San Fernando Valley Neighborhood Beer Guide
Over the last few years, the San Fernando Valley went from craft beer wasteland to quite the mecca with an influx of new breweries and beer bars mixing in with some of the venues that were early to the party. Today, the options stretch out across The Valley making it easy to find amazing beer without having to drive (or Uber) very far. Here is a collection of all the breweries and craft beer spots that are worth your time.
We were able to have a first look at 8one8 Brewing when we visited the now defunct Pac City Brewery back in June of 2014. Since that time, they’ve been committed to getting their brewery up and running and getting their beers into the hands of the people. So far, they’ve been well-received with their Matador Red and Good Day IPA, and we’re excited to see them continue to bring their brews to the 818 and beyond. They are still working on getting their tasting room approved, so stay tuned for when you can visit the brewery for a pint on a regular basis.
Brewyard Beer Co. is perfectly tucked into an industrial space on Western Ave. The tasting room is vast and nicely decorated and the beers have come into their own since their open with a variety of style offerings including lagered IPAs. You can usually count on a food truck on the weekends and the occasional DJ or live band providing the tunes.
Cellador Ales is a unique operation specializing is sour and wild ales fermented exclusively in 100% French oak barrels. The beers range from funky and tart to crisp and refreshing, which makes this brewery an exciting addition to the SFV. Sadly, their tasting room operations have been put on hold by the city, so you’ll have to find their beers on tap or in bottles around town until they are able to open the space back up to the public.
Hand-Brewed has always been about local, and they’ve cultivated quite the community in the west part of the SFV. So, it’s no surprise when you see their beers on tap on various bars in that part of town, however, that is the only way you’ll be able to enjoy them. Unfortunately, they are another victim of the city’s permitting issues while permanent tasting room licenses can be acquired.
Karl Strauss’ Universal City Walk location certainly makes it a tourist trap for the flood of people cruising through the outdoor entertainment destination, but let’s not forget that Karl brews some seriously awesome beer. In addition to the Karl beers you know and love, they are tapping the beers they make at the in-house brewery and it was also the birthplace of our LABW collaboration Hoppywood & Bine.
Lincoln Beer Company is a new brewery that is taking advantage of Burbank’s large industrial spaces where they’re already building out an on-site tasting room. For now, catch the Lincoln Beer Co. van cruising around dropping off kegs of their fresh, delicious beers at local bars throughout the Valley and beyond.
MacLeod Ale is one of the first micro-breweries to open in the Valley. They started off brewing cask-conditioned British ales exclusively, but eventually began expanding their offerings to include more popular styles to appease the masses. The tasting room is a laid-back experience with darts on the wall and a collection of regulars that enjoy good beer. Food trucks will post up in front to feed the crowd, and live music is always a thing here.
Monrovia’s Pacific Plate Brewing Co. recently opened up a taproom in Glendale bringing their beers must closer to the palates of SFV beer drinkers. It’s not a large space, however, but allows for new exposure to their beers in a cozy environment.
With bistro lights strung across the room, the vibe at San Fernando Brewing Co. is very laid back and the beers are really solid. Sometimes, there’s nothing better than to pull up a chair with a beer, snack on free pretzels & popcorn, and relax. They also have weekly food trucks to satisfy the larger appetites. Their offering isn’t over the top, focusing on keeping their core lineup as solid as ever with a fantastic red ale and stout, but crushing it with their Grapefruits of Wrath IPA.
Simmzy’s recently got a bump from beer bars to breweries because of their brand new brewhouse inside the restaurant that is taking over the production of their Simmzy’s-branded beers. Brian Herbertson, formerly of Riverside brewpub Wicks Brewing, took the reigns of the brewing operations which signals that Simmzy’s is serious about their new venture. They launched with their IPA, Blonde Ale and Porter, and have since released a Double IPA, a Saison, and a Pale Ale.
Verdugo West Brewing Co. is another new brewery in the SFV and they hit the ground running with headbrewer Chris Walowski, formerly of Smog City and Ohana. That experience was a seamless transition to Verdugo West which did not take long to start pumping out great quality beers, especially their West Coast IPAs. If its available, make sure to try their coffee variant of the Oatmeal Stout. Their ownership group also owns the nearby Market City Caffe where food can be ordered from the brewery and delivered right to you without ever having to leave your beer.
A pretty popular Sherman Oaks spot, Boneyard can get pretty crowded – and for good reason. They have great (but pricey) food, a full bar with experienced bartenders, and an impressive haul of craft beer. If you dare see Pliny the Elder regularly on tap in this neck of the woods, it will more than likely be here. They are also one of the few Valley establishments to have an allocation for Pliny The Younger once a year. At the end of the day, they are constantly rotating beers of various styles and give the local breweries lots of love as well.
We’ve had an affinity for Crazy Harry’s Bar simply because it was a mirage in an area that was local to us that was also, not surprisingly, dry of craft beer. Since their opening, it has exposed craft brands to a population of regulars and evolved into a tight-knit, welcoming atmosphere of people that share the common interest of craft. They hold numerous tap takeovers and events that keeps things exciting and it’s quite the hub for LA Kings fans to watch the games during hockey season.
The beer list at Forman’s won’t make you drool, but they offer a cozy, craftsman environment that has good food to pair along with your pints. Many of the beer offerings are pretty safe with Dogfish Head and New Belgium, but they will rotate some local beer into the mix. For the area that seems to only rely on the nearby Timmy Nolan’s, it’s worth a stop in to see what’s on tap.
Glendale Tap is armed with 52 taps and completely dominates the local area that was once served by The Pub at Golden Road. The atmosphere is very laid back and casual, and that’s the way they like it. With that many taps, you can be sure they are pouring a lot of local stuff to supplement other amazing beers from across the country.
