Portland, Maine; Boulder, Colorado; Asheville, North Carolina; and Bend, Oregon. What do these four cities have in common? Well, they have the most microbreweries per 100,000 residents of any other cities in a survey released by Forbes magazine.
But don’t pack the U-Haul just yet. We found six microbreweries in Orange County that we’d stack up against any of theirs. All have their own unique style of brewing and having something for every taste.
Four Sons Brewing
Located in Huntington Beach, in an industrial park almost too easy to miss, is Four Sons Brewing. Family-owned and operated, they are turning out some killer beer here. Three of their most popular include the CocoNutoroius, a malty, full-bodied Amber Ale brewed with over 150 pounds of toasted organic coconut in every batch. Or the Land of Hopportunity, a West Coast-style American IPA brewed with bright citrus and pine hops and finished with fresh blood oranges. Definitely not your ordinary beer! Or The Great One, a blend of six legendary hops with a smooth, malty backbone to support it. One of my favorites is a new addition, the Coffee Strawberry Hefeweizen. Made like a true Hefeweizen, but with tons of flavor. Various food trucks make appearances to complement the offerings, so put this one on your list of craft breweries to try.
18421 Gothard Street, Suite 100, Huntington Beach
(714) 584-7501 or foursonsbrewing.com
Open Mon.-Thur., 4-9 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., noon-9 p.m.; Sun., noon-8 p.m.
Noble Ale Works
Located between Angel Stadium and Honda Center is Noble Ale Works. Brewing since 2011, this popular microbrewery has started to outgrow their space and is looking to expand in 2017. Some of their most popular offerings include Big Whig IPA, a hop-forward, West Coast-style ale that treats the palate with flavors of tangerine, honey, and rosemary that meld into a big, lingering finish. Or the Naughty Sauce (Nitro). Classified as a stout beer, the brewery worked with Portola Coffee Lab to come up with this one. Made with oats, milk sugar, coffee in lieu of roasted grain, and then pumped full of nitrogen to really kick up the creaminess, the result is a full-bodied, deep golden, smooth and flavorful beer with notes of pecan pie, cinnamon and cookie dough on the palate. A must try when you visit! And how can you not try a beer named Tongue Tickles? Noble’s take on a West Coast double IPA, this one features a generous amount of galaxy, citra and simcoe hops and features layers of stone fruit, bright citrus and pineapple. It’s a perfectly balanced craft brew. A variety of food trucks make appearances here as well, so there’s always good eats to go along with good beer.
1621 S. Sinclair Street, Suite B, Anaheim
(714) 634-2739 or noblealeworks.com
Open Mon.-Thur., 4-11 p.m.; Fri., 4 p.m.-midnight; Sat., noon-midnight; Sun., noon-8 p.m.
Barley Forge Brewing Co.
Costa Mesa’s first-ever production brewery, Barley Forge Brewing Co. is not only producing some kick-ass beers, they are also sending out some really good eats from their own kitchen. Located near the trendy venues the CAMP and the LAB, this 10,000 square-foot brewery is the kind of place that will make you want to sit and stay awhile. With something for everyone on tap you’ll have no trouble finding a style you like. One of my favorites is the Nom Nom Mango Hefe. A wheat ale, it’s fruit-forward on the palate and very pale in color. Or prefer something on the other end of the spectrum? Try The Patsy, a strong, highly-roasted dark stout with pronounced bitterness. Not my preference, but one that seems to be popular with patrons. Or looking for something in between and made in more of the German style? Try the Grandpa Tractor. Well-balanced with a moderate body and an aromatic hop character. And be sure to order something from the kitchen, which has the perfect line-up of beer food. I recommend the Barley Burger, Italian Panini Di Carne or the Steak Chili, all of which go hand-in-hand with the beer they’re serving up.
