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What are the Best Craft Beer bars in the LA area

Craft/Better beer with good food.Thanks

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  1. If you want decent food with it as well, a few of the more widely agreed upon options are Father's Office, Rustic Canyon and Golden State.

    If you don't need food with it, Surly Goat and Blue Palm have nice selections.

    If you're interested in German and Belgian beers, Wurstküche is a solid place to spend an evening as well (though they do have some U.S. craft beers as well, if I remember correctly).

    2 Replies
    1. re: noahbites

      Great recommendations. :) I second what noahbites said. :)

      1. re: noahbites

        re: Rustic Canyon

        I don't mind paying for good food or drink, but $6 for a 12oz as the cheapest option??? Please...

        Go to the Blue Palms and enjoy all the great beers!!

        We also like the Library Alehouse in Santa Monica...

      2. Golden State on Fairfax. They have great beers (check out the specials which frequently rotate), plus a near-perfect cheeseburger. And they have scoops gelato!
        http://www.thegoldenstatecafe.com/ind...

        1. Wurstkuche has to be near the top of the list. St Bernardus 12 is one of the best Belgian strong ales, and they have it on draft. Their Belgian and German selections are excellent. I think the french fries are the best in Los Angeles and I'm a sucker for the vegetarian sausages.

          1. If you're looking for the best selection of craft beer, Blue Palms and Verdugo top the list, with Blue Palms being my favorite because their food is underrated for the price. Verdugo doesn't serve food, but the taps and vibe are great.

            Everyplace else mentioned already is fantastic for a food/beer combo. Also, if you're a real beer nut like me, making a trip down to Redondo Beach dive bar Naja's is spectacular. About 80 taps and most of them are well selected craft/import.

            5 Replies
            1. re: SaltCod

              The Verdugo does have one of the best craft beer selections in town.
              As for food they have various food trucks serve in the parking lot on the weekends starting about 3 pm.

              Also they welcome you to bring in food and eat in the back patio anytime.
              There is a good taco truck within walking distance.

              1. re: SaltCod

                Hi SaltCod,

                Love Blue Palms for their excellent Beer selection. What do you recommend for food? Thanks.

                1. re: exilekiss

                  I think the pulled pork nachos hit the spot :). There's nothing revelatory about the food, but it's reasonably priced and surprisingly good.

                  1. re: exilekiss

                    Hi EK,

                    The Chicken Scallopini covered in porcini mushrooms and blueberries is great. The "Burger #2" with short ribs is tasty. The Buffalo Dip appetizer is impossibly rich, but great to share. I also like the understated fish and chips and the cheese plate is a steal at 9 bucks. The owner Brian used to work at a steakhouse and I think they do a solid filet too. A little salty, but then again...beer, beer, beer. :)

                    1. re: SaltCod

                      I agree on the "Burger #2" at Blue Palms Brewhouse. It's a good solid burger! Other sandwiches pretty good too. 25-cent wing special is great for munching. I go to BP for the specialty ales that they sometimes have but food is darned tasty too!

                      -----
                      Blue Palms Brew House
                      6124 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

                2. If you are ever up in the wilds of Pasadena or Sierra Madre then you should plan on dropping in at Lucky Baldwin's. Food is not the driver here (although the fish and chips are actually pretty good) but the beer selection is pretty amazing: http://www.luckybaldwins.com/NewIndex...

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Servorg

                    Has anyone checked out the new place in Pasadena, Quadrupels?

                  2. One other thought. In Marina Del Rey I've been impressed with Tony P's Dockside Grill for their committed approach to finding and offering craft beer to their patrons: http://www.tonyps.com/menu-drinks.html

                    1. Agree with all the recs above.

                      Daily Pint in Santa Monica also typically has a good selection and they are totally fine with you ordering or bringing in your own food. I was there the other night and someone had brought in a bunch of chorizo and cheese tacos from Tacos Por Favor. I tried the Yard in Santa Monica the other night and they had some solid selections of beer and the food was good (CJ from Top chef is the new chef), albeit way overpriced. If I go back, it'll be for happy hour. I stuck my head in the 5th Amendment Alehouse next door afterwards and they also have some great selections on their chalkboard and the menu looks interesting, particularly the artisnal sausages:
                      http://www.pleadfifth.com/Menu.html

                      19 Replies
                      1. re: mollyomormon

                        The Yard is solid on both fronts. Nevertheless, I live nextdoor and rarely go. What does that tell you? As Randy Jackson would say, "it's just OK for me, dawg."

                        1. re: aventinus

                          Yeah, $11 for a beet salad that included a grand total of one beet was pretty absurd. But the happy hour deals on food looked decent.

                          1. re: mollyomormon

                            I was wondering how the Yard was. Have either of you been to 5th Amendment yet? Any good?

