A Field Guide to LA’s Best Breweries 

From the South Bay to downtown, here’s where to find the city’s finest beer

April 16, 2024 7:37 am
red barn with sign and lights, yellow chairs outside
Benny Boy Brewing
Marie Buck Photography

When it comes to the best cities for craft beer in California, Los Angeles lagged behind San Diego and San Francisco for years. Then, beginning around 2010 and continuing through the decade thereafter, L.A. finally experienced a craft-beer renaissance. Over these years, new breweries popped up regularly, grew and provided two things L.A. desperately needed: great beer, of course, but also third spaces (places to spend time, gather and socialize that aren’t your home or office). Today, these OG breweries, plus the more recently opened operations, continue to crank out excellent brews and to serve as vital, go-to hangouts.

The thing is, L.A. now has so many breweries that choosing which to visit can start to feel overwhelming. This feeling is then compounded when you’re confronted by L.A.’s geographic sprawl and the fact that it can often take an hour or more to cross the city by car (meaning it may not be tenable to hit all the breweries you’d like to visit in the same day). To help make sense of it all, we’ve broken the city down into three geographic areas, all of which are craft-beer hotspots with breweries in close proximity, and chosen our favorite spots we think you should try first.


inside of bar with stools, barrels, wood
Benny Boy Brewing
Marie Buck Photography

Benny Boy Brewing

Opened in April 2022, two-year-old Benny Boy Brewing has quickly established itself as one of L.A.’s must-visit breweries. Located in Lincoln Heights, the destination is divided into three sections: The Cider House (dedicated to their very own ciders made from California apples), the Tank Bar (where the beer is) and the Backyard (an outdoor area that connects it all). Beer-wise, they describe their brews as “European-inspired with a CA twist,” on account of co-founder Ben Farber learning to brew in Belgium, and offer something for every pallet — from the Backyard Basil Saison (a “bold farmhouse ale with fresh basil”) to the Tripel Trouble (a “dangerously smooth Belgian strong blonde”) to the Friendly Persuasion (an “old school West Coast-ish IPA”). To taste for yourself, order at the Tank Bar, where beers are poured straight from the tank they were brewed in, then snag a seat by one of the firepits outside. And while the beer is reason enough to visit, they have a fantastic calendar of food pop-ups if you need an extra push.

Boomtown Brewery

Located on the northern edge of the Arts District, Boomtown is about a 10-minute walk from the neighborhood’s center and nearby breweries Angel City and Arts District Brewing (more on them below). Stop into the artfully rehabilitated warehouse space to sample brews from the on-tap menu of nearly 20 “old world, unfiltered, full flavored beers,” and stay for events like live music, Karaoke Fridays and Trivia Tuesdays.

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Highland Park Brewery

Founded in Highland Park (hence the name), Highland Park Brewing now operates out of a spacious, converted warehouse just a stones throw from Dodger Stadium. Grab an indoor or outdoor picnic table to gather around with a group of friends and consider sampling one of their hazy IPAs or the crowd-pleasing Timbo Pils. The food here is also worth the trip, with standout options like poutine tots and a wagyu hot dog topped with bacon, onion rings and bbq sauce.

Homage Brewing

Breweries in close proximity to one another are always a plus, and Homage Brewing’s location just a few doors down from Highland Park Brewery means you can’t (read: shouldn’t) visit one without checking out the other. Come by for some day drinking on their patio and order one of their signature, barrel-aged saisons (plus their masa-battered chicken wings to snack on), or visit on Friday and Saturday nights when DJs spin until 2 a.m. and dance parties ensue.

Angel City Brewery

Angel City is one of L.A.’s craft-beer forefathers and the first craft brewery to set up shop in the now beer-obsessed Arts District. Housed in an enormous, old steel cable factory with plenty of room to spread out, this Angel City location has been a go-to gathering place since it opened in 2010. As far as what to drink, check any beer-purist snobbery at the door and get a flight of their often whimsical limited-edition brews like their Avocado Ale (brewed with avocados, cilantro and lime) or the Walnut Milkshake (a “hazy, sweet, creamy” IPA brewed with walnuts, lactose and vanilla).

