San Diego has long been a nexus of innovation and excitement in the craft beer industry, and with the explosion of popularity in L.A. and Orange counties, Southern California is quickly becoming America’s hottest craft beer region. There’s a lot to keep up with, but a new guidebook provides comprehensive coverage of the best craft beer in the Southland.
“Beer Lover’s Southern California” is the newest entry in a series of craft beer-focused travel guides from Globe Pequot Press, and the first to tackle the rapidly expanding craft beer scene from Santa Barbara to San Diego.
The 400-page volume covers the “best breweries, brewpubs, and beer bars” in Southern California with an insider’s perspective provided by author Kristofor Barnes -- long time Los Angeles beer blogger and cofounder of brewery startup Los Angeles Ale Works.
Barnes spent hundreds of hours in the sisyphean task of traveling across SoCal researching, cataloging, photographing, and of course drinking at just about every notable craft beer destination in the region. (Full disclosure: I know and have worked with Kristofor Barnes and am mentioned in the book’s acknowledgements.)
Each of the 14 covered territories (Ventura, Temecula, Eastern Los Angeles, etc.) includes a map and descriptions of the best breweries, pubs and bars to visit. The text is light and to the point and peppered with full-color photographs of the brew houses, bars, and lots of beer. No keg is left untapped, and even the most seasoned beer lover will find some recommendations that they didn’t know about. It’s downright encyclopedic in its catalog of beer destinations.
For many of the entries in the book there is a “Beer Lovers Pick” that showcases the author’s favorite pints, and Barnes does a great job communicating why the spotlighted brews are so notable and exciting. It’s tough to get through more than a few entries without working up a thirst and getting an itch to go exploring.
Not content to just cover the “where to drink” question, Barnes also manages to fit in some beer basics, recipes for cooking with beer, and an appendix of further resources to turn to on your beer journey.
The book is available now, and the author has a few local book signing events planned where you can purchase it -- the first is on March 13 at Golden Road Brewing.