                            Also around the bend, West 4th Jane??

                            1. re: Phurstluv

                              I might check out the 5th Amendment this weekend. I'll let you know how it is if I do. I've only been to West 4th and Jane once, but the beer selection they had the night I was there was lame relative to what I can get at any of the other beer places that have been mentioned on this thread. Now that there are a bunch more choices in the neighborhood, I would probably choose those rather than going back to West 4th and Jane.

                              1. re: Phurstluv

                                West 4th and Jane sux.
                                I've only been to 5th Amendment once, right after it opened. It seemed half-assed. I haven't gone back because--whatever you think of Yelp, a 2.5 star rating after 45 reviews suggests a place that truly is half-assed.

                                1. re: sillygoosedown

                                  I (sort of) agree. I have only been to 5th Amendment once, but service was subpar - it almost seemed like weren't there (we were the only ones in there on a Saturday night). They had a sign showing a "Happy Hour" and beers were supposed to be $5 (or something) and when we ordered I found out our beers weren't the happy hour deal, but regular price. Whatever.

                                  Each time I walk past it I wish it was Wurstkuche instead.

                                  1. re: mdpilam

                                    That's my exact thought/plea/prayer whenever I take (one at) the 5th!

                                    1. re: Ciao Bob

                                      The reality is that most Belgian beers are not meant to be drunk on tap. They're meant to be bottle conditioned. I can go to Whole Foods and get the best Belgian beers available at any retail establishment in the U.S. The only better beers IMO are the Westvleteren lineup, which you can only get through the internet. So just having a joint with lots of Belgian beers isn't all that enticing to me.

                                      The point of this is that good beer is insufficient to make a good beer bar. Good beer may be the sine qua non of a good beer bar, but good food and and a pleasant overall experience are just as important. Wurstkuche has very good food and a fun atmosphere. I go there even when I don't intend to have a beer. That's why it's number one in my book.

                                      1. re: sillygoosedown

                                        Have you been to the Golden State? I'd definitely be curious to hear your thoughts.

                                        And also bummed to hear that the 5th Amendment isn't great.

                                        1. re: mollyomormon

                                          Nope.

                                          I haven't been to 5th Amendment enough to judge fairly. I'll check it out again soon and report back.

                                        2. re: sillygoosedown

                                          FWIW, you can't even get Westvleteren (legally, anyway) on the internet. You have to call the monastery, tell them the quantity desired and your license plate number, and show up with cash in hand at the time they assign you.

                                          Did it once, interesting experience though a bit of a pain. Fortunately, right nearby in Watou is St. Bernardus, which brews very much in the Westvleteren style and is much easier to find here in LA...

                                          1. re: Bradbury

                                            Agree about St. Bernardus. Honestly, Westvleteren is my favorite though. You used to be able to buy it at Whole Foods and places like that!!

                                            There are numerous online shops selling Westvleteren. I'm no lawyer...I'm just a grad student...but it seems to me that it's perfectly legal to buy Westvleteren online. Restraints on alienation of property -- and that includes bottles of beer -- are generally unenforceable under American law. So the monastery can state silly rules about resale of its beer all it wants but it can't stop me from drinking its beer.

                                            1. re: sillygoosedown

                                              I'm going to have to take issue with the Whole Foods claim. Westvleteren has NEVER been a retail product... anywhere... not even in Belgium. There are no UPCs for the product, and many (roughly half) of the bottles sold aren't ever even labeled.

                                              As far as online sources, you're right. There is no legal constraint upon them. Rather the monestary simply stops selling to anybody it believes is buying for anything other than personal consumption.

                                              Every year they run out, and every year (since roughly 1995) the locals blame the internet.

                                              And on the St. Bernardus note, I prefer it... but it's not actually that similar. Rochefort is much closer (and bottled similarly to Westvleteren and stocked -at extortionate prices- at many Whole Foods).

                                              1. re: Moomin

                                                Well...OK, back in 2000 or 2001, I bought Westvleteren regularly at Whole Foods in Berkeley. It was like...$8, the most expensive beer they had at the time. (This is the reason I bought it originally, I didn't know anything about it. It became the beer that got me into beers--I had never tasted anything so good.) I probably purchased Westvleteren at a dozen different stores across the country before it suddenly disappeared. Whether it was meant to be a "retail product" or not, it was available on the shelves until around 2004-05.

                                                I agree Rochefort is closer to Westvleteren than St. Bernardus. However, I think Rochefort tastes like a lesser Westvleteren, while St. Bernardus tastes like something different and racier.

                                                1. re: sillygoosedown

                                                  Know what?

                                                  I was wrong. I did some research and made some calls. It turns out Westvleteren STILL occassionally turns up in Whole Foods (usually Westvleteren 8). But according to the beer guy at the Venice location it's NOT intended for sale. It's a gift from their Belgian Distributor to guarentee loyalty and further business. They never get more than a six pack and even that is only once or twice a year.

