Welcome to Beertopia

Galco's Soda Pop Shop adds a world-class selection of brews

You'd probably head to Galco's Soda Pop Shop, the decades-old Highland Park gem known for carrying the widest collection of vintage and craft sodas in the state, if you were searching for the cream soda your grandfather sipped as a kid.

But what about your grandfather's favorite pilsner?

Galco's probably carries that too, thanks to a recent expansion that has made room for more than 600 unique beers, ranging from local favorites to obscure international imports. The shift has transformed the grocery store into the biggest locally run beer shop in L.A. County.

Owner John Nese has jokingly dubbed the new refrigerated coolers and shelf space "Beer-vana." Six-packs hail from dozens of continents and countries, such as Iceland's Einstök Toasted Porter ($14) or Boag's Draught ($11), a favorite of Tasmania.

Individual-bottle geeks will find lots to love too, such as Cuveé de Jacobins ($28 for 750 ml), a sour Flemish red that's as complex as it is renowned, and Dogfish Head's Birra Etrusca Bronze ($19 for 750 ml), brewed from a 2,800-year-old Roman recipe.

The staggering selection might take the serious student hours to peruse, but that's likely half the fun.

Galco's Soda Pop Stop, 5702 York Blvd., Highland Park; 323-255-7115 or sodapopstop.com