A Day Trip South
The second trip in this three-part exploration series takes place in an unassuming part of Orange County. The Platinum Triangle might as well be considered the sprawled out cousin of L.A. Live given the entertainment options within its unofficial borders. The Honda Center, Angel Stadium (Not Los Angeles Angels of Whatever Next-Biggest City in the Southwestern United States Stadium), and Disneyland all lie in close proximity to the 405 Freeway. However, since driving is for suckers, and since the breweries in this region are such high quality, this trip will involve the train lines and will focus on beer.
How to get there: Pacific Surfliner from LA for $35 or Oceanside (North San Diego) for $45, and ride share to the 57/91 intersection for around $20. The Metrolink also offers 7$ round-trip tickets Monday through Friday when the Angels are playing at home, so keep that in your back pocket.
This has been one of my favorite destinations because of its simplicity and short distance. Forty minutes from LA, and an hour from Oceanside. Trains run almost every hour from either direction with the exception of a three hour gap after the noon train from LA, and with half the breweries opening at 4pm, feel free to drift with the wind a little bit.
What to bring: A good hat, a backpack for all the bottles you're going to want to buy, a working smartphone for flagging down Übers and Lyfts, cash for food trucks, an Angels/Ducks jersey.
Anaheim lies in the sun-drenched county of Orange, roughly twenty miles inland. The ample amount of pavement in this Mediterranean can lead to fairly warm days and cool nights. The large blocks of land make walking from stop to stop tricky, but not impossible. If you decide to go that route, bring a good-sized water bottle.
The spots: Hooters, In-N-Out, various food trucks, Phantom Ales, The Bruery, Bottle Logic, Noble Aleworks.
Upon arrival you have two drinking options, The Bruery and Phantom Ales. Both open promptly at noon, and they both serve delicious libations. AVOID STOPPING AT THE BRUERY FIRST OR YOUR TRIP WILL AMLOST CERTAINLY BE COMPROMISED!!!!!!!! Phantom dishes out a solid array of beers, wine, and mead, the latter being a rarity for Southern California breweries due to its ancient roots and often incredibly sweet and dry properties. They are also one of the few breweries in the area boasting a menu specializing in comfort food, making them the ideal first stop on a long day of drinking. If you noticed my subtle warning, you will literally be in a "Choose your own adventure" scenario for the next two breweries. So here's the skinny on both. Bottle Logic is one of the best up-and-coming breweries in the whole of Southern California, boasting an excellent selection of core styles and extremely high quality IPAs, further adding to the region's reputation as a hop powerhouse. I'm saying as a San Diegan too. The Bruery (no I'm not drunk yet, that is the correct spelling) is a place that every beer connoisseur should go before they die. They were one of the first to experiment with blending in Southern California and consistently push the notion of what you can experience in a beer. That being said, most of their beers are equivalent to a multi-course meal, high in ABV, and will take your taste buds on a decadent, complex, and boozy rocket ride into the upper stratosbeer... Sphere. Upper stratosphere. Additionally, both breweries host different food trucks every day of the week, and are just as eclectic as the breweries themselves. I distinctly remember having a smoked brisket panini, a California roll, and egg rolls reminiscent of cheeseburgers on one such trip, let that coalesce in your mind for a second. Last, but not least, is Noble Aleworks. The first thing I look for is their current IPA list, the second thing I look for is their famous Golden Milk Stout, Naughty Sauce, and the third thing I do is get one of everything they have, because everything they make is THAT good. Being a stone's throw from the train station, Honda Center, and Angel Stadium is a nice perk as well.
Approximate cost: $120-$170 per person. Includes travel, roughly one flight per brewery, two to three meals, and bottles/growlers/miscellaneous activities.
Other fun attractions: Getting thrown in the penalty box at a Ducks game, catching some dingers at an Angel game, standing in line at Disneyland.