Sunday, October 12, 2008

California's GABF Medals & Comments

AleSmith Brewing Co.Vintage Speedway StoutCASilver Aged Beer
AleSmith Brewing Co.AleSmith Old NumbskullCASilver Barley Wine-Style Ale
AleSmith Brewing Co.AleSmith Decadence Old AleCAGold Old Ale or Strong Ale
AleSmith Brewing Co.AleSmith Wee HeavyCAGold Strong Scotch Ale
Anderson Valley Brewing Co.Brother Davids DoubleCASilver Belgian-Style Strong Specialty Ale
Bear Republic Brewing Co.El OsoCABronze American-Style Amber Lager
Bear Republic Brewing Co.Double AughtCABronze Bohemian-Style Pilsener
BJ's Restaurant & Brewery - ChandlerBJ's OktoberfestCAGold American-Style Amber Lager
BJ's Restaurant & Brewery - ChandlerI'm Half the Beer I Used to BeCAGold German-Style Wheat Ale
Drake's Brewing Co.Drake's 1500 PaleCASilver American-Style Pale Ale
Elk Grove Brewery and RestaurantBad Dog Brown AleCABronze American-Style Brown Ale
Elk Grove Brewery and RestaurantBock LagerCASilver Bock
FiftyFifty Brewing Co.FiftyFifty Imperial StoutCABronze Other Strong Beer
FireHouse Grill & BreweryFireHouse PorterCASilver Brown Porter
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.Mission Street PaleCAGold American-Style Pale Ale
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.Velvet MerkinCASilver Oatmeal Stout
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.OaktoberfestCASilver Vienna-Style Lager
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.Nectar PaleCASilver American-Style Strong Pale Ale
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.Firestone Pale 31CABronze American-Style Pale Ale
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.Union Jack IPACAGold American-Style India Pale Ale
Hollister Brewing Co.Hip Hop Double IPACASilver Imperial or Double India Pale Ale
Mad River Brewing Co.Steelhead Extra Pale AleCAGold Golden or Blonde Ale
Main Street BreweryHop Daddy IPACABronze English-Style India Pale Ale
Main Street BreweryBishop's Tipple TrippelCAGoldBelgian-Style Abbey Ale
Pizza Port CarlsbadNight Rider Imperial StoutCASilver Imperial Stout
Pizza Port CarlsbadParty Pants PilsenerCASilver German-Style Pilsener
Pizza Port CarlsbadCow StoutCABronze Sweet Stout
Pizza Port CarlsbadPort Truck StoutCABronze Classic Irish-Style Dry Stout
Pizza Port CarlsbadState Beach BlondeCABronze Herb and Spice or Chocolate Beer
Pizza Port San ClementeWay HeavyCASilver Strong Scotch Ale
Pizza Port Solana BeachBig WednesdayCABronze American-Belgo Style Ale
Port Brewing and The Lost AbbeyHop 15CABronze Imperial or Double India Pale Ale
Rock Bottom Brewery - La JollaRagtop RedCASilver Irish-Style Red Ale
Russian River Brewing Co.Blind Pig IPACASilver American-Style India Pale Ale
Russian River Brewing Co.RedemptionCAGold Belgian- and French-Style Ale
San Diego Brewing Co.Hopnotic 2X IPACAGold Imperial or Double India Pale Ale
Schooner's Grille & BreweryOatmeal StoutCABronze Oatmeal Stout
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.Sierra Nevada Kolsch Style AleCASilver German-Style K├Âlsch
Third Street AleworksBlarney Sisters Dry Irish StoutCAGold Classic Irish-Style Dry Stout

Alesmith really took home some big prizes for big beers. As easy as they are for me to get, I've only previously had the Alesmith Old Numbskull barleywine which stood out over many of the other samples I had during a strong ale fest. I've had Speedway before but I wonder what they mean by Vintage? It's probably not one of their special release barrel aged Speedways, so it must just be a couple year old bottle of Speedway? I noticed that Alaskan won in that "Aged Beer" category for their 2006 Smoked Porter.

Big congrats to BJ's for bringing home yet more awards this year. Last year they won Gold with their Nit Wit witbier. That oktoberfest is surely tastey, I had a glass of this year's batch a couple weeks ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. It's kind of weird that they listed BJ's as a CA brewery since their Chandler location is in Arizona. Maybe it's because most BJ's are in CA? I know certain CA BJ's locations still brew (although I'm told they are brewing more at the Reno production facility and cutting down on the individual BJ's locations that actually brew, which sucks if true), and I think West Covina and Brea or Woodland Hills still brews their own beer.

Firestone cleaned up with 6 medals! Their two pales are absolutely fantastic when fresh. They are on the hoppier side of pale ales but the flavors come through so beautifully. Union Jack is one of the best IPA's in IPA-rich California. It probably gets overlooked a lot and sorta has a cult following of people who really back it.

Hollister, in Goleta next to the UCSB campus, is doing some great things. I just had the pleasure of stopping by there on a trip recently and they nailed quite a few beers of the 13 I sampled. I do remember the Hip Hop Double IPA which wasn't bad, but didn't stand out above a couple of their pale ales which were amazingly hopped.

Main Street Brewery??? Corona is about a 20 minute drive from me and I've never heard anyone say anything really great about this brewery. But TWO medals? Wow. Especially when one is in the Belgian-style category. Pretty impressive for what has to be a tiny brewery. That will definitely call for a stop next time I'm in that area.

Easily expected was the 8 medals from Pizza Port/Port Brewing. Those guys know how to make beer and what's great is they know how to make so many styles well.

Russian River I don't think really ever enters that many beers. I've seen Temptation win in the past, and maybe Blind Pig too, but Blind Pig getting a silver behind Union Jack isn't too surprising. Like I said, if you're not native to CA but happen to find yourself here- don't JUST go seeking the infamous Pig.... get some Union Jack too.

And how about Santa Rosa bringing home a Gold, but not by Russian River, by Third Street Aleworks which is literally about a 2 minute walk from the Russian River brewpub.


Sparky said...

When are we going beer tasting? I'm in!

Steve said...

You tell me. We should all go down to SD the Friday before the Notre Dame game to meet Domer at Stone or something.