The 25 Best Breweries On The West Coast

If you're a beer lover, then rest assured that the West Coast of the United States has many amazing breweries for you to visit. From San Diego to Seattle, beer makers are working hard to produce the best new flavors and styles. Whether you prefer to sip on a light lager, an India Pale Ale, or even a hearty dark stout, there is a brewery on the West Coast that specializes in what you desire.

Often, breweries will be clustered together in hotspots, making your next beer tour all the easier. Southern California, in particular, is famous for being the home of hundreds of craft breweries, many of which are award-winning and known even outside of the U.S. San Diego is often called the craft brewery capital of America, thought to be the best place to find hoppy beers.

Wherever you travel on the coast, beer is not far away in California, Oregon, and Washington. Read on to find out the best breweries to visit on the West Coast. 

Stone Brewing Company

One of the biggest and best-known breweries on the West Coast is surely Stone Brewing Company. In operation since 1996, it opened in San Diego County and expanded from there to land amongst the top-ten craft brewers by size in the United States. The brewery's beers have won numerous awards, too, including gold medals at the much-vaunted Great American Beer Festival (via Stone Brewing Company).

You can visit several tasting rooms operated by Stone, including the sprawling Escondido location and a much smaller one in downtown Oceanside, which is naturally just a short walk to the ocean. There are other locations in downtown San Diego and Pasadena so you'll find plenty of options if you want to stop in for a local brew. 

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, Stone has plans to shift part of its focus away from creating its famously hoppy beers, such as IPAs, to offer lighter options and the occasional special recipe brew. A beer mecca, Stone has absolutely nailed the art of craft beer.

Ballast Point Brewing

Another large San Diego brewery that you must visit is Ballast Point Brewing. According to Thrillist, Ballast Point was one of the first known breweries to release its flagship IPA with fruit, with its grapefruit Sculpin IPA release.

These days, Ballast Point operates a number of taprooms all over the West Coast, including locations in San Diego, Long Beach, and Anaheim.

According to CraftBeer.com, Ballast Point was acquired in 2019 by Kings & Convicts Brewing Co., a Chicago-based brewery that took the company over from the much larger Constellation Brands. This may bode well for the future if they can keep Ballast Point producing the high-quality and innovative beer it has become known for. When Ballast Point was purchased by Constellation, there was debate about whether it would lose its small business quality and local roots, so this latest move may be a step in the right direction.

Firestone Walker Brewing Company

If you've been to California, you've probably come across Firestone Walker Brewing Company, based in Paso Robles. Midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, Firestone Walker is well known for making high-quality and flavorful craft beers. The brewery also has locations in Buellton and Venice.

Located in the midst of olive groves and wineries, the operation has the landscape to thank for its roots. Founded 25 years ago by two brothers-in-law, Firestone Walker began in a shed on their family's vineyard, using converted winemaking equipment. Today, it continues to produce impressive beers, including a range of hazy IPAs and hoppy IPAs, limited-edition releases, and the brewery's iconic 805 ale.

It also has a beer club, the Brewmaster's Collective, which gives members access to exclusive merchandise, events, and limited-release beers. The memberships sell out quickly, so if you're interested, be sure to move when the opportunity presents itself.

Cascade Brewing

Although California gets much of the credit these days when it comes to West Coast craft beer, the Pacific Northwest has also earned serious accolades. Take Portland's, Cascade Brewing, known for its sour beers and the loyal fans that love them.

The Rose City Sour is one such release that generated some buzz in 2022, according to Brewbound. A blend of ales infused with rose petals and other floral flavors, the beer (dubbed as such after Portland's nickname) is an example of Cascade's innovative take on the form.

While the beers are oftentimes unusual and plentiful, the tasting room offers delicious cuisine, too. The menu lists an array of offerings like roasted Brussels sprouts, garlic mac and cheese, and bread pudding. With its combination of unique and tasty beers, better-than-average pub fare, and relaxing surroundings, Cascade Brewing is a go-to spot for both local Portlanders and out-of-state visitors.