House of Billiards cruised under the radar for some time as a place to enjoy some amazing beer, but the word’s been out and it remains one of the best curated tap lists in that part of town. They’ll have events every so often, but each one is with a brewery built on a reputation of making really good beer and it’s usually some of their rarer stuff. One thing to note is that the place is cash only, however, they do have an ATM machine on site.
This unassuming dive bar looks like it’s been around for awhile, but that doesn’t mean the beer is old. They’re rotating the beer quite a bit over there, but it is still a local’s bar that enjoy sipping stiff drinks or throwing back Budweisers. Totally not complaining about the stiff drinks…
14058 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423
22901 Ventura Blvd, Woodland Hills, CA 91364
The Local Peasant came out of the gates with their Sherman Oaks location and was easily one of the go-to spots for good beer. As the years passed, they opened up another location in Woodland Hills, and the tap lists just kept getting better. They keep things rotating, as you could expect, and always have a variety of styles from hyper-local breweries and beyond.
Along the Arroyo Calabasas tributary sits Pedalers Fork, a restaurant/coffee shop/bike shop that suffers from the best kind of identity crisis. Oh, and they have 30+ taps of craft beer with a good amount dedicated to the hops we love. Try and get a spot out on the patio among the creek and the lush trees.
Public School 818 opened a few years back and the buzz was good. They kicked off their opening with a tap list that could satisfy the hop heads, but since then, their beer director changed hands and things are looking pretty “safe” over there. Still, it’s a nice, communal place to gather with your friends that serves up some pretty good food to go along with what’s on tap.
This craftsman-style pub sits on San Fernando Blvd. just a stone’s throw away from downtown Burbank. It’s also just down the road from a Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant (but who cares about that). Story Tavern presents itself like an ordinary pub that boasts such fare as Shepard’s Pie, and a handful of beer engines that pump from nearby casks. Don’t worry, though, as the craft beer taps have a few different locations behind the bar giving you over 20 options to choose from. Make this a stop when you head out this way to visit Tony’s Darts Away.
Stout offers a fairly comfortable selection of craft beer on tap and killer burgers to go along with them. They are the site of Beer Fests for Beer Geeks’ rare beer fest, which never disappoints.
Formerly Sweeney’s Alehouse, the place quickly changed names to represent The Goat Group’s Surly Goat brand. There is a plethora of Irish whiskey to go around and a lot of craft beer to be drank. It’s a prime spot in this part of the Valley to enjoy a variety of styles that consistently rotate inside an atmosphere that strives to be very laid back in a not-so-laid-back location. Nonetheless, it is still a great place to grab great beer, play some shuffle board or pool, and jam with your friends.
Taps Valley Gastropub services a pretty craft-free area of The Valley, and they are doing it with a pretty nice selection of brews that range from your more well-known San Diego brands to the local boys such as 818 Brewing – pretty much on tap at all times.
15005 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91403
21028 Ventura Blvd, Woodland Hills, CA 91364
With locations along Ventura Blvd in Sherman Oaks and Woodland Hills, Tipsy Cow is all about burgers, beer, and milkshakes. In fact, the decor is reminiscent of an upscale diner. They’re tapping beers from LA, OC, SD, & beyond satisfying a wide range of styles. Additionally, those milkshakes can be made boozy, so if you’re not feelin’ like beer, you have options.
Tony’s is a no-brainer if you are a fan of IPAs made in California, Before it became the TDA that you see today, it used to be a dive bar of the same name. Tony Yanow (Golden Road co-founder, now part of the Artisanal Brewers Collective) took over the space, kept the name (coincidentally the same as his), and gave craft beer a new life in the Valley. Tony’s Darts Away is your friendly, neighborhood hangout that’s slinging great beer and a fantastic food menu to go along with it that features many vegan-friendly options.
If the above tap list is not an indication, this place is serious about beer. And though it’s still in Glendale, it just further bridges the geographical gap between the Valley and the Eastside. Co-owner John Sullivan was an avid home chef who perfected his own recipes during his spare time, and once the craft beer bug bit, he was on to this venture that pairs his love for food with beer.
This is the best bottle shop in the western part of the San Fernando Valley. One of the few spots that gets regular shipments of Pliny the Elder and other hard-to-get beers, Green Jug is owned by welcoming and very knowledgable people that are sure to connect you to the tasty brews you love.
The amazing thing about Handy Market is that they transcend the label of an amazing bottle shop. Their on-site deli is churning out some of the best sandwiches in Burbank including their tri-tip sub – a local favorite, and their grocery carries a variety of specialty foods and produce. If you’re looking to take some beer home in this neck of the woods, this is the spot.
Any trip to Valley Beverage Co. will ensure you don’t leave empty-handed as their beer selection is fantastic. They are also one of the few places in town to grab bottles of the hard-to-find whales that grace the shelves in the back (meaning you need to ask for them). With huge coolers filled with our local breweries in 22oz. bombers and packs to-go, Valley Bev Co. will answer the call.
This particular Vendome location has a big selection stretching from your freshest IPAs to your sought-after beers aged in barrels. They also have an on-site tasting room where they hold weekly wine and beer tastings making it easy for you to try before you buy.
The Whole Foods Market outpost in Tarzana is the only one like it in this part of LA, featuring a dozen or so taps at their Vine 39 Bar. There’s also a large selection of bottles and cans to-go, including those from your favorite local LA breweries, to take home or enjoy inside the bar area.
More Beer From Here
It won’t be much longer before this guide will need another update as the Artisanal Brewers Collective continues to buy and build, and as more menus across the Valley get a bump in their craft beer offerings. If you know of a beer spot that fellow craft lovers would dig, leave us a comment below or send us a message on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Thanks for reading!