Raise a Glass to Southern California's Beer Scene

Hop to it on a beer lover’s tour of Southern California that visits breweries and brewpubs from coast to desert.

Trip length: 3-4 days
Total distance: 530 mi/853km

Santa Monica. Explore the sudsy side of this beach city’s food scene, served with California craft beers at The Library Alehouse . At The Yard gastropub, pair a Hitachino Nest Japanese Belgian White brew with “Top Chef” contestant CJ Jacobson’s American-style tapas. INFO 800/544-5319; santamonica.com

Placentia (42mi; 68km; 51mins). You’d rue the day you missed Patrick Rue’s brews, so get thee to The Bruery to sample his celebrated Saison Rue Belgian Farmhouse Ale and seasonal creations. Inspired? Then stock up on supplies at Fullerton’s Addison Homebrew Provisions . INFO 714/765-8888; anaheimoc.org

San Clemente (40mi/64km; 45mins). Surf over to Pizza Port San Clemente  and find out why it was crowned small brewpub of the year at the Great American Beer Festival. Its beers honor local surf spots, including T-Street Wheat and Trestles Special Golden. INFO 714/765-8888; anaheimoc.org

San Diego (60mi/97km; 1hr2mins). Men’s Journal dubbed San Diego “the new beer capital of the country” and Thirtieth Street “the nation’s best beer boulevard.” Savor the craft of local brewing artisans at Hamilton’s Tavern , home to 28 draft and 200 bottled beers. Or get inside the scene with Brewery Tours of San Diego . INFO 800/350-6205; sandiego.org

Escondido (32mi/52km; 39mins). Dine in the gardens at Stone Brewing World Bistro and pair its world cuisine with beers that earned the company the title of “All-Time Top Brewery on Planet Earth” from BeerAdvocate. Find the Belgian-inspired beers of 2008 world champion brewer Tomme Arthur at The Lost Abbey . INFO 800/350-6205; sandiego.org

Temecula (31mi/49km; 33mins). There’s more than wine in Temecula, so explore West Coast craft brews and circle the globe with the international beers at Barley & Hops Olde World Family Tavern . INFO 888/363-2852; visittemeculavalley.com

Palm Springs (85mi/137km; 1hr30mins). Cool off with the cool kids (and a King’s Highway Beer) in The Amigo Room at Ace Hotel & Swim Club . At Pomme Frite , Belgian selections run from wheat beers to Lambics, fermented using a unique process (ask about it). INFO 800/347-7746; visitpalmsprings.com

Los Angeles (112mi/180km; 1hr58mins). Wash down food truck chow with artisan microbrews at Eagle Rock Brewery . Hustle over to Hollywood for the changing beer line-up (and a truffle burger) at Blue Palms Brewhouse . INFO 323/467-6412; discoverlosangeles.com

Ventura (57mi/92km; 1hr5mins). Head to Surf Brewery , where you can sip a brew while you check out its vintage boards. Enjoy Santa Rosa Pale Ale and dine on pizzas and brewpub grub in a brick-walled 120-year-old building at Anacapa Brewing Company . INFO 800/333-2989; ventura-usa.com

Buellton (71mi/114km; 1hr12mins). It’s a small town but Buellton is a big beer destination. Try the Santa Ynez Valley-inspired beers at Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company . Or tour Firestone Walker Brewing Company , the 2010 World Beer Cup Champion, and dine on Central Coast cuisine at its restaurant, The Taproom. INFO 805/966-9222; santabarbaraca.com