California is known for its pristine beaches, the Golden Gate Bridge, and Hollywood. But many of you are unaware it has hundreds of noteworthy breweries serving fresh craft beers. You can find almost any beer style here, from American lagers to German ales, as well as award-winning exclusive brews.
So if you are an avid beer-lover, add California to your bucket list and visit these top 11 breweries in the state.
1. Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Started as a small hand-built brewhouse in the 1980s, Sierra Nevada has proven to be among the most popular breweries in California. It is owned by Ken Grossman, who is a passionate homebrewer. He built the Sierra Nevada independently and did everything from scratch using recycled dairy equipment.
Today, Sierra Nevada boasts a massive space featuring a 200-barrel brewhouse and a 100-barrel German system. And the brewery is also proud to serve the people its famous brews like the Pale Ale, Hazy Little Thing, and Hard Kombucha.
- Crowd Favorite: Pale Ale. A generously hopped American Pale Ale with 5.6% ABV.
- Highly Recommended: Torpedo Extra IPA
- Hop-py Note: Vegan and vegetarian food options. Brewery tours.
- Fun Fact: Sierra Nevada’s Big Little Thing broke the Guinness World Record for “the greatest distance a trebuchet has thrown a 20kg projectile”.
Hours: Open Daily 11am-9pm
Address: 1075 E 20th St, Chico, CA 95928
2. Lagunitas Brewing Company
Lagunitas Brewing is the place for you if you are a fan of hop-forward beers. This brewery has been serving Northern California for almost three decades with innovative brews. Lagunitas started as a humble brewery, but due to its success and an increasing number of fans, the brewery expanded to state-to-state operations. And in 2015, Lagunitas had its big break when it partnered with Heineken and started distributing its beers outside the United States.
In this present day, you can find Lagunitas’ beers almost everywhere. And in its taprooms, you can enjoy out-of-the-box brews like its IPNA, a non-alcoholic hop-forward beverage, and Hi-Fi Hops, a cannabis-infused hoppy drink.
- Crowd Favorite: IPA. A classic and hoppy American IPA with 6.2% ABV.
- Highly Recommended: A Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale
- Hop-py Note: Live music. Offers takeout and delivery. Outdoor seating.
Hours: Open Wed-Fri 11:30am-8pm, Sat-Tue Closed
3. Russian River Brewing Company
Serving California for over two decades, Russian River Brewing has made its name known to thousands of beer lovers. It became an award-winning brewery through the years and earned the title “Brewery and Brew Master of the Year” twice. Moreover, these awards are thanks to Russian River’s exceptional brewmaster, Vinnie, a remarkable brewer who crafted the brewery’s most famous Double IPA, Pliny the Elder.
Today, Russian River Brewing is proud to have two active locations in Santa Rosa and Windsor. You can enjoy tasty pub fare menus in both locations and up to 18 beer samplers. And you can also find wines and ciders in the taproom’s bar, along with bottles and cans of beer.
- Crowd Favorite: Pliny the Elder. A massively hopped Double IPA with 8% ABV.
- Highly Recommended: Blind Pig IPA
- Hop-py Note: Happy hour specials. Offers delivery and takeout. Indoor and outdoor seating.
Hours: Open Mon-Fri 11am-10pm, Sat 11am-6pm, Sun Closed
Address: 725 4th St, Santa Rosa, CA 95404
4. Bottle Logic Brewing
Bottle Logic has served California since 2013 with a state-of-the-art taproom and quality craft beers. It is an award-winning Anaheim brewery and has been in the same location since its foundation. But if you are outside Anaheim and still wish to taste its beers, Bottle Logic distributes its beers outside the city.
When you visit Bottle Logic’s taproom, expect over 20 fresh beers available on tap that you can get on a pint or in a flight of six. You can also enjoy cans of beers available for to-go orders or can pours for on-premises consumption. Moreover, you can choose from various apparel and glassware on Bottle Logic’s merch shop, which also features accessories and things for dogs.
- Crowd Favorite: Double Actuator. A heavy hopped Double IPA with 8.5% ABV.
- Highly Recommended: Recursion
- Hop-py Note: Dog-friendly. Wheelchair accessible. Street and bike parking.
Hours: Open Mon-Thur 12pm-10pm, Fri 12pm-12am, Sat 10am-6pm, Sun Closed
Address: 1072 N Armando St, Anaheim, CA 92806
5. AleSmith Brewing Company
Established in 1995, AleSmith is an artisanal brewing company passionate about crafting noteworthy brews. Skip Virgilio founded it in 1995, but Grand Master Judge Peter Zien took ownership in 2002, leading the brewery to greater heights. Now, AleSmith is known as one of the top craft breweries in the world per consumer reviews in RateBeer.
AleSmith boasts a state-of-the-art facility with a 100,000 sq. ft. space and San Diego’s biggest tasting room. The place is always festive with events and games played on the television. And you can enjoy the fun with a sip of AleSmith’s special brews like a barrel-aged stout and cranberry ale.
- Crowd Favorite: Speedway Stout. A heavy Imperial stout with 12% ABV.
- Highly Recommended: IPA
- Hop-py Note: Offers delivery and takeout. Dog-friendly. Good for kids.
- Fun Fact: In 2008, the GABF awarded AleSmith the “Small Brewing Company and Brewer of the Year” award.
Hours: Open Mon-Thur 11am-10pm, Fri & Sat 11am-11pm, Sun Closed
6. Monkish Brewing Co.
Since its opening in 2012, Monkish Brewing has made a name with its exceptional Belgian beers and IPAs. It is currently serving the people of Torrance and Anaheim delicious beers, from hoppy IPAs and smooth tripels to funky beers and special German brews.
