Costa Mesa’s Walkable Beer Trail, What the Ale!

Bootlegger’s Brewery owner Aaron Barkenhagen at the new Costa Mesa location. Photo by Greg Nagel

Some time ago, I coined the term “The LaPalma Beer Trail” for the eight breweries along a 5-mile stretch through Placentia and Anaheim. Little did I know the appellation would catch on, causing a fun collaborative event in which you could earn an Untappd badge while tasting the local liquids.

Well, OC has another beer trail: a quarter-mile-long stretch of Randolph Street in Costa Mesa holds upward of 60 beers and some of the tastiest bites in the county.
I recommend starting at Gunwhale Ales (2960 Randolph Ave., Ste. A, Costa Mesa, 949-239-9074; www.gunwhaleales.com). Though it closes early on weekends, it has a nice patio area from which to watch the sun set while sipping hoppy IPAs and stellar saisons.

Right across the street is Barley Forge Brewing Co. (2957 Randolph Ave., Ste. D, Costa Mesa, 714-641-2084; barleyforge.com), which has not only award-winning beer, but also a kitchen that sizzles up proper beer-drinking food. Plan your crawl during some of its fun events that include trivia or live music.

Walk off your food as you head to Bootlegger’s Brewery’s newest location (696 Randolph Ave., Ste. B, Costa Mesa; www.bootleggersbrewery.com), its third tasting room outside of its Fullerton production facility, the original, tiny seven-barrel brewhouse from when the family-owned operation opened 10 years ago. Try the new Brut IPA, or stick to Bootlegger’s classic Black Phoenix Coffee Chipotle stout.

Greg Nagel has been writing about beer since 2011, is an avid homebrewer of wine, cider, and beer, is a certified Cicerone Beer Server, a podcaster with the Four Brewers Show, and runs a yearly beer festival called Firkfest. When not writing about, photographing or filming beer, cocktails, and food, he can be found talking trash while playing Battlefield V under the name “OCBeer.”

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