When you say the word “Anaheim” a few things come to mind: theme parks, professional sports, or perhaps the biggest convention center on the west coast. However, behind all this hustle and bustle lies another industry that predates them all: beer.
Orange County’s oldest city was founded by a group of German poets, artists, and vintners back in 1857. Their thirst to create a thriving booze-village stopped at the Santa Ana river which would provide waterways for acres of grape vines they would soon cultivate. By 1870, saloons lined the downtown area, and Anaheim beer was born, signalling the start of what was to come, brew city, until prohibition closed all taps in 1920.
Ninety years later in 2011, two breweries would open in the city, Anaheim Brewery and Noble Ale Works, sparking Mayor Tom Tait’s interest in the city’s newly tapped artisanal trade. A committee of local beer industry and city planners met and discussed the hardships of opening a production brewery, and then we waited.
It didn’t take long for the mayor to get results. Two major issues breweries faced, fighting strict OC Health codes and conditional use permit hearings were scrapped. As of 2014, small breweries could set up a brewing operation and tasting room in the city by right, and use easier state health codes that didn’t treat breweries like a restaurant.
Since then, ten breweries have opened within the last two years, with four more in planning. With Bottle Logic, Karl Strauss, and Noble Ale Works winning awards on the national and world level, Anaheim is a legitimate craft beer destination.
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