10 Best California Beers of 2014

Top 10 California

Food GPS beer editor Sean Inman chooses 10 great California beers by style.


Wake Up Coffee Session by Highland Park Brewery

I loved a lot of what Highland Park and Bob Kunz did in 2014, but this session coffee beer with Trystero Coffee was the best of the great bunch. And it served as a base for variants that really shone as well.

The Little Spree Yorkshire Pale ale by MacLeod Ale Brewing

Like Highland Park, I was awed by the fast start of MacLeod. All of the beers were solid and so different from normal fare, right out of the gate. But the beer that I enjoyed the most was the thoroughly British Pale. I could watch Chelsea FC play with a pint or two of this beer.

Prequel Alpha White IPA by Bottle Logic

Another sterling opener from this Orange County brewery. White IPA’s are hard to balance, much like their dark Cascadian counterparts, but this just oozed hoppy goodness from aroma to taste.

Atomic Kangarue by Smog City Brewing & The Bruery

This is a weird beer. And that is saying something since Smog City brews a Weird Beer. But this collaboration really hits the spot and uses the wine aspect to add instead of distracting from the beer. Truly wonderful.

Sleek Zeke Wheat by El Segundo Brewing

You expect hops from Rob Croxall and Tom Kelley, but this restrained take married to the wheat really shines and shows off the best attributes of both. I wish more styles were refreshed like this.

PCH (Pale Chocolate Heaven) by Santa Monica Brew Works

I have to admit that I wasn’t expecting much from this beer or brewery, but this beer changed my mind in a hurry. It doesn’t look chocolaty, but man the aroma and taste is pure cocoa. This beer could break big in 2015.

Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.


Sean Inman

Find more of Sean Inman's writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.

Blog Comments

Lagunitas Brewery is in Sonoma County (Petaluma, to be precise) while it’s name sake city is in Marin County. Just sayin’…

What about Stine’s Coffee and Milk Stout. I was extraordinary.

I’m trying to think of a good LA gift for my husband, who likes beer. Any suggestions?

You could take him on an LA Beer Hop. It’s a beer tasting tour that visits all of the breweries of Los Angeles. Check it out here labeerhop.com.


Did you happen to see Sean Inman’s gift guide for craft beer fans? Plenty of good ideas: http://www.foodgps.com/craft-beer-christmas-gifts

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