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Bootlegger's Brewery

Not Rated.
Bootlegger's BreweryBootlegger's Brewery
BEER AVG
3.75/5
Based on:
51 Beers
762 Reviews
Place Score: 92
Reviews: 32
Visits: 90
rAvg: 4.11
pDev: n/a
Taps: --
Bottles: --
Cask: N
Beer-to-Go: Y
[ Brewery, Bar ]

130 S Highland Ave
Fullerton, California, 92832
United States
phone: (714) 871-2337

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @bootleggersbrew

Notes:
Place added by: BeerBaronAaron on 06-28-2008

Tasting Room Hours
Sun - Thurs 11am - 10 pm
Fri & Sat 11am - 12pm
Place: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 32 | Visits: 90
Photo of Catracho5
4/5  rDev -2.7%

Stopped in to score Knuckle Sandwich IIPA in bottles but it was already gone. Had a few beers and I do enjoy their Black Phoenix. The seating inside is limited, outside seating is more expansive, and there was only one person working the bar. There wasn't many people there but it was early Saturday. I think they need put a little bit more into the scenery, I've been to establishments that are aesthetically pleasing. But the beer, atmosphere, and service are great. It's worth a visit. (489 characters)

Photo of MilwaukeeCrusher
4/5  rDev -2.7%

Did a flight although missed out on the vaunted Knuckle Sandwich. Beers were good but not great. Taproom was in a garage with plenty of room but it was early. No food available that I knew of, service was satisfactory. Probably would go back but only to try Knuckle Sandwich as competition is fierce in Cali. (312 characters)

Photo of sheenisgod
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%

Bootleggers is definitely a cool place to hangout out and have a couple beers. In the last three weeks I've made a stop here about 4 or 5 times with friends. Really good selection of beers to choose from. Good service and friendly employees. Seating area is mostly outdoors since the benches inside usually get taken first. They have arcade games and a tv (usually showing sports) inside and oversized jenga outside. If you get hungry you can order for delivery from the pizza joint next door. It is also pet friendly so you can chill with your dog while you enjoy some nice beers. I can see myself being a regular here. (620 characters)

Photo of sillyhed8
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%

A little pricey, but otherwise a great time here. Mostly outdoor seating with benches which allows you to share your beer thoughts with others. Also, has a few outdoor games to entertain. (188 characters)

Photo of 2beerdogs
3.75/5  rDev -8.8%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3.75

Hometown brewery.
They always have a multitude of choices pouring. Food trucks average 4 times a week. Cool games to play, especially the giant Jenga game. Staff is pretty chill. Some awesome hoppy offerings from the flagship Rustice Rye IPA to the famous Knuckle Sandwich DIPA. Other great ones include, Lupulin Thrill and Far Out IPAwhich are available on a rotating basis. (376 characters)

Photo of mjmadden
4.26/5  rDev +3.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Hit this place up after a stop at another local tasting room and it was a great find. Great selection to sample at a great price, the indoor/outdoor set up is great, and overall this is a place you must stop if you live in the area or are just passing through. (260 characters)

Photo of abrethanson
3.76/5  rDev -8.5%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.75

Visited new tasting room on a late summer / early fall afternoon to catch a couple brews and football. Ended up being "Sport your own Stein" day so we came prepared and hit the 25 cents / ounce deal.

A: new tasting room located in Fullerton Downtown - definitely has a little of the typical Fullerton vibe - tatted up bros. Overall was very enjoyable and had a relaxed weekend afternoon vibe. Indoor / Outdoor space to take advantage of SoCal weather. Lots of games a plus - cornhole / giant jenga / foosball. Lots of tables to sit with plenty of umbrella or indoor shade. (1) TV if you want to catch a sport. Decor is minimalist (typical tap room) but they do fly the American flag which is a plus! Typical chalk board with beer list. Minimal crowd until brew tour showed up, but still chill.

Q: Bootleggers brews solid beer. The brews on tap were good to great. We sampled a few and drank a pint of a couple others. Jars are standard glassware - awesome. A lot of locals showing up to fill growlers.

S: Standard. One guy who was pleasant and served in timely manner.

S: All In-house taps. Standard year rounds and a couple seasonal and one off small batches (pumpkin cask and Golden Chaos fruit). I think there were 16 taps and plenty of variety to keep a rookie or geek happy.

