According to the Brewers Association, there are 5,005 breweries in the United States as of November 30, 2016, and nearly all (99%) of them are small and independent craft breweries.
A craft brewer is defined as being small (annual production of 6 million barrels of beer or less), independent and traditional (flavors derived mostly from traditional or innovative brewing ingredients).
There has been tremendous growth in U.S. craft breweries in recent years, growing from just over 500 in 1994 to 1,400 in 2004 to nearly 3,600 in 2014 to over 5,000 microbreweries, brewpubs and regional breweries in late 2016.
We've seen and experienced this growth in and around Ventura County too, so how about we summarize them right here! This list includes local craft breweries with onsite tasting rooms ranging from the Conejo Valley out just past Ventura County into Carpinteria.
Surf Brewery was the first packaging craft brewery in Ventura County when it opened in June 2011. It is located in an industrial park at 4561 Market Street in Ventura and has a large tasting room with seating for 75. Food is not served, but you can bring your own or purchase from a local gourmet food truck in the parking lot on Tuesdays through Sundays. Learn more at surfbrewery.com 805.644.2739
Ladyface Alehouse & Brasserie, the Conejo Valley's first microbrewery and brewpub, opened in November 2009 at 29281 Agoura Road, Agoura Hills. Offering a full selection of craft brews and full lunch/dinner menus daily. ladyfaceale.com 818.477.4566
Institution Ale Company is a microbrewery founded in 2013 that that recently moved to a brand new, larger location and tasting room at 3841 Mission Oaks Boulevard in Camarillo (visible from the 101 next to the Camarillo Ranch House). Food is not offered up but outside food is encouraged. institutionales.com 805.482.3777
Topa Topa Brewing Company is a microbrewery that opened on June 6, 2015 and is located at 104 E. Thompson Boulevard in Ventura, offering up a variety of microbrews in a small tasting room area. www.facebook.com/topatopabrewingco 805.628.9255
Five Threads Brewing Company at 31133 Via Colinas, Suite 109, Westlake Village opened its doors in October 2015. Offers fresh brewed craft beers in its tasting room Wednesday through Sunday. www.fivethreadsbrewing.com 805.457.5990
Enegren Brewing Company opened in July 2011 in Moorpark and is now located at 444 Zachary Street, #120 (a newer, 15 barrel brewery opened in January 2015). Quite a large tasting room at Energen. Limited food choices but bring your own. Food trucks periodically on hand. www.enegrenbrewing.com 805.552.0602
MadeWest Brewing Company opened its doors in January 2016 and is located at 1744 Donlon Street, Ventura, offering a variety of craft beers, plenty of indoor/outdoor seating, food trucks and more. www.madewest.com 805.947.5002
Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company opened its Westlake Village taproom at The Shoppes at Westlake, 30770 Russell Ranch Road, in December 2015. Offers up craft beers brewed onsite as well as at other locations in Santa Barbara. Also a full-service restaurant with indoor/outdoor seating open daily. www.figmtnbrew.com 818.874.1305
Poseidon Brewing Company opened its tasting room on August 11, 2014 at 5777 Olivas Park Drive, Unit Q, Ventura and is open Tuesday through Sunday. Ooh, they offer up a free pint on your birthday if you present Valid ID with birthdate! www.poseidonbrewingco.com 805.477.0239
Anacapa Brewing Company opened its doors back in 2000 with a seasonal rotation of over 25 beers in this full service restaurant/brewery in the heart of Downtown Ventura at 472 E. Main Street. anacapabrewing.com 805.643.BEER (2337) (gotta love that phone number)
Twisted Oak Tavern opened in 2015 at 30105 Agoura Road, Agoura Hills, offering a full gastropub experience with a full lunch/dinner menu and over 30 craft beers on tap made onsite. Open daily.
