Drunk After Work: Bootlegger's Brewery
The Hours: 4-9 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, 2-9 p.m. Saturdays.
The Deal: $2.50-$4 half-pints, $3-$5 full pints. Growlers available for $10-$12 (plus $5 if you need to buy the glass itself).
The Scene: An unabashedly ugly warehouse in a plaza containing an auto body shop and three storefront churches, in an industrial park just off Fullerton's less-than-lovely Valencia Avenue, this is not a place you dress up for. That said, an amazing variety of people patronize the place, from business-casual office drones to truckers, and the atmosphere is convivial. Talk to people about their beers and you'll find they're willing to chat.
The Sauce: There are two menus above the bar: on the left are the long-term offerings, usually 7 or 8 of them, including an excellent rye IPA, a good English-style mild (3.2% ABV; what Budweiser wishes it was) and good porter and stout. On the right side is the "guinea pig" section; these are kegs of beer that may be under evaluation for promotion to the left side, or may be used for skills learning. They are doing a lot of sour beers and a lot of aging in oak barrels; expect to see this on the right-side menu.
Left-side beers are offered in half-pints (8 US fl. oz.), pints (16 US fl. oz.) or growlers (64 US fl. oz.); right-side beers are offered in half-pints only.
The Eats: Like its better-known competitor, the Bruery, there is no kitchen, but they routinely invite those fancy new-type food trucks, including the recently-ousted-from-SantAna Dos Chinos, to hang out right in front. Some of the LA trucks make their only OC stop here.
The Verdict: Fine, so it isn't technically called a happy hour, but I have whiled away many happy hours at Bootlegger's. It's ugly, sure, but I'm a big believer in brutto ma buono--ugly but good. Everyone is there for one thing: the beer, which is cheap, plentiful and good. Add in some food trucks and the fact that it's
The Grade: A- (let's have food trucks there all the time!)