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The best beer east of East L.A.
(Víctor Meléndez / For The Times)

A guide to craft breweries on the greater Eastside of Los Angeles

In 2015, this newspaper published a guide to “the best craft beer in L.A.” with a map of the “more than 30 craft breweries and brewpubs” across the county. The majority of L.A.’s craft breweries were concentrated in the regions of downtown and northeast Los Angeles; Burbank, Glendale and the San Fernando Valley; the foothills and 210 corridor, from Pasadena to Claremont and the Inland Empire; and the South Bay-Long Beach-405 corridor.

Back then, there was a huge gap on the region’s brewery map: the greater Eastside of L.A. That gap has been filled.

Today, the Los Angeles County Brewers Guild counts 95 members, a boom of nearly 70 new craft breweries in seven years. That’s not counting the brewpubs, craft beer bars and gastropubs that populate the map and add to a growing list of tap offerings around town. Since 2015, a proliferation of breweries opening in places like San Gabriel, Montebello and Whittier has closed the gaps and put the greater Eastside on L.A.’s craft beer map.

Why do I write about beer? It all started with a visit to a brewery in Washington with my grandpa when I was just 3.

In defining this beer region “east of East L.A.,” I draw from two sets of scholarly works. In the 2000 book “Latino Metropolis,” professors Rodolfo D. Torres and Victor M. Valle use the term “Greater Eastside” to describe the “industrial landscape” and network of the primarily Latino and Asian working- and middle-class suburbs and cities of eastern Los Angeles County. The essay collection “East of East: The Making of Greater El Monte” (2020) draws on this articulation of the “Greater Eastside” to designate the “east of East L.A.” cities of South El Monte and El Monte. We can extend “east of East L.A.” to include all of the San Gabriel Valley, a region “defined by [its] majority-minority status and ambivalent relationship to Greater Los Angeles.”

In brewery terms, we can use “Greater Eastside” to describe those neighborhoods and cities that span roughly east of the Los Angeles River to the 57, bordered by the 10 to the north and Imperial Highway to the south. This includes “Greater El Monte” and other parts of the San Gabriel Valley down to Southeast L.A. and along Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino county lines.

Unlike some of the more established breweries in the South Bay or downtown L.A., most of the breweries in the greater East L.A. region have been open for less than five years. Many opened for business during or after the 2020 pandemic closures, which saw new or fledgling local craft breweries turn to canning and to-go sales to stay afloat until customers could be welcomed back into taprooms.

These new breweries reflect a growing diversity in the groups that make, drink and enjoy craft beer. Many have already enmeshed themselves in local communities, often supporting nonprofit organizations, local artists, fundraising causes and collective efforts through special brewery collaborations. Nearly all of them are small, independent, family-run breweries that depend on steady business from neighborhood locals and new visitors alike.

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As a relatively new craft beer region led predominantly by women, Latinas/os/x and Asian Americans, the Greater Eastside is on the rise, home to award-winning and innovative beers ranging from classic styles to experimental brews and trendy seltzers.

While many craft beer fans have their favorite “away” brands, there’s nothing like the beers that say “home.” For those of us who make home in greater East L.A., we don’t have far to go to find a brewery and a fresh pint with our name on it. With at least a dozen breweries and a few more slated to open this year in Covina and La Puente, along with breweries in surrounding regions like Pasadena and the foothills, craft beer drinkers on the Greater Eastside have many breweries to choose from for their fresh beer fix.

Feeling thirsty? Here are the 10 best places around Los Angeles for drinks.

Here’s a guide to the local breweries of the emerging craft beer scene in Greater East L.A., alphabetically by city.

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Ohana Brewing Co.

Alhambra Brewery
Ohana Brewing Co. opened in 2012 and celebrated 10 years of making beer in November. The breezy, pleasing beers are brewed in downtown L.A. and poured at Ohana’s taproom near Alhambra’s bustling Main Street. Ohana also distributes to area bars and restaurants from Culver City to Covina.

Ohana’s year-round beers include its bestselling flagship, Pacific Ale, and Spa Water Saison, a refreshing French session-style ale made with lemongrass and cucumber. Rotating seasonal beers, creative and flavorful, keep customers coming back to try new twists on old favorites, like the Matcha Blonde and Tiki on the Beach. IPAs, stouts, and saisons round out Ohana’s tasty menu.
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A flight of four beers in footed glasses in a metal holder on a wooden table
(Melissa Mora Hidalgo)

Border X Brewing

Bell Craft Brewery
San Diego-based Border X Brewing opened its doors to Los Angeles in March 2019, bringing its signature Chicano-style brews from Barrio Logan to Bell. Over the last four years, Border X and its spacious taproom have hosted local artists, DJs, bands, and vendors of all kinds in its quest to strengthen community through beer. It brews delicious cervezas that appeal to craft beer drinkers with a range of tastes. The Blood Saison, a deep red, easy-drinking ale made with bunches of hibiscus flower for a sweet-tart finish, is Border X’s signature beer that started it all. Other core beers include the creamy and deceptively strong Horchata Golden Stout, Abuelita’s Chocolate Stout, and the Pepino Sour, a key lime and cucumber beer best enjoyed as a michelada. New additions to Border X’s flavorful lineup include a kölsch, amber lager, and pilsner, all clean-drinking, classic styles that balance out the more robust beers on the menu.
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Beer Thug Brewing Co.

