Bay Area Breweries Collect Over One Hundred Fifty State Fair Awards

For some Californians, summer doesn’t truly arrive until the onset of the State Fair in Sacramento, where thousands of people flock to the Magical Midway, Livestock Pavilion, Giant Slide and drool over sugar laden elephant ears. While these visitors are getting an overdose of fatty food and carnival rides, some people are in the throws of serious competition. There are animals, art and technology exhibits, just to name a few, being judged and awarded.

Breweries from around the state also vie for awards and bragging rights during the commercial craft brew competition, which takes place before the Tilt-A-Whirl’s inaugural spin. Brewers send in their best samples to be judged in numerous categories according to the Beer Judge Certification Program Style Guidelines. The results were recently announced and Bay Area breweries collectively received 162 awards. That’s quite an accomplishment and some people might be surprised by the results.

It should be noted that some breweries don’t participate and the number of sample submissions varies greatly between brewers. As for specifics, unfortunately the number of submission and participating breweries isn’t available. A wine competition press release was issued, but not for beer (Grrrr…).

The following list is organized alphabetically by brewery. If you would like to see the results in their entirety, head over to the California State Fair website.

Congratulations to the winners!


21st Amendment Brewery

  • 2nd, Gold, Drunken Monk, Belgian Strong Light Color
  • Silver, Mr.Poom’s Thai’d House Ale, Spice Herb Vegetable/Winter Beer
  • Silver, Red Giant, Wood Aged Beer
  • Silver, Amber Waves, American Pale Ale
  • Silver, Gigantes IPA, American IPA
  • Bronze, Hendrick’s Imperial Stout, Russian Imperial Stout


Bear Republic Brewing Company

  • Gold, Hop Rod Rye, Specialty Beers
  • 3rd, Silver, XP Pale Ale, American Pale Ale
  • Silver, Red Rocket Ale, American Amber Ale
  • Silver, Peter Brown Tribute Ale, American Brown Ale
  • Silver, Racer 5 IPA, American IPA
  • Silver, Racer X Double IPA, Imperial IPA
  • Silver, Big Bear Black Stout, Stout – Dry, Sweet, Foreign & American


Blue Frog Grog & Grill

  • Gold, Blonde, Blonde Ale
  • Silver, DIPA, Imperial IPA
  • Silver, IPA, American IPA


Devil’s Canyon Brewing Company

  • Gold, Silicon Blonde Ale, Blonde Ale
  • Honorable Mention, Gold, Deadicated Amber Ale, American Amber Ale
  • 2nd, Silver, Full Boar Scotch Ale, Scottish Ales
  • Silver, California Sunshine Rye IPA, American IPA
  • Silver, Lager Diabla, Light Lagers
  • Bronze, Kaleidoscope Black Ale, Specialty Beers


Drake’s Brewing Company

  • Honorable Mention, Best of Show, Gold, Drakonic, Russian Imperial Stout
  • 1st, Gold, Drakonic, Russian Imperial Stout
  • 3rd, Gold, Denogginizer, Imperial IPA
  • Gold, Drake’s IPA, American IPA
  • Silver, Drake’s 1500, American Pale Ale


El Toro Brewing Company

  • 2nd, Gold, El Toro Yo Barleywine, Barleywine
  • 3rd, Silver, El Toro Poppy Jasper Amber Ale, English Brown Ale
  • Silver, El Toro India Pale Ale, American IPA
  • Silver, El Toro Deuce Imperial IPA, Imperial IPA
  • Silver, El Toro Oro Golden Ale, English Pale Ale
  • Bronze, El Toro Negro Oatmeal Stout, Stout – Oatmeal


Faultline Brewing Company

  • 1st, Gold, Stout, Stout – Oatmeal
  • 2nd, Silver, Kolsch, Kolsch & Cream Ale
  • 2nd, Silver, Hefeweizen, German Wheat & Rye
  • 2nd, Silver, Oktoberfest, Euro Amber Lager
  • 2nd, Silver, Doppelbock, Bock
  • 2nd, Silver, Belgian Blonde, Belgian Strong Light Color
  • Silver, Best Bitter, English Pale Ale
  • Silver, Dunkleweizen, German Wheat & Rye
  • Silver, Pale Ale, English Pale Ale
  • Silver, India Pale Ale, American IPA
  • Silver, Belgian Abbey, Belgian Strong Dark Color
  • Silver, Irish Red, Irish Red Ale
  • Bronze, Golden, Blonde Ale
  • Bronze, London Porter, Porter – Robust/Baltic
  • Bronze, Belgian Tripel, Belgian Strong Light Color


