So you've gotten into this whole craft beer thing and have enjoyed trying the myriad breweries and styles. But when you run out of new beers to buy at your local mega-mart, it's time to seek out a specialty beer retailer. With the rising popularity of craft beer in recent years, liquor stores have been expanding their craft beer selections, and several beer-centered bottle shops have opened around town.
Before we jump into the recommendations, there are two important things to look for in a specialty bottle shop: a friendly, knowledgeable staff and ample cold-storage space. The best bottle shops have staffers who are happy to answer specific questions about their stock or provide more general recommendations and suggestions, and beer that is stored cold ensures a fresher stock.
Sunset Beer Co.: Not only does this year-old shop in Echo Park have a dozen coolers filled with craft beer, local favorites, and imported treasures, it also has a taproom for pouring pints and having special events. 1498 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles (213) 481-2337.
Valley Beverage: The current management of this venerable neighborhood shop has actively developed their craft beer selection in recent months. Valley Beverage isn't the neatest of bottle shops, but its inventory more than makes up for that, with a variety of hard-to-find bottles and special treats (like the well-loved beers from Mammoth Brewing Co., which store employees regularly drive off the mountain themselves). 14901 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, (818) 981-1566