Some of the best beer in the country is made and poured in Southern California, so it’s not often that the spoiled beer drinkers of L.A. have a reason to freak out about the arrival of an outsider.

But Michigan’s Bell’s Brewery isn’t just any outsider — it’s one of craft beer’s most important Midwest progenitors, and for the first time since its founding 30 years ago, kegs, cans and bottles of beloved brews like Two Hearted Ale, Oberon Ale and Kalamazoo Stout are now available in L.A., O.C., Riverside, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.

This week marks the official launch of Bell’s into the local market, and the occasion is being heavily celebrated by the local craft beer community. In addition to seven year-round brands (including Oberon, normally a summer seasonal) being distributed to more than 400 new accounts (most Whole Foods and Total Wine and Mores will be stocking Bell's), the release is going extra-big party time with five days of tap takeovers, samplings and representative appearances at nearly every craft beer spot worth a damn within county lines.

Special releases are being shipped out especially for events this week and Laura Bell, director of marketing and daughter of founder Larry Bell, is flying out to attend. After scrubbing the list of 40 or so different tapping events happening over the next five days, we found the ones for each night most worth your time, then listed a few worthy alternatives so you can properly plot your introduction to Michigan’s largest and oldest independent brewery.

Credit: Facebook/Surly Goat

Credit: Facebook/Surly Goat

Monday, February 23

Bell’s Night at the Surly Goat

Out of all the events ringing in Bell’s first day in L.A., we’re the most stoked about Surly Goat’s. This unsuspecting West Hollywood bar always has a taplist full of rarities and specialty beers from favorite California spots, and on this particular night the Goat welcomes Bell’s by tapping its seven standard-issue kegs alongside vintages from Central Coast’s regional brewery Firestone Walker. Representatives from both Bell’s and Firestone Walker will be on hand to discuss, though having these two formidable names in the same room is enough to spark conversation on its own. Starts at 7 p.m. 7929 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood; (323) 650-4628;

Other worthy alternatives:
Blue Palms; 4 p.m.; 6124 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; 323-464-2337;
Bread and Barley; Keep the glass pint night; 7 p.m.; 130 N Citrus Ave, Covina; (626) 339-3310;
Eat Drink Americano, 923 E 3rd St., downtown; (213) 620-0781;
Instant Replay in Canoga Park; 2 p.m.; 21927 Saticoy St., Canoga Park; (818) 712-0628;
Story Tavern, 6:30 p.m.150 S. San Fernando Blvd., Burbank; (818) 567-4200;
Sunset Beer Company, 1498 Sunset Blvd #3, Echo Park; (213) 481-2337;

Tuesday, February 24

Bell's Brewery on Tap at Beachwood BBQ and Brewing
As one of the best beer bars in the country, it only makes sense that Beachwood BBQ in Seal Beach and its younger brewpub sister in downtown Long Beach would be getting the special treatment from Bell’s. Each received 10 kegs for the occasion, including a full half-barrel of Two Hearted, plus the rare cherry stout and double cream stout. Unplanned, however, was having the tap takeover fall on the same day as the long-planned Thrillseeker bottle release, which is also the first day that Pliny the Younger is being poured for raffle winners. Standard releases will be tapped at 11:30 a.m., making this one of the few places to grab a pint of Bell's on your lunch break. The rest tap at 5 p.m. when Laura Bell herself drops by. 210 E 3rd St.; Long Beach; (562) 436-4020;

Other worthy alternatives:
City Tavern Culver City; 6 p.m.; 9739 Culver Blvd., Culver City; (310) 838-9739;
Commons Ale House; 4 p.m.; 129 Broadway, Santa Monica; (310) 451-6700;
Congregation Ale House, all three chapters will have drink specials and Bell's on tap;
Lock & Key Social Drinkery, 11033 Downey Ave., Downey; (562) 822-8281;
Sweeney’s Ale House, 17337 Ventura Blvd Suite 100A, Encino;
The Rookery; 5 p.m.; 117 W 2nd St, Pomona; (909) 865-4400;

Beer samplers at Bell's Eccentric Café in Kalamazoo, Mich.; Credit: Flickr/Bernt Rostad

Beer samplers at Bell's Eccentric Café in Kalamazoo, Mich.; Credit: Flickr/Bernt Rostad

Wednesday, February 25

Bell's Tap Takeover at Newhall Refinery
Though its a little off the beaten path, Newhall Refinery is the only real gastropub in the Santa Clarita Valley and its dedication to craft beer and locally sourced food (all but a cliche at this point in L.A. proper) has been a welcome break from the neighborhood’s casual-chain overload. For its Bell’s launch party, the restaurant and bar is tapping nine kegs straight out of Michigan and offering flight specials between all of them. Three 4-ounce pours will only cost $8 and are separated into your choice of “light” (Oarsman, Oberon, Amber), “medium” (Two Hearted, Midwestern Pale, Porter) and “stout” (Kalamazoo, Double Cream, Cherry Stout). Build your own for $9 and drink through all the goodness this launch brings. Starts at 5 p.m. 24258 Main St., Newhall; (661) 388-4477;

Other worthy alternatives:
Beer Belly, 532 S Western Ave., Koreatown; (213) 387-2337;
Simmzy’s, 3000 W. Olive Ave., Burbank; (818) 962-2500;
Select Beer Store; 5 p.m.; 1613 S Pacific Coast Highway, Redondo Beach; (310) 540-1221
The Bottle Room, 6741 Greenleaf Ave., Whittier; (562) 696-8000;
The Greyhound, Brewers and Beats with Power 106FM's DJ MEDEK, 6 p.m.; 5570 N Figueroa St, Highland Park; (323) 900-0300;

Thursday, February 26

Bell's Brewery Comes to Naja's Place
Naja’s Place is Thursday’s recommended event by default — it’s the only one happening that day. Which is just as well since finding a parking spot and walking through the stench of fish for 15 minutes to find this classic pier-adjacent Redondo Beach craft beer bar is all but a rite of passage for L.A. beer drinkers. Naja’s will have the full lineup of Bell’s beers, plus 90 other taps of deliciousness from California and beyond. The food is all fried, the bands are playing covers, and smiles from the bartenders are hit or miss at best. But at least the beer is flowing and some of it will be Bell’s. Pours start at 7 p.m. 154 International Boardwalk, Redondo Beach; (310) 376-9951;

Credit: Bell's Brewery

Credit: Bell's Brewery

Friday, February 27

Bell's Tap Attack at Alpine Village
Torrance’s Alpine Village saw it as a sign when Bell’s Brewery released a commercial of a lederhosen-wearing accordion player smashing his instrument beneath a German Oktoberfest banner. After all, the “slice of Bavaria since 1968” has been hosting the largest Oktoberfest in Southern California for the last few decades. The compound’s bar, restaurant and bottle shop is hosting the last (but definitely not least) of Bell’s launch week parties with a so-called “tap attack” featuring four of the brewery’s classics along with cans of the pale ale and Two Hearted. Kegs tap at 5 p.m. and no tickets are required. 833 West Torrance Blvd., Torrance; (310) 327-4384;

Other worthy alternatives:
Rose City Pizza, 3588 Rosemead Blvd., Rosemead; (626) 280-8885;

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