The night-life in Long Beach is far from lackluster, but it’s hard to sift through the sheer amount of bars and breweries to find one that is really worthwhile.
When you go out for a beer, the drink itself is not the only thing you should be looking at. Ambience and the quality of the food are what really rounds out an establishment.
So, instead of making you go out and do the work, the Daily 49er did it for you. We visited a few breweries around the city to see which ones would be worth its salt — or hops in this case.
Address: 4019 Atlantic Ave.
Ambitious Ales is a new brewery that just opened Feb. 16 in the Bixby Knolls neighborhood. Because it is so new, the modern design and layout of the building is what stands out the most. The white walls, floor-to-ceiling windows and outdoor seating area make this place a perfect spring drinking spot.
The beer and food menu are limited, with only pizza served and not a huge variety of drinks to try. Most of the drinks on the menu consist of ales and IPAs with little to no stouts, porters or ciders. However, the drink menu changes weekly, so there will always be new flavors.
The Tropigose was deliciously fruity and a perfect refreshing spring drink. The German-style ale was conditioned with pineapple and pink guava to give it its full taste with barely a hint of alcohol, a plus for those just getting into beer.
Despite the pleasant atmosphere, there aren’t many activities or games to play with friends.
Address: 3768 Long Beach Boulevard #110.
Just a short drive down the street, inside of recycled shipping containers is Smog City Brewing at SteelCraft. The mixed indoor and outdoor, laid-back setting is jam-packed with people, food stalls and the single brewery.
Of all the places we visited, this was the only stop on our crawl that offered a wide variety of food such as pizza, waffles, burgers, ramen and shaved ice. How many breweries have you been to where you can grab a bowl of ramen or some grilled cheese waffles?
I tried a sour beer, the white peach saison, which was delicious, and the plate of vegetable gyoza, something I didn’t know I needed before I had it. With 20 taps of different beers and a knowledgeable staff, this was easily my favorite place.
Address: 4019 Atlantic Ave.
Liberation Brewing Co. was lively. From the sprawling murals to the pictures of old Long Beach and a game area equipped with Jenga, shuffleboard, board games and darts, we knew this brewery was going to be a blast.
We sipped our beers (a “Maddy” pale ale for me) during a heated game of Jenga with the music loud and “Naruto” playing on a projector behind us.
Most of the beers we tried were bland and basic and no one stood out with a strong or unique flavor. Luckily, this was overshadowed by the rest of the activities in the place. They offered jerky and chips, but if those are not what you’re looking for you’ll have to find sustenance elsewhere and bring it into the brewery, which many guests did.
Despite the lackluster beer, we had the most fun at this location.
Address: 1136 E. Willow St.
We ended our journey at the laid back Ten Mile Brewery in Signal Hill. The chill atmosphere and happy staff made it the perfect closer for our group.
The rustic, woodsy and old-fashioned style of the location, along with comfy couches in the corners, made us feel right at home in the large, open space.
I was so taken by this place that I got two drinks — the “Citrillenial” and the “Hidden Hollow.” The former a light and fruity IPA, the latter dark but surprisingly easy to drink porter. The beer was great, but there wasn’t much else to do other than drink and watch television.
The taco stand outside was just closing up as we got there, but it’s presence endeared it that much more to us. I’d say this was a great place to end a night of drinking and they knew how to craft a good beer.
Closing it out
By the end of our tour we were delightfully buzzed and satisfied with each place we visited. I didn’t have a bad beer at any place, and will look to these places first the next time I want a night out.
I hope this was helpful for you, and happy drinking Long Beach State!