Heretic Brewing Company

  • Honorable Mention, Best of Show, Gold, One Nut In The Grave, Specialty Beers
  • 1st, Gold, One Nut In The Grave, Specialty Beers
  • Gold, Evil Cousin, Imperial IPA
  • Silver, Worry, Wood Aged Beer
  • Silver, Evil Twin, American Amber Ale
  • Silver, Shallow Grave, Porter – Robust/Baltic


Hermitage Brewing Company

  • Gold, Citra Single Hop IPA, American IPA
  • Silver, Maltopia, Scottish Ales
  • Silver, Hoptopia, Imperial IPA
  • Silver, Ahtanum Single Hop IPA, American IPA
  • Silver, Coastal Fog IPA, American IPA
  • Silver, One Door Sour Ale, Sour Beers
  • Bronze, Ale of the 2Tun, Russian Imperial Stout
  • Bronze, Ale of the Imp, Imperial IPA
  • Bronze, Coastal Fog Pale Ale, American Pale Ale
  • Bronze, Coastal Fog Amber Ale, American Brown Ale
  • Bronze, Ale des Dieux, Belgian & French Ale


Jack’s Brewing Company 

  • 2nd, Gold, Jack’s Double IPA, Imperial IPA
  • 2nd, Gold, Hardwood Pale Ale, American Pale Ale
  • Gold, Jack’s IPA, American IPA
  • 3rd, Silver, Boys of Summer Wheat, Kolsch/Cream Ale
  • Silver, Jack’s Hefeweizen, German Wheat & Rye
  • Silver, Penalty Shot Porter, Porter – Robust/Baltic
  • Bronze, Grid Iron Amber, Amber Hybrids
  • Bronze, Anniversary Ale, Bock


Magnolia Brewery

  • 1st, Gold, Blue Bell Bitter, English Pale Ale
  • 2nd, Silver, Sara’s Ruby Mild, English Brown Ale
  • Silver, Weekapaug Gruit, Spice Herb Vegetable/winter Beer
  • Bronze, Prescription Pale, American IPA
  • Bronze, Big Cypress Brown, English Brown Ale


Marin Brewing Company

  • Honorable Mention, Best of Show, Gold, Pt Reyes Porter, Porter – Robust/Baltic
  • 1st, Gold, Pt Reyes Porter, Porter – Robust/Baltic
  • 1st, Gold, Cuvee Roge’, Sour Beers
  • 2nd, Gold, Hoppy Holidaze, Spice Herb Vegetable/winter Beer
  • 3rd, Gold, Quad, Belgian Strong Light Color
  • 3rd, Gold, Airporter Chocolate Porter, Specialty Beers
  • 2nd, Silver, Orange & Black, Fruit Beer
  • Silver, San Quentin’s Breakout Stout, Stout – Dry, Sweet,Foreign & American
  • Silver, White Knuckle Double IPA, Imperial IPA
  • Silver, Old Dipsea Barleywine, Barleywine
  • Silver, Bourbon Barrel Old Dipsea Barleywine, Wood Aged Beer
  • Silver, Marin IPA, American IPA
  • Bronze, Marin Hefeweiss, American Wheat/Rye
  • Silver, Marin Abbey Special, Belgian Strong Dark Color
  • Bronze, Mt Tam Pale Ale, American Pale Ale
  • Bronze, Tiburon Blonde, Belgian & French Ale
  • Bronze, Tripel Dipsea, Belgian Strong Light Color
  • Bronze, Saison De Revolution, Belgian & French Ale
  • Bronze, 21 Year Old Ale, Od Ale
  • Bronze, E.S.Chi, Spice Herb Vegetable/winter Beer


