5 Microbreweries in the South Bay You Must Visit This Spring

Posted: April 9, 2015 in Beer, Los Angeles, Top 5
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In today’s society, the spread of information, such as the advent of social media, has helped to educate citizens about the benefits of higher quality products. Tastes and preferences constantly change, and we now see that more and more people start to prefer quality over quantity. If we look around the world, the terms we associate with quantity tend to refer to corporations that have a global reach, such as some soft drink companies or fast food chains. If we want quality, we tend to search locally, as local businesses focus more on the quality of their products and services. For example, in the past few years, a large shift in the preference of beer has gone underway, where most beer-drinkers now prefer local craft beers as opposed to mass-produced light beer common around the world. Microbreweries tend to crop up in geographical clusters centralized along a particular city or region, such as Vista or Mira Mesa down in San Diego County. Craft beer fans in the greater Los Angeles area can find breweries all over the place, but will soon want to start visiting the South Bay more often, as numerous new microbreweries have opened up in the past couple of years. If you have not yet familiarized yourself with the South Bay craft beer scene, I recommend starting with these five microbreweries to visit this season, and then branching out from there.

5. Phantom Carriage Brewery

One of the few themed microbreweries that I have visited, Phantom Carriage Brewery broke new ground this year opening up as the city of Carson’s first production microbrewery. This particular location inches closer towards the stretch-of-no-beer that runs from Long Beach northward through a handful of cities all the way up to the San Gabriel Valley. True to the name, Phantom Carriage has a dark, goth-like theme inside the tasting room – dim lights along with a general dark interior contributed towards the effect of an actual physical phantom carriage nearby. With a slight speakeasy vibe, Phantom Carriage will surely please anyone of any generation.

4. Monkish Brewing Co.

In many counties with a thriving craft beer culture, one brewery always exists as the black sheep of the herd. In San Diego County, Lost Abbey clearly holds this title for their odd and strong brews that have nothing to do with the IPA dominance of San Diego County. In Orange County, The Bruery easily represents the black sheep for their heavy catalog of sours and strong beers, not to mention a barrel storage facility that holds over 3,000 filled barrels. In the South Bay, one could wager that Monkish Brewing Co. would fulfill the role of the black sheep of this region. Monkish definitely strays away from standard offerings that travelers would expect of a brewery. Whenever I visit a new brewery, I always look for the standards: something light (lager or pilsner), wheat/white ale, pale ale, amber or brown ale, IPA, stout or porter, and something strong. Monkish breaks this pattern by simply serving whatever they feel like. Monkish also tends to brew uncommon types, such as experimental sours or Belgian styles. I find their tasting room’s business hours a bit strange, so check up on when they open before you make the journey here.

3. El Segundo Brewing Company

Currently residing as their city’s only microbrewery, El Segundo Brewing Company remains a solid fixture in Downtown El Segundo with no plans of vacating any time soon. Looking into their building does make one wonder if they should consider moving into a larger building though, as they have the smallest tasting room I have ever stepped foot in. As a popular fictional character once said, “Size does not mean everything,” which reflects perfectly here at El Segundo Brewing. Despite a small tasting room, this brewery churns out amazing brews capable of winning medals. Along with a bottling line for retail sales, El Segundo Brewing continues to stand their ground as a solid force in the craft beer market.

2. Smog City Brewing Company

When thinking about the originals of the South Bay beer scene, Smog City Brewing Company usually comes to mind. Centrally located in Torrance, Smog City has a concrete plan about how to operate a brewery, and they do such a great job at it. People all over Southern California feel Smog City’s presence, from beer festivals to restaurants to bottle shops and more. Aptly named for their proximity to the Exxon Mobil Refinery, Smog City’s location essentially marks them as a hub for most of the South Bay breweries. Most people who conduct a South Bay brewery tour tend to start at Smog City as a result, not to mention the generous business hours of the tasting room. With a large portfolio of beers available at any given time, visitors to the tasting room will always find something new to try, and something new to take home.

1. Strand Brewing Co.

The South Bay holds a handful of craft beer businesses, but none of them could stand at their current position today with Strand Brewing Co. Much like how Kogi BBQ started the gourmet food truck craze, Strand basically put the South Bay on the craft beer map. Obviously they did not do it themselves – they had the help from the local avid craft beer loyalists seeking to bring some young life to an otherwise industrial area. Out of all of the South Bay breweries, Strand has traveled quite far with their beers – I have spotted their 24th Street Pale Ale in Las Vegas before. One could even say that they have the greatest reach if they can traverse into another state. The people love Strand, and Strand gives back to the people by participating with the locals in events, fundraisers, festivals, and more. Check out the Strand tasting room in Torrance soon for a fun time.

  1. Awesome! We want to see them all!

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