Beer is fully entrenched in L.A. culture now — it took us a while to get here — and there are plenty of options for indulging in this monk-approved beverage. Culling from the 2017 Best of L.A. awards, we've found the best places to enjoy beer, whether it's at breweries or at bars that gussy it up well; there's even a place for making your own. Enjoy the quaffing.
Inglewood has no shortage of great restaurants (Coni'Seafood, Dulan's, etc.), but when it comes to places for tipping back a few cold ones before a night out at the fabulous Forum, the options dwindle. That is, until Three Weavers Brewing opened three years ago in an industrial park spitting distance from Randy's Donuts, turning the 'Wood into a bona fide craft beer destination. With award-winning brewer Alexandra Nowell at the helm, Three Weavers makes a wide range of European- and American-style beers that are dry, clean and brewed with Nowell's signature, expert precision. Use your next trip to the Forum as a chance to sift through the five core beers (from Deep Roots ESB to Stateside Session IPA) or dive into Nowell's creative side with the brewery's dozen other taps, which recently included the hometown-love experimental Inglewood IPA. And when the NFL stadium is all built, expect Three Weavers to be the best place to grab some growlers for that tailgate party, too. —Sarah Bennett
1031 W. Manchester Blvd., Inglewood; (310) 400-5830, threeweavers.la.
The best part about the Beer Belly in downtown Long Beach isn't the sudden south-county availability of the decadent Death by Duck fries, or even the location's addition of an equally indulgent brunch menu, something the original Beer Belly in Koreatown could never churn out of its tiny kitchen. It's something much more simple: the beer. Beyond the artery-clogging art of chef Wes Lieberher (a lure, to be sure), the original 12-tap gastropub earned its iconic status thanks to the beer-curating prowess of owner Jimmy Han, who has a knack for procuring special kegs of the latest beers from small, independent breweries across the county (think: Highland Park Brewery, Phantom Carriage, Ladyface and more). In Long Beach, a growing craft beer destination in its own right, Han has twice as many taps to play with — along with a liquor license that allows for both traditional and beer-infused cocktails. The result is a consistent lineup that reads unlike anything south of the 10 freeway, filled with a mix of hard-to-find stalwarts, such as Smog City's Little Bo Pils, Mumford's IPAs and rare sours from Pasadena's Craftsman Brewing. —S.B.
255 Long Beach Blvd., Long Beach; (562) 436-2337, beerbellyla.com.
Zymurgy Brew Works and Tasting Room
Beer is made from four main ingredients: water, malt, yeast and hops. At the only do-it-yourself brewery in L.A. County, beginners can learn how to properly combine all of them by making their very own 5- or 10-gallon brew. Like a boozy Color Me Mine, Zymurgy Brew Works and Tasting Room, which opened late last year, removes the stress, cleaning and guesswork from small-batch beer-making by letting groups and small parties take over the in-house nanobrewery for educational three-hour sessions. Under the guidance of experienced homebrewer John Hendrick, you'll be coached through the process; return a few weeks later to bottle and label the results. And a dozen or so of Hendrick's own beers — from black IPAs to chocolate stouts — are on tap at any given time, making the cozy strip-mall spot a valid stop for your next brewery crawl. —S.B.
22755 Hawthorne Blvd, Torrance.
From Grand Central Market to the Santa Monica Food Truck Lot to Smorgasburg, Los Angeles has always found a way to assemble a curated crop of upstart food concepts in one simple location. SteelCraft takes that tradition one step further. A new-wave food court that has few local precedents in design and scope, SteelCraft used nothing but a few metal shipping containers and an acre of Astroturf to turn a former dirt patch in suburban Bixby Knolls into a permanent home for eight food and drink vendors, including East Hollywood's Neapolitan pizza stars DeSano and Torrance's award-winning Smog City Brewery. A third-wave coffee counter and a shaved-ice shack are accessible from the curb; a cozy outdoor dining space is lined with stalls selling neighborhood rarities such as bacon-jam burgers (Pig Pen Delicacy), sugary pastries (Waffle Love), ramen (Tajima) and more. —S.B.
3768 Long Beach Blvd, Long Beach; steelcraftlb.com.
Ask five different people how to make a michelada and you'll likely get five different answers. The basic version of this Mexican prepared beer features a light lager and lime juice served in a salt-rimmed glass, but from there, the variations are endless. Popular additions are tomato juice or its fishy cousin clamato, Worcestershire and hot sauces, even sal de gusano, or salt with ground-up maguey worms (the ones usually found floating in a bottle of tequila). In addition to its selection of mouth-watering tortas, La Chuperia serves up a michelada that is a meal all by itself. Its version starts with a lime and clamato base, into which is added a secret spice mix, celery stalk, cucumber slices, whole shrimp, a tamarind straw and a generous drizzle of chamoy, a sauce made from pickled fruit. Served in a large goblet with a whole bottle of beer flipped upside down into the mix, it is a wonder to behold as well as consume. For those with larger appetites, La Chuperia also offers a ballena, or whale, version with a 32-ounce beer. –Matt Stromberg
3702 Medford St., Lincoln Heights; (626) 354-0267.
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