Los Angeles has such a robust food and dining scene, it’s rare to be the first at anything these days. But Benny Boy Brewing appears to have pulled that off with its claim to be the city’s first combined brewery and cidery. Located in the Lincoln Heights neighborhood, just minutes from downtown, Benny Boy is anchored by a spacious outdoor beer and cider garden. Groups are welcome. The 1,200-square-foot cider house is available for private events of up to 51 guests while a full venue buyout accommodates 300.
Husband-wife duo Ben Farber and Chelsey Rosetter spent more than five years researching centuries-old brewing and fermentation techniques throughout Europe in preparation for the launch of Benny Boy Brewing. That’s in addition to Farber’s twelve-plus years honing his craft as a brewer.
By tapping into Old World methods, adapted for modern-day equipment, Benny Boy Brewing produces clean, dry ciders and classic, European-inspired beers with a California twist. Eschewing additives, Benny Boy Brewing only brews with unprocessed whole flower hops and uses time and gravity to clear its beers for a pure, naturally carbonated product.
“We’ve always dreamed of opening our own brewery where we produce both beer and cider through methods that respect quality over production speed. Our approach to brewing and cidermaking is to let nature do the work without filtering or forced carbonation,” says Farber. “We’re also serving beer straight from the tanks in our tasting room. It’s freshness at its finest.”
Flagship beers include the Backyard Basil, 5.0% ABV Saison brewed with fresh basil, Belgian yeast; Midnight Swim, 8.0% ABV Belgian Dark Strong Ale with creamy head, chocolate malts, noble hops; Other Lover, 5.0% ABV Dry Table Beer with pilsner malt; and Desert Champagne, 4.6% ABV Gose (Kettle Sour) brewed with fresh prickly pear, sage, desert salt. The flagship Dry Cider, 7.8% ABV Single Variety Newton Pippin, is made with 100 percent raw apple juice straight from the orchard. Natural wines are available on tap as part of a partnership with Pali Wine Co. In addition, Benny Boy Brewing is collaborating with Downtown Los Angeles’ The Spirit Guild to produce pommeau, a 17% ABV French aperitif made with apple brandy and premium apple juice, blended and barrel aged to perfection over three years.
Inside the 3,200-square-foot brewery and tank bar, a restored 1920s bow truss ceiling highlights the space. A 55-foot bar topped with reclaimed wood has direct taps from a wall of tanks, providing a tank-to-tap experience, while a mural of hops by local street artist Shandu One pays homage to the art of brewing. Roll-up glass doors in both the brewery and cider house bring in natural light and create a convivial indoor/outdoor environment. Connecting the two buildings is a landscaped, urban backyard beer and cider garden, a dynamic outdoor space complete with firepits, cozy seating and pop-up food vendors.
“For us, some of our greatest memories have been made in the beer garden and outside around a campfire with friends and a pint hand,” says Rosetter. “We wanted to create an outdoor space that friends, old and new, and the community can share together. After all, it’s as much about the experience you’re having while enjoying a craft beverage as it is about what’s in your glass.”