Written by Sam Wagner
Photographed by Brian Cortez and Daniel Ortiz
While driving past the endless string of auto-body shops on Calvert st. in Van Nuys, it’s easy to trick yourself into thinking that your GPS has failed you, or that the “cool new brewery” your friend told you about doesn’t really exist. But as unexpectedly as finding Narnia in the back of a wardrobe, the MacLeod Ale Brewing Co. appears. And much like Narnia, you are transported somewhere truly amazing, where traditional English-style cask ales are hand pumped into your pint glass. There’s really nothing like it. Not in L.A. and not in 2015.
Their beer is time-tested, easy drinking, and astonishingly flavorful. Throw in darts night, game night, live music night, and the ability to throw the free peanut shells onto the floor, and it makes sense why the brewery has so many ‘regulars.’
I am one of those regulars. As a 23 year old new to Los Angeles, I was eager to visit all the best bars in the city. I still am but my rate of exploration has slowed down immensely because it’s almost impossible for me to justify going anywhere besides MacLeod.
My first visit to the brewery was on a lonely Tuesday, when my more employed friends forced me to explore the city alone. After some deep google-ing I came across a darts tournament at a brewery in Van Nuys. I drove 35 minutes to get there, I entered the tournament, and I won. From there I joined MacLeod’s dart team (which plays in the Southern California Darts Association), collaborated with the brewery owners to publish a book of poetry about beer, and eventually was offered a job bartending on Sundays. It was the most worthwhile 35-minute drive of my life, and continues to be every time I make the trip.
After a recent expansion, one almost doubling the size of the taproom that includes a quaint concert venue, now is an even better time to come discover the brewery… Especially thanks to Brian and Danny of Beats and Pieces - an art collective that has decided to use their vast artist network to create a performance based tribute to their favorite art form: beer.
Join us August 23 to celebrate the brewers of MacLeod ale and artists from around L.A. as they share what beer means to them through music, poetry, paintings, t-shirts, and more.
MacLeod Ale Brewing Co. is located at 14741 Calvert St, Van Nuys, CA 91411.