SUMMER + SUN + SUDS: Beer and toastier afternoons and evenings are an old pairing, but we're reminded again, each June, that the grown-up beverage holds some sway come the summer stretch. There's the ever-popular, on-the-road, dozens-of-breweries-strong California Beer Festival, which has a start in the Bay Area before making its way down to Southern California in the late summer/early fall. There's LA Beer Week, a robust party that grows and grows, like so much fermenting yeast, thanks to the bubbling brew scene around the City of Angeles. But there are also people who'd like to find a new regional or Golden State-flavored brewery to support, one they don't know too much about. And SoCalers who know a lot about the brewhouses of Los Angeles don't have to go too far to find the fresh foam, or at least fresh to their palates: Ventura County. True, LA's close-by neighbor has the wine vibe going on, but it also sports a whole series of sudsmakers, people who know their IPAs and ales. Looking to add a few places to your get-acquainted roster? Make for the Surf 'N Suds Festival on Ventura Harbor on Saturday, June 13 for a comprehensive look at what is happening 'round the county. Or visit a few individually, like...
ANACAPA BREWING COMPANY: The downtown Ventura microbrew hotspot has been around since 2000, but that pretty brick building its in? That stretches back 140 years. The on-tap choices include Santa Rosa Red, Pierpont IPA, and Seaward Golden Ale. Plus? There are burgers and bites to wash it all down with (if food can be said to wash down beer; call it a twist on the ol' tasty tale).
INSTITUTION ALE COMPANY: If you're looking to raise a cold one in Camarillo, chances are you've landed at this newer joint, a spot with a pretty tasting room and a bevy of beers named Sedation ("Hoppy Session Red") and White Walls (a white IPA). If there's someone on hand to give you a peek behind the scenes, you'll get a peek behind the scenes. Cool.
TOPA TOPA BREWING COMPANY: The newest brewer on the proverbial block made an early June debut. It's a dog- and kid-friendly spot, with "Good Vibes" promised. Want to see the just-opened hops happenings and all of the get-to-know-us pics? The Ventura brewers are on Facebook.