Arts District Brewing

Opened in 2015 and just a block from Angel City, Arts District Brewing offers an extensive draft beer menu (with $5 happy hour beers from 3 to 7 p.m., Monday to Friday) plus draft cocktails (think Margaritas and a mezcal Paloma). Aside from good beer, you’ll find a row of skee-ball machines, cornhole sets, dartboards and a ping-pong table to keep you occupied, plus a walk-up food window serving classics like soft pretzels, nachos and cheeseburgers to help counteract the drinks.

East Side

Brewyard Beer Company

Brewyard Beer Company says their “one simple mission” is to “redefine and rediscover the universe of lagers.” They accomplish this, in part, by tapping into the Filipino and Japanese heritage of the founders and experimenting with the cornucopia of ingredients they grew up with. This creativity has lead to creations like the Yasuke (a black lager with matcha green tea powder that “adds a light, soothing, herbal bitterness”), the Ube Macapuno (a porter brewed with ube and coconut), and the Kanpai Krush (a light, Koshihikari rice lager). To try them all, visit on weekends when the taproom and patio, tucked away in an industrial park in Glendale, is most lively. Be sure to check their Instagram where their schedule of events, live music and food pop-ups is posted weekly. 

Golden Road Brewing

Golden Road is perhaps L.A.’s most widely-known brewery, and these days, their cans can be found in stores across the country (thanks in part to Anheuser-Busch acquiring them in 2015). Long a popular meeting spot (if you’re a local, chances are you’ve already been at some point), Golden Road’s Atwater Village location offers ample outdoor space and beer-garden vibes, making it an ideal spot to spend a few hours on a sunny day. The family-friendly location consistently offers up solid, approachable beers, with local favorites like the Ride On West Coast IPA and Mango Cart (an easy-drinking wheat ale made with real mango).

Paperback Brewing

Next time you’re planning a visit to Golden Road, consider tagging on a stop at Paperback Brewing, a smaller (and less crowded) brewery located just a few minutes down San Fernando Road. Housed in a vintage airplane hangar, you’ll find a something-for-everyone list of beers on tap, but the hazy IPAs are where it’s at. And before heading home, be sure to walk a few doors down and check out Glendale Tap, which is one of L.A.’s very best taprooms and bottle shops. 

Eagle Rock Brewery

While a mainstay for East Side beer lovers since it opened in 2009, the tiny Eagle Rock Brewery will feel like a discovery for those who’ve yet to visit. Once inside the intimate tasting room, step up to the bar and sample some of their small-batch, artisanal beers — like their signature brew, the Populist American IPA. For food, there’s often a food truck on site or you’re welcome to bring outside food with you.

South Bay


Opened in 2012, Monkish, which is housed in a small, old, nondescript office park, doesn’t look like anything special from the outside (and the fairly barebones interior follows suit). What it lacks in ambiance, however, it more than makes up for in incredible “Belgian-ish and IPA-ish beer.” In fact, many craft beer aficionados often cite Monkish as producing the best beer in L.A. — especially when it comes to hazy IPAs. So if you’re more discerning with your beer selections, or drinking with someone who is, swing by and grab a seat on the dog- and kid-friendly parking-lot-turned-patio. And before leaving, make sure to buy several cans to take with you, as the only way to acquire canned Monkish is by purchasing it at the brewery, at their beer garden in Anaheim or online.

Smog City Brewing

Located just around the corner from Monkish, making for an easy, mini-brewery hop, Smog City is another local favorite whose beer can be found in restaurants and bottle shops across the city. To sample the goods from the source, head to their warehouse-style space, which fuses taproom with production facility, and try one of their best-known beers, either the robust Coffee Porter or the Smog City IPA (which they describe as “a full bodied hop lovers’ paradise”).

Three Weavers Brewing

Situated just minutes from LAX, making it a great spot to bring beer-loving out-of-towners right after they land, Three Weavers offers a laid-back taproom with 12 or more beers on tap at all times. To start, try their signature brew, the “bright, tropical, fruit-laden” Expatriate West Coast IPA, which has been on offer since they opened their doors in 2013. For something lighter, and another Three Weavers classic, opt for the crisp and refreshing Seafarer Kölsch.


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