Going back home to So Cal for a visit is always fun. Over the last few years my visits have become much more exciting with the addition of new craft breweries. It seems like every time I go home, there is a new crop of breweries. In the past, San Diego and Northern California were the only spots in the state that were known for brewing craft beer. It’s only over the last six-plus years that the craft brew industry has taken a hold of Orange and Los Angeles Counties with new breweries popping up what seems like every other month! That’s great news! On my last trip I was a bit pressed for time so I could only visit three of said new breweries…
Old Orange Brewing Company located in the city of Orange opened in 2011 by four local boys. The tasting room is simple and cool. The staff is VERY friendly, and the beer…great stuff!
Old Orange Cream Ale on Nitro (6.1% ABV) – Smooth, creamy. Light fruit. Reminds me of a 50/50 bar. Yummy!
Street Fair Orange Wheat (4.6% ABV) – Ah, memories of walking around the Orange Street Fair. I only wish I had one of these in my hand back then. Light, very easy to drink, soft orange fruit. Clean finish. Perfect for those hot, Orange County days.
Cussin’ Jim IPA (7.4% ABV) – This medium bodied ale is nicely hopped and well-balanced. Lovely floral aroma with a hop finish.
Old Dummy Strong Ale (9.3% ABV) – Brown sugar body, hard alcohol fume hits the nose. Malty and easier to drink than you would expect. Hard alcohol finish. Tread lightly, though this drinks easily it will kick your butt all the way to Riverside!
Thumb Master Double IPA (8.5% ABV) – Hoppy, well-balanced. Touch of toffee sweetness.
About a block or so away is another OC gem: Valiant Brewing Company. Set back in and industrial park, this brewery is a little harder to find, but well worth the quest. The tasting room is large and open sharing space with the brewing equipment. There are plenty of tables for anyone, just no chairs. If you get hungry there is a great food truck parked right out side the tasting room and the food will be brought right to you. But, again, you have to stand while you eat. Let’s get to the important part: the beer!
Mighty Maximus Ale (3.6% ABV) – Dark and bitter. Slightly sweet and lightly hopped. Nice, bitter finish.
Fields Ablaze Saison (6.9% ABV) – Brewed with pear and lemongrass, this baby is quite unique. Both sweet and tart with a nice crisp finish. Smooth and fruity.
31 Kings IPA (6.5% ABV) – Very well-balanced and malty. Nice hop flower aroma. Crisp, clean with a lovely hop finish.
About ten minutes away is the pride of Fullerton, CA: Bootlegger’s Brewery. Located in the historic district Bootlegger’s has been churning out the liquid gold since 2008. There is a lovely, large beer garden just outside the door.
Tropical Thunder Pale Ale (5.3% ABV) – Fruity, hoppy aroma. Well-balanced fruit body, but not sweet. Lovely hop finish.
Mountain Meadow Honey Blonde (5.5% ABV) – This little beauty was like drinking a nice glass of iced herbal tea. Honey, sage notes throughout with interesting “tea-like” qualities. Nicely balanced and finishes softly sweet. Gorgeous!
Old World Hefewiezen (5.0% ABV) – If you like german wheat beers (me, me, me) then you will really enjoy this one! Bubble gum, banana clove aroma. Sweet, honey and flowers in the body. Nicely done.
I wish I could have spent more time in “So Cal.” There are so many more new breweries yet to hit. I’ll keep you posted next time I go.