An Update on the Beer Landscape in O.C.

Astral Boogie IPA; photograph courtesy of Riip Beer Co

We have just passed the halfway point of 2020, and last week saw a return to some restrictions. Don’t fear, beer lovers—it’s not all bad. We have seen the beer industry’s greatest strength in play these past few months; the community!

You have stepped up to offer support when there was a near shutdown. And breweries have adapted—line ordering, outside patios and beer gardens, and facilitating to-go orders with makeshift drive-throughs! Bootlegger’s in Fullerton has a food concept truck cooking up some tasty treats. Brewery X is offering Pizza X, New York style pies.

Sadly, we are losing one member of the Orange County Brewers Guild. Network Brewing in Santa Ana has shut down. Good Beer Company, also in Santa Ana, is officially gone, but this was already in the works as the owners were relocating to another county. Considering the bleak outlook at the beginning of the pandemic and supported by some research by The Brewers Association, we might have seen a little more than 12 percent, or about six breweries, shut down in the county. Support from the community kept the numbers much lower.

Our brewers kept up their skills, too. The lager-game we have is incredible! Tustin Brewing Company has two amazing lagers: Tailgater, a pale Mexican Lager, and Dos Sexies, a Vienna Lager, are some of the best lagers Jerrod Larsen has produced. GameCraft has continued to impress. Brewery X recently released Dost Thou Even Hoist, a Czech Pale Lager with some amazing aromatics. Unsung has Enzo available, an Italian Pilsner, which was my favorite offering from the Loggerfest earlier this year.

On top of this, many breweries never took their foot of the pedal with new releases. Bottle Logic continued to provide us with Stasis Project offerings. The Bruery sustained the Hazy and West Coast IPA releases under Off-Shoot. RIIP has taken its already stellar IPA’s and turned them up to 11. Asylum started a brand for variants, Hyper Beer Co.

Our brewing industry will continue to acclimate and move forward. Keep doing what ‘you doin! It’s working.

Support Local. Stay Safe. Wear your Face Covering. Thank you, and Cheers!

Editor’s note: Charlie Perez is an Advanced Cicerone® who covers the Orange County beer scene for the Booze Blog.

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