The winners have been announced from this past weekend’s 2008 Great American Beer Festival in Denver, and congratulations are in order to a number of San Diego-area breweries. With Gold, Silver and Bronze winners in 75 categories, there are plenty of awards to go around, but local breweries nabbed more than their fair share.
Most notably, the Alesmith brewing team was named the Small Brewing Company and Small Brewing Company Brewer of the Year. You’ll get no arguments here.
Alesmith also took home the Gold medal for its Wee Heavy in the “Strong Scotch Ale” category, the Gold for its Decadence Old Ale in the “Old Ale or Strong Ale” category, the Silver medal for its Vintage Speedway Stout in the “Aged Beer” category and the Silver for its Old Numbskull in the “Barley Wine-Style Ale” category.
The only other San Diego-area brewery to take home a Gold medal was beerandburritos favorite San Diego Brewing Co., which got the Gold for its wonderful Hopnotic in the “Imperial or Double India Pale Ale” category.
The local brewery with the most awards, if you lump all their locations together, is Pizza Port/Port Brewing.
- Pizza Port Carlsbad won the Silver for its Party Pants Pilsener in the “German-Style Pilsener” category, the Silver for Night Rider Imperial Stout in the “Imperial Stout” category, the Bronze for Port Truck Stout in the “Classic Irish-Style Dry Stout” category, the Bronze for Cow Stout in the “Sweet Stout” category and the Bronze for its State Beach Blonde in the “Herb and Spice or Chocolate Beer” category.
- Pizza Port Solana Beach won the Bronze for its Big Wednesday in the “American-Belgo Style Ale” category.
- Pizza Port San Clemente (OK, it’s Orange County and not San Diego, but it’s a local company) won Silver for Way Heavy in the “Strong Scotch Ale” category. (Now I wish I’d tried that when I was at PP San Clemente two weeks ago.)
- Port Brewing and the Lost Abbey won Bronze for Hop 15 in the “Imperial or Double India Pale Ale” category.
Also, Rock Bottom in La Jolla got the Silver medal for its Ragtop Red in the “Irish-Style Red Ale” category.
If I were to pick a favorite beer-drinking day from 2007, it would have to be the wet hop festival at O’Brien’s. Regular readers of this blog (hi, grandpa!) know that I love wet hop beers, and the lineup at O’Brien’s last year was simply outstanding.
This year’s wet hop weekend might not top last year’s because of the hop shortage and all, but it still promises to be darn good.
According to O’Brien’s owner Tom Nickel, this year’s wet hop action will happen Oct. 24-26 and feature about 20 wet hop beers, including several casks. See you there!
Sierra Nevada’s Chico Estate Harvest Ale is out now. This is a fresh hop beer made with hops that Sierra Nevada grew themselves on their land in Chico. Here’s what they have to say about it:
We wanted to see if we could grow hops at our brewery in Chico, California so we planted our own hop field selecting our prized Cascade and Centennial varieties along with some specialty hop varieties to experiment with. To our surprise, we not only could grow hops, we were also able to harvest them in late summer due to Chico’s ideal climate.
Chico Estate Harvest Ale is one of the very few estate harvest ales produced anywhere in the world today. All the hops in the beer are grown naturally on the premises of our brewery in Chico. We pick the hops ourselves and then take them directly to the brew kettle, without being dried, just after picking so they retain nearly all of their natural oils and resins. It is made with Cascade, Centennial and Chinook hops. Until now, this beer has only been available in draft. Starting this year, we will be bottling it on a very limited basis, with plans to expand its availability as we expand our Chico hop field in the coming years.
Sierra Nevada has a video on their Web site that is like porn for hop lovers. I’m not smart enough to figure out how to direct-link to it, so I have to send you to the Chico Estate site.
If you missed out on the recent batch of Sculpin IPA, you have another chance to get it. Its brewer, Ballast Point, is having its 12th anniversary party Oct. 25 and I’ve been told they will have kegs of all the specialty beers they’ve made this year, including Sculpin as well as Schooner, their tasty wet hop ale.
This year’s party is at a new location, Liberty Station on Point Loma. And while there will be more than enough great Ballast Point brews to make the fest worthwhile, this year’s edition is also for the first time featuring other brewers. The list of those brewers is below. Details on the event can be found at the Ballast Point Web site.
Alesmith Brewing Co.
Alpine Brewing Co.
Coronado Brewing Co.
Firehouse Brewing Co.
Gordon Biersch Brewery
Green Flash Brewing Co.
Karl Strauss Brewing Co.
La Jolla Brewhouse
Oggi’s Pizza & Brewing Co.
Pacific Beach Ale House
Pizza Port/Port Brewing
Rock Bottom Brewery
San Diego Brewing Co.
San Marcos Brewery & Grill
Stone Brewing Co.