Casa Agria Specialty Ales is a small brewery located at 701 N. Del Norte Boulevard, Suite 310 in Oxnard, brewing up a handful of specialty beers since February 2015. There is now a small onsite tasting room open to the public Thursday through Sunday. www.casaagria.com 805.485.1454
Red Tandem Brewery is a nanobrewery featuring 7 high quality ales brewed onsite to customers at its tasting room at 109 Harbor Boulevard, Oxnard Shores at Channel Islands Harbor. It was founded in September 2014 and opened to the public in May 2016. Open Wednesday through Sunday. www.redtandembrewery.com 805.236.2105
Westlake Brewing Company opened its small volume brewery in early 2016 at 31111 Via Colinas #200, Westlake Village. Offers craft beers and craft soda in an industrial feel. The taproom, open Wednesday through Sunday, has old school pinball machines, shuffleboard table and live entertainment. westlakebrewingcompany.com 818.851.9052
Island Brewing Company has been brewing in Carpinteria since July 2001 at 5049 Sixth Street (Linden at the railroad tracks). Its open redwood beam tasting room was originally built as a packing house for lemons and citrus. Located right next to Carpinteria State Beach too! Open 7 days a week. www.islandbrewingcompany.com 805.745.8272
Ventura Coast Brewing Co. opened in October 2016 at 76 S. Oak Street in Downtown Ventura. Offers indoor/outdoor patio seating, flights, 4 and 16 ounce pours of its creations. Open 7 days a week. www.facebook.com/vcbcbeer
Coming Soon: Fluid State Beer Garden, 692 E. Main Street, Ventura. Currently (February 2017) under construction, they will provide craft beer and sourdough pizza to the hungry and thirsty masses to this former home of Ragsdale Kitchen & Bar.
Other Options on Tap
Some additional craft beer tasting options in the area are highlighted below. These ones serve up tap beers from other craft breweries and/or produce the beer elsewhere. We have included on this list bars/taverns serving up at least a dozen craft beers on tap.
McGregor's Craft Beer and Wine is a new tasting room/bottle shop at 144 W. Los Angeles Avenue #105 in Moorpark, with 16 rotating taps and an expanding library of wine. Patrons are encouraged to bring food from home or from neighboring eateries or can indulge in a custom made cheese platter and various in-house snack items. 21+ only. Open Mon-Sat noon to 10pm and Sun 1-8pm. 805.553.9818 www.mcgregorscraftbeer.com
The Dudes' Brewing Company Tasting Room opened at Janss Marketplace in Thousand Oaks on July 15, 2016. Although the beers and are not brewed on site (this is done in Torrance), they have 20 tap handles for your imbibing pleasure. www.thedudesbrew.com
Bottle & Pint is a specialty craft beer store and taproom at 1714 Newbury Road, Suite G, Newbury Park. Open seven days a week, they have a revolving list with 12 tap beers on tapl. Food is not served but you can bring your own in or have it delivered. 805.480.9500 www.bottleandpint.com
Darryl's Couch is a craft beer bar located at 795 Camarillo Springs Road in Camarillo, with 11 rotating taps and a selection of over 30 bottled craft beers. Bring your own food and enjoy the pool table. 805.389.8947 or www.darrylscouch.com
Draughts Restaurant & Bar at 398 N. Moorpark Road, Thousand Oaks has 45 craft beers on tap as well as a full restaurant menu the includes pizzas, pastas and much more. They also have over 20 TVs in every direction. 805.777.7883 www.draughtsrestaurant.com
The Crown and Anchor at 2891 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd, Thousand Oaks has 17 draft beers and ciders on tap, serves food, lots of TVs and periodic live entertainment. Open 7 days a week. www.crownnanchor.com 805.497.0070
Finney's Crafthouse & Kitchen just opened at the Westlake Plaza, 982 S. Westlake Boulevard, Westlake Village, in the former home of Galletto. They serve up 30 craft beers on tap. www.facebook.com/Finneyscrafthouse 805.230-9950
Yard House at The Collection at Riverpark in Oxnard has well over 100 beers on tap of all varieties...Cider, Fruit/Lambic/Sour, Malty/Balanced, Hoppy/Floral, Strong/Dark, Light/Easy, Wheat/Wit/Weiss, Dark/Roasted and Strong/Spiced. www.yardhouse.com/locations/ca/oxnard/oxnard-the-collection-at-riverpark 805.981.8707
Cask Alehouse opened at 5952 Telegraph Road in Ventura (at Victoria) in December 2016. offering a rotating selection of 32 beers on draft, many of which are brewed here in Ventura County (such as Surf Brewing, Made West, Topa Topa, Poseidon and Five Threads). www.facebook.com/caskalehouse 805.765.4201
Two Trees Brewing Co. in Ventura is a "non-commercial nanobrewery" that brews very small batches and gives the beer away to friends, family and others at local beer festivals and private parties. www.twotreesbrewing.com