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Costa Mesa, CA, USA
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Travel Costa Mesa Blog

Best Places to Grab a Beer in Costa Mesa

Posted on April 6, 2018 | 10:26am | Travel Costa Mesa

gunwhale ales

Orange County has become a destination to find some of the best craft breweries in the region, skyrocketing from roughly 10 local breweries in 2008 to more than 30 in 2018. With three Costa Mesa breweries in town, the city is no exception to the craze, and only continues to grow.



Over in the city’s SoBECA District, brew masters are pumping out some pretty pitcher perfect (sorry, we had to) brews (award winning, too!) to cater to Southern California’s beer connoisseurs. Whether you’re an IPA fanatic, or just looking for a laid back spot to grab a casual beer with friends, any three of these tasting rooms has you covered.

 barley forge beer


Barley Forge Brewing Co.


Winner of the OC Weekly’s reader’s choice “Best Brewery” in 2015 and 2017, Barley Forge Brewing Co. offers a full range of beers from Belgian style ales to IPAs and Russian Imperial Stouts. With eight core beers and a rotating seasonal menu, there’s a brew for everyone at this Costa Mesa brewery. The tasting room, located just around the corner from The CAMP in Costa Mesa’s SoBECA District offers a full kitchen open seven days a week with burgers, sandwiches, brats, cheese plates and bites to keep you going.


Stop by on Tuesdays for trivia night or on Thursdays for live jazz.


gunwhale ales

Gunwhale Ales


Venture across the street from Barley Forge for Gunwhale Ales, voted “Best Beer” by OC Weekly readers in 2017. Founded in 2016, Gunwhale Ales specializes in “Coastal Ales,” mixing European farmhouse tradition and classic West Coast style bold brews. Gunwhale’s beers are both delicate and robust, hop forward with layers of flavors.


The brewery and tasting room was founded by three Southern California natives who have imprinted their love for the coast and adventure into every aspect of the business. The tasting room oozes the perfect amount of relaxed Southern California vibe without any gimmicks.


The Costa Mesa brewery also hosts a rotating selection of food trucks and a weekly NATIV WAX DJ event on Wednesday, where everyone is welcome to bring their favorite vinyl records to play.


karl strauss costa mesa

Karl Strauss Brewing Company


While not technically located in the SoBECA District, Karl Strauss Brewing Company is just a short drive away. It can also be credited with helping launch the craft brewing trend in Southern California. Since 1989, this San Diego brewery has been pumping out reliable brews in their restaurants and tasting rooms. Costa Mesa’s newly redesigned Karl Strauss location operates as a restaurant and tasting room, with a full menu of the brewery’s core beers as well as small batch and limited releases. You can grab a pint poured directly from the cask, rather than a keg, on Thursday Cask Night beginning at 5 p.m. A happy hour menu is available Monday through Friday from 3 to 6 p.m.


More Costa Mesa Breweries on the Rise


Those three won’t be the only Costa Mesa breweries for long. Two new breweries – Salty Bear Brewing and Brewing Reserve of California – were recently approved by the Costa Mesa city council and will begin operating in the coming year!