San Diego may get all the ink and L.A. gets our local love but there are other thriving craft communities out there to check out. One of them is Temecula, with a population of over 106,000, that is a mere 1½ hours away (your mileage may vary) from Los Angeles.
The best place to begin your beer day trip planning is with the Temecula Breweries website. That link is your one-stop shopping home for the eight breweries that call the region in and around Temecula, home. Angeleno craft beer fans will no doubt recognize Black Market Brewing Company which has been sending bottles and cans our way for a while now. Ironfire Brewing Co. and Wiens Brewing have also had a presence in bottle shops and taps around town. You might also recognize the name Refuge Brewery from their cans of Blood Orange Wit in the black matte cans that are in practically every store around town.
What you will need the Temecula Brewery tours for (yes, they have one like Los Angeles does) is to navigate your way through other breweries that aren’t as well known yet. The just over one-year-old Aftershock Brewing Co. is known for their stouts. Craft Brewing Co. and the wizards on their labels have made forays into L.A. from their home base in Lake Elsinore, which is 15 minutes from Temecula.
Also out of town, but still close, is Electric Brewing Company in Murrieta, of which I had never even heard of before, which makes it all the more intriguing to visit. Finally there is the really new Relentless Brewing that recently released their first beer, “We Can’t Stop Here!” a 100% Brettanomyces fermented Gose, a collaboration with Aftershock Brewing from just down the road.
If running from one brewery tasting room to the next isn’t your thing, then maybe Backyard Bottleshop & Taproom would be more your speed. 22 drafts and bottled beers plus selections of wines from the region and small plates.
If that weren’t enough to make you spend the night there, there is also a Karl Strauss location in town. Billion Dollar Ballast Point will be opening a location in town as well. Maybe just a satellite tasting room or maybe another brewery. Meaning that the Temecula area is nearing double digits in brewing numbers.
If you like your craft beer with a side of metal, then you will be head-banging about the bottle release of Blood Junkie from Three Weavers which is the Beer of the Week. The one-year-old Inglewood brewery has teamed up with Prosthetic Records to create an Imperial Red Ale that is aggressively hopped with Mosaic, Simcoe, Summit and experimental hop #342. Pick up a bottle and admire the menacing artwork while you listen to your favorite music. Be it metal or Kenny G.
Your Homework is to head out for brunch. The Oinkster in Hollywood has rolled out a brunch menu under the Keg & Eggs name that has breakfast sandwiches, chicken and waffles and breakfast burritos. Concurrently, they added more taps. Right behind the counter where you order! Now you can while away a lazy Sunday with 10 draft choices.
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.