Back in 1857, German settlers from San Francisco descended upon our area to make wine. They named the city Anaheim, which translates to “home by the Santa Ana river.” By 1884, 1.25 million gallons of wine flowed from the city, setting up a downtown ripe with booze-crawl potential. Although the Santa Ana river isn’t flowing wildly these days, local craft beer certainly is. The city has had a “breweries wanted” sign out for years, and it’s starting to pay off. A dozen beer makers are now within city limits, with three opening around the stadiums this fall.
Legends Craft Brewery (almost open!): A stones-throw from The Ranch restaurant on Ball and S. Lewis St, owner Jay Talley has built a reputation on creating a solid lager. Having tasted his pilsner and American black lager, I concur. Although Legends isn’t technically open yet, “any day now” is their slogan. The tasting room, complete with reclaimed wooden walls, inlaid TV’s, and high-backed bar stools will be a sure-hit as it’s now the closest brewery to Disneyland. Definitely pick up some of their swanky aluminum bottles around town. Tip: Legends will also house Saddleback Soda Company, giving designated drivers, kids (and pregnant visitors) a reason to stop in for a glass of strawberry cream soda, bananas foster soda, and even root beer.
Backstreet Brewery isn’t technically new as they’ve brewed in Irvine and Vista for years. Now in Anaheim sans-pizza point, they’re cranking up production and honing in on quality. I found solace with their hoppy pils, Hoppy Halo, complete with a bright punch of Czech hops on the finish. Grab a flight to start and go from there. Tomahawk double IPA and Hometown nut brown ale were drinking nicely on their grand opening.
Golden Road OC: What is now just a cozy tasting room will soon be Orange County’s largest production brewery. Backed by O.C.’s noted brewer Victor Novak, the south side of Angel stadium will soon be packed with baseball fans looking to pregame. Perhaps mimicking their L.A. brewery and pub, rumor has it the front of their building will be a 15,000 square foot pub backed by a 35,000 square foot production brewery (that’s bigger than an acre, y’all). Final plans are still being discussed and approved. Inside baseball: Craft beer purists have sworn they won’t patronize the brewery now that the majority owner is AB InBev, and will continue their usual migration to Noble Ale Works on the north side of the park.
Rumor: Karl Strauss is looking to add a second location in Orange County. Snooping Anaheim public city records, a permit request for a brewery/restaurant on the southeast corner of Angel Stadium (two doors down from Golden Road’s massive plot) was live as of 11/17. The city confirmed they will have a small-scale brewpub on the bottom floor of the building with an outdoor eating area facing the big A. No dates or confirmation from Karl have been received.
What’s your favorite brewery in Anaheim? Let us know below or on facebook!