F: they do not serve food but they usually have food trucks and I believe you can bring your own food.

Overall - Fun place we would frequent if we lived closer. In downtown Fullerton so you can walk to local restaurants, etc. (1,511 characters)

Photo of mrcraft
4.15/5  rDev +1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.25

I visited the old location on Super Bowl Sunday right before attending a friend's party. The brewery was in the mist of moving to their new location.

The location I visited was in a warehouse district. The inside was divided into a tasting area and brewing side. I thought they provided a nice area for people to congregate and enjoy their beers.

I went specifically to try Knuckle Sandwich from the tap. It didn't disappoint. It was delicious. I believe they had most of their lineup that day, but I had my fill of KS, and mozied on my way to the party.

I'll try to visit the new location when I'm in the area. (614 characters)

Photo of hackedfly
4.15/5  rDev +1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

I visited the brewery before they moved to the new location. I say it is a vast improvement . Now they have a biergarten with alot of different brews to try. Prices have gone up a bit for the pint but it is still a steal since they change the selection pretty often. Highly Recommend and the Food Truck is a bonus. xoxo Bootlegger's. (333 characters)

Photo of vince4953529
4.51/5  rDev +9.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4

I've been to their old location dozen times. They moved to a new place just up the street not too long ago converged at Commonwealth, Sante Fe & Highland, which is pretty easy to find.
I have been to the new location just a few times and it got nice, airy environment. I come here at non-rush hours so most times at most just 3-4 people here. I could imagine the nightmarish crowds on a weekend night. Excellent service all their staffs are very friendly.
Probably my favourite local brewery aside from Bruery. Most notably they brew an excellent varieties of IPA's. All of their other styles are above-average and drinkable. I would come here repeatedly. (655 characters)

Photo of claspada
4.01/5  rDev -2.4%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25

Open area outside with plenty of tables, giant Jenga game complete with hipsters, inside seating as well. Cash register style order system which big board offering plenty of their normal offerings as well as a few special release ones. Unfortunately none of them really hit the spot for me or really wowed me. The Mint Chocolate was particularly disappointing and watery with a root beer aftertaste. The workers were real friendly and enjoyed chatting with you and I really loved the cool outdoor atmosphere which allows you to meet new people and hang out, but I wish the beer would step it up a notch. (603 characters)

Photo of Braz
3.74/5  rDev -9%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4

Heard some buzz about this place while at a bar in Fullerton. Has a very non pretentious vibe. Great selection. Knuckle sandwich is a great IPA. People mainly hang out outside sitting or playing homemade jenga. Had a sort of Portland, OR atmosphere which isn't bad, just very eccentric. Would have loved to have spent more time there. (334 characters)

Photo of BeerEngineer
3.07/5  rDev -25.3%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 1.25 | selection: 3.75

For those of you who don't know this brewery used to be located in the warehouse district of Fullerton. That location was very small and only had a half dozen tables or so but the atmosphere was great. I believe that they still have that but it's not open as a tap room anymore because of their new location and pilot brewery in downtown Fullerton.

The new location I was very impressed with but there are some huge issues. The first is parking, if you try and park in the front of the brewery there are only 4 or 5 parking spots. They are also very small parking spots so it's tough. There is parking located around the area and on their website is a list of locations that you can park. The second big issue that I found was the staff and cashier set up. I went there on a Saturday afternoon and found this place packed; a great sign for this company. Unfortunately, the line for the bar was out the front door of the building. When I finally got up to the bar I realized it's because they only had 2 cashiers open with 1 beer runner. This is a big issue because it took us 40 minutes to get our beers. I had a growler that I was planning on filling up after drinking our beers but there was no way that I was going to wait another 40 minutes! There still isn't any food made by the brewery but there was a food truck (kind of a food truck) in the back. It had really good food but I didn't want to rate it in my review because it can change too easily. The truck that was there when I was there was a BBQ trailer. Another issue that we encountered was that there were several tables in the back to sit at, unfortunately, there were glasses over 1/3 of the table. In total there were probably about 50 glasses left on the table from the last couple of groups that had been there. No one came around in the hour that we were there to clear any of the tables. It's kind of disgusting sitting next to that may glasses with old beer in them from earlier in the day. The area smelled like spoiled beer because of it. They need to get more staff working at this location or else they will have issues with returning customers. The last issue (not really an issue just a warning) is regarding the tables in the back area. This is discussed below in more detail but the short of it is if you sit on a table near the ends, the table flips over.

