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Local craft beer suggestions? Where to buy?

Looking to purchase a local craft beer for a gift.
I don't drink alcoholic beverages - so I have no idea what to purchase.
Would love suggestions on brands, specific beers, and where to buy.

Thanks in advance!

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  1. There's a few quintessential California beers. If I were to buy one for a friend, I'd probably get Pliny the Elder.

    Otherwise you can use ratebeer/beeradvocate as a reference: http://www.beeradvocate.com/beer/prof...

    4 Replies
    1. re: j_gordon

      NorCal aint' local! Although, truth be told, Russian River is my very favorite brewer. If going with a SoCal brewer, I'd rec The Bruery in Placentia. I believe they are probably SoCal's highest rated brewer and their beers are widely available.

      1. re: JAB

        The Bruery is quite nice. I was once there when they were serving their best and Peter Reinhart was making pizza to go with it. A lovely afternoon. The OP might also check out Stone which has a store in Pasadena, http://www.stonebrew.com/.

        1. re: JAB

          I'll admit that SoCal was the wrong word for what I had intended which was local being defined as the area that this board covers. With that said, I stick with Bruery.

        2. re: j_gordon

          See here is the problem with this recommendation.
          While I do enjoy Pliny The Elder myself that style of beer is very polarizing and I would not recommend it for someone we have no idea if they are into hoppy beers or not.

          To play it safe I would go with something less aggressive and more mild in style.

        3. I agree with both j_gordon and JAB, though choose which you'd like based on your definition of "local".

          Would also add Alesmith Speedway Stout if your friend's tastes run darker and include coffee.

          And anything Russian River

          In terms of where to buy, see this thread for some great suggestions:

          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8194...

          2 Replies
          1. re: a213b

            thanks for the link on where to buy. i work near wally's wines - so i think that i'll check that place out tomorrow.

            1. re: a213b

              Anything Russian River is not a good recommendation.
              How well received would a bottle of Concentration be to a person who does not like sours?

            2. I guess the question is "how local"? The Bruery is good beer. Stone and Ballast Point are good too, though in San Diego County. They'd probably be easier to find than The Bruery.

              Firestone Walker makes amazing higher-end 'gifty' beers. Pliny, OTOH, while it's good beer is almost impossible to find.

              If you live near a Total Wine & More that would be the place to try. BevMo next of the big boxers. Otherwise I'd check local independent wine shops that also carry beer.

              1. I do a fair amount of local beer tasting; my favorite craft breweries in the area of this particular board (LA/Orange/SB counties) would be, in *very* rough order:

                Hangar 24 (Redlands)
                Bruery (Placentia)
                Monkish (Torrance)
                Craftsman (Pasadena)
                3 Weavers (soon-to-be Inglewood)
                Strand (Torrance)
                Golden Road (Glendale)
                Pacific Plate (Monrovia)
                Eagle Rock (Glassell Park)

                All of them have bottles and/or growlers available onsite to go.

                7 Replies
                1. re: Bradbury

                  Thanks so much for your recommendations!

                  1. re: toffifay

                    I would add Cismonte (Rancho Santa Margarita) to the list.

                    1. re: Searching4Dunny

                      I wouldn't and they are the closest brewer to me. I used to give them a lot of slack previously because of that but, objectively...

                      1. re: Searching4Dunny

                        To be fair, it's Cismontane. Haven't been there in a while so I can't comment from experience.

                    2. re: Bradbury

                      I'll second Golden Road and Eagle Rock.

                      I haven't had the others, but I definitely enjoy GR and ER.

                      1. re: Bradbury

                        All good choices. I'd also add
                        Bootleggers (Fullerton)
                        El Segundo (El Segundo)
                        Noble Ale Works (Anaheim)

                        1. re: Bradbury

                          I'm sure this is just a oversight but the OP is going to have a hard time getting a bottle or growler of Craftsman beer: ]

                        2. Hmmm, this is a tough one if you really wanted to get it right. There are some many factors to getting a good beer that your friend will enjoy.

                          It is almost fruitless IMO to simply recommend a brewery and not a specific beer to a person we have no idea what kind of beer style they gravitate to.

                          For example I could say gee get something from Russian River because they do certain styles very well but how do we know the style we pick out is a style your friend likes.

                          It's a crap shoot.

                          Best of luck...

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: burntwater

                            Were I to pick out a local beer as a gift, my goal wouldn't be to find that person their perfect beer; rather, I would try to get them something that is (a) local and (b) that they will enjoy drinking.

                            That said, since you don't know what the giftee likes, I'd pick out something traditional, fancy, and without too much hops. (Reasoning: newfangled styles can be very hit-or-miss, but the traditional ones have stood the test of time. And while hopheads can enjoy a good malty beer, many of the West-coast super-hoppy beers are nearly undrinkable to those who prefer hops in moderation.)

                            Try finding a bock/doppelbock, belgian ale, porter or stout. For something a little lighter, try a hefeweizen. Skip anything called a "pale ale", "IPA", anything with a name that's a pun on "hops", and anything with bizarre ingredients like chili peppers or grape nuts.