Moylan’s Brewing

  • 1st, Gold, Hell’s Export Lager, Light Lagers
  • 1st, Gold, Hopcrak XXXIPA, Imperial IPA
  • 3rd,Silver, Moylan’s Wheat Ale, American Wheat/Rye
  • 3rd, Gold, NDR CAL IPA, American IPA
  • Honorable Mention, Best of Show, Gold, Hopcrak XXXIPA, Imperial IPA
  • Silver, Wet Hopsickle, Wood Aged Beer
  • Silver, Moylander XXIPA, Imperial IPA
  • Silver, Hopgarten Pilsner, Pilsner
  • Silver, Chelsea Moylan’s Porter, Porter – Robust/Baltic
  • Silver, Ryan Sullivan’s Imperial Stout, Russian Imperial Stout
  • Silver, Moylan’s Chocolate Porter, Spice Herb Vegetable/winter Beer
  • Silver, Dragoons Dry Irish Stout, Stout – Dry, Sweet,Foreign & American
  • Silver, Octoberfest Marzen, Euro Amber Lager
  • Silver, Hopsickle Imperial XXXIPA, Imperial IPA
  • Silver, White Christmas Winter Beer, Spice Herb Vegetable/winter Beer
  • Silver, Orange & Black Congrats Ale, Fruit Beer
  • Silver, Moylan’s Special Bitter, English Pale Ale
  • Silver, Celts Golden Ale, Blonde Ale
  • Silver, Old Blaney Barleywine, Barleywine
  • Silver, Tipperary Pale Ale, American Pale Ale
  • Bronze, Danny’s Irish Red Ale, Irish Red Ale
  • Bronze, Pommegranate Wheat Ale, Fruit Beer
  • Bronze, Kilt Lifter Scotch Ale, Scottish Ales


Pizza Orgasmica & Brewing Co.

  • Silver, Orgasmica Triple I.P.A., Imperial IPA
  • Silver, Orgasmica I.P.A., American IPA
  • Silver, Orgasmica Chocolate Imperial Stout, Russian Imperial Stout
  • Silver, Orgasmica Kolsch, Kolsch & Cream Ale
  • Silver, Orgasmica Four Grain Hefeweizen, German Wheat & Rye
  • Silver, Orgasmica Pale Ale, American Pale Ale
  • Bronze, Orgasmica Amber Ale, American Amber Ale
  • Bronze, Orgasmica Golden Ale, Blonde Ale
  • Bronze, Orgasmica Porter, Porter – Robust/Baltic
  • Bronze, Orgasmica Peach Pale Ale, Fruit Beer


Pyramid Breweries

  • 1st, Gold, Pyramid Curveball Blonde Ale, Blonde Ale
  • Gold, Pyramid Outburst Imperial IPA, Imperial IPA
  • Silver, Pyramid Hefeweizen, American Wheat/Rye
  • Silver, Pryamid Apricot, Fruit Beer


Ruth McGowan’s Brewpub

  • Honorable Mention, Gold, Citrus Wheat Ale, Spice Herb Vegetable/winter Beer
  • 1st, Gold, Cloverdale Ale, American Amber Ale
  • 2nd, Gold, Monster Brown, American Brown Ale
  • Gold, Floyd IPA, American IPA
  • 3rd, Silver, McGown’s Dry Irish Stout, Stout – Dry, Sweet,Foreign & American
  • Bronze, Caroline’s Blonde, Blonde Ale


Sonoma Springs Brewing Company

  • 1st, Gold, Uncle Jack’s Kolsch, Kolsch & Cream Ale
  • 3rd, Silver, New Bavaria Roggen, German Wheat & Rye
  • Silver, Daedalus, Wood Aged Beer
  • Bronze, Lil’ Chief, American Pale Ale


Speakeasy Ales & Lagers

  • Gold, Payback Porter, Porter – Robust/Baltic
  • 3rd, Silver, Scarface Imperial Stout, Russian Imperial Stout
  • Silver, Big Daddy IPA, American IPA
  • Silver, Double Daddy, Imperial IPA
  • Silver, Prohibition Ale, American Amber Ale


Strike Brewing Company

  • 1st, Gold, Strike Brown, American Brown Ale
  • Silver, Strike Blonde, Blonde Ale
  • Bronze, Strike Porter, Porter – Brown
  • Bronze, Strike Wit, Belgian & French Ale


Thirsty Bear Brewing Company

  • Honorable Mention, Silver, Weizenbock, German Wheat & Rye
  • 3rd Silver, Broadsword, Scottish Ales
  • 3rd Silver, Cherry Stave, Sour Beers
  • Bronze, Winter Stave, Sour Beers


