In search of wildflowers? Chances are there’s some great craft beer nearby
Shooting Stars, Desert Gold, Bigelow monkeyflower and the California poppy are just some of the wildflowers taking over Southern California’s open spaces. Wherever you are in Los Angeles County, it’s likely that you won’t be far from an area nearly carpeted with flowers, and many of these blooming destinations are near local breweries.
The Antelope Valley Poppy Preserve
The Antelope Valley Poppy Preserve is a popular flower-finding destination, and the twin cities of Palmdale and Lancaster near the preserve are flourishing with craft breweries. Two early entrants into L.A.’s craft beer scene are in Lancaster. The Kinetic brewpub offers pub food alongside its celebrated beers and a lineup of taps from other breweries. And Bravery Brewing has a deep lineup of house beers from IPAs to Belgian-styles to rich and malty dark brews (as well as some bottles to go). In Palmdale, Lucky Luke Brewing and neighboring Transplants Brewing serve a range of styles as diverse as the colorful blooms. Try the guava-infused IPA El Mas Guapo from Transplants or the Impresario IPA from Lucky Luke.
Kinetic Brewing Co., 735 W Lancaster Blvd., Lancaster, (661) 942-2337, kineticbrewing.com.
Bravery Brewing, 42705 W. 8th St., Lancaster, (661) 351-4677, braverybrewing.com.
Lucky Luke Brewing Co., 610 W. Ave. O #104, Palmdale, (661) 270-5588, luckylukebrewing.com.
Transplants Brewing Co., 40242 La Quinta Lane Unit 101, Palmdale (661) 266-7911, transplantsbrewing.com.
Anzo Borrego Desert State Park
Like the Poppy Preserve, Anzo Borrego Desert State Park draws so many visitors that traffic can stack up at the entrance of the park for hours. (It’s best to attempt a viewing during the week, when crowds are less intense.) The winery tasting rooms and craft breweries in nearby Temecula are a welcome pit stop for weary flower-hunters. Don’t miss Blackmarket Brewing’s excellent hefeweizen, or the many hoppy beers at Ironfire Brewing.
Black Market Brewing, 41740 Enterprise Circle North, #109, Temecula, (951) 296-5039, blackmarketbrew.com.
Ironfire Brewery, 42095 Zevo Drive, Suite 1, Temecula, (951) 296-1397, www.ironfirebrewing.com.
The Santa Monica Mountains
The Santa Monica Mountains are both more accessible and less crowded than the more well-known flower-spotting destinations, and some of the best views are off the many trails that wind through the various parks and recreation areas. Check the Santa Monica Mountains’ “what’s blooming” page to plan your expedition. The typically verdant Upper Las Virgenes Canyon is awash in colorful blooms, and the park — just off the 101 Freeway east of Agoura Hills — is conveniently located nearby two often overlooked L.A. brewpubs: Twisted Oak Tavern and Ladyface Ale Co. You’ll find great beers and food at either location.
Twisted Oak Tavern, Agoura Hills Town Center, 30105 Agoura Road, Agoura Hills, (818) 735-0091, www.twistedoaktavern.pub.
Ladyface Ale Co., 29281 Agoura Road, Agoura Hills, (818) 477-4566, www.ladyfaceale.com.
Long Beach, Palos Verdes, Griffith Park and Pasadena
Wildflower viewers who don’t want to venture deep into the desert or traverse hiking trails to find flowers aren’t left out in Los Angeles County. There are several more urban areas where you can find smaller crops of blooms. From the beachfront trails in Long Beach, where poppies have taken hold (and where you’ll find great beer at Beachwood BBQ or Ballast Point’s waterfront pub), to the rolling hills of the Palos Verdes Peninsula (near the thriving breweries in Torrance, and fan-favorites such as El Segundo Brewing Co. and Redondo Beach’s King Harbor Brewery), to the paths around Griffith Park (convenient to Eagle Rock Brewery, Golden Road Brewing and Brewyard Beer Co.), there is ample opportunity for urban flower hunting. One last favorite recommendation — the sprawling Huntington Library and Gardens in Pasadena is painted with flowers. They may not be technically wildflowers, but the desert garden in particular is a worthy destination, and the newly relaunched restaurants from Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger offer some serviceable craft beer options (Stone IPA, Scrimshaw Pils).
Beachwood BBQ, 210 E. 3rd St, Long Beach, (562) 436-4020, beachwoodbbq.com/brewery.html
Ballast Point LBC, 110 N. Marina Drive, Long Beach, (562) 296-4470, www.ballastpoint.com/locations/
Eagle Rock Brewery, 3056 Roswell St., (323) 257-7866, www.eaglerockbrewery.com
Golden Road Brewing, 5410 W San Fernando Road, Los Angeles, (213) 373-4644, goldenroad.la
Brewyard Beer Co., 906 Western Ave., Glendale, (818) 409-9448, www.brewyardbeercompany.com/