Looking for handmade beer in LA? There’s a new player in South El Monte that not only hand makes delicious craft beer, but hand makes the equipment too: Progress Brewing.
As a quick side note, Progress opened their brewery a few months ago under the name “Federal Brewing” but because of its shared name with “The Federal Bar” of North Hollywood and Long Beach, they were forced to change it to “Progress”. I’m a fan of the new name. It has a nice ring to it and there isn’t any more explanation that “it’s not that bar in downtown Long Beach”.
Started by Diego Benitez and Kevin Ogilby, Progress Brewing is South El Monte’s first brewery and currently its only brewery and the greeting on the wall outside this industrial space is just as friendly and welcome as the beers and people inside of it.
Cindy and I made our way over to their taproom last week (after a quick pitstop at the newly opened Jimmy John’s in Pasadena, which, if you’re a Midwesterner like I am, is big news). The Progress taproom sits proudly on a corner space in a heavy industrial area sandwiched between the 10 and the 60 Freeways just West of the 605.
A quick trip around the block confirms that the signless building on the corner is in fact a brewery. Parking is ample and the entrance into the taproom is located on the other side the building from the “Cerveza / Craft Beer” painting (seen above).
Once inside, you’ll find that the guys at Progress have been busy. At the time we went, they had 7 beers on tap, had just blown through the last of another beer, and were preparing to tap a new red ale.
They’ve also been busy slanging beers. We were there at 3:30pm on a Monday afternoon (cause that’s what you do when you drive a beer bus all weekend). The entire bar was full and there was a constant stream of people coming in to fill their growlers. It seems like the people of South El Monte have found a home in this brewery.
The beers were solid with a lot of promise for the future. The Bronco, a belgian pale, has been one of their best sellers and I can easily see why because of it’s incredible drinkability with a distinctive belgian flare. It will be exciting to see their beer list grow and even more exciting to see how they will grow their brewery given that all of their equipment is handmade.