And a Special Shout-Out to Long Beach!
Long Beach, you may not officially be part of Orange County, but we love your craft beer anyway. There are only two independent breweries within the city limits, but that doesn't mean you can't find a great brew elsewhere in town.
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CALIFORNIA HEIGHTS MARKET
Bixby Knolls gets its craft beer from this converted ranch house—garage and all. Browse the selection while your car rests in the drive-thru that used to be the front yard—how convenient! 3766 Orange Ave., Long Beach, (562) 427-6862.
Just north of the Circle, Stearns is the craft-beer specialist in Long Beach; its beer selection is so large it can't even keep a list on its website. Damn, that means we have to go in and be tempted. 4360 E. Stearns St., Long Beach, (562) 597-3984; www.stearnsliquor.com.
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BEACHWOOD BBQ & BREWING
The Seal Beach Beachwood BBQ was so popular—and so crowded—it had to open a nearby, larger outpost. There's a huge patio, and as a bonus, it brews its own beer in Long Beach. 210 E. Third St., Long Beach, (562) 436-4020; beachwoodbbq.com.
BELMONT BREWING CO.
As befits a bar at the very end of a pier, Belmont's brews tend to skew very light and refreshing—just what you want when the marine layer finally burns off. 25 39th Place, Long Beach, (562) 433-3891; belmontbrewing.com.
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CONGREGATION ALE HOUSE
The last time we went to Congregation Ale House, it had an Italian craft beer on tap. (There are craft beers in Italy?) It also has plenty of American craft beers on tap, but watch out: The alcohol-by-volume content runs high here. 201 E. Broadway, Long Beach, (562) 432-BEER; congregationalehouse.com.
It's easy to miss this Bixby Knolls gastropub, but once you find it, you'll find the beers are chosen not for how close by they were brewed, but how they pair with the food. In-gen-ious! 4020 Atlantic Ave., Long Beach, (562) 595-4020; www.thefactorylb.com.
TAVERN ON 2
It makes sense Belmont Shore would have the best beer selection, and Tavern On 2 makes great inroads, with mostly Belgian on tap; for local craft brews, hit up the bottle selection. 5110 E. Second St., Long Beach, (562) 856-4000; www.tavernon2.com.
SIMMZY'S LONG BEACH
This Simmzy's may not be as large as its older sister in Manhattan Beach, but it still has a damn-fine beer selection. Good luck parking! 5271 E. Second St., Long Beach, (562) 439-5590; www.simmzys.com.
QUINN'S IRISH PUB
So-called "Irish" pubs plague Long Beach more than pollution, but Quinn's redeems itself by actually giving a damn about the beer selection, which means you can get everything from Ballast Point to Deschutes on tap. 200 Nieto Ave., Ste. A, Long Beach, (562) 434-2606; quinnsirishpubandgrill.com.
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