With more than 1,000 breweries statewide, it’s safe to say that the craft beer movement in California is officially booming. From the state’s northernmost stands of coast redwoods, south to the sun-scorched Mojave Desert, the craft beer movement has reached every corner of the Golden State. The phenomenon didn’t happen overnight. Anchor Brewing (San Francisco) and Sierra Nevada (Chico) kicked things into gear in the 70s and 80s, and now you’ll find vibrant beer scenes in San Diego, Orange County, Sonoma County, Sacramento, and elsewhere.

San Diego County Craft Breweries – The sunny south becomes a magnet for craft beers

The craft brewery explosion came pretty early to San Diego, and the San Diego Brewers Guild now has more than 130 breweries. The city was named the “Top Beer Town” in America by Men’s Journal, and the New York Times proclaimed that it “is rapidly becoming the country’s best craft beer scene.”

Orange County’s Craft Breweries  – California’s latest beer destination: The O.C.

Anaheim is one of the fastest-growing beer destinations in the state, with 15 breweries and counting. Three of the city’s notable offerings are the Anaheim Brewery (closed during Prohibition but re-established in 2010 after a 90-year hiatus) and, on each side of the Santa Ana River, less than two miles away from each other, Noble Ale Works (try their Naughty Sauce Stout and Aim for the Fences IPA) and the Old Orange Brewing Company, both with tasting rooms.

The Inland Empire’s Craft Breweries – Cities and wine country tap into the craft brew scene

Dozens of artisan beer makers have sprung up all over this sunny region of Southern California. Riverside and the Temecula Valley (already a popular wine region) are the two big centres where you’ll find craft breweries and restaurants with local brews on tap.

In the sprawling university city of Riverside, Euryale Brewing Company serves up Cyclopes Coconut Porter and Perseus Pale Ale, among others, while Wicks Brewing Company, one of the largest brewpubs in the Inland Empire, has an impressive 25 taps plus a rotating “guest tap” for local homebrewers.

Other Inland Empire towns are getting into the brewing boom too. Visit the appealing college town of Redlands to sample what’s on tap at Hangar 24 Craft Brewery (one of their “core brews,” Orange Wheat, pays tribute to another local industry) and Ritual Brewing, where you can feast on a Monk’s Lunch Belgian-style ale.