Karl Strauss Brewing Company

Karl Strauss Brewing Company opened its first location in 1989, and since then has continued creating inspiring beers, including numerous brews that have won gold medals at the Great American Beer Festival. You can now visit are several of its locations in California, including taprooms in San Diego, Los Angeles, and Anaheim.

Recently, the company has collaborated with other breweries to release new beers, such as the Bohemian Grove IPA produced with the Burgeon Beer Company. As with other Karl Strauss IPAs, this one is a can't-go-wrong choice for lovers of bold and flavorful hops.

In addition to offering a wide selection of beers in different styles, Karl Strauss also has an excellent food menu, featuring creative burgers, sustainably-farmed salads, and scrumptious appetizers like double truffle fries and ahi poke nachos. If you're dining in at the right time, sure to sample the seasonal "Beeramisu," made with lady fingers soaked in the brewery's Wreck Alley Imperial Stout. 

Angel City Brewery

If you're in downtown Los Angeles, then check out Angel City Brewery for its fun atmosphere and local beer favorites, such as the LA Blonde Ale and Angel City IPA. You'll know the lively and historic Arts District building by its colorfully painted exterior (via Curbed Los Angeles).

The brewery consistently releases new beers and has numerous rotating beers on tap, from lagers and saisons, to heavy bocks and stouts. You'll also find that they regularly have food trucks outside, to keep patrons from drinking on an empty stomach. The outdoor patio is an especially fun place to hang out in the spring and summer, where you can enjoy the warm Los Angeles sun as you sip your brew.

According to Bring Fido, Angel City is also a dog-friendly brewery, both inside and outside. So if you want to enjoy your beer in the company of your best furry friend, you can do so here, so long as your pet is leashed at all time.

The Lost Abbey

San Diego's The Lost Abbey is well known for its religious themes, including iconic decorations and stunning beer label artwork. Its main tasting room is located in North County San Diego, in the city of San Marcos.

According to the Lost Abbey website, this business got started when the founders took over the old Stone Brewing facility in 2005. The Lost Abbey is now best known for Belgian-style beers, although it also offers limited seasonal releases and barrel-aged beers. Its wide selection of beers can be a little overwhelming, but you can always order a flight of tasters to help you decide.

Currently, there are four Lost Abbey locations, including one in the city of San Diego. According to NBC San Diego, the San Diego location operates out of a historic Mexican church. Whatever location you choose to visit, you're in for a treat at this brewery.

The Bruery

The Bruery in Placentia, California is known for its unique assortment of beers, like a s'more stout and a white chocolate strawberry wheat wine. What's more, The Full Pint reports that The Bruery will be releasing a new passionfruit ale just in time for spring and summer fun.

The Bruery also offers a society membership where subscribers get monthly beer releases, along with additional discounts on merchandise and purchases in its tasting rooms. And, assuming you're a fan of truly unique and interesting beers, you'll be in those tasting rooms fairly frequently.

It also offers delivery of its beers, depending on local and state laws. The Bruery even opened a DC location so that it could give East Coasters easier access to its brews. Still, with the brewery's West Coast origins, you'll be sure to get a great experience by visiting The Bruery in its original California digs.

Golden Road Brewing

Golden Road Brewing is a Los Angeles staple that's currently LA's largest brewery. It was founded by Meg Gill, a woman in a male-dominated industry where, according to Food & Wine, only about 3% of breweries are entirely woman-owned.

It's become quite popular in SoCal, where you can often find people holding a can of Mango Cart wheat ale or Wolf Pup IPA at local events. Dan Hamil, a general manager for Golden Road, told KTLA that the company will generally have at least 10 styles of beer in the tanks at any given time.

The Grand Central Market Golden Road location in downtown LA is always bustling, even though it takes up just a small corner of the first level. It also has excellent appetizers to go with your beer selection, including cauliflower bites, garlic fries, and other options like wings and nachos. Golden Road has other locations in California, including Huntington Beach, Anaheim, and Sacramento. 