Other than the parking and staffing issue, the new facility is really nice. They don't have a large brewery area in this location, it's listed as a "pilot facility" for them to test recipes. The beers that they make are very good and I have been impressed with several. The new location has a big open air area in the back with a bunch of tables, but be warned, they will flip over if you don't sit right in the center. They actually went so far as to draw lines on the seats with instructions to sit within the lines if you are alone. They need to get these tables bolted down because it's a potential hazard and it's an easy fix!

Overall I won't be back any time soon to have a drink. If anything, I'll go there and buy growlers because their beer is pretty good, but the service was horrendous. They need to get familiar with the new location and staff it properly, after that I may be back but until then I'll drink their beer at my house. (3,285 characters)

Photo of Narfish
3.54/5  rDev -13.9%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4

The offerings at Bootlegger's spartan taproom far exceed the few that are distributed in L.A. There were about 12 I had never heard of before, and about 2/3 of those were dynamite (still dreaming about the Tropical Thunder). They offer cheap tasting flights, full pints and growler pours. If you're on your way to or from The Bruery in Placentia, stop by Bootlegger's - it's just 4 miles away. Even if you're not, stop by anyway. It's worth it. Just remember to bundle up if it's evening time - the taproom is basically a warehouse with a big open door, so it can get frosty! (575 characters)

Photo of taxman714
4.28/5  rDev +4.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 3

Great place, knowledgable staff that is always willing to help. Believe me; Bootleggers has way more to offer than what you can find at your local distributer. When going to the tasting room, there is always around ten exclusive brews with great flavor and balance.

Five tasters for $4.50 cannot be beat. The food experience was a 3 because I went once and had THE BEST LAMB BURGER, but returned and had sub-par food from the same truck (different cook though).

The atmosphere is excellent and the staff takes the extra step to explain the brews and recommend bast on personal preferences. My girlfriend went with me and loved the beer and had a great time. *Note, she is not a beer drinker either, the pourers gave her light brews and tastes based on her preferences.

Overall, a must visit for anyone in Southern California. (828 characters)

Photo of karink
3.03/5  rDev -26.3%
vibe: 1 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 4

Pros: Beer is good, service was good.
Cons: not a place i want to hang out at. This place is dirty! I'm ok with casual and kick back but this place needs to clean up the tasting room. Dog hair on the ground, cobwebs,, crust everywhere. I've been to over 30 breweries up and down the Cali coast and michigan, Illinois, Indiana and I have never felt like leaving beer until here. I'm a local from OC and I feel bad about writing this but they really should do something about the place. very dissappointed.
Sorry bootleggers :( (526 characters)

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.28/5  rDev +4.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

I visited Bootlegger's yesterday since I was in the general area. Located in a small industrial park, the space inside is pretty small with the brewery, a counter for growlers/tasters/merch, and some tables in the rest of the open space. It seems like a pretty cramped set-up but it works overall. The service was good even though there was only one dude working and he even threw in some free tasters so I didn't have to buy another flight to try 2 more beers. The quality of the beers from the taps was good and they all seemed fresh. The selection was pretty great with around 10 of their beers on tap with some good brewery only selections in addition to the normal offerings. I am glad I checked this place out and would definitely come back again in the future if I was in the area. (788 characters)

Photo of jraras
3.95/5  rDev -3.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 4

The stock picture here is accurate, but only shows one side of the brewery. The other side is really where all the fun is! As you park and walk toward the building you will likely see a food truck parked in their driveway. Check the website ahead of time to see what trucks will be there on what days. This provides some great food options to go along with some tasty brews. When we visited (Th 3/15) they had the Viking Truck there, who specialized in sausages, corn dogs and other awesomeness. The Berserker sausage went very well with the Knuckle Sandwich DIPA.

As you walk through the (open) garage door you find a lively party amidst fermenters, wood barrels and a small bar. There is a TV and music playing. When we were there others had brought their own pot luck dinner and even other beers in bottles (from other breweries) and were having a tasting. Very chill and friendly crowd.

