4. Golden Road Brewing
Location: Los Angeles, Calif.
2011 production: 1,500 barrels
2012 production: 5,000 barrels
Growth rate: 233%

Speaking of big cities with undersized brewing communities, let's talk about Los Angeles.

When Eagle Rock Brewery opened in Glassell Park in 2009, it was the first brewery with operations based in Los Angeles in 60 years. It brought in food trucks, it poured growlers: It opened the door.

Two years later, Tony's Darts Away owner Tony Yanow and former Oskar Blues and Speakeasy brewer Meg Gill came down from San Francisco and walked right in. They set up a full brewpub, got to work putting Cabrillo Kolsch and Point The Way IPA into 16-ounce cans, made appearances on The Steve Harvey Show and went about building a brewery of the scale that L.A. hadn't seen in some time.

Along the way, Yanow and Gill found success not only with their brewpub, but with hoppy concoctions including their Wolf Among Weeds 8% ABV IPA and and limited-edition offerings including a Berliner Weisse, Almond Milk Stout and Anejo tequila-barrel-aged Hefeweizen. While those 1,500 barrels only account for the fewer than three months the brewery was open in 2011, the early reception was enough to warrant adding a 50-barrel brewing system to Golden Road's 15-barrel operation. The brewery's tallboy cans are now an L.A. fixture, thanks to a sweet distribution deal with Whole Foods ( WFM) and specialty shops, and Golden Road's success has helped transform the city's brewing community from a tiny, quirky novelty to a trained market with kegs full of growth potential.

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