With owner Henry Nguyen’s Asian roots, Monkish has been experimenting brews using uncommon brewing ingredients. And the results are delicious brews like wine-barrel-aged beers and dry-hopped Saison with Brettanomyces yeast.
- Crowd Favorite: Foggier Window. A Double dry-hopped IPA with 8.1% ABV.
- Highly Recommended: Foggy Window
- Hop-py Note: Free Wi-Fi. Food trucks on-site. Dog-friendly. Good for kids.
- Fun Fact: Nguyen tracks the weather before he brews because he finds the right time to brew and ferment his beers.
Hours: Open Mon-Wed 12pm-9pm, Thur-Sat 12pm-10pm, Sun 12pm-8pm
7. The Bruery
Owned by Patrick Rue, a Certified Master Cicerone, The Bruery is a renowned brewery in Placentia, California. It is famous for its distinct beer styles, where taste matters the most. You can find amazing brews like pumpkin-infused stouts and Wheatwine-style ales. And aside from the brewery’s 40 line drafts that you can enjoy on-site, you can also choose from 50 beers in cans to take home with you.
The best part about The Bruery is that it offers an exclusive membership club where you can access limited premium brews. You’ll also enjoy early releases, discounts, special glassware, merchandise, and more. And you’ll be invited to member-only events and taste unique experimental beers.
- Crowd Favorite: Mischief. A delicious and fruity Belgian Strong Golden Ale with 8.5% ABV.
- Highly Recommended: Autumn Maple
- Hop-py Note: Happy hour specials. Dog-friendly. Indoor and outdoor seating.
Hours: Open Mon & Tue 3pm-9pm, Wed-Fri 12pm-10pm, Sat 12pm-5pm, Sun Closed
Address: 717 Dunn Way, Placentia, CA 92870
8. Golden Road Brewing
Proud of its Californian roots, Golden Road is committed to serving the people with exceptionally crafted beers while caring for sustainability and the community. Golden Road started from a humble 15 bbl brewery in 2011 to a 75 bbl brewhouse with thousands of loyal followers.
In 2015, Golden Road officially became part of Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s biggest beer company. With this extensive partnership, Golden Road started distributing its beers outside California and has also been able to open several taprooms in the state. And all of its taprooms serve Golden Road’s remarkable brews like the Mango Cart and Golden State Cerveza.
- Crowd Favorite: Mango Cart. A crisp mango-flavored fruit beer with 4% ABV.
- Highly Recommended: Wolf Pup Session IPA
- Hop-py Note: Kid and dog-friendly. Covered outdoor seating. Wheelchair accessible.
- Fun Fact: Around 70% to 80% of Golden Road’s used electricity comes from solar panels.
Hours: Open Mon-Thur 11am-10pm, Fri 11am-12am, Sat & Sun Closed
9. Alvarado Street Brewery
Originally serving Old Town Monterey since 2014, Alvarado Street is another award-winning Californian brewery. It is an establishment committed to serving delicious craft beers while exercising philanthropy and sustainability.
Aside from its Monterey location, Alvarado Street boasts three other locations, including a Salinas production facility and a Carmel bistro. You can visit any of its branches in California and find its famous and award-winning beer, Mai Tai P.A. Moreover, enjoy Alvarado’s Yeast of Eden series, where you can try premium brewed beers. These consists of two barrel-aged wild ale and a luxurious Vieille Saison.
- Crowd Favorite: Mai Tai P.A. A hop-forward American IPA with 6.5% ABV.
- Highly Recommended: Contains No Juice
- Hop-py Note: Street parking. Wheelchair accessible. Offers takeout.
- Fun Fact: You can find Alvarado Street beers in over 70 stores in California.
Hours: Open Sun-Thur 11:30am-10pm, Fri & Sat 11:30am-11pm
Address: 426 Alvarado St, Monterey, CA 93940
10. Fieldwork Brewing Company
Fieldwork is another brewing company serving California with exceptional craft beers. Thousands of people love Fieldwork for its ever-changing tap list of remarkable brews and delicious pub fares. Moreover, Fieldwork caters to thousands of people because it has eight active locations across California. And all of these locations serve fresh craft beers on tap, a flight of six, and offer direct state shipping when you order cans of Fieldwork’s beers.
- Crowd Favorite: PULP. A juicy and citrusy New England IPA with 6.9% ABV.
- Highly Recommended: King Citra®
- Hop-py Note: Sells merchandise. Offers delivery and curbside pickup. Dog-friendly.
- Fun Fact: Fieldwork has a Pup Pack where dog lovers can get four cans of Pulp beer and a plush dog toy.
Hours: Open Mon-Thur 12pm-10pm, Fri & Sat 11am-11pm, Sun 11am-10pm
11. Hangar 24 Craft Brewing
Established in 2008 by a group of friends, Hangar 24 is a craft brewery born from the founders’ passion for brewing and flying. It has three active locations, two are in California, and one is in Arizona. All of these locations have aviation-themed taprooms because the owners are certified aviators.
Hangar 24’s taprooms are filled with cans and bottles of beer, and over 20 draft lines are available for pint and flight pours. There are also food trucks outside where you can get food, but if you visit its Orange County location, this place serves delicious in-house food.
- Crowd Favorite: Orange Wheat. A crisp, refreshing, and tangy Wheat beer with 4.6% ABV.
- Highly Recommended: Betty IPA
- Hop-py Note: Dog-friendly. Wheelchair accessible. Street parking.
- Fun Fact: The brewery’s name is from the founders’ favorite hangout place, the Redlands Municipal Airport’s Hangar 24.
Hours: Open Mon & Tue 11:30am-8pm, Wed & Thur 11:30am-10pm, Fri & Sat 11:30am-11pm, Sun Closed
Address: 1710 Sessums Dr, Redlands, CA 92374