Southern California may be known for its exceptional wine, but alongside lush vineyards and award-winning tasting rooms you will also find a wealth of top-tier craft breweries and distilleries at which to indulge.
For spectacular Pacific vistas, there may be no better place to sip a cool libation than the oceanfront terrace of CBC. But if it’s the beauty of the Santa Monica Mountains you crave – or perhaps a piece of Southern California history – head east from Malibu Beach Inn or down the PCH to discover an incredible array of breweries, wineries, and a speakeasy-inspired distillery.
Named for ties to the Revolutionary War, 14 Cannons is a new Southern California brewery with spades of personality. A copper-top bar and a signature wall mural (telling the story of the historic Tyrannicide ship) define the rustic space, where the self-dubbed craft beer revolutionaries turn out libations like the honey Bestlake Blonde, the Marooner Marzen German amber lager, and the floral Tyrannicide IPA.
Along with the brews, craft beer lovers stay for the Skee-ball, board games, and regularly appearing food trucks, and those with a real interest in opening their own breweries can actually learn about the facility and test equipment.
Photo: 14 Cannons
Tucked into the stunning Santa Monica Mountains, Malibu Wines Tasting Room is a charming outdoor venue offering Semler and Saddlerock wines produced from grapes in the nearby vineyards. Sip on a Cabernet or the wildly popular Sparkling Rosé among cozy picnic tables and vintage vehicles, or consider an excursion into the vineyards. Malibu Wine Safaris take you through the ranch in an open-air vehicle to meet resident zebras, camels, and alpacas, while Malibu Wine Hikes involve a scenic 2.5-mile walk and sometimes the opportunity to harvest fresh produce. (Both feature red and white wine flights.)
In the wake of the recent wildfire, Malibu Tasting Room is closed to repair minimal damage to the structure and expects to reopen soon. The West Hills wine and beer garden remains open.
Photo: Cecily Breeding
Five Threads Brewing Company
A term often used when blending beers, thread has a new meaning at Five Threads Brewing Company. Dedicated to bringing beer and people together, the young microbrewery acknowledges these five threads: water, malt, hops, yeast, and you – the craft beer drinker.
Led by CEO and Head Brewer Tim Kazules, Five Threads serves up memorable libations like the light Game Day Blonde cream ale, the smooth Coconut Porter, and the velvety Jessica triple red IPA. You can get food delivered from neighboring restaurants straight to your table, and there’s an extensive game collection from beer trivia to giant Jenga.
Photo: Five Threads Brewing Company
Westlake Brewing & Libations
Founded by a group of friends with a mutual passion for craft beer, Westlake Brewing infuses traditional brewing styles with bold flavors and modern interpretations. The warehouse-style tasting room strung with twinkling lights boasts favorite beers like Grandmaster Flash and Mamaloi alongside ciders, craft cocktails (check out the specialty mules), and a delicious food menu. Order a pulled pork sandwich or vegan sweet potato tacos for lunch, or come for after-dark bites and brews during the weekend live music.
Photo: Westlake Brewing
Rosenthal Estate Wines
Planted in 1987, the Rosenthal Wines vineyards were the first in Malibu – today spanning 28 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Viognier, and more. The accompanying Rosenthal Wine Bar & Patio on the PCH draws wine lovers year-round with a lawn shaded by palms and bright blue umbrellas and a selection of exceptional wines like the Rosenthal Estate Cabernet Sauvignon and the Surfrider Gruner Veltliner.
Rosenthal Estate wines are sourced entirely from the nearby vineyard, while the Surfrider label features grapes from around the state. And each time you purchase a bottle of Surfrider, part of your payment goes toward preserving the ocean and Southern California’s waterways.
Photo: Rosenthal Wines
Set in a magnificent former theatre built in Roaring 20s, R6 Distillery is the work of founder and Head Distiller Rob Rubens – a descendant of the six Rubens who originally opened the theatre. Rubens discovered a passion for distilling on an unplanned trip to New Orleans, and it wasn’t long before he was making award-winning spirits with handcrafted ingredients.
Learn what it takes to create small-batch California bourbon, vodka, and more with a tour of the distillery, then sneak into the adjacent Smoky Hollow Tasting & Taproom – a speakeasy-inspired venue featuring R6 spirits and craft beer from Three Chiefs Brewing Co., which is housed under the same roof. On the cocktail menu, you will find Rubens’ personal favorite, the Smoked Old Fashioned made with R6 Smoked Bourbon, a sugar cube, angostura bitters, and orange.
Photo: Tim Jones Photography
Ladyface Ale Companie
The first microbrewery to open in Conejo Valley, Ladyface Ale Companie is known for its award-winning creations like the Belgian-style Lady La Blonde, the Blind Ambition dubbel, and the Trois Filles Tripel. Inside their distinct alehouse and brassiere, you can find the hand-crafted ales on tap, including seasonal and barrel-aged releases, alongside delicious French and Belgian country cuisine. Grab a small plate like flatbread with fig jam and goat cheese and top it off with one of Ladyface’s globally inspired flagship ales.
Beginning on December 14, you can also try the much-anticipated Backbone IPA, named for both the Backbone Trail in the Santa Monica Mountains and the strength and resiliency of the community following the recent fire. Profits from the Backbone IPA will be donated to the Las Virgenes Fire Relief Fund and the Ventura County Community Foundation’s Woolsey/Hill Fires Urgent Needs Effort.
Photo: Ladyface Ale Companie
Featured Photo: Cecily Breeding