Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, businesses across the globe (including California breweries) have been dealing with an unprecedented amount of hardship due to countrywide social distancing protocols implemented to control the virus outbreak. One of the industries hit the hardest has been the brewing industry – from a significant amount of small town craft breweries to a number of well-known microbreweries across the nation. Because of the national implementations and guidelines following COVID-19, these industries have seen an overall decrease in sales, traffic and production, which has ultimately put a lot of their businesses on a temporary hold – or even shut them down for good.
Despite having troubles with sales, taprooms all over the world are doing everything in their power to keep them from tapping out of their passion for craft brewing. Although the pandemic is still in full effect, breweries everywhere have been trying their best to adapt to social distance protocols. Many people nowadays are just looking for a place to eat, sip and relax after a stressful week of work, and a brewery is a great option often overlooked.
If you haven’t been to a brewery or aren’t too familiar with the overall concept, you’ve been missing out on an experience all beer lovers will enjoy. Picture this – you walk into a bar, except it’s eight times bigger and instead of the same ol’ seven beers on tap, you have a total of twenty four to choose from (and even sample). You sit down, surrounded by the plethora of beer options; everything from pale ales to porters, stouts and sours of all sorts, housemade seltzers and basic lagers and even specialty seasonal flavors. Depending on the brewery, of course the protocols and experiences may differ. However, we’ve got a shortlist of some California breweries that you should (and can safely) check out during the pandemic.
Brewing since 1989, Karl M. Strauss initially started his brewing journey in San Diego and earned his career-title as one of the most prestigious craft beer industries along the West Coast. With more than 10 locations scattered across the California coast, the Strauss experience is a blend of restaurant and taproom. Some of the locations have a sheet metal modern aesthetic, and these California breweries offer big open spaces inside and outside for those with a larger party. If you’re new, fear not. You will be served table side, and the servers are usually very knowledgeable on what your pallet may fancy as well as what kind of food to pair with your beer.
Representing the San Diego community, this small group of home-brewers started out in the late 90s and years later created their first award-winning Indian pale ale (IPA). Although originating in San Diego, their operation soon expanded and made its way toward the East Coast, where production never stops. Known for their creative bold flavors, Ballast Point has made their name known across California and is now one of the most popular brands to buy in-store. If you’re ever in Long Beach, the brewery there is oceanside with a spacious outside deck – perfect for you and your friends to enjoy a California Kolsch against the backdrop of the California sunset.
One of the more recent California breweries, Golden Road started in 2011 with the idea of their drink representing everything Californian. Sand silk beaches with the waves crashing under your skin – and an ice cold Mango Cart, a light wheat ale inspired by the iconic fruit cart vendors of Los Angeles, in hand. A portion of their beers are infused with different fruits, from melon wheat ales to light blondes infused with guava. If you’re ever wanting to play corn hole outside with your buddies with a glass of California in your hand, this is the place to go.
Their motto is “to improve is to change, to perfect is to change often.” One of the more renowned craft beer industries around Orange County, Bottle Logic Brewing has become one of Anaheim’s most popular microbreweries. Although their tap menu is constantly in rotation, they offer a huge selection considering they’re one of the smaller taprooms around the city. A range of bourbon barrel aged stouts are available followed by more than 10 different IPAs. If you’re looking for quality plus quantity, go with this logical choice. Plus, they love doggos.
Located in the heart of Old Towne Orange, this family-owned brewery is committed to offering the best crafted beers to their community. Having a communal-based background, Chapman Crafted aims to deliver well-crafted beer with a focus on flavor and freshness. Although their menu isn’t as expansive as others, there’s a different star quality in each drink that you will only find by trying each one. Small and intimate – this is a brewery with beer that’s crafted from the heart of the community.
If you ever find yourself in Southern California craving a pineapple infused wheat ale, look up the nearest Golden Road location and follow the road until you satisfy your cravings. If you’re visiting Old Towne Orange and you find yourself looking for a quick craft brew to sip on with dinner, Chapman Crafted will fix you up just right. Taprooms everywhere are beginning to dwindle due to the pandemic, but by following protocols and strict guidelines, you can help keep their beer business afloat!
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