Russian River Brewing

If you want to sample some truly excellent beers while visiting the Bay Area, be sure to stop by Russian River Brewing. Founded in 1997 in West Sonoma County, it was taken over by a husband and wife duo in 2004. Since then, its popularity has grown and allowed it to expand beyond its original Santa Rosa brewpub (via Russian River Brewing).

This craft brewery produces a number of award-winning beers and has built up a loyal fan base over the years. Co-owner Natalie Cilurzo told Insider that it's not unusual for fans to be lined up out the door in an attempt to snag bottles of its limited release brews, such as Russian River's famous triple IPA, Pliny the Younger.

The food menu at the Santa Rose location is tempting as well and includes fare like pizza bites, a hummus plate, and calzones. So, if you stop in to try the beer, take care of lunch or dinner too, and stay awhile.

Rogue Ales

Founded by Jack Joyce in 1988 in Ashland, Oregon, Rogue Ales has grown to include multiple locations, including its flagship Newport, Oregon headquarters. With more than 30 years under its belt, it's clear that Rogue Ales has a lot of craft beer experience.

Rogue now has its own distillery, where it produces a variety of spirits. It has also recently changed its packaging to be completely recyclable and minimize plastic use, according to Craft Brewing Business. Rest assured that this brewery cares about the environment, and drink Rogue beers without guilt.

The best known Rogue beer might be its Dead Guy Ale, in part for its visually striking artwork of a black and white skeletal "dead guy" with crossed arms and a toothy grin. The printing process, with ink screened directly onto the bottle, was innovative for its time, as well. The beer inside these cans is reliably great, too, and fans local and beyond continue to pick up six-packs to get their fix.

Modern Times Beer

Modern Times Beer is well known in southern California for offering tall 16-ounce cans of tasty brews, such as the iconic Fortunate Islands hoppy ale. This San Diego-based brewery has been turning out amazing craft beer since 2013. In less than a decade, it's been able to expand rapidly with multiple taprooms (via Modern Times Beer).

Unfortunately, quick expansion has its risks, and Modern Times Beer has experienced some hardship since the COVID pandemic began. Financial and operating stresses recently led to the tough decision to close several locations, as SFGate reports. Not to worry though, there are still a few great tasting rooms you can visit.

Currently, the Point Loma, Anaheim, North Park, and Encinitas locations are expected to remain open. So if you are in San Diego, or even a little further north in Orange County, there are plenty of places where you can stop by to try Modern Times Beer for yourself.

Ninkasi Brewing Co.

If you ever find yourself in Eugene, Oregon, you'll definitely want to check out Ninkasi Brewing. This craft brewery has become famous for its excellent hop-forward brews, such as the Total Domination IPA.

According to its website, Ninkasi takes its name from, "the ancient Sumerian goddess of fermentation." That name certainly sounds like the perfect fit for a craft brewery specializing in one of the oldest and still best things you can make through fermentation — beer!

Ninkasi also has a restaurant along with its tasting room, but instead of going for a traditional sit-down sort of space, it named the venture the Better Living Room. Although Ninkasi had to close the location in March 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it reopened in April 2021, according to Brewbound. Now that things are returning to normal, you can go and visit Ninkasi to get the full experience.

Alpine Beer Company

Alpine Beer Company is easily one of the best breweries that SoCal has to offer, especially if you're a fan of hops. This brewery was founded in 1999 and takes credit for being "the home of pure hoppiness" (via Alpine Beer Company). Sure enough, its hoppy craft beers are among the best of the best, like the super-flavorful Hoppy Birthday IPA.

There have been some significant changes to the tasting room recently, making an in-person experience a bit more complicated. According to Pacific San Diego, the Alpine Beer Company tasting room is presently transitioning to Mike Hess Brewing. Not to worry, though, as Alpine Beer will still be produced, although there isn't a physical location to visit for tasting Alpine Beer Company brews right now. For now, you'll have to settle for purchasing its beer in stores where it's available, or online where you can have it shipped to you through services like Drizly.

Bagby Beer Company

Located west of the scenic Pacific Coast Highway, Bagby Beer Company has a lot going on, with multiple bars and levels, In some spots you can even catch a glimpse of the ocean.

