Craft beer lovers in Los Angeles can easily become overwhelmed by the continuous stream of new breweries to visit and new brews to try. It's a good problem to have, and the pace of new local breweries opening doesn't seem to be slowing. From downtown L.A. all the way to Orange County, here are a handful of new tasting rooms to explore this summer.
Dry River Brewing
Although bottles of Dry River's funky and complex beers have been on the market for some time, you can now get a taste right from the source. The small tasting room at the border of Boyle Heights and downtown Los Angeles is now open on alternating weekends (check its website for dates and hours). Behind the elaborate wooden door, you'll find a temple to the power of oak and a sanctuary for the melange of wild yeasts and bacteria that drive the flavorful fermentations. The space is filled with century-old timber reclaimed from the buildout of Indie Brewing Co at the end of the block as well as dozens of wine barrels in which Dry River's "slow beer" ferments and matures. From barrel-fermented IPAs to potent blends of sour beers, the Dry River beer is as distinctive as the tasting room. 671 S Anderson St., Los Angeles, (213) 375-5235, www.dryriverbrewing.com
On the other side of the river and north toward Little Tokyo, Boomtown Brewing's tasting room is also open for business. Throughout last winter, Boomtown was serving beer from an ad hoc taproom assembled in the brewery's sprawling special-events space, but the new permanent bar is now serving flights and pints. Though a number of brewery tasting rooms trend toward the dreary and utilitarian, the vibe at Boomtown is more energetic and nightlife-y. The tasting room is a mix of communal tables and lounge areas, and there's a mural-ornamented patio that's a perfect place to kick back with a Bad Hombre Mexican lager. Food trucks make appearances regularly , a DJ spins on the weekends and growlers are available to go. For Dodgers fans, the games are screened in the tasting room, and Boomtown is just a half-mile stroll from Union Station, where you can catch the Dodger Stadium Express to the game for free. 700 Jackson St, Los Angeles, (213) 617-8497, www.boomtownbrew.com
Green Cheek Brewing
There was a great disturbance in the Orange County brewing scene last year when the brewmaster at the lauded Noble Ale Works in Anaheim left the brewery to launch his own project. Starting a brewery can be a slow process, with construction and permitting delays all too common, but Evan Price and partner Brian Rauso found a shortcut: They purchased the shuttered Valiant Brewing Co. in Orange. "Instead of taking two years to start making beer, we opened in a couple of months," Price said. The operation was rechristened Green Cheek Brewing, and brews are now pouring in the tasting room Friday through Sunday. The beer lineup so far is a mix of hoppy ales that range from on-trend hazy IPAs to pale ales flavored with tea; some balanced and quenching lagers (the German-style pils is particularly nice); and a couple of darker brews (including a coffee-dosed stout). Green Cheek distributes beer in L.A., so look for them at L.A. beer bars if you don't want to make the trip to Orange. 2294 N Batavia St C, Orange, (714) 998-8172, www.greencheekbeer.com
Coming soon: Concrete Jungle
Downtown L.A.'s white-hot brewery scene isn't cooling off anytime soon, and the newest operation to start fermenting is Concrete Jungle. Though the tasting room is still being built out and permitted, the well-heeled startup debuted beer during L.A. Beer Week last month. If you missed the open house, the pours at beer festivals or the tap takeovers, you should be able to find bottles of Concrete Jungle brews at bottle shops around town. Look out for the dry and refreshing L.A. Calling lager or the Project D.T.L.A. farmhouse ale aged in red wine barrels . 725 Kohler St, Los Angeles, (213) 291-1688, www.concretejungle.la