It's time for another World Cup tournament, and craft beer in Los Angeles has exploded in the four years since the action in South Africa (ah, the vuvuzelas!). The "beautiful game" is often at its most beautiful when you're watching it with many other slavering, boisterous fans and raising great mugs of beer aloft, and now it is easier than ever to find venues that will fill that mug with craft beers (or at least, delicious imports).
Here are four suggestions for pubs in which to catch some of World Cup 2014.
Red Lion Tavern - This Silverlake institution (open since 1959!) serves up schnitzel, sausage platters and tall glasses of German brews, and it's a favorite spot for catching Germany's World Cup matches. It gets crowded and rowdy, but isn't that kinda what you're looking for in a Cup-viewing venue? The taps include an array of hefeweizens - a beer that's great with breakfast-time early matches. But the Kostritzer Schwarzbier - a easy-drinking black lager - is a treat rarely seen on-draft in L.A.
Red Lion Tavern, 2366 Glendale Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 662-5337
Beer Belly - Koreatown gets into the World Cup big time, and the craft beer capital of the neighborhood will be open for all Korea and USA matches. The taps at Beer Belly are always well curated and heavy on the local breweries, and while the kitchen won't be open for the early games, there will be beer specials and food available from sister-restaurant Whiz.
Beer Belly, 532 S. Western Ave., Los Angeles, (213) 387-2337
Lucky Baldwins - There is no shortage of bars to catch World Cup games in Pasadena, but the Lucky Baldwins Pubs are favorites of San Gabriel Valley locals. All three locations will be showing World Cup games for the duration of the tournament, and this is another spot that gets rowdy quick and crowded quicker. Conveniently, the annual IPA Festival runs through June 22, so you can get your hop-fix while watching the footie.
Lucky Baldwins, 17 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena (626) 795-0652; 1770 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, (626) 844-0447; 21 Kersting Court, Sierra Madre, (626) 355-1140
Village Idiot - This gastropub on Melrose (a few blocks west of La Brea) was taken over by soccer fans during the last tournament and became one of the more lively destinations to catch a match. The doors open at 8 a.m. for the Group Stage matches, and the (excellent) brunch menu is served starting at 9 a.m. The pub also features some tasty beer cocktails and "prepared beers" (think snakebites and shandies) using local craft brews.