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More than a dozen Northern California breweries take home coveted GABF medals for 2017

More than a dozen Northern California breweries take home coveted GABF medals for 2017

More than a dozen Northern California breweries take home coveted GABF medals for 2017
October 13
06:06 2017



Published 6:22 pm, Thursday, October 12, 2017

More than a dozen brewers across Northern California brought home medals last week from the Great American Beer Festival, which takes place in Denver every year.

GABF, considered to be the most prestigious American championship for beer, is a massive competition presented by the Brewers Association. This year, 2,217 American breweries entered nearly 8,000 beers for consideration across just 98 categories. Of the five most impacted categories — American-Style IPA, Imperial IPA, American-Style Pale Ale, American-Style Strong Pale Ale, and Wood- and Barrel-Aged Strong Beer — brewers in Northern California medaled in four.

One San Francisco Brewers Guild member, Mill Valley’s Headlands Brewing Co., was one such company. Phil Cutti, the brewery’s co-founder, says that it was a surprise to bring home the silver in the American-Style Strong Pale Ale category for their Wolfback Ridge IPA, especially because it meant beating out 180 other beer entries. 

“I didn’t know it was going to be the fourth largest category but I thought it had a great chance,” he tells SFGATE. “I can’t put into words how humbling it is. I can’t find the right phrase that encapsulates how proud I am of our company.”

Another Bay Area brewery enjoying the attention is Danville Brewing Co. At only about a year old, the brewery’s owner, Marcus Maita, was “so proud” to be bringing home a bronze in the second largest category, the Imperial IPA, for its Chux DIPA. However, as he told SFGATE, the prize “validates” the effort they put into recipes and brewing techniques.

“It was almost a delayed reaction when Chux was announced,” Maita recalls. “Matt (Sager, the head brewer) and I just kind of looked up, then looked at each other, jumped out of our chairs and basically hugged it out all the way to the stage.”

Maita hopes the win will being more beer drinkers to the Bay Area suburb, adding, “We’re thrilled to put our hometown on the beer map.”

In addition to a few East and North Bay winners, one brewery in San Francisco added another GABF medal to its collection: Social Kitchen and Brewery. Winning gold in the English-Style Pale Ale category (alongside another Bay Area brewery, Santa Rosa’s Third Street AleWorks, which took home bronze), this year marks the second time that their Mr. Kite Pale Ale has medaled at the competition.

For head brewer Kim Sturdavant, hearing Social’s name called was as shocking as it was in 2015. 

“I entered the awards with zero expectations,” he says. “I was all the way in the back sitting next to a trash can hungover and hating life and when they said Mr. Kite I literally jumped up, hugged my friends and started running towards the stage in disbelief.”

All Northern California winners:

American-Style Sour Ales
Bronze: Yeast of Eden, Alvarado Street Brewery, Salinas

Wood- and Barrel-Aged Strong Beer
Gold: Hurly Burly, Out of Bounds Brewing Company, Rocklin

Fruited Wood and Barrel-Aged Sour Beer
Gold: Zoned AG Apricot, Corralitos Brewing Co., Watsonville

German-Style Doppelbock or Eisbock
Gold: Wobblor, Crooked Lane Brewing Co., Auburn

Baltic-Style Porter
Gold: Public Enemy Baltic Porter, Dust Bowl Brewing Co., Turlock

English-Style Summer Ale
Gold: Organic California Blonde Ale, Eel River Brewing Co., Fortuna

Classic English-Style Pale Ale
Gold: Mr. Kite’s Pale Ale, Social Kitchen & Brewery, San Francisco
Bronze: Annadel Pale Ale, Third Street Aleworks, Santa Rosa

American-Style Strong Pale Ale
Silver: Wolfback Ridge, Headlands Brewing Co., Mill Valley

American-Style India Pale Ale
Silver: Gold Digger IPA, Auburn Alehouse, Auburn

Imperial India Pale Ale
Silver: Lupulin River, Knee Deep Brewing Co., Auburn, CA
Bronze: Chux, Danville Brewing Co., Danville

Double Red Ale
Gold: Hop Donkey, Auburn Alehouse, Auburn

Belgian-Style Blonde Ale or Pale Ale
Bronze: Belgian Pale Ale, Redwood Curtain Brewing Co., Arcata

Belgian-Style Lambic or Sour Ale
Bronze: Drinking with Friends, Mraz Brewing Co., El Dorado Hills

See all the 2017 winners here.

Alyssa Pereira is an SFGATE staff writer. Email her at apereira@sfchronicle.com or find her on Twitter at @alyspereira.



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