Rankings based on full visit experience (beers + food + general ambiance)
  1. Yes, it's pretty much in Anaheim, but 100% worth the trip. Best straight up beer offerings in LA with incredible range of Belgian styles, including sours, barrel-aged ales and crazily inspired experimental beers. Location isn't huge, but has plenty of seating. No food, but usually a food truck on premises or you can stop at nearby Portillos on the way. Great spot to hit up if you're going to an Angels game.
  2. Angel City Brewery - http://angelcitybrewery.com/
    Huge fun space in the downtown arts district with games, cornhole, art and a generally excellent vibe. Standard tap list is pretty standard west-coast (pale ale, IPA, whit...), but they usually have one or two crazier things on tap to try. Hit up their Avocado Fest in late summer when they release an excellent Avocado Ale. Almost always a food truck there or just bring in takeout from Wurstkuche, Umami Burger or anything in Little Tokyo.
  3. Technically an offshoot of the Bruery (also in Placentia). They moved their wild ale and sour production to a separate location to avoid wild yeast contamination. Some overlap on taps with the main Bruery location, but more sour focus at Terreux. Larger space with more seating and generally less crowded. Worth stopping at both this and the original Bruery since they're so close.
  4. Very new taproom in Van Nuys for a brewery that's been making incredible beers in super-limited distribution for a while. If you dig sours, saisons, fruit beers and anything barrel-aged, you must check this place out. Taproom itself is tiny, but off the beaten path. Only open every other weekend, so check the calendar.
  5. Located in Anaheim, very close to the Bruery. Good batch of west-coast standards (IPAs a plenty), but big on experimental beers with some nice barrel aged options. Usually a food truck outside, and a medium sized space that can get a little crowded.
  6. Santa Monica Brew Works - http://santamonicabrewworks.com/
    Solid new space on the west side. Their canned offerings are above average as far as west coast staples go, but their best stuff is an assortment of rotating experimental and barrel aged taps at the taproom itself. Nice ambience and rarely too crowded. Definitely worth a visit.
  7. Ladyface Ale Companie - http://ladyfaceale.com/
    More restaurant than taproom. Points for outstanding range of beer styles and very solid food menu. Comfy environment and live music on weekends. Great stop post a hike in Malibu Creek State Park.
  8. The Propagator (Firestone Walker) - http://www.firestonebeer.com/visit/venice.php
    Technically based out of Santa Barbara, Firestone opened a brewpub in Venice. Offers the firestone staples (DBA, 805, etc.), but also a rotating assortment of rare special releases. The bar space is limited, but has a restaurant with full menu - including some bomb ass pizzas. Super crowded on weekends.
  9. Newcomer to DTLA. Great space with a wonderfully classy vibe. Solid tap list - nothing that will knock your socks off, but they do the west coast standards quite well. Food trucks at certain hours. Tends to be less crowded than the other downtown tap rooms since its in the middle of warehouse nowheresville.
  10. Arts District Brewing - http://www.artsdistrictbrewing.com/
    Another new addition to DTLA. Beer is meh, but who the hell cares, because THERE IS SKEE-BALL!! Swell space in general, with excellent food from Fritzi next door. Also creates a very walkable triangle with Mumford and Angel City. Major downside is it gets PACKED on weekends. Plus they have a full bar, so expect to wait 20+ minutes for your beer while the bartender fixes up a round of lemon drop shots for the USC juniors packing the place in.
  11. Three Weavers Brewing - http://www.threeweavers.la/
    Smallish space, but outdoor seating is nice. Great range of beer styles - though nothing too crazy (nice porter and stouts though). Who knew Inglewood had great beer? No food, but come on Saturday nights for the acetylene-torched brioche donuts from Fill R Up LA.
  12. Super unique place down in Carson. Vaguely horror themed brew pub. Very good food and beer, but smallish menu for both (plenty of solid guest taps and bottles though). Show old horror movies in the back room. Try the brisket sandwich.
  13. Probably the biggest and best known LA brewer. Great classic west-coast lineup with various IPAs and other hopped up creations. Large menu with alright food. The taproom space is huge, but gets super loud, crowded and hectic. Nice spot if you're in the valley or coming from Griffith Park.
  14. Excellent range of Belgian style beers - a must-check-out if you're into Saisons and the like. Part of the "Beermuda Triangle" in Torrance (walkable from Smog City and The Dude). Taproom itself is too small, noisy and gets super packed. No food beyond pretzels, though you can bring in.
  15. Truly odd young brewery in Alhambra. Taproom is basically a bar inside a gift shop with no seats, and I don't think you can get anything other than tasters and growler fills. That said, their beer is terrific and ambitious with high-quality west coast standards (IPA, DIPA) and some funky experimentals. Chicago transplants - hit up Al's Italian Beef or Nancy's Stuffed Pizza down the street!
  16. Another part of the "Beermuda Triangle" with a solid range of hoppy beers. Loses points for lack of ambience, no food, tends to get crowded. You'll find yourself trying to balance a flight on your lap.
  17. Macleod Brewing - http://www.macleodale.com/
    A unique offering in Van Nuys, in that it specializes in British style ales: casks, nitros, scotch ales, English style IPAs, etc. Nice down to earth spot that feels like an old time British pub. Catch it with a fish and chips food truck and/or live fiddle music to complete the experience. Parking is rough though.
  18. Very small space with a limited selection of brews. Gets points for solid guest taps. Loses points for no food and not really near anything. Still not a bad visit for some cozy drinks.
  19. Mumford - mumfordbrewing.com
    Nothing standout, but a solid (albeit LOUD) downtown taproom with a decent lineup of pretty standard west-coast offerings. No real food, but not far from the Arts district and Little Tokyo. Still very new, so might improve with time. One tricky note - the place is almost in skid row, so gets rather shady after dark.
  20. Last on this list, but definitely still worth a visit. Very, very tiny space and nothing all that remarkable about their beers (standard west-coast tap list, solid IPA), but a unique cozy environment in an often overlooked part of town. No food and kind of small to even eat in, but the guys who work there are great.