If your idea of a perfect summer afternoon involves a cold pint glass of cider, IPA, lager, pilsner, sour ale, or any other locally brewed beverage, make sure a trip to Long Beach is part of your vacation plans. The area is home to a growing number of craft breweries. It’s close enough to Los Angeles to drive down for the day, but you’ll have more fun if you book a hotel and stay for the weekend.
Ambitious Ales – Five craft-beer-loving friends opened Ambitious Ales in 2019 as a way to connect with the community. Located in Long Beach’s Bixby Knolls neighborhood, which has recently earned the nickname “Brewery Knolls,” Ambitious Ales has a front patio and back beer garden. Try the Central Perk, a blonde ale brewed with Guatemala San Carlos coffee beans from Long Beach-based Rose Park Roasters and Madagascar vanilla beans.
Ballast Point – If you like your beer accompanied by ocean breezes, head to Ballast Point’s Long Beach location, where the patios overlook the water. In addition to 60+ beers on tap and a full menu, you’ll find a calendar packed with beer-themed events — from “Bike and Brew” cycling workouts to home brewing classes. Serious craft beer aficionados will want to subscribe to the Ballast Point podcast, Dedicated to the Craft.
Beachwood BBQ and Brewing – Beachwood’s original Seal Beach location closed in 2020, but the Long Beach brewpub is going strong. On the promenade in Downtown Long Beach, Beachwood serves slow-cooked, southern-style barbeque. The beer menu boasts 20+ house beers as well as a selection of sour ales from their small-batch offshoot, Beachwood Blendery. Try the Amalgamator, a popular West Coast-style IPA.
Belmont Brewing Co. – Did you know Long Beach is home to the oldest operating brewpub in Los Angeles County? Belmont Brewing Company, located at the foot of the Belmont Pier, opened in 1990. They pride themselves on their beachfront location, promising the “best brew with a view in Long Beach.” The menu offerings are equally tempting, ranging from Hawaiian-style poke to a Kobe burger. If you like strong stouts, try the Long Beach Crude.
Ficklewood Ciderworks – A must-visit for cider fans in SoCal, Long Beach’s first and only cidery opened for business in January 2020. Joe Farrier and Stefan Enjem, owners and brewers, are Long Beach residents, and they hired local artists to help with the decor, from the hot air balloon mural to the handcrafted tap handles. The East Village taproom has an airy, experimental vibe that makes this the perfect place to order a flight.
Liberation Brewing Co – This Bixby Knolls brewery, launched in 2018 by three friends who were born and raised in Long Beach, claims to be “equal parts Mos Eisley cantina and a Tom Waits fever dream.” The Atlantic Avenue spot was once a 99 Cent Store; today it’s been transformed into a tasting room with an industrial, Soviet propaganda aesthetic and a biergarten out back. Try the Cautiously Optimistic, a bottled Spelt Saison.
Long Beach Beer Lab – Levi Fried and Harmony Sage, a husband-and-wife team, co-own this brewery and bakery/café in Long Beach’s Wrigley neighborhood. Your drink options range from barrel-aged ales to IPAs and creative cocktails. On the food menu, you’ll find pizza made with a beer malt sourdough crust, jackfruit tacos, an assortment of pastries, and more. Try the Dreamsicle IPA, a hazy IPA with orange peel and vanilla.
Steady Brew Beer Co. – In 2018, three Long Beach natives teamed up “to make beer that Long Beach would be proud of.” They’re doing just that at the Steady Brew taproom, located in East Long Beach, where they serve a variety of beer and hard seltzer. The space has a sleek, modern design and an umbrella-shaded outdoor patio. Try the Poolside Lager—or pick up a six pack to savor at your favorite swimming pool.
Ten Mile Brewing – Dan and Jesse Sundstrom, a father and son team, opened Ten Mile Brewing, the first brewery in the Signal Hill neighborhood, in 2017. They not only brew Ten Mile’s beer together; they built the furniture in the taproom themselves. The family-run space is bright and welcoming. Try their Dark Side of the Moo collaboration with Black Dog Coffee Roasters, a medium-bodied stout.
Trademark Brewing – This former car repair shop on E. Anaheim St is now a spacious taproom, but if you’re drinking indoors, be sure to check out the adjacent patio. Chances are, there’s a food truck parked out there, and it’s also an opportunity to check out the vibrant murals by Erick Guadarrama. Trademark has 20+ beers (and a grapefruit hard seltzer called LB Fizz) available on tap. Try the Violet Smash, a kettle sour made with blueberries and Meyer lemons.
For more food, drink, and fun in Long Beach, head to VisitLongBeach.com.