Beer is always better at the source, but not all sources are created equal. Some breweries open tasting rooms attached to a warehouse, others provide only guided tours of their space, and still others build entire restaurants around their brewhouses, serving up curated menus alongside house-made specialties and turning mere breweries into brewpubs, destinations where communities gather and happy hours flow daily. With food and drink all made on-site, here are five of Los Angeles' best brewpub happy hours.
Ladyface Ale Companie
Whoever said that American beer culture and timeless European elegance can't coexist has never been to Ladyface Ale Companie, where the concepts of bucolic French brasserie and SoCal brewpub merge in the serene suburb of Agoura Hills. One of Los Angeles County's oldest beer operations, Ladyface offers a sophisticated twist on ordinary happy hours, one that offers gougères (with Mornay sauce), seasoned pommes frites and Belgian-inspired house beers in curvy glasses, all at a few bucks off from Ladyface's already reasonable prices. How reasonable? With $2 off select beers and appetizers on discount, for less than $10, you can get an order of three Niman Ranch pulled pork sliders and a full pour of the La Grisette farmhouse ale and still have money to overtip the waitress. Sit inside to take in the art nouveau adornments or take to the patio and wait for the shadow of Ladyface Mountain to engulf your table as the sun goes down. 29281 Agoura Road, Agoura Hills; (818) 477-4566, lady?faceale.com. Happy hour weekdays, ?3-6 p.m.; weekends, after 10 p.m. - S.B.
Brewery at Abigaile
Abigaile is a former artists' co-op/Black Flag rehearsal space turned coastal restaurant boasting a 15-barrel brewhouse. Brewmaster Brian Brewer (Didn't he luck out in the name game?) attended the UC Davis Master Brewer's program and earned his pedigree at Riverside Brewing Co. and Stone Brewing Co. For the Brewery at Abigaile, he contributes half a dozen beers brewed on the premises, including the Belgian-style Tangerine Honey Wit and Death or Glory IPA. While the Coconut Imperial Red is a favorite, all Abigaile beers can be had during "R&D Hour" for $4. Look for $5 house wine and any of six "scratch cocktails" for $6 (we recommend Simons 18). An assortment of rotating menu items also is available, with prices from $6 to $10. 1301 Manhattan Ave., Hermosa Beach; (310) 798-8227, abigailerestaurant.com. Happy hour weekdays, 5-7 p.m. - E.B.
One of only two L.A. breweries that earned medals last year at the Great American Beer Festival, Kinetic Brewing is a destination well worth the drive - even though it's on the north end of Los Angeles County in the Antelope Valley. The casual brewery and restaurant sits on Lancaster's downtown commercial strip, with a generous menu of varying beer styles to quench the thirst of any weary traveler. Try Kinetic's year-round and seasonal specialty brews for $1 off during happy hour. Potential Blonde and Torque are award-winning beers, but Inaugurale (imperial bitter on oak) and Dark Matter on nitro (Russian Imperial) will beckon us northward in the future. You have all the more reason to visit on the second Tuesday of every month for Tasty Ladies women's night, or the third Monday of every month for the bottle share. 735 W. Lancaster Blvd., Lancaster; (661) 942-2337, kineticbrewing.com. Happy hour weekdays, opening-6 p.m.; all day Sunday. - E.B.
San Pedro Brewing Company
So what if the regulars care more about the UCLA football game on the big screens than the beer being made just a few feet from the bar? San Pedro Brewing Company has been a local institution since it opened in this port city's sleepy downtown 13 years ago - not just for its award-nabbing pales, pilsners and blondes but also for its cozy wooden bar, family-friendly dining room and generous weekday "Hoppy Hour," in which half-orders of appetizer favorites are $3.95 and pints of the house beer (and house wines) are only $4. Join the working-class denizens of San Pedro as they slide in for their afternoon indulgences (when Jägerbombs, San Pedro iced teas and other cocktails are also just $6), and watch the bartop crowd with plates of cheese-and-bacon-smothered Gaffey Fries and glasses of the brewpub's regionally inflected seasonals, such as SoCal Tattoo Porter and Sunken City Imperial Stout. 331 W. Sixth St., San Pedro; (310) 831-5663, sanpedrobrewing.com. "Hoppy" hour weekdays, 3-6 p.m. - S.B.
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Haven Gastropub + Brewery
Most of the breweries and brewpubs that host happy hour discount only the beers made in-house. At Haven, the roomy gastropub in Old Pasadena, all draft beer and wine is $2 off. Head brewer Brian Thorson oversees the brewing on-site - check out Rye Over Spilled Milk or the copper-hued Lenny G. amber ale. Guest taps include selections from neighbors Craftsman and Ohana Brewing and nationwide favorites Dogfish Head, Avery and Deschutes, bringing the total number of taps to 40. Happy hour menu items include beer-soaked potato chips with garlic aioli, Dr. Pepper baby back ribs for $6, and $2 off all flatbreads. Great for groups and families looking for a casual spot to dine. 42 S. De Lacey Ave., Pasadena; (626) 768-9555, havengastropub.com. Happy hour weekdays, 3-6 p.m.; also Sunday-Thursday, 11 p.m.-1 a.m. - E.B.