2957 Randolph Ave., Suite B, Costa Mesa
(714) 641-2084 or barleyforge.com
Open Mon.-Wed., 4-10 p.m.; Thur., 11:30 a.m.-midnight; Fri.-Sat., 11:30 a.m.-1 a.m.; Sun., 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m.
Founded in 2008 and located in Placentia is The Bruery. With up to 40 beers on tap at their tasting room, and a rotating who’s who of food trucks, there’s plenty to choose from for the craft beer lover. One of my favorites is the Rueuze, an oak-aged sour blonde ale that’s their take on a traditional Belgian. Aged from several months to several years, there’s lots of flavor to be had with this one. Prefer a hoppy red ale? Try the Loakal Red. Another oak-aged ale, this one matures into a nice blend with notes on the palate of orange peel, herbs, vanilla and toffee. Or for something truly unique in flavor profile I recommend the Wiki Wiki Tart. A blend of passion fruit, raspberry, and hibiscus, this sour ale comes out of the tap a beautiful pink color and has a puckering flavor profile unlike anything you’ve ever had. The tasting room has plenty of seating and a very welcoming atmosphere where you’ll want to grab a pour, bottle or a Growler fill to go.
717 Dunn Way, Placentia
(714) 996-6258 or thebruery.com
Open daily, noon-10 p.m.
Bottle Logic Brewing
Established in 2013, this Anaheim craft brewery is already expanding its space in early 2017. With four classifications of beer, which they call the Hoptomotron Series, the Cold Classics, the Proto Series and the Induction Series, Bottle Logic is constantly pushing the envelope in a quest to discover truly unique and interesting beer that offers tastes and styles for everyone. With a constantly changing menu on tap, you may find one of my favorites being poured, the Par For the Course. A Hefeweizen-styled beer, it’s finished with tea and lemonade and may conjure thoughts of a grown-up Arnold Palmer if you’ve ever tried one of those. Or the Leche Molé (Nitro), a Mexican, spiced/herb milk stout brewed with vanilla beans, cacao nibs, cinnamon and mole spices, coffee and chilies, that’s perfect for those in your party who want to try something outside the box. And for those who like their beer a little darker, try the Imperial Hodor Brown Ale. A medieval brown ale with cloves, mace, ginger, white pepper, long pepper and cinnamon, you’ll be treated to a complex flavor profile with this one. Bottle Logic also has a rotating line-up of food trucks to complement the most excellent beer they’re producing here.
1072 N. Armando Street, Anaheim
(714) 660-2537 or bottlelogics.com
Open Mon.-Thur., 4-10 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., noon-midnight; Sun., noon-8 p.m.
Started by two native Southern Californians in Rancho Santa Margarita, Cismontane, which means “this side of the mountains,” was named in tribute to coastal Southern California. This was a common term used for Southern California while it was forming its identity during the gold rush and before prohibition. With two tasting rooms, one at the brewery in Rancho Santa Margarita and the other in Santa Ana, there’s a couple of places you can enjoy this microbrewery’s beer. Three of their “Core” brews, those that are always available, include Holy Jim Falls, named after the falls at the end of Holy Jim trail in the Trabuco Canyon near the brewery. A refreshing flavor and hoppy aroma of this crisp, clean Extra Pale Ale, is one that appeals to a variety of tastes. Or try The Citizen, a beer known as a California Common, which almost disappeared after prohibition. This is Cismontane’s interpretation of the style with a golden warm fermented lager and sufficient hop aroma. Looking for something a little heavier? Then try Black’s Dawn, a heavy, strong stout brewed with coffee, brown sugar and oats. Cismontane also offers plenty of seasonal, limited and one-off brews so you just never know what new discovery might be found on tap.
29851 Aventura, Suite D, Rancho Santa Margarita
1409 E. Warner, Suite C, Santa Ana
(949) 888-2739 or cismontanebrewing.com
Open Mon.-Fri., 3-9 p.m.; Sat., noon-9 p.m.; Sun., noon-5 p.m.