As I like to point out why I moved from LA to SF last year--
Breweries in the 310: 0
Breweries in the 415: 8
But if there's any hope for the tide turning, it's Blue Palms Brew House. Founder Brian Lenzo has proven he can bring good beer to La La Land, now Angelenos have to step up to the mash tun to prove themselves worthy of choosing good beer. With two dozen stellar selections on tap and another handful of bottled beers, I hope this beer bar is the second step (proper respect must be paid to Father's Office, even if, in true LA fashion, residents didn't start respecting it until they started having to wait in line just to get in) to turning the second largest city in America into a beer town. The blogger duly notes that Pasadena supports a great beer scene in terms of production (ie: Craftsman) and sales (ie: Stuffed Sandwich, Lucky Baldwin's), but that's because they're Pasadenans. Back to Blue Palms.
I believe Lenzo to be a malthead like myself, which is why they stock so many great dark, malty beers including, and I can't promote this beer enough if you've never tried it, Ola Dubh 30... ON TAP. The symbiotic relationship between Scotland's Harviestoun Brewery and Highland Park single-malt scotch, over 20 years and 200 years old, respectively, this "Black Oil" beer aged in said famed whisky barrels is a snifter to behold. And as with all beers aged in spirit casks, it'll getya.
If you're in or heading to LA, check out. Or better yet, stop by around Nov 2 for my LA book signing party there, as the plan goes.
As for scoping out the beer scene "beyond," K'ro and I happened upon Central Coast Brewing, founded around 2003, in San Luis Obispo. For anyone who recalls SLO Brewing, home of the first blueberry ale I'd ever tried, this is no relation, as that brewery is now in the hands of Firestone-Walker.
We pulled into the parking lot in front of CCB after 4 p.m, which is to say less than an hour before they stop pouring samples. Nevertheless, Jim behind the bar helped us squeeze in the full gamut of their brews and we walked away with our two favorites, Chai Cream Ale (yes, it tastes like chai) and Drunkelweizen, so dubbed because it's dark (dunkle), wheaty (weizen), and'll get ya drunk. Beer people come up with the best names.
CCB is also a BOP (Brew on Premise) and they'll help you brew any of their 150ish recipes. Stop in to brew your own batch with your own custom-made labels. Or better yet, stop by around Dec 2 for my SLO book signing party there, as the plan goes.