Over time, Bagby Beer Company has become a beloved spot for locals and visitors alike. The great atmosphere goes well with its satisfying brews, such as Worker Bee, a deliciously light honey blonde. This location also has tons of great food on the menu, with vegan and vegetarian options, so not a single person in your party has to go hungry while sipping on Bagby brews. It offers samples and taster flights too, so you can be sure to find something that you like.

According to co-owner Dande Bagby, the company has experienced many changes over the past two years, including the launch of its canned beers. That's great news for everyone who wants to take some Bagby beer home with them.

Monkish Brewing Co.

One of the cities that is becoming a bustling hub for seriously good craft beer on the West Coast is arguably Torrance, California. That is exactly where you will find Monkish Brewing Company.

Founded in 2012 by Henry Nguyen, according to Easy Reader News, Monkish Brewing Co. is simply a must-visit if you're in Los Angeles. Located just south of the big city in South Bay, this brewery specializes in Belgian-style ales. Its taproom is open for tastings and has indoor and outdoor seating, as well as a well-rounded slate of visiting food trucks.

Monkish offers a number of different styles of beer, including a Belgian blonde, a German pilsner, and hoppy IPAs. Although it isn't the largest microbrewery in the state, Monkish has managed to expand in the years it's been in business. To that end, it now also has an Orange County location in Anaheim.

Brouwerij West

Another South Bay staple that you just have to check out is Brouwerij West in the port of San Pedro, California, with a sprawling indoor and outdoor seating area and an idyllic vibe. It has rotating food trucks, too, and a great beer garden atmosphere locals love.

Brouwerij West has beer-to-go as an option if you want to take out your beer and explore the town. You can also order beer online for pick up. Its tasting room menu includes about a dozen brews on tap, plus hard seltzers if you prefer something a little lighter. According to Brewbound, its new hard seltzers were launched under a separate brand called Things... For Your Head. It currently offers three flavors: mango, grapefruit, and piña colada.

For those who want the more traditional beer experience, Brouwerij West has a hearty tasting room menu that currently includes a West Coast IPA, blackberry saison, and stouts.

Smog City Brewing Company

Smog City Brewing Company in Torrance, California has done some really innovative things with its beers, including its Grape Ape IPA, which is shockingly good considering the rather daring grape flavor. It recently opened a second taproom in Long Beach, according to The Full Pint

Jumping on the trend of shipping its beers nationwide, Smog City offers online ordering for those who live in California or can pick up their brews locally. It further offers beer cases and subscriptions available for California shipping or local pick up. Many of its beers are also available in bottles, but if that's still not enough for you, it also has tall cans in four-packs, such as the Smog City IPA and Hoppy Lager. Still not as much variety as you want? Smog City even sells giant "double magnum" 3-liter bottles, which will cost a pretty penny at $119 each.

Three Weavers Brewing Company

Opened in 2014 by Lynne Weaver and Alexandra Nowell, Three Weavers Brewing Company is one female-owned brewery we should all be rooting for. It has a nice selection of beers including the Day Job American pale ale, Juicy Expat hazy IPA, and the wonderful Seafarer kolsch.

According to its website, Three Weavers usually has between 12 and 18 beers on tap, which are changed out frequently. You'll need to visit often if you want to try everything, though that's unlikely to be much of a hardship. It has flights of tasters available, as well as indoor and outdoor seating and a dog-friendly tasting room for your well-behaved pup.

There have been some big changes for Three Weavers recently, as it just opened a location in Hollywood Park near SoFi stadium, as Eater LA reports. This expansion should help spread the word about this great brewery and allow new fans to join in on the fun.

Elysian Brewing

Way up the West Coast in Seattle, you'll find Elysian Brewing, which has been in business since it opened in 1996. With all that experience under its belt, Elysian Brewing has been able to produce a number of different beer styles well, including stouts, IPAs, and more.

This brewery has gained much praise for its Space Dust IPA, a hoppy beer brewed in the West Coast IPA style, an increasingly popular brew that traditionally features a dry, bitter flavor profile, according to Paste.

