Though it has no legal bearing in the U.S., the Bavarian Purity Law of 1516 is gospel at Newport Beach Brewing Company. It stipulates that only three ingredients should be found in beer: barley, hops, and water. Brewer Derek Bougie sticks to this 16th century decree when creating all of Newport Beach's beers, which include hefeweizens, pale ales, and the comically named Crash with RYEality IPA. And the Bavarian approach pays off: Derek's beers have earned the brewery two bronze medals, two silver medals, and one gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival.
While Derek sticks to tradition, Newport Beach's head chef, Gabriel Beltran, prefers putting an contemporary spin on classic bar food. Made entirely in-house, his cuisine ranges from bourbon stout salmon, 1/2 lb. Harris ranch raised burgers, and fish and chips to brick-fired, garlic-crusted pizza topped with macaroni and cheese. His innovation even extends to desserts such as calzone filled with white and dark chocolate. Beer-fueled feasts unfold in front of Newport's HD televisions and 101-inch flat-screens, which stay tuned to the latest sports and weather reports from neighboring planets.
Huntington Beach Beer Company specializes in handcrafted ales accompanied by hearty portions of user-friendly eats. The menu offers a bounty of burgers and sandwiches, including the Kobe burger ($14.50), barbecue-chicken sandwich ($9.50), and veggie burger ($8.50). High-brow browsers with bun-free desires can nibble on brick-oven pizzas ($9.50–11.50) or house favorites, such as pub-style fish ‘n' chips ($10.50) or fresh fish tacos ($8.99–10.99). While imbibing a pint of one of Huntington Beach’s award-winning beers ($4.50), a simple crane of the neck will open pub-goers to a world of 61-inch-plasma-TV splendor. HBBC airs many major sporting events throughout the year, including NFL, MLB, UFC, and Extreme Croquet games. Several nights per week, the pub also brings in a DJ to bring down the house, reassemble it, and then host a Q&A session regarding dance-party safety.
While Alcatraz Brewing Company doesn't require incarceration for a visit, fans of beer may be fine with someone locking them in and throwing away the key. Dave Moody, the award-winning head brewmaster, crafts signature and seasonal beers, such as Court Order Porter, Boneyard India Pale Ale, and Pop's Blue Ribbon, an American-style light lager. From the brewery's kitchen, chefs top burgers with garlic puree or roasted jalapenos, smoke pork with dark ale, and hand-toss thin-crust pizza. Waitstaff ferry plates and beer flights to Alcatraz's patio and around the San Francisco-themed dining room, which includes a to-scale replica of the Golden Gate Bridge and a stray wisp of ever-lingering fog.
The sounds of conversation and laughter compete with the clinking of glasses in The Wine Artist’s lofty venue. The space sprawls over 2,500 square feet, with plenty of room to host wine tastings, networking events, and cooking classes. During these classes, students perch on wrought-iron stools around marble countertops as they learn to prepare food with wine or the cuisine of faraway countries such as Italy, Thailand, or Narnia. Afterward, they savor their creations amid the pale tiled floors and dark-wood accents of the Tuscan-style space.
The combination of homemade thin-crust dough, house-made sauce, and eclectic ingredients helped net Oggi’s Pizza & Brewing Co. a gig as the official pizza for the Anaheim Ducks. At the chain's more than 15 locations, much more than pizza is served: the extensive menu brims with crisp salads, pastas, burgers, sandwiches, and wings. Additionally, Oggi’s brews its own beer, serving libations as fresh as laps from the vat and winning the title of Champion Small Brewing Company at the World Beer Cup in 2004. In between swigs of beer, patrons can catch sports games or competitive news broadcasts on one of the eatery's flat-screen TVs.
On the roof of Bonaventure Brewing Co. sits a verdant, manicured square of lawn and a little copse of trees. Carved into that is the circle of a heated outdoor patio that expands into panoramic views of the downtown Los Angeles skyline. Perched atop the fourth floor pool deck, the patio shares the restaurant's 9,000 total square feet with a wood-paneled dining room and an in-house brewery. Here, head brewer David Blackwell creates a trio of award winning beers: pale ale, strawberry blonde, and the Marathon.
Blackwell's ales and a handful of guest beers complement the kitchen's approach to pub food, which ranges from classic bar bites to more upscale, steakhouse-style entrees. The traditional end of the spectrum includes calamari tempura-battered in the brewery's blonde ale, as well as Angus burgers coated in blackened spices and topped with bleu cheese and chipotle aioli. The brewery end features dishes such as macadamia-crusted Mahi-Mahi and bacon-wrapped filet mignon.
In 2013, the Golden Foodie Awards' Best Californian Cuisine trophy went to SeaLegs Wine Bar. But while plenty of local and sustainable ingredients suffuse SeaLegs' seasonal dishes, the results don't always showcase Californian flavors. Composed mainly of tapas, executive chef Alexander Dale's menus range from crab bisques with dashes of pumpkin-coconut curry to chipotle-braised short ribs with butternut-squash polenta cakes. Alexander's culinary talents extend to brunch and dessert as well, with seared ahi tuna mixed into eggs benedict and brownies infused with ale from Stone Brewing Co.
When they aren't enriching sweets, craft brews fill pints from 10 taps and an extensive bottled selection. That, however, pales in comparison to the choices inside SeaLegs' wine cellar, which stores more than 2,000 bottles giddy for the chance to carry messages on the high seas. Feasts unfold amidst SeaLegs' elegant dining space, where vintage photos adorn walls, Frank Sinatra and Norah Jones tunes set a romantic mood, and water from nearby Huntington Beach laps onto shore.