Tied House Brewing

  • 1st, Gold, New World Wheat, American Wheat/Rye
  • Silver, Ironwood Dark, English Brown Ale
  • Silver, Alpine Gold, Blonde Ale
  • Bronze, Cascade Amber, American Amber Ale


Trumer Brauerei

  • 3rd, Silver, Trumer Pils, Pilsner


Meet the Can Van: Craft Beer Canning on Wheels

Jenn Coyle, Lindsey Herrema & Barley / Photos © Brian Stechschulte

Picture this: You’re a small brewery that’s looking to expand to stores and markets all across your area. The thing is, you don’t have a bottling line and filling bombers by hand is more of a pain in the ass than you pictured. Sure it worked when you were home brewing, but we’re talking barrels of beer here. What can you do? Jenn Coyle and Lindsey Herrema might have the answer.

Jenn and Lindsey (and their mascot Barley) run a mobile canning line, dubbed the Can Van, which just got off the ground right here in the Bay Area. They just got back from picking up their custom trailer in Colorado and I managed to track them down at Devil’s Canyon Brewing in Belmont where they were doing their first run of cans.

The Can Van concept emerged from their final semester at Presidio Graduate School where they, along with several other classmates, worked on a solid business plan as a class exercise.  While conducting research on the idea, they received very enthusiastic responses from the breweries they called, such as “That’s a great idea! When can I hire you?”  Needless to say, they were on a roll before they even got started. After numerous presentations and some fundraising, the Can Van became a reality.

“Cans you say? I thought there had to be minimum orders of 100,000 for can production?”  That’s true. If a brewery wanted to use cans with a design that’s printed directly on the aluminum, then a minimum order of 100,000 is necessary. Luckily Jenn and Lindsey have found a way to label the cans themselves, as they would appear on beer bottles. This means no huge orders and no pallets of cans just sitting around for a year waiting to be used. They just order the amount of cans needed and buy the labels. The rest is beer history.

With so much beer to process I was curious about the speed of the canning line. I’ve heard many brewers talk about how slow a canning line is compared to a bottling line. When Jenn told me they could process 36 cans a minute, that lingering doubt went out the window. In fact, they’re able to package 30 barrels in a single day at full speed. I wonder if larger breweries will simply hire them full time to can year-round?

The Can Van will operate much like the mobile bottling line that many local breweries utilize. While they want to stay near the Bay Area, if there’s another region of brewers that want to can their beer then they’re totally down for traveling where there’s work to be done. In fact, they’ve been eyeing a trip up to Oregon to help out a few breweries there.

It’s pretty amazing what they’re doing, taking the whole canning trend and building a solid business around it. Right now they’re just getting started with their first client, but they could easily have more demand then they can manage, just like many breweries that can’t make enough beer to satisfy customers. It’s a great problem to have and I wish it on them.

Freaks, Monsters & Sour Beer this Halloween Weekend

Have you spent months creating a costume, but still need a place to go this Halloween weekend? Here’s a selection of parties at Bay Area breweries and bars that include freaks, costume contests and most importantly, craft beer.

Friday, October 28

MONSTERS OF ROCK Halloween Festival
4:00pm – 9:00pm, Speakeasy Ales & Lagers,1195 Evans, San Francisco. (map)

Costume contest, food from the Fogcutter food truck, $3 beers and live music from Midnight Chaser, Hell Ship and Fear the Fiasco. Free entry.

Beer Friday Costume Contest & Kid’s Parade
6pm, Devil’s Canyon Brewing Company,111 Industrial Road #7, Belmont. (map)

Beer Friday is a Devil’s Canyon monthly event, but for Halloween they turn it up a notch. The Kid’s Parade starts at 7:15pm and includes candy stations. Costume judging for adults begins at 9:15pm. $10 entry includes a souvenir pint glass and one beer. Additional drinks are $6. Expect live music and they’re serving up the last bit of Weizenbock.

Sour Beer Tasting
6:30pm – 8:30pm, Jug Shop Wine & Spirits, 1590 Pacific Avenue, San Francisco. (map)

They may not be scary creepy crawlers, but brettanomyces yeast will be on full display at the Jug Shop. $35 gets you 20 different samples of  beer from