They sell various sized pours, growlers and have a few things in bombers (not Knuckle when I was there). This is a gem and should definitely be a stop if you're in DTF (Downtown Fullerton) anytime soon. Particularly interesting as a counterpoint if you've just come from Commonwealth Lounge (who always has Pliny on tap) as we did. That (latter) place is weeeeiiirrd. (1,261 characters)

Photo of TheCrowsNest
5/5  rDev +21.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

Buried deep in an industrial neighborhood in Fullerton you will find Bootlegger's Brewery. No frills beer tasting is what it's all about here. The beer does the talking, and it's pretty convincing stuff.

Their draft selection is great, a lot of seasonal brews and one-offs to go along with their year-round beers.

It's great to see a small operation like this making it work in Southern California, it just goes to show that you don't need a shiny new 50bbl system to make good beer. Just a brewer that knows what they're doing.

Can't wait to make it back here for some of their barrel-aged beers! (600 characters)

Photo of corby112
3.69/5  rDev -10.2%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

I've heard a lot about this brewery and finally got to visit during a recent trip to Orange County. It's basically a glorified garage/warehouse in a small industrial complex. Kind of tucked away off of the main street with nothing else around.

Inside there are some barrels and brewing equipment with a small counter for growlers, samples and glasses of beer. There is a small side room with a picnic table, the Joust arcade game and oversized jenga. Dark and industrial with a strong odor of old beer. My wife said it smelled like vomit. The weather is always nice so the doors are open making he place a bit more spacious.

There were only two people working there, serving beers and filling growlers at the counter. Both of them were friendly, knowledgeable and helpful. The place was pretty crowded but I never had to wait more than a minute or two for a beer.

I didn't notice many guest beers but they had a ton of their own beers on covering a wide range of styles. They offer pints, half pints or flights which is really nice if you are trying to sample as much as possible. Unfortunately, most if their beers were mediocre at best and really bland or gross at worst. It was great to drink Knuckle Sandwich at the source and they had a chocolate chili stout that was really good but I wasn't a big fan of the other beers I tried. They don't offer food but some cool trucks park in their lot in the evening.

Overall, I wasn't terribly impressed with the beers but it's a laid back place with good service that's worth checking out. (1,544 characters)

Photo of Popp24
4.18/5  rDev +1.7%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

I just visited this brewery a few days ago for the 2nd time in search of Knuckle Sandwich. Unfortunately for me they had ran out of bottles of it and were not filling growlers. So I purchased a bottle of Black Phoenix Chipotle Stout and had a pint of Dr. Tongue on tap. Dr. Tongue was average at best and the stout was pretty good although I am not a fan of coffee stouts but still a good beer.

The atmosphere of this place needs to be changed in my opinion. I know they have only been around for a few years but it's time to upgrade the tasting room. There is barely anywhere to sit and I arrived only 15 minutes after they opened and had to stand and drink my beer. There are other local breweries that have only been around a few years (The Bruery) for example that seem to have the tasting room atmosphere down better. Hangar 24 also comes to mind as a brewery that understands that the ambiance of the brewery is very important.

Now the beer makes up for the atmosphere because Knuckle Sandwich is just so delicious. However getting your hands on some is the tough part but I managed to find some at a local bottle shop. I still need to try a lot of their beers but the Mint Chocolate Porter was good and the Rustic Rye IPA is a solid IPA as well.

The service is good and the line moves pretty quickly. They also have a good selection of beers on tap; I would say anywhere from 15 to 20.

Overall this brewery has really good beers and they will only get better. When you visit the brewery you won't be overwhelmed by any means but they are friendly there and make good brews so I recommend checking them out. (1,617 characters)

Photo of DarthKostrizer
4.86/5  rDev +18.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

I thought that I had reviewed from my notes but it turns out that I did not so I am taking the time to do it now.

Visited this place for the first time on Knuckle Sandwich release which was a Thursday. I showed up a bit after 4 which was when it opened and people were finally able to get the long awaited DIPA. There was a very small line and it moved at a great pace which does not typical happen on release days.

