Drunk After Work: Bootlegger's Brewery
The Place: Bootlegger's Brewery, 401 S. Richman, Fullerton; (714) 871-2337.
The Hours: 4-9 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, 2-9 p.m. Saturdays.
The Deal: $2.50-$4 half-pints, $3-$5 full pints. Growlers available for $10-$12 (plus $5 if you need to buy the glass itself).
The Scene: An unabashedly ugly warehouse in a plaza containing an auto body shop and three storefront churches, in an industrial park just off Fullerton's less-than-lovely Valencia Avenue, this is not a place you dress up for. That said, an amazing variety of people patronize the place, from business-casual office drones to truckers, and the atmosphere is convivial. Talk to people about their beers and you'll find they're willing to chat.
The Sauce: There are two menus above the bar: on the left are the long-term offerings, usually 7 or 8 of them, including an excellent rye IPA, a good English-style mild (3.2% ABV; what Budweiser wishes it was) and good porter and stout. On the right side is the "guinea pig" section; these are kegs of beer that may be under evaluation for promotion to the left side, or may be used for skills learning. They are doing a lot of sour beers and a lot of aging in oak barrels; expect to see this on the right-side menu.
Left-side beers are offered in half-pints (8 US fl. oz.), pints (16 US fl. oz.) or growlers (64 US fl. oz.); right-side beers are offered in half-pints only.
The Eats: Like its better-known competitor, the Bruery, there is no kitchen, but they routinely invite those fancy new-type food trucks, including the recently-ousted-from-SantAna Dos Chinos, to hang out right in front. Some of the LA trucks make their only OC stop here.
The Verdict: Fine, so it isn't technically called a happy hour, but I have whiled away many happy hours at Bootlegger's. It's ugly, sure, but I'm a big believer in brutto ma buono--ugly but good. Everyone is there for one thing: the beer, which is cheap, plentiful and good. Add in some food trucks and the fact that it's
walking staggering distance from the Fullerton train station, and this is one of my favorite places to drink in OC. Besides, how many places will sell you the same drinks for later consumption?
The Grade: A- (let's have food trucks there all the time!)
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to Orange County dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.