The Elysian website lists three locations in Washington, including Elysian Fields and Capitol Hill in downtown Seattle, plus the Elysian taproom in the Georgetown neighborhood of Seattle. Elysian also takes part in quite a few seasonal and community events, like Pride and Halloween. As one of the biggest and best-known craft breweries in the Northwest, this is definitely one that you'll want to get familiar with.

Poor House Brewing Company

Located within the city of San Diego, Poor House Brewing Company was founded in 2012 by Alanna Scheer and Christopher W. Finch, this small brewing company describes itself as offering "handcrafted neighborhood brews." Despite some difficulty during the pandemic, it's finally getting back in full swing now.

Poor House has patio seating and a cozy atmosphere and often hosts special events for holidays and game days. According to the Poor House Yelp page, it frequently produces IPAs, imperial stouts, Belgian ales, and pale ales. Poor House also gets consistently solid reviews, with lots of people praising the rotating beers for their quality. Even better, the tasting room is pet friendly.

Overall, this is a really fun place to visit and try some awesome beers. It may not be well-known just yet, but this one should be on your radar if you love craft beer and want to get some real indie cred.

The Dudes' Brewing Company

The Dudes' Brewing Company is a delightful brewery located in Torrance, California, just southwest of downtown Los Angeles. Founded in 2013, the brewery always has plenty of tasty brews on tap for you to sample. This wide selection includes the fruity Juicebox Series, as well as hoppier IPAs. All told, The Dudes' Brewing has great options no matter what type of beer you prefer.

Although its main tasting room is located in the brewery's hometown of Torrance, there are other locations you can visit, including those in Hollywood, Santa Monica, and Santa Clarita. If you can't make it out to the Dudes' brewery yourself, you could try to pick up some of its tallboy cans, which are typically available at a number of retailers throughout Southern California. The most popular Dudes' beers include its CalifornIPA and Blood Orange amber, so either of these is a good place to start.

Congregation Ale House

Congregation Ale House began in Torrance, California, with each of its "chapters" having a church theme. Currently, Congregation Ale House has four such locations in Long Beach, Pasadena, Santa Ana, and Azusa, California — all of which recommend reservations for larger groups. There are plenty of spots you can choose from to make your visit to this home of beer worship convenient. 

Each location has both brews and food available. Its tap list includes Congregation's own beers, plus a few guest taps that feature other California brewers like Russian River and Dude's Brewing. It has been getting back to normal following COVID-based disruptions, and even recently brought back weekly trivia, so don't be surprised if the fun is already afoot when you arrive.

Having someone dressed up like the member of a church congregation serving you beers is an experience you don't want to miss. You can also come during Congregation's Mass (that's their happy hour) for an extra giggle.

Four Sons Brewing

Four Sons Brewing was founded by a mother and father, plus their four sons. One of the sons, Derek, started it all with a home brewing hobby and began the business with his family in 2014. Due to Four Son's success at its primary location, it was able to expand and add a new location in Pacific City.

The Four Sons Brewing taproom is cozy and almost always buzzing with activity, from games to pets. Locals love to swing by here for a pint, especially those who are members of the Generations Club. This membership includes a discount on purchases at Four Sons Brewing, plus a free monthly crowler and early access to new brew releases.

Four Sons brews a range of beers for a full spectrum of flavors from traditional styles and the occasional experimental beer. How experimental? Check out To Grandmother's House We Go, a Belgian strong dark ale made to taste like an oatmeal raisin cookie.

The Stalking Horse

For those interested in some serious brew tank to table cred, the Stalking Horse operates its brewery on-site and even has a small beer garden at its Los Angeles location. This semi-outdoor space is a great spot to sit and get some fresh air while you watch a game and sip your beer.

Because it is a small brewery, it generally only crafts a few beers at a time, and these limited and oftentimes popular batches tend not to last too long. However, the Stalking Horse does offer to-go crowlers, so if you find a beer that you really love, you always can take some home with you.

Definitely don't miss out on the food while you're there, as it has excellent options no matter your dietary needs. Lots of vegetarians and vegans flock to this location for its amazing selection of hearty, meatless meals (via TimeOut).