Snuggled into the heart of NoHo, on Craner Ave and Magnolia, just behind Vineland, is the rather spectacular Lawless Brewing Co. They took over the building that used to house the old Birns and Sawyer Inc. studio rental, which I frequented. But, they have cleverly left it mostly as it was, with the exception of installing huge state-of-the-art stainless steel brewing vessels – Beautiful shiny tanks of amber bliss. They’ve created a gorgeous Neo-Classical industrial vibe, with a long steel bar and lots of picnic-style tables in the ‘great hall’ and smaller more intimate tables up along the balcony, where the old offices used to be.
They also have a large patio outside and often invite the best of the L.A. food truck chefs to set up in the parking lot. You really can’t go wrong with an excellent beer in one hand and a tasty snack in the other! And let me tell you, this beer is truly excellent.
I’m British, so beer was everywhere for me growing up, and the local pub was really more of a neighborhood sitting room where everyone gathered, especially on special occasions. Birthdays, Christmas, New Year, World Cup finals…all the important stuff.
Lawless Brewery feels like that kind of place too. They have standup and bands and lots of private events, even a couple of weddings, which sounds amazing!! I was treated to a huge range of delicious tasting beers. I think they gave me a little bit of everything, which was a wonderful introduction to their stunning collection of passionately brewed hop magic.
They rework their menu constantly, always trying something new, fruity, dark, light, all kinds of deep saturation of flavors and echos of place and memory.
These beers are finely crafted by their Head Brewer Josh, who trained in Germany and is a master craftsman willing to take risks, experiment, and revel in the chemistry and history of the pale nectar.
There’s a beautifully authentic atmosphere to the place, something that comes from all the dedication and creativity of the owners, crew and also the customers and their dogs…all are welcome.
It’s a little like going to church, the church of beer. There’s a reverence for the art of it, the high ceilings, the shiny bar, the brewing vessels sitting like enormous fonts, the gorgeous wafting scent of yeast and hops, and the gentle murmurs, oohs and aahhs of the customers softly sipping.
The owners Ben and Whitney Wallace met their Head Brewer Josh McCombs and his wife Jackie Cochran-McCombs when they were working at the now sadly defunct Westlake Brewing. Ben and Josh are both originally from Pennsylvania, went to Penn State at the same time, lived in the same apartment building at the same time, and never met until years later in L.A. How very synchronous, very ‘When Harry Met Sally’-ish and full of deeply fermented magic.
This lovely place is built by some very dedicated people who bonded over beer and gave permission to their dreams and really give Lawless Brewing Co its tender heart.
The ‘why’ is very always important. It becomes the foundation of a craft business such as this and percolates through everything. I was very lucky to get a pretty intimate tour of the brewery, which I think they should sell tickets for! Or at least run a lottery, it’s absolutely fascinating. So I was able to see how the magic is made, so to speak. I came away with a lot more knowledge than I arrived with that’s for sure. But also a slight buzz, a wonderful warm feeling in my heart, and the conclusion that good people make excellent beer. Oh, and some of it is also in cans, so you can take that excellence home with you!
5275 Craner Ave., North Hollywood, CA 91601