Why buy global when you can support local? Those big name beer companies have tons of cash and followers already, while the blood, sweat and tears that go into your local beer’s work is going unappreciated. Hit up some local bars that serve local beer or some that even serve their own beer, adding a personal twist to the dining experience. Orange County has a host of local breweries just dying for some more attention. If you really enjoyed what you drank, often times you can purchase more to take home with you since they are the owner and distributor of their own product.
131 1/2 Main St.
Seal Beach, CA 90740
An absolute Orange County gem, Beachwood BBQ features an insane amount of beer from far and wide. Its always-on webcam displays the current selection, viewable from the website before you stop in for a bite and a brew. The partnership with local brewers is evident, with some special selections coming straight from breweries and others just from local brewing legends. Give the bartender a wink and a nod when asking about the local specials and prepare to be dazzled with something truly special. Also, if you leave here without eating anything from the menu, you have committed a serious party foul.
190 S. Glassell St.
Orange, CA 92866
Serving beers from local breweries like Valiant Brewing Company, Haven Gastropub is a foodie’s dream. Beyond its local flair for alcohol, its combination of organic and local ingredients makes for a truly natural experience. Haven Gastropub recommends a particular brew with most of its meals, attempting to pair flavors in a unique way that complements everything on your table. This one is for the adventurous beer fan, looking to not only drink locally, but have a palate-expanding experience.
13011 Newport Ave., #100
Tustin, CA 92780
Tustin has some excellent breweries, but none as robust and stocked with a full kitchen like the Tustin Brewery Company. Snack on some short rib tacos while trying out the award-winning Lemon Hef, American Pale Ale or Jackson’s Double IPA. Alcohol by volume ranges from the low-fours to the high-eights, giving you plenty of choice when it comes to how effective you want your drink to be. Tustin Brewery has daily food and drink specials, a killer happy hour and breakfasts that involve football and $5 bloody marys. The last four digits in its phone number spell out “b-e-e-r,” so you know this place takes its drinking seriously.
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Alcatraz Brewing Company
20 City Blvd.
West Orange, CA 92868
Alcatraz Brewing Company is perfect for the displaced Bay Area drinker in you. Brewmaster Dave Moody and his team provide some stellar brews, from seasonal favorites to year-round treats, including a six-rink sampler that should make you a fan before the glasses are empty. It even has a Brewmaster Mug Club that fills your giant mug for the price of a single pint. The food is killer, the theme is Bay Area and the taste of San Fransisco is in every drop of the locally crafted beer.
Chapter One: The Modern Local
227 N. Broadway
Santa Ana, CA 92701
Do not be thrown off by this modern name, as Chapter One showcases tons of local produce and food as well as local beers from breweries like Orange’s own Old Orange Brewing Company and Noble Ale Works in Anaheim. It has dozens of different choices to choose from, mostly staying away from the typical beer selection at your local watering hole. Instead, these specially chosen brews match perfectly with the modern food, creating a table full of smart choices. Definitely keep this place on your radar if you aren’t afraid of a little wait, as its special style is beloved by hundreds of regulars.
Jesse Seilhan is a writer, editor and photographer from the California Bay Area. After moving to Long Beach, Jesse continues his passion for writing and music by covering concerts, interviewing top artists, and giving a dose of wisdom in a crazy, mixed-up musical world. His work can be found at Examiner.com.