Taking a self-guided craft beer tour of the South Bay

Hi there, thanks for visiting. I just wanted to point out that this article was written in April of 2014, the South Bay only had seven craft breweries then. You can find a more current list of breweries at http://craftbeerguy.com/list-all-south-bay-breweries/ (it was written December 2016).

Cheers!

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.

A. King Harbor Brewing Company – 2907 182nd Street Redondo Beach, CA 90278-3922
Hours: Wednesday/Thursday/Friday 4:00-8:00 PM, Saturday 12:00-8:00 PM, Sunday 12:00-6:00 PM

There are a couple reasons I listed King Harbor Brewing Company first. The first reason is that they are the closest to me; the second is that they brew session (low ABV) beers. They have two flagship beers, The Quest Pale Ale and Abel Brown American Brown Ale. They usually have a variation or two of each and with low ABV of each this is a great way to start your journey. 64 ounce growlers are [usually] available for to-go purchases.

B. Absolution Brewing Company – 2878 Columbia Street Torrance, CA 90503-3808
Hours: Wednesday/Thursday 3:00-9:00 PM, Friday/Saturday 11:00-9:00 PM, Sunday 12:00-6:00 PM

Absolution Brewing Company is less than three miles away from King Harbor Brewing and is the newest craft beer tasting room to open in Torrance. Absolution Brewing has many different varieties of beer available with ABVs ranging from their 4.5 sessionable IPA to a healthy 9.6 Double IPA. They also brew a Belgian-style ale, a stout, porter, Hefeweizen and Saison to name a few. They also brew a root beer and cream soda for the kids or your designated driver. They seem to usually have a food truck available as well. 64 and 32 ounce growlers are available for to-go purchases.

C. Smog City Brewing Company – 1901 Del Amo Boulevard Torrance, CA 90501-1304
Hours: Wednesday/Thursday/Friday 4:00-9:00 PM, Saturday 12:00-8:00 PM, Sunday 12:00-6:00 PM

Smog City Brewing is about two miles from Absolution Brewing and is the home to the South Bay’s only GABF gold medal winner with their Groundwork Coffee Porter. Smog City is another production brewery that has a wide variety of brews to choose from. In fact, one of my favorite things about Smog City is that every week they seem to have something different. Their beers can range from a mellow 4.5% ABV to close to 12%. They do not offer food, so feel free to bring your own or have some delivered. Smog City Brewing offers 64 ounce growlers for takeaway consumption and they will be releasing bottles shortly.

D. Monkish Brewing Company – 20311 S Western Avenue Torrance, CA 90501-1504
Hours: Thursday/Friday 4:00-9:00 PM, Saturday 1:00-8:00 PM, Sunday 1:00-6:00 PM

Monkish Brewing Company is literally right around the corner from Smog City; about 1/4 of a mile, so park at one and walk back and forth; it will take less time than moving the car. Monkish Brewing is different than any of the other local breweries in that they specialize in Belgian-style ales. You are not going to find any IPAs there, but if you are a hophead check out their Belgian-style pale ales as they will definitely satisfy your hoppy needs. The brews at Monkish will range anywhere from 5% to 12%, so while they are very tasty be aware that some of these ales are very potent. Monkish Brewing always has a food truck on Thursdays and sometimes on Friday or Saturday. 64 ounce growlers and 750 ml bottles are available to take home with you.

E. Strand Brewing Company – 23520 Telo Avenue Torrance, CA 90505-4013
Hours: Thursday/Friday 4:00-9:00 PM, Saturday 12:00-8:00 PM, Sunday 12:00-6:00 PM

Strand Brewing Company is the oldest production brewery in the South Bay at four years old. They are a little more than four miles from Monkish Brewing. Strand Brewing has pale and amber ales as well as several IPAs and a stout. The ABVs range from their session pale ale at 3.8% to their double IPAs both topping 8%. Growlers and bottles are available to take home and they rarely have food trucks (special events only). If you are hungry, you are more than welcome to bring food in or have it delivered there.

F. The Brewery at Abigaile – 1301 Manhattan Avenue Hermosa Beach, CA 90254-3654
Hours: Monday thru Friday 5:00-12:00 AM, Saturday and Sunday 11:00 AM – 12:00 AM

The Brewery at Abigaile is the South Bay’s largest brewpub and pretty much resets the bar when it comes to brewpubs. You are not going to find your typical bar food, they are definitely upscale. Abigaile is about seven miles from Strand Brewing and is definitely worth the stop. While parking in Hermosa Beach can be a total pain, so take advantage of the free parking that is available at their underground parking structure. The Brewery at Abigaile will have five or six of their in-house brewed beers and a very nice guest tap list. If you come on a weekday, they have their R&D (happy) Hour that runs from 5:00-7:00 PM that will feature experimental dishes from the kitchen and discounts on the beers brewed there. I highly recommend ordering a flight, even though I have been coming here for two years I usually do so I can try a little of everything. The kitchen closes at 10:00 PM, so if coming for the food as much as the beer keep that in mind. Growlers are usually available in both 32 and 64 ounce varieties.

G. El Segundo Brewing Company – 140 Main Street El Segundo, CA 90245-3801
Hours: Monday thru Thursday 4:00-9:00 PM, Friday 4:00-10:00 PM, Saturday 12:00-10:00 PM, Sunday 12:00-7:00 PM

El Segundo Brewing Company is known as the hopcentric craft brewery of the South Bay and are the only one of our craft breweries that has a tasting room that is open seven days a week. It is a little over five miles from The Brewery at Abigaile and just a couple miles south of LAX if you are trying to schedule your beer tour around an outgoing flight. Just be careful, their hoppy brews have caused more than one person to miss their flight. They do not serve food and only have food trucks available for special occasions but you are more than welcome to bring food in and there are plenty of places around them that will deliver to you. 32 and 64 ounce growlers are available and several of their beers are available in bottles.

As you can see, the South Bay has plenty of fresh craft beer available to you. All of these locations are close enough to each other that you can visit them all in a day, or you can spread it out over a couple of days. Either way, you are going to have a great time; I assure you. Cheers!

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