The atmosphere inside was off the charts. The place itself is pretty small and it was packed full of people with grins from ear to ear. I picked up my alotment grabbed a growler fill of Black Phoenix my personal favorite Bootlegger's beer and grabbed a pint of their Black strap porter to try before I hit the road since I live about 2 hours away. Everyone that worked there was insanely nice and the place is very well kept. Service was excellent and I highly suggest visiting this place on a friday night so you can try a handful of their tasty treats. (975 characters)

Photo of Vanlingleipa
4.3/5  rDev +4.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

By a considerable distance, I enjoy washing down a pint in an industrial warehouse tasting room more than a fancy dark oak decorated restaurant/bar.

Some breweries make brass and oak work better than others - Russian River is a good example. But in my experience, people sitting down at a restaurant table scarfing nachos and wings pretty seldom will lean over to the next group and comment about the quality of the head on their beers. Hell, you might get slapped for that.

Not happening at Bootleggers, the informal 'spit on the floor and call the cat a bastard' kinda place where I'm most comfortable. From the large folding table that acts as the community cO2 factory to the two seater tables close enough for folks to smell each others suds, Bootlegger's is about sharing the beer love.

The owners encourage this - I suspect it would be difficult to bring in an outside beer for consumption at Russian River (not to single them out, again, nice place). At Bootlegger's, no problem as long as you a) buy their beverages b) share with the owners.

So, I'm giving atmosphere a serious A plus. Their beers aren't in that rarefied stratosphere, but close - an overall B plus - A minus, which is as high as I rate any other brewery.

For me, the core of craft brewing is about challenging the status quo, taking risks with flavor combinations while being dedicated towards excellence in the basic styles.

I see this philosophy in Bootlegger beers like Black Phoenix, a well-assembled, well-brewed chocolate-chipotle stout. Even better than the basic BP is their much spicier Imperial version...and last week they released a nitro BP.

Sometimes the experiment flops (the nitro BP, IMO), but it always makes for an interesting visit. I enjoy being a lab rat for new craft brews.

With all the variety, the brewery makes it easy to shop through their beer board - which typically has 12 to 20 selections - a sip at a time by offering half pints. The pours are always generous, with short head beers brimmed to the top of the glass without exception. I like that in a tasting room.

And partnering with these beer explorations are the food trucks that come to Bootleggers, rolling restaurants that are always trying their asses off to be fast-food visionaries. You ain't lived until you've sampled fries covered with spicy Asian beef alongside a hopsy amber (Rocco Red).

Can improvements be made? I suppose. But if you're a person like me who'd rather lean back against a giant silver beer vat than a shiny brass bar rail, it's nothing really worth mentioning. (2,564 characters)

Photo of PhiloPsych
4.68/5  rDev +13.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

I visited the "tasting room" of Bootlegger's Brewery along with a couple of friends. We got four rounds of half-pints and all shared with each other, so we got to try twelve different beers. I was pleasantly surprised at how many different beers they had available on tap--more beers than I knew they brewed! This is particularly impressive given their small, compact brewery set up. Highlights for me included a Belgian beer brewed with plums, a white beer brewed with lemongrass, Knuckle Sandwich, and Black Phoenix. I was disappointed that they had sold out of Knuckle Sandwich bottles, but given that I was there for the last hour and a half of their open hours on a Saturday night, I can't complain or blame. We were also too late for the food truck(s) that had apparently been there earlier. It would be nice if they sold some sort of snacks (e.g., peanuts). I got a printed pint glass (two for five dollars is a good deal). I'll happily go back first change I get! (971 characters)

Photo of UnknownKoger
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

I'm not going to lie. Bootlegger's Brewery is one of my favorite places to go for good beer. There are no pretensions there. Just people sitting/standing around, laughing, having a good time while the good folks are slinging some fine beers.

Going to the brewery gives you the chance to try many beers that are available only at the brewery (Dr. Tongue, Spring Ale, Lambic #3...). Of course, the only beer they have is their beer, but often they'll invite people to brew a beer on their system and get a tap just for that. Food is in the form of food trucks. The food trucks they have are usually pretty good. Watch out for the Tommy's truck...that was a bad case of heartburn haha.

Prices are reasonable. Bootleggers staff are friendly. Patricia, Aaron's wife, is often seen serving the beers. While standing in line one time, I met Aaron's parents and chatted it up with them. It really feels like a community brewery.

Love the place. Just wish it wasn't so far from me (it's about a 30 - 45 minute drive). (1,011 characters)

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Bootlegger's Brewery in Fullerton, CA
92 out of 100 based on 32 ratings.