One of the big differences I've noticed between The San Francisco Bay Area and The Los Angeles Area is the beer scene.
In The Bay Area, the micro brewery has been embraced whole heartedly. In Marin, where I am from, there are at least four micro breweries alone - all within 15 mintues of each other. These are the restaurant type places that have gigantic fermentation tanks visible through big windows on one side of the establishment. You can watch beer brew while you chow down! They are all great. Tasty food, and tasty beer that is always new and interesting. There is a lot of experimentation going on and a new range of beer types and strengths to try on every visit.
In Los Angeles, there are very few of these places, and instead there has been a wonderful trend recently to do well curated, world beer selections at bars and restaurants. In LA, it's not uncommon to see rows of 20 to 30 taps with beers from all over the world - from San Diego to India. Many of these places regularly swap around which beers they have on tap and as such, the selection goes on and on. I am regularly trying new beers that I have never had before - and I love that.
However, while these places have beers from The Bay Area and other parts of California, there are very few breweries in LA. Similarly, in the Bay Area, I know of very few places that have these huge collections from around the world. I like both options a lot, but I have been wondering why both can't thrive along side each other. I mean, it's clear that if nothing else, people like drinking a lot of beer.
Looks like things are changing though - at least in LA. This article in The Los Angeles Times today is all about the birth of a micro brewery movement happening down here. From collectives of home brewers coming together under one brewmaster, to new establishments like Angel City Brewing downtown; it's looking like we might be getting some micro brew pubs of our own. I for one can't wait!