Bell Craft Brewery
Sharing space with Border X, Beer Thug Brewing Co. is an upstart small-scale nano-brewery based in Bell. In a joint social media post, Border X and Beer Thug’s owners announced an alternating proprietorship that allows both breweries to operate and serve their respective beers under the same roof as “two Latino breweries in one location.” In November, Beer Thug celebrated its soft opening by pouring its small but mighty batch of brews that include a German-style light lager, a sour ale with cranberries and raspberries, and three kinds of porters.
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Alosta Brewing Co.

Covina Brewery
Covina boasts three craft breweries, all about 10 minutes apart and two within walking distance of each other. Each has its distinct beer specialties and taproom atmospheres.

Alosta Brewing Company, now in its ninth year, takes its name from the old town of Alosta, a 19th century name for a part of Glendora that permitted alcohol sales and consumption. The indoor/outdoor taproom pours a balanced menu of easy-drinking ales, lagers and hard seltzers. For starters, try the You’re Welcome Old Ale, Dig Tussy Cream Ale or the award-winning El Guerrero Mexican Lager, or go right for the tasty IPAs, saisons and oatmeal stouts. Vendors serve food most days.
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Two beers on a table in front of a sign that says "Camp Arrow Lodge Here for the Beer"
(Matt Pawlik)

Arrow Lodge

Covina Brewery
Around the corner from Alosta is Arrow Lodge Brewing, home of award-winning Berliner Weiss, IPA and hazy IPA beers. Big, hop-heavy, dank brews are the stars at “Camp Arrow Lodge,” where visitors can enjoy pastry stouts and puckering sours while playing pinball or pool or chatting with friends in front of a television campfire. Arrow Lodge just celebrated its sixth anniversary and has plans to open a second taproom in downtown L.A.
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A flight of six tasters in a wooden serving tray, with a framed newspaper story on the wall behind.
Nova Brewing Company, Covina: flight of 6 tasters (names not available) with LA Times feature on wall in background
(Melissa Mora Hidalgo)

Nova Brewing Co.

Covina Brewery
Nova Brewing Company has called Covina home for three years. The hybrid brewery specializes in memorable beers made with the leftover rice from its award-winning sake. Fans of Belgian ales will enjoy Nova’s signature rice-forward take on blonde, dubbel, tripel and quadrupel styles. Don’t miss the smooth Oni Dry Amber Lager and adventurous Okinawa Dark Smoke Ale.
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A flight of four taster beers in a wooden paddle on an outdoor patio, with a paper that says "Flight Forms"
(Melissa Mora Hidalgo)

Angry Horse Brewing

Montebello Craft Brewery
Montebello’s first craft brewery, Angry Horse Brewing, opened in 2017. In its five years on Whittier Boulevard, Angry Horse has provided an accessible neighborhood space for approachable craft beers. The roomy interior and ample exterior areas can accommodate large groups, while the beer menu has something for everyone.

Highlights include the popular East LA IPA, the Regal Beagle blonde ale, and the Purple AF hibiscus saison. Angry Horse also brews a reliable selection of easy-drinking lagers, hoppy hazies, and big imperial stouts. Try the Mango Milkshake IPA and the latest stout on nitro.
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La Jara's menu board on the wall above shelves of cans and glasses and a bartender standing at the taps.
(Melissa Mora Hidalgo)

La Jara Brewing Co.

Norwalk Craft Brewery
Tucked on a side street near Carmenita Road and the 5 freeway is La Jara Brewing Co. Though not the first indie brewery based in Norwalk — that distinction goes to Ray Ricky Rivera’s contract and distribution outfit under Norwalk Brew House, makers of Bidi Bidi Blonde Blonde and numerous benefit collaboration beers — La Jara is the city’s first craft brewery and taproom. Buzzing with business since opening in April, La Jara’s inviting taproom attracts the after-work crowds on weekdays and hosts live music on weekends for a fun, beery “Pura Vida” atmosphere inspired by one of the co-owner’s Costa Rican heritage.

La Jara makes good, drinkable beers in a range of lager and ale styles. Popular ones include the Revival West Coast IPA and Annabelle Blonde Ale. Other notable beers include Dips Amber Lager, smooth and balanced with subtle caramel finish; the toasty Jekyll American Stout; and the pleasing Stunt Dubbel Belgian-style ale. Don’t miss resident pop-up Watson’s Pizza serving chewy, gooey oven-baked pies on site.
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A row of beer taps at Brewjeria Company's bar
(Melissa Mora Hidalgo)

Brewjería Co.

Pico Rivera Craft Brewery
Brewjería Co. just celebrated three years in Pico Rivera. The beer maker has enjoyed a particularly strong post-pandemic showing with special events, DJs, lotería nights, and can-drop parties for notable collaboration brews, all making Pico Rivera’s first brewery and taproom a favorite neighborhood hangout along the famed Whittier Boulevard.

Brewjería specializes in Belgian-style ales with a Chicano-Mexican twist. Signature beers include Tomo La Flor, a hibiscus pale ale; Rubia Fuerte and Rubia Light blonde ales; and Grapes of Wrath Belgian Tripel brewed with muscat grapes. Other must-try brews include the Nut Brown English ale — think Newcastle with more body and flavor — and Pump Up the Yams robust porter.
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Ogopogo Brewing

San Gabriel Valley Craft Brewery
Ogopogo Brewing opened in 2018, the first craft brewery in San Gabriel. A spacious patio and interior area welcome guests to sit and linger over hoppy lagers, pastry sours and IPAs of the West Coast, hazy and double-hopped varieties.

Best known for its award-winning flagship Boeman Belgian White Ale, Ogopogo also makes a gold-medal beer in Nix Pale Ale. Try the crisp La Llorona Mexican Lager and house-made dry apple cider for a drier, lighter option.
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Common Corners Brewing

Walnut Brewery
Common Corners Brewing celebrated its one-year anniversary in early December, and it has quickly become a favorite with Walnut locals. The small nano brewery, Walnut’s first craft beer producer and taproom, is housed in a former Subway in a strip mall on Valley Boulevard.

Common Corners serves up unique twists on classic beer styles, such as the hoppy “Mexican-ish” lager and others brewed with Norwegian kveik yeast. Signature Common Corners brews include the Mahalo Halo Tiki Sour ale brewed with ube, coconut and pineapple, and the Super Cool Beans Coffee Stout brewed with espresso beans from their next door neighbor, Aroma Craft Coffee. The hard seltzers also stand out, like the Blue Hawaii made with blue curaçao and the memorable, puckery Watermelon Paleta Seltzer fermented with a simple syrup made from watermelon and Tajín candy paletas.
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Two pints of beer side by side on a wooden table
(Melissa Mora Hidalgo)

Whittier Brewing Co.

Whittier Craft Brewery
Craft beer drinkers have had it good in uptown Whittier for decades. My hometown has its share of gastropubs, craft beer bars, and bottle shops, but Whittier wouldn’t see its own craft brewery until Whittier Brewing Co. opened in 2019.

Located in a cavernous food hall inside the historic Nixon Building, Whittier Brewing Co. features a solid list of hop-forward beers on 20 taps, with the occasional amber, lager, robust stout, and barrel-aged special rotating through. Fun one-off beers also make it on the menu, like the Rye IPA called Thas Sah after hometown comic Melissa Villaseñor’s locally famous “SNL” skit about Pico Rivera homegirls. Signature WBC brews include the Friendly Pils German-style pilsner, Greenleaf West Coast IPA, and Crack That Wit Belgian-style witbier. The spacious patio area occasionally hosts DJs, live music, and trivia nights.
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Two flights of 4 beer tasters side by side on wooden boards that say "LA Bodega Brewing Company"
(Melissa Mora Hidalgo)

LA Bodega Brewing Co.

Whittier Craft Brewery
LA Bodega Brewing Co., Whittier’s newest brewery, celebrated its first anniversary in November. Those looking for an open beer garden to bring kids and dogs might do better elsewhere, as LA Bodega’s secret speakeasy-like setup is more conducive to business lunches, date nights and happy hour meet-ups at the bar. Cans of fresh beer line the refrigerators in the lobby for easy to-go purchases.

Unique for its lager-centric approach, LA Bodega’s house brews are meant to complement the Mexican-influenced menu that features a chile verde pork burrito, bodega fries, and a grilled Caesar salad with Tijuana-style dressing. LA Bodega’s signature brews, German-style with a Mexican twist, are crisp, clean, and flavorful — enjoyable alone or paired with meals. Bestsellers include Hazlitt Hazy IPA, Buena Suerte Lager, and Költura Kölsch. Also delicious: Mala Suerte Dark Lager, toasty and balanced like a more robust Negra Modelo; Bodega Drunkel, a smooth Belgian-style dark lager; and Abuelita Stout on nitro infused with coffee, peppers, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and chocolate.
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Progress Brewing, South El Monte: Author holding pint of Alamo Munich Helles, patio at brewery
(Melissa Mora Hidalgo)

Progress Brewing

South El Monte Brewery
Back in August, Progress Brewing launched its “3.0” iteration in its new taproom space, its third move in nine years. Since opening in South El Monte in 2013, Progress Brewing has churned out its signature lineup of classic ales, lagers, hard aguas frescas and specialty beers meticulously crafted by two UCLA- and Caltech-trained scientists.

A decade later, Progress has grown into a San Gabriel Valley fixture known for its beer of the month club and lively atmosphere, especially during Dodger baseball season. Signature beers at Progress include the Sud-le-Mont Saison, Alamo Munich Helles and Burro Belgian Pale Ale. Don’t miss the Turner American Red Ale, Kama Citra Hazy IPA or customer favorite Sandia Loca, a blonde ale brewed with watermelon and chamoy.
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