To celebrate the New Year, my boyfriend and I planned a tour of breweries in Orange County. San Diego is clearly a hub for good craft beer, but other Southern California cities also have burgeoning breweries. [This post is brought to you by the letter B.]
Here are our top three recommendations if you’re in the Orange County area. These are doable all in one day or can be spread out over two days.
Our first stop was Bootlegger’s Brewery in Fullerton. We had driven all morning and were eager to arrive. We got there right after the doors opened and started choosing the beers for our taster flights.
I chose the Palomino Pale Ale, Rocco Red, Chocolate Porter, and Tig Ol’ Bitty double-hopped pale ale (because duh.). My favorite was the Rocco Red, which the bartender told us was their most popular beer. I also enjoyed the Palomino and the Chocolate Porter, but all were very good.
If you’re new to craft beer, I’d opt for the Palomino Pale Ale or the Rocco Red. If you like something more complex, go for the Rustic Rye IPA. And if you want something altogether different–and it’s on tap–try the seasonal Mint Chocolate Porter. It’s delicious, and the mint isn’t too overpowering like it is in many mint chocolate beers.
Bootlegger’s is the perfect place to start your Orange County brewery tour. It has a cute patio with stringed lights, a few arcade games and eclectic memorabilia, and beers in mason jars. It’s a very relaxing environment. I’ll definitely go back.
Next stop: The Bruery in Placentia. I’d been wanting to visit for a long, long time. Known for its experimental and barrel-aged beers, I knew we would find some interesting new favorites.
Again, we planned our trip so that we arrived at noon, right as it opened–and that turned out to be the only way to truly enjoy our experience. After just half an hour of being open, it was packed. Luckily we snagged our flights and a table and set to work on trying our samples.
My favorite of the day was the Couverteur, a Belgian dubbel with cacao and vanilla. I also really enjoyed the Loakal Red, an oak-aged, hoppy, American red ale (#alltheadjectives). Other good ones included 7 Swans a Swimming: a Belgian-style quadruple, and Coffee Smoking Wood: a bourbon barrel-aged smoked imperial porter with vanilla and coffee.
The beers all had pretty high ABVs, so we sat and enjoyed the ambience for a while, ordered some food from the food truck, and coincidentally ran into a couple we had met at Bootlegger’s. It was a popular day for OC brewery tours!
And the final B on this leg of the tour: Bottle Logic Brewing. Nerdy references abound at this Anaheim brewery, and combined with the slick design, my boyfriend was in heaven.
I was in heaven, too, because this brewery had a small library! Anywhere that combines books and beer has a pretty strong hold on my heart.
Since we had tried so many beers earlier in the day, we took it pretty easy at Bottle Logic. We tried tasters of the Pog Juice IPA, Grasshopper chocolate mint stout, High Octane milk stout with Portola coffee, and Calf Life milk stout. I loved the Pog Juice and Calf Life, but you really can’t go wrong.
If this had been the only brewery we were visiting that day, we could have spent hours here. This was my favorite brewery of our whole Orange County brewery tour, and I can’t wait to go back.
If you have any recommendations about breweries to visit in Orange County, or if you’ve tried any of the three Bs, let me know in the comments!