When it comes to cities in California with great craft beer scenes, Los Angeles has long been overshadowed by San Diego to the south and San Francisco to the north. Luckily, that’s changing — and fast!
Los Angeles breweries are finally stepping up to the plate, and to make all our lives easier, they’re doing it within walking distance of one and other in Downtown Los Angeles.
That’s right, a thriving beer-topia (one that didn’t exist just a year ago) is booming within a one square mile patch of Downtown Los Angles — with the gritty-turned-ultra-cool Arts District neighborhood at the center.
While you’ll find a few great breweries in city’s eastern and southern reaches, nowhere else is it as easy and as fun to experience what Los Angeles breweries have to offer as it is in the Arts District.
To help you do it right, I took a self-guided brewery tour, and below, share with you four must-visit breweries (presented in the order in which I suggest visiting them) and the need-to-know details. At the end, you’ll find a map to help guide the way.
The Best Breweries In Los Angeles (And How To Visit Them All On A Self-Guided Brewery Tour Of Downtown LA)
1) Mumford Brewing Co.
Opened in June of 2015, Mumford Brewing Co. sits in somewhat of a no man’s land between Little Tokyo, Skid Row and the the Arts District. Mumford, however, and the vibrantly painted building it’s housed in, is on the forefront of bringing a bit more life to this somewhat lifeless quadrant of industrial streets. Inside, the space is bright, airy and social — but most importantly, the beer is on point. Grab a sampler and make sure to include their signature Black Coffee Mamba, an “American black ale” made with Stumptown Coffee.
Good To Know: While the Arts District proper, which is only three blocks away across South Alameda Street, has become throughly gentrified, Mumford’s neck of the woods remains a little rough around the edges. But that shouldn’t discourage you from going (it’s packed on the weekends).
I suggest making Mumford Brewing you first stop, as you’ll want to spend the rest of your day in the Arts District proper visiting the next three stops. If you have a designated driver, you can park at Mumford (check their website for parking info) then drive over to the Arts District and park your car there (near Angel City Brewery or Arts District Brewing) where you won’t need until it’s time to go home.
2) Angel City Brewery
You can thank Angle City Brewery for establishing the Arts District as the city’s premier destination for craft beer drinkers. Back in January of 2013, before the ‘hood was as hip as it is today, Angel City lead the way by opening the doors of their massive, street art-covered warehouse space to the public. Inside the 100-year-old building (which, fun fact, once manufactured steel spools used to construct suspension bridges), you’ll find an art deco-themed interior complete with a lofted mezzanine level and various spaces to post up with your friends.
Year round, you’ll find their staple brews like the West Coast Wheat and Social IPA. But Angel City is perhaps most known for their more daring and somewhat unusual limited-run brews, like the Srirachelada and Salted Caramel Gose, and for their one-off brews, like their Avocado Ale and Mexican Cola Beer. If they’ve got something odd on tap, make sure to give it a try. Also, make sure to grab a sack from one of the food trucks parked right outside — you’ll want to soak up some of that beer to prepare for the next two stops.
3) Iron Triangle Brewing Company
Opened in January of 2016 and housed in a cavernous old warehouse with a wood truss ceiling reminiscent of an airplane hanger, Iron Triangle Brewing Company has big plans — including quadrupling the amount of space they currently occupy to become LAs biggest craft beer producer. Yes, now is your chance to get in early so you can say you knew them “way back when.” While scale is soon to come, it’s sophistication, in addition to their location away from the main drag in a more local section of the Arts District, that helps sets Iron Triangle apart (it’s the only brewery I’ve ever seen with a elaborately designed floral arrangement at the entrance and bartenders wearing white oxford shirts underneath black vests). And of course, there’s their flagship Iron Triangle IPA helping lead the charge.
Good To Know: Iron Triangle is about a 20-minute walk from stop two, Angel City Brewery, and a 20-minute walk back to stop four, Arts District Brewing. I suggest visiting it third as the walk will help break up the day (and the drinking). Plus, for newbies, you’ll want to end your day back in the core of the Art’s District at Arts District Brewing to be near some of the ‘hoods best shops and places to eat (like The Pie Hole and Wurstkuche). Alternatively, you could end your beer tour at Iron Triangle, then take the five-minute walk over to Pizzanista for delicious New York-style slices.
4) Arts District Brewing
When Arts District Brewing Co. opened at the end of 2015, it was clear the neighborhood had become the “it” spot to drink craft beer in the city. In contrast to Angel City Brewery’s somewhat cobbled-together charm, Arts District Brewing came in strong, fast and well-oiled (after all, it’s owned by one of the city’s premier bar and restaurant groups). Inside you’ll find a huge bar with full liquor license (in case you’re in the mood for a libation besides beer), a take-away window from the connecting restaurant to order snacks, dart dartboards, a row of skeeball machines, and a ping pong table. Outside, there’s a shaded patio great for summertime beer sipping.
You can currently find Boomtown Brewery beer at select bars around the city, and word on the street (for the past several months) is that they’ll be opening (or re-opening after a short stint) a public tap room in the Art’s District. When exactly? “Soon,” but possibly this summer. The space, located a half mile from Angel City Brewery will one day soon make a great addition to this self guided brewery tour. We’ll keep and ear out and update this section when more info becomes available.
Golden Road Brewery
While you can’t walk to this brewery, it is at least on the same side of the city — so if you’ve got an ambitious designated driver (or save it for a separate trip), a visit to Golden Road Brewery is well worth it.
As LA’s best know and most successful brewery (their beers are most widely distributed and they were recently bought by Anheuser-Busch InBev), Golden Road knows what they’re doing and they do it well. Located in an industrial zone next to a railroad tack, the large outdoor areas with picnic tables and games (like giant jenga, shuffleboard and foosball) make it the perfect social spot to relax with a big group of friends — day or night.
And finding a beer you like won’t be a problem with their large selection of signature brews, like the classic Golden Road Hefeweizen, the Point The Way IPA, and the Wolf Among Weeds IPA.
Downtown Los Angeles / Arts District Self-Guided Brewery Tour Map
Photos: All phone are my own, with the exception of Boomtown Brewery – source: Boomtown Brewery