LOCAL GUIDE TO CRAFT BEER IN ANAHEIM

Anaheim is one of the most dynamic, up-and-coming cities for craft breweries on the West Coast. The city houses almost half of Orange County’s 35-plus breweries, providing plenty of opportunities for visitors to easily explore the diverse tastes on tap.

“What really sets Anaheim beer apart from hot spots like San Diego is the quality per capita,” says Greg Nagel, who writes a dine and drink column for OC Weekly and podcasts with the Four Brewers Show. “... Anaheim has been recognized at the Great American Beer Festival and the recent World Beer Cup with gold medals for double IPA, barrel-aged sour and a medal for chili beer. … Orange County in general took home more World Beer Cup medals than L.A. and San Diego counties combined!”

From local events to immersive tours, discover four ways to become part of Anaheim’s brewing tradition that dates all the way back to 1870.

Take a self-guided tasting tour of the city

“My absolute favorite beer tour through Anaheim is along the ‘La Palma Beer Trail,’ a 5-mile stretch along La Palma [Avenue] and the 91 freeway that has around eight breweries with vastly different beer styles,” Nagel says.

He recommends starting at The Bruery, where nearly half the beer is aged in wine or spirit barrels with dozens of original beers brewed each year. From there, Nagel’s recommended route hits Phantom Ales, Hoparazzi, Asylum, Bottle Logic, Bruery Terreux, Stereo and All-American Ale Works. “Many people hit Bottle Logic and Terreux as a baseline, then walk to some of the other favorites,” he suggests.

Buy a ticket to a local festival

Orange County’s calendar is jam-packed with beerfests throughout the year, with several hosted right in Anaheim like Downtown Anaheim Association’s OC Fest of Ales. A festival is good place to sample an array of local brews, but Nagel cautions first-timers to be thoughtful about purchasing tickets for events being promoted on platforms like Groupon to avoid oversold crowds.

“Of all the beer fests I recommend, I generally go to the OC Brew Ho Ho Holiday Ale Festival that happens around December,” he says. “The beers people bring are unique, people dress up in ugly sweaters, and there's always a great vibe.”

Nagel also runs his own craft beer event in mid-March after St. Patrick’s Day, a specialty festival that has raised more than $50,000 for local charities over the last five years. Firkfest highlights a niche of craft beer each year, which allows brewers to bring very limited or one-of-a-kind beers created just for the event.

“I chose Firkfest to happen in Anaheim as I live here in an old historic home in the Mother Colony district,” he says. “Since the Packing House opened up with Farmers Park, it's the perfect place to have a festival...right down the street from my house!”

Check brewery calendars for their own special events

For a more intimate experience, Anaheim’s multitude of breweries also offer signature events in their own tasting rooms.

“I prefer going to brewery anniversary parties, as it's a great time to try the best of what that particular brewery has to offer,” Nagel explains. “Those types of events generally have lots of industry-types to connect with, as well as the brewers themselves having a good time.”

To look up these special events in advance, check publications like OCWeekly.com or BeerPaper LA, which visitors can also pick up in some brewery tap rooms once they’re in town. 

Keep an eye out for breweries opening soon

New additions are constantly being added to Anaheim’s brewery landscape, including Towne Park Brew Co.that opened its doors in late 2017 and offers a 30-minute walking tour through the aging, packaging and warehouse facilities that includes tastes of new beers and a pint of your favorite. Expected to make their grand debuts later this year are Leisuretown by Modern Times, Brewheimand Brewery X, which Nagel hints will be open soon along the La Palma Beer Trail.

 

Learn more about craft beer in Anaheim and keep up to date on the latest news at visitanaheim.com.