Does it matter that their beer isn't brewed (yet) in OC? The beer is good but nothing to make it a destination, like The Bruery, or the better San Diego breweries. In the end, congratulations on the win, and I hope it leads to better beer and beer drinking to come.
Best Brewery Orange County 2011 - Noble Ale Works
Jerry Kolbly may not have the high profile of some of the other brewers in Orange County—yet—but the man is everywhere, spreading his infectious love for good, hoppy beers. His Noble Ale Works keeps the longest hours of any dedicated tasting room; it's open Wednesday through Sunday, plus Mondays and Tuesdays when the Angels or Ducks are at home. (Look for beer specials for people who come in wearing team gear.) Noble's best-known beer is the Dark Sybian, a black IPA with an appealing citrus flavor and a light head, but brewmaster Tracy Simmonds' favorite is the Alpha Red, which is one of the easiest-drinking beers to come out of Orange County so far. Noble beers are in every high-end beer bar from here to Santa Barbara, and there's no beer event he doesn't want to attend. Currently, only four to six Noble beers are in production at any one time because the brewery itself is not finished. (They are currently brewed in borrowed space at Dale Brothers in Upland.) Once the brewery is finished, production should ramp up quickly. And by the time you read this, the tasting room will have 20 taps, with guest beers filling what they're not brewing. $