                                                  He's convinced nobody would ever sell the stuff (no bar codes, no price book) but a congenital idiot... but there you go. No question, you were right.

                                                  1. re: Moomin

                                                    Well I'll be darned. Now if only their Belgian distributor would get them some stuff that *is* resale-legal but still tough to find in LA ... Glazen Toren, De Bolle, Bons Voeux, Liefmans, etc... I might be more inclined to look there.

                                                    1. re: Moomin

                                                      Moomin, you're obviously fairly new to craft beer (like, within the past 3-4 years, I'm guessing, if not more recent). sillygoosedown is exactly right that Westvleteren used to be imported on a fairly grand scale and sold through distributors. It was LEGALLY imported and LEGALLY distributed, and it was properly labeled and price-posted in any state that it was sold (well, I haven't checked the FTB records myself, but this is my understanding). At the time, the only "shady" thing about it was that the monks from Westvleteren did not condone the practice. But ambitious (or "unscrupulous," depending on your perspective) buyers took advantage of the fact that there were very high (and in some cases, NO) purchase limits on bottles procured at the monastery/brewery, and literally purchased truckloads with the help of their "friends." Then they were imported to the US legally, etc. They were sold at many good liquor stores up until about 2004-2005, usually for about $7-10 per 330 mL bottle.

                                                      In 2004-2005, if memory serves, Westvleteren started getting more and more scarce in the US, and I'd imagine it was mostly just due to supply and demand issues. But I think it was in about 2005 or 2006 that RateBeer.com released its annual Press Release of "Best Beers in the World" (which had been done several times before, by the way), and Westvleteren 12 was declared the #1 Best Beer in the World. It had actually been rated for several years as the #1 beer by both RateBeer and BeerAdvocate, the two major online beer enthusiast websites, but for some reason that *particular* Press Release sparked a wave of additional hype, buzz, and interest, and there was somewhat of a tipping point for the monks at Westvleteren.

                                                      With all of the added attention, which they did not ask for and did not want at all, they imposed much stricter rules for purchasing their beers (you had to call in advance to set an appointment on a specific date, provide your license plate number, and offer your name-- which would be held to assure you were not calling more than they would want and buying again and again and again). And I think they placed the limit at ONE case per person, when it had previously been more like 5 or 10 cases per car. So this tightening of the reins effectively wiped out widespread distribution of their beers to the United States, and nowadays the only feasible means to purchase or acquire any "Westy" (apart, of course, from going to the brewery yourself) are to get it in much smaller quantities-- from a few online vendors, an internet auction, a "trade" with an international beer enthusiast, or as a "gift" like you've described that some distributors have done (or received).

                                                      It's a much more rigidly controlled aftermarket/gray market/resale landscape nowadays than the way it used to be a mere 5+ years ago, and I'm sure the brothers at Westvleteren are very happy for that. But this does not at ALL mean that anybody who "would ever sell the stuff" was a "congenital idiot." Moreso that you and your "beer guy" friend at Whole Foods in Venice are just not very well informed about the history of US retail availability for this beer.

                                                      Here's a very informative piece from Celebrator magazine that was written in 2004/2005-- so, BEFORE the severe limitations were put into place. It contains a great deal of history and information about the brewery and their beers, and it addresses very thoroughly the "problems" of reselling and unauthorized importation into the United States, and how the monks feel about all of it.

                                                      http://www.celebrator.com/archives/05...

                                                      Unfortunately, a cursory google search cannot find a good article from around 2006 (or shortly thereafter) that addresses the changes at Westlveteren, or the added interest from the "RateBeer Best" list. But as someone who has been very immersed in the craft beer industry and has followed these beers very avidly and very closely for the past 10 years, I assure you that these drastic changes took place. You see how difficult it is to get Westvleteren now. But it wasn't always that way. . .

                                                      1. re: cquiroga

                                                        Not new to craft beer. Drank Westvletern at Cafe Verde in 1997, there were purchase limits then (scheduled pick-ups and per car limits at the monestary, bottle limits at the cafe). No bottles were sold with labels at all at that point (much to the Belgian government's horror) to prevent aftermarket sales. The story is not one of a long free for all followed by a crackdown. Rather it is one of a series of cycles in which there have clearly been more and less serious restrictions.

                                      2. re: sillygoosedown

                                        Good to know, good to know. Thanks.

                              2. Blue Dog Beer Tavern In Sherman Oaks near the corner of Sepulveda and Dickens

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Hughlipton

                                  Second this. Good selection of beers both in bottle and on tap. Also, an excellent fish and chips and an utterly simple hamburger that is just delicious.

                                2. Yeah, I know it's not 'L.A.' but this place has an excellent and sometimes mindblowingly great tap list and really good munchies, burgers and other sandwiches plus full bbq plates. It's well worth a drive when I check their 'HOPCAM' and find something I love! Click on the 'HOPCAM' image to enlarge.

                                  http://www.beachwoodbbq.com/beer.php

                                  -----
                                  Beachwood BBQ
                                  131 1/2 Main St, Seal Beach, CA 90740

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: sel

                                    BEST mac n cheese ever! Too bad it's ridiculously far from everything.

                                  2. You can stay up to the minute with your topic by subscribing to the most excellent L.A. Beer Blast from Josh Lurie at Food GPS http://www.foodgps.com/

                                    1. There's always Stuffed Sandwich out in the SGV. LOL. If you're a serious beer nut, you have to go out there. And bring your own glass (otherwise you have to buy one, LOL). And order the curly fries (you have to order some food and that's the most edible thing on the menu). It's hard to believe this place is in business but it's certainly an experience! And when you get toasted and hop in your car and drive back to LA, wipe those thoughts about how you could have just bought a bottle of beer at Whole Foods out of your mind.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: sillygoosedown

                                        Stuffed Sandwich is beer Nirvana, but you don't need to buy a glass. Sam will give you a plastic one, albeit a rather small one.

                                      2. Try Quadrupel
                                        http://www.quadrupelbrasserie.com/ind...

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: ipsedixit

                                          Have you been yet? I was looking into it to take my husband....

                                          1. re: Phurstluv

                                            I have not. My ex was there when they grand opened, said it was a blast.

                                          2. re: ipsedixit

                                            We tried Quadrupel last night. I wouldn't call it a beer bar, but more of a restaurant that happens to have a good selection of Belgian beer. We just had French fries (lackluster) and a sausage plate (chintzy) so I couldn't tell you really what the food is like, but it seemed overly formal, of the scallops-in-saffron-cream sauce variety. There are only four taps and only eight seats at the bar, the rest is tables for people having full dinners. The bottled Belgian beer selection is good, but it's just not really the atmosphere I feel like drinking in. I guess it would be ok for a date night in Old Town Pasadena kind of place.

                                          3. I have to rec Wurstküche, really great beers. When I first read about the concept, I didn't think it would appeal to me. Once I tried it, I was hooked! Tasty beers, excellent fries, nice selection of sausages & the awesome ice cream cookie dessert from CoolHaus.
                                            I have to also rec Westside Tavern. I had my first Angel City beer on tap there, it was just perfect. I'm embarrassed I haven't discovered Angel City soon, but I have Westside Tavern to thank. Excellent food here also!

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: MahiMahiFish

                                              I love Westside Tavern's food and wine, just wasn't sure how their beer selection held up, since I didn't go with the DH yet.

                                              And we also really dig Wurstkuche, wish we had one on the westside.

                                            2. For points east, Lucky Baldwins in Pasadena and Sierra Madre. 46 taps at the SM location, probably more in Pasadena.

                                              TJ Phillips in La Verne and Glendora. I counted over 50 there before I lost count. Much more on tap than they list on the menu.

                                              Both places also have good food.

                                              1. Actually I find the bartenders at FO in Culver City to be immensely helpful when selecting a beer.

                                                1. I've only had friendly service at The Golden State Cafe from the guy that owns it and his employees.

                                                  -----
                                                  The Golden State
                                                  426 N. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90036

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: sel

                                                    I was actually joking abotu having bad service at either place. I think that the service at Golden State is awesome and there are few people I've met who love beer more than Jason, one of the Golden State owners, who is nearly always behind the counter. Similarly, there's a lot of beer love going on behind the counter at Father's Office. Same goes for the bartenders at Daily Pint, by the way. They know their beer.

                                                  2. I like Golden State, and they usually have excellent beers on tap - though admittedly not a big selection, but their food is solid-but-not-great and the restaurant isn't really the type of place where I feel comfortable chillin' and drinking some beers (after a meal) for a while. FO and Wurstkuche are more conducive to this IMO. I have yet to make it to Blue Palms...

                                                    I would like an expanded beer selection from Wurstkuche (and atleast a couple more local micros), but what they do have is pretty good, albeit a bit pricey.

                                                    1. There is no love for beer at wurstkuche....even for oktoberfest they had nothing in addition to their regular brews. weird... For beer only, you can't beat Sam at Stuffed sandwiches. He's just crazy. You even have to explain why you like the beer you're buying before he deems you worthy. haha.. And lucky baldwins never disappoints.

                                                      1. Has anyone tried 38 degrees in Alhambra (1st and Main). They have a nice selection of beers on tap and in bottle, including Russian River, Stone, Bear Republic, Deschutes etc...