Something wonderful is hiding in Placentia's Dunn Way Industrial park, nestled next to car dealerships and motels in the well-deodorized armpit of the 57 and 91 freeways. Continue past Atomic Ballroom, home of the world-famous Strutters Ball. As much as we love an Advanced 8 Count Lindy Hop class on a Friday night, Atomic can't hold a candle to the beauty at the end of the industrial park. The Bruery just opened its new tasting room, where you can now get full pours, flights and bottles of its spectacular beers every day of the week.

If you haven't yet ventured behind the Orange Curtain to visit the best brewery between San Diego County and Paso Robles (or farther, depending on your feelings about sours, IPAs and Tay Zonday), now might be a good time to make the trip. The Bruery's old tasting room, which doubled as part of its brewery and tripled as barrel storage space, was charming in its way. It was like drinking in a cluttered garage, with all sorts of odds and ends (mostly used bourbon barrels) lying around and no air conditioning. When it got crowded, which was often, it took on the feeling of a high school house party, with fuller beards and better beers. But it also got ridiculously hot and cramped, and because it was in the Bruery itself, it could only be open when they weren't actually making beer.

The new tasting room is just two doors down from the old one, but it has a radically different feel. It is less house party and more art gallery, a beautiful room with framed copies of the Bruery's own beer labels decorating the pure white walls, 40 gleaming tap handles, and the draft list displayed on a massive digital chalkboard. There are three TVs, the tables are upright barrels, and on our last visit it felt like they were showing off their newfound powers of air conditioning by keeping patrons the same temperature as the beer. When there are that many taps of such stellar beer, though, we're happy to brave whatever temperature they choose.

An anniversary flight and a glass of Carmen with Raisins; Credit: B. Mesirow

An anniversary flight and a glass of Carmen with Raisins; Credit: B. Mesirow

When the tasting room officially opened on Independence Day, the tap list was a ridiculous celebration of the Bruery's successes, with highly regarded Brues like Black Tuesday, Tart of Darkness, and the Wanderer all flowing at once. At the end of this week many of those kegs had kicked, but it is a testament to the diversity of the Bruery's catalog that there were still tons of excellent beers on tap, including several beers from its unique anniversary series, which uses the solera method of blending each new batch with the ones from previous years, and three different iterations of the dark sour Carmen, each brewed with a different fruit. The word is that for the time being the Bruery doesn't have the capacity to keep all 40 taps going or the license to fill them with guest kegs, so as the rare kegs kick, the selection will diminish somewhat. Still, the Bruery makes some truly outstanding beers, and even its regular lineup is pretty special. A beautiful spot for brilliant beers open every day of the week is the best armpit industry we can imagine.

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