room balances the bare utility common in the craft beer scene with touches of reclaimed wood and industrial-chic high top tables. There’s plenty of air and light admitted by the large roll-up door opposite the eight-seat bar, and a mezzanine level for private events is in the works. Prices range from $5 to $8 for a glass (with plenty of options at the lower end, a rare sight these days) and $2 to $4 for a taster-sized pour (a flight of four tasters will run you $11), and growlers of selected beers are available to go for between $9 and $15. State Brewing Co. is open Thursday through Sunday, but hours can vary so check their Instagram before visiting.
State Brewing Co. 1237 W. 134th St., Gardena, (310) 819-8179, statebrewingco.com.