For the first craft beer guide of 2014, I have broken up the list for the sprawling San Fernando Valley into groups of two so as to cover as much ground as possible while not leaving anyone out in the cold without a place to try near them.
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Numbered establishments on the map correspond to information below for easy reference. Establishments do not appear in order of preference.
Let’s begin with Ventura Boulevard:
10. Boneyard Bistro is a great place to pair food with beer and since BBQ and craft beer also have their regional devotees it can also be a place to let your opinions fly. Before you get there (or after) visit 09. Valley Beverage and pick up a bottle or three from their great selection of local and hard to find beers.
08. On The Thirty may be the flashiest place on this list, with plenty of flat screen TVs, waitresses in tight black clothing and Italian-influenced fare that outperforms most area gastropubs. Wine also gets a lot of play, but most of their 30 tap handles pour craft beer. Written by Josh Lurie
Further east, 07. Tuning Fork Gastropub is a Ventura Place hangout featuring skylights and decorative paintings, with owners that keep taps in steady rotation. They’ve also been known to pair chef Jay Bedassie’s comfort food for beer pairing dinners. Written by Josh Lurie
Moving over to Burbank:
06. Tony’s Darts Away is the place to find a California brewed IPA plus they have the wonderful Tuesday’s at Tony’s where special events like Nitro beers, or Christmas beers are featured. Mosey over the 5 to 05. Story Tavern with its dark and cozy (and growing) location on San Fernando near Downtown Burbank.
Near Universal Studios are two great spots. 04. Vendome Toluca Lake is an institution whose Weekend Beer tastings are the best value in town. Survey their selection of foreign beers that will work up a hunger for food (and more beer) at 03. Karl Strauss, way at the top of the hill in CityWalk and then up a flight of stairs. There you will find a taste of San Diego, including their seasonals and cask offering.
Next head to NoHo’s Arts District to find two spots within walking distance of each other and a Metro station too. 02. Pitfire Pizza has great seasonal menus with inventive pizzas and salads as well as a seasonal beer menu. Up the street 01. The Federal Bar has taken over an old bank building and created a neat little craft beer and food oasis with two rooms and two bars.
Bonus: L.A. Beer Blast reader Retsinis and the brewers behind Hand Brewed both recommended the following two spots much deeper in the valley that even this intrepid beer writer has yet to visit. First up is Crazy Harry’s Bar where the beer list is not crazy and Instant Replay that has 10 taps of both local and regional favorites in Canoga Park.