Grab a train, bus or boat–there are Bay Area beer victories to celebrate. Bay Area beer appreciators can head out to toast the international recognition of two breweries conveniently within the local transit footprint, plus a dozen more from around Northern California.
Brewers from around the world converged in San Diego this week for the Craft Brewers Conference, which incorporates a trade show and educational conference for the craft beer industry along with the prestigious biennial World Beer Cup, a competition which evaluates beer in 95 categories.
Brewmaster Arne Johnson of Marin Brewing took home a gold medal for Star Brew in the Other Strong Beers category, where this beer has done well in the past, and picked up a a silver for his Three Flowers IPA in the Rye Beer category.
Head Brewer Zambo of 21st Amendment Brewing picked up silver in the Indiginous Beers division for his archeologically-inspired ancient Egyptian brew called Hqt, which included the planting of antique barley on their brewpub roof on San Francisco’s Second Street, near the Giants’ ballpark.
21A also took top honors for the space-monkey design of their Bitter American session-strength IPA in a can.
Looking a little further afield around Northern and Central California, awards will soon be going up on walls and in display cases at Half Moon Bay, Russian River, Lucky Hand, Third Street Alehouse, Bear Republic, Fifty Fifty, Feather River, Sierra Nevada and Mad River. Many of these breweries and some of these latest medal-winning brews can be found on tap and in bottles around Northern California.
A couple of beers you can easily find (and one that you’re not likely to see) brought medals home for Firestone Walker out of Paso Robles. Their “second brand” Mission Street Pale Ale, sold at Trader Joe’s stores, got Silver while their Firestone Walker Pale 31 took Gold in the same Pale Ale category. Their harder to find 805 IPA won Gold in the Australasian Style Pale Ale category (we’ve never heard of this either). These victories resulted in brewery Firestone Walker and brewer Matt Brynildson taking home the Champion Midsize Brewery and Brewmaster trophies to Paso Robles. That’s north of the Grapevine, so we’ll claim it as Northern California.
The San Diego beer scene represented itself very well in the awards and provided unfailing hospitality to brewers from around the world. Along with expressing hearty cheers of California brewing pride for friends who won, the crowd at the banquet showed audible delight at some Gold Medals awarded to brewers from countries not traditionally known for brewing those specific styles — such as Haiti (for American Style Cream Ale or Lager), Boliva (for International Style Lager), Mexico (for Chocolate Beer) and Iceland (for German Style Pilsner).
Marin Brewing and 21st Amendment Brewing are easy to visit using BART and connecting street car and ferry systems. Cheers to all the winners!
Explore Beer By BART; use our list of some of the San Francisco Bay Area’s best beer places with detailed transit info, so you can get out there to enjoy without driving.