The craft beer scene in Orange County is thriving, and besides the great bars and restaurants highlighting craft brews, there are a dozen breweries serving the thirsty crowds from Seal Beach to San Clemente. Here are five tasting rooms at Orange County's best production breweries where you can get a flight, fill a growler, and get to know the craft brewers of the O.C.
The most celebrated of Orange County's craft breweries, the newly remodeled tasting room in Placentia serves up experimental brew, potent barrel-aged concoctions and a bevy of face-puckering sour treats. Filling a growler with the balanced and refreshing Hottenroth berliner weisse is a great choice when the weather heats up.
717 Dunn Way, Placentia (714) 996-6258.
Noble Ale Works
There's been much buzz about this Anaheim brewery since Evan Price took over brewing duties and started releasing some of the most creative new beers around. His Naughty Sauce -- a golden milk stout dosed with plenty of Portola Coffee Labs coffee -- has been all the rage from San Diego to Ventura, but until they brew another batch, the light and floral Pistol Whip'd Pils is a great choice to take home with you.
1621 S. Sinclair St., Suite B, Anaheim (714) 634-2739.
The brewery in Fullerton has been a local favorite for years, and it recently opened a new, expanded tasting room just a few blocks from Fullerton's Metrolink station. Bootleggers is known for its seasonal releases and its heavy-hitting Knuckle Sandwich double IPA, but the Rustic Rye IPA is a touch more drinkable.
130 S Highland Ave., Fullerton (714) 871-2337.
Cismontane Brewing Company
South Orange County is developing an impressive craft beer scene, and the brewers at Cismontane in Rancho Santa Margarita deserve a lot of the credit. The small tasting room is a perfect spot to relax after hiking the arroyos and bluff. Named for a popular nearby trail, Holy Jim Falls is a sessionable extra pale ale (or XPA) that showcases big hop flavors while remaining less than 5% alcohol.
29851 Aventura, Suite D, Rancho Santa Margarita (949) 888-2739.
Pizza Port San Clemente
While not a production brewery, the northernmost outpost of the famed chain of San Diego brewpubs demands a mention in this list. The Pizza Port locations are perennial contenders at any beer competition they enter, and the San Clemente location just celebrated 10 years of brewing some of the best craft beer in Orange County. A dozen guest-taps sit beside the dozen house beers on offer, and the pizza is nearly as tasty as the brews.
301 N. El Camino Real, San Clemente (949) 940-0005.