Best Beers in California

These are the beers most loved by the locals, created by the most passionate brewmasters in the business.

1. Central Coast Monterey Street Pale Ale

The Monterey Street Pale Ale from Central Coast Brewing in San Luis Obispo won the Great American Beer Festival's gold medal in 2017 and 2015. It tingles your senses as it hops its way through your system and lands with a crisp finish. Local business owner, Sara Peterson, pointed us towards Central Coast as a great spot close to downtown San Luis where you can grab a beer and people watch through the huge sliding glass doors or out on the porch!

The Monterey Street Pale Ale beer sits on a table at Central Coast Brewing in San Luis Obispo for Dirt Road Travels
Monterey Street Pale Ale, San Luis Obispo

2. The Rare Barrel's Dreamsong

Locals sing the praises of the Dreamsong, a "tart saison aged in oak barrels" that takes the crown for their favorite. Co-owners Alex Wallash and Jay Goodwin followed their passion for brewing from college and later realized their passion for sours. Their passion is palpable through their array of sours they have available as they strive to create small batch, epic specialty brews.

Read about Alex and Jay's story as they started a brewery from a college past-time.

The Dreamsong beer in the barrel room at The Rare Barrel in Oakland for Dirt Road Travels
The Rare Barrel Dreamsong, Oakland

3. The Tux From Topa Topa Brewing Company

The Tux is a Nitro Milk Stout brewed with cacao, pecan wood and glazed doughnut tones. Locals tell us this caramel under-toned beer is the best stout in California. Located in Ventura, Topa Topa embraces the good vibes of the ocean and the mountains and brews them into their beers. Plus, everyone knows that a stout is the perfect afternoon snack to help buzz your way to dinner!

See why Patagonia CEO, Rose Marcario recommends Topa Topa Brewing Company.

The Topa Topa Tux sits on a table near a plant at topa Topa brewing Company for Dirt Road Travels
The Topa Topa Tux, Ventura
Need more recommendations in California? Check out our Ventura City Guide here! You might also like The Best Beers in the Pacific Northwest.

4. Societe KellerPils

"every day that I'm not brewing beer professionally is a day that there’s somebody else out there who's younger than me and more driven than me and they're going to win"

-Douglas Constantiner, co-founder.

It is with this mindset that the Societe KellerPils came into existence. Local brew master and brewery owner, Alex Tweet, told us that no matter how much attention Societe and the Keller Pils get, they are still underrated. In order to experience the top beers in California you have to put this on your list.

Find out more about Douglas's story and passion for his art here.

Two Societe KellerPils beers being served at the bar for Dirt Road travels
Societe KellerPils, San Diego

5. Barebottle Galaxy Dust

This New England style IPA is unique to its core as it is made from unique Australian Galaxy hops and popular Vermont Yeast. This citrus-y beer is light with a bite as the hops come in for a grand finish. Go get a taste of the home-brewery scene at Barebottle Brewing Company.

Read about how three friends from Cornell quit their white collar jobs to bring home brewing to the market.

The Barebottle Galaxy Dust being served on tap for Dirt Road Travels
The Barebottle Galaxy Dust, San Francisco

A Note from Dirt Road TravelsWe're a new take on a digital city guide, told through stories, photos and local's recommendations. We've highlighted the founders of Warby Parker, YETI Coolers and Patagonia and musicians like The Lumineers. See our city guides for towns across Washington, Oregon and California here and - even better - click here to be emailed recs from 50+ cities across the US.

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