Back in July I told you that the Antelope Valley, about an hour northeast of Los Angeles, would soon become a craft beer destination; as of Saturday afternoon, I officially proclaim the Antelope Valley a bona fide craft beer destination when Transplants Brewing Company held their Grand Opening and ribbon cutting at their tasting room in Palmdale.
These photos were taken at the four craft breweries that are now open and brewing in the Antelope Valley. They include Transplants Brewing and Lucky Luke Brewing which are across the street from each other in Palmdale; and Bravery Brewing and Kinetic Brewing Company in Lancaster. The accompanying map is set up for doing your own self-guided craft beer tour of the Antelope Valley. Less than 10 miles separate Transplants and Kinetic which are at the far ends of the tour; they may catch up to Torrance at their current rate of expansion and after talking to a couple of the brewery owners, the owners would love it.
I started off at Transplants Brewing Company (Location A on map) for their ribbon cutting. I had visited the facility a couple times since July so I had a general idea of what they had in mind but was blown away by the visuals that immediately pounce on you. The mural is a work in progress but has so much going on; one could spend hours checking out all the intricacies of it. The artist, Brandon “BL” Singleton worked in collaboration with an artist he has worked with before and they do good work together. He worked on the front mural during the grand opening so visitors were able to watch his work progress. Continue reading
Back in 2012, I was at a craft beer festival where I met a Hangar 24 representative that invited me to take a tour of the Hangar 24 brewery in Redlands. Since this was in June, I figured that I would probably wait a while since Redlands can be pretty hot in the summer. In the meantime the craft beer movement around the South Bay suddenly exploded. Whenever I thought about driving the 80+ miles to Redlands, there always seemed to be a closer craft beer distraction that kept me from making the drive. On top of that, there was not a lot going on out there that I was aware of.
In the following years Redlands had their own craft beer explosion with the inclusion of Ritual Brewing at the end of 2012 and Escape Craft Brewery in 2015. Donkey Punch Brewing also opened in 2012, but never seemed to grow legs; I hear they may be closing soon.
Anyway, last August I ran across Escape Craft Brewery at the BEERS Summer Fest and was impressed enough that I now had three breweries in the same general vicinity that I wanted to visit; so Friday I made that happen. Continue reading
On Friday afternoon the San Fernando Valley officially became a craft beer destination when San Fernando Brewing Company held their grand opening, making them the third craft brewery in the San Fernando Valley (SFV) with a tasting room. The accompanying photos are from their ribbon cutting which was attended by friends, family, various representatives of the City of San Fernando including the mayor and chief of police as well as lots of craft beer fans.
San Fernando Brewing Company is definitely a family operation with brothers Vic (the brewer) and Joe Chouchanian heading up things but you could tell that there were lots of family members involved, including mom. The tasting room was quite welcoming, not only in its clean appearance and setup, but they are one of the only brewery tasting rooms I can remember visiting that actually has air conditioning. Considering it was well over 100 yesterday, and even hotter the day before when one of the A/C units failed and had to be replaced.
San Fernando Brewing has had a soft open for the past six weeks, but used their grand opening to release the latest of their five brews, Sonora Wheat, which was definitely a crowd favorite while I was there and was probably my favorite as well. Sonora wheat was used in this beer because it used to be one of the natural crops in the San Fernando Valley. The other four included their Wolfskill IPA, O’Melveny Red Ale, Royal Road Pale Ale and Stoney Point Stout. One advantage San Fernando Brewing has that is rather unusual is that the city of San Fernando gets their water from a well; this water really brings out the flavor in the Stoney Point Stout. Continue reading
This self-guided tour is from the second day of a five day craft beer tour I took in February. Day one consisted of visits to Bakersfield, Fresno and Turlock which provided breweries to stop at along California Highway 99. This segment of the tour can be picked up along Interstate 5 or Highway 99.
The breweries and brewpubs visited on this leg of the trip are Main Street Brewery in Pleasanton, Jack’s Brewing Company in San Ramon, Drake’s Barrel House in San Leandro and Lagunitas Brewing Company in Petaluma. While the first three locations are considered part of San Francisco’s East Bay, Petaluma is definitely not part of the East Bay, but you should not let that get in the way; as you follow the rest of the tour it will make sense. All of the photos and the review of these locations can be found at http://craftbeerguy.com/main-street-jacks-drakes-lagunitas-russian-river/.
This particular self-guided craft beer tour will be a five (5) part series that covers a visit to 22 production breweries and brewpubs between Los Angeles and Santa Rosa. Let there be no mistake, there are far more than 22 craft breweries in that geographical area but we had a set amount of time. It was another of those “so many beers, so little time” situations. When I set out from LA there were three basic routes to take; I could drive Interstate 5 which is definitely the fastest route but the desert is a barren wasteland when it comes to craft beer. Taking US 101 up the coast takes significantly longer than I-5, but there are barrels and barrels of beer all along the way and if time is of any importance, there are far too many distractions. The third option and the one I opted to take was California Highway 99. When I opted to take 99 I knew the drive would take a little longer, but I also know that I would be able to find some craft beer along the way. This particular route was set going northbound, but you can easily reverse the map provided below and plug in your own starting point.
The locations visited on this leg of the self-guided craft beer tour were Lengthwise Brewing in Bakersfield, Full Circle Brewing Company in Fresno and Dust Bowl Brewing Company in Turlock. You can find the photos of the three locations at http://craftbeerguy.com/lengthwise-full-circle-dust-bowl-brewing/.
For the second installment of my mapped self-guided craft beer tours, I will map out a beer tour I made of Orange County back in January. If you would like to see photos of the locations visited on this tour, you can find my photos and comments here. For the uninitiated, please be aware, there are a lot more craft breweries in Orange County than these; in fact, there are new locations that have opened since I wrote the initial article in January. I chose to visit those locations simply because I had never been there before; I chose the order for a couple of reasons. The first is that individual one day tours are going to start and end at home, so I always try to make the journey circular. You should be able to plug in your own home address and create your own circle by using the same order I have them laid out in; even if you start with Location C instead of Location A. The second thing I take into consideration is food; so I try to include at least one brewpub and I do my best at avoiding two in a row.
The locations visited were Bootlegger’s Brewery in Fullerton, TAPS Fish House & Brewery in Brea, Noble Ale Works in Anaheim, Tustin Brewing Company in Tustin and Brewbakers in Huntington Beach.
I am a firm believer that if one person suggests something, there is a good chance that dozens of others are thinking the same thing. Since I have had many people tell me that I should include maps of the craft brewery tours I write about, I have decided to add a new feature, maps of the various breweries and their relationship to each other. I have decided to use MapQuest since they allow you to plug in your starting point; Google Maps seems to eliminated that feature, so we will use MapQuest until something better comes along.
These maps will be set up to show the easiest way to visit each of the breweries visited and will usually form a circular pattern so you are not bouncing around from one end of town to another and back again. I am beginning with the South Bay area of Southern California for a couple reasons. The first, and most logical, is because that is where I live. The second being that there has been such an explosion of microbreweries around here that I know people from other areas would like to know the easiest way to see all that the South Bay offers. Whenever possible, these tours will begin with one freeway close location and end with another freeway close destination. If you are a first time visitor to any of these locations I recommend a purchasing a flight so you can sample what each brewery offers,