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South County Brewery Rundown

Updated: May 4, 2023

While chatting with a group of beer lovers recently, one of them made a reference to the “heyday of brewing.” It gave me pause, as I feel like craft beers and the breweries that make them are still very popular today. Perhaps now we just expect to find a local brewery wherever we go, and in this regard, my expectations are generally met almost anywhere I travel.



We also have great representation for independent, craft beer right here in our communities. Our local brewing scene has grown, changed, and expanded, so I think it’s time we updated everyone on the players in the brewing scene in South Orange County.


  • Artifex – Once an upstart, Artifex appears to be hitting their stride, adding a tasting room in downtown San Clemente.

  • Delahunt – This brewery started without a tasting room, but now offers two – one at the main brewery location in San Clemente and a second in Dana Point.

  • Docent – San Juan’s first modern brewery continues to delight the locals, as well as beer judges, as their recent win at the Great American Beer Festival demonstrates.

  • Dog Pawrk – As the name suggests, if you’re looking to have a beer with your dog, this is the place. Expanded seating outside has made it even easier to hang out here.

  • Escape – A satellite taproom in Laguna Niguel for a Redlands-based brewery, this laid-back beach vibe makes it feels like it could have been the other way around.

  • Frisby Brewing – Leveraging skills and experience from a successful winemaking career, the location in the middle of Rancho Mission Viejo is either weird, or right by your house.

  • GameCraft – These lager pros are making good beers across the board. Their Lake Forest location takes the edge off of furniture shopping and so much more.

  • Laguna Beach Brewing – With their second location open on Laguna Canyon Road, the brewery gets closer to the beach that inspired the name.

  • Left Coast – Left Coast is making some moves to expand the brand. The second location in Irvine proved that you can add a smokehouse and a distillery to a brewery.

  • Los Molinos – The newest kid on the block, these guys did their homework and have a very cool location in San Clemente with a welcoming space for drinking their beer.

  • Lost Winds – Nothing lost here. This brewery continues to produce award-winning beer without abandoning the stylistic foundation that got them here.

  • Pizza Port San Clemente - So far, the Pizza Port locations collectively have won over 91 medals/awards from the Great American Beer Festival, and we continue to encourage our brewers to create unique and award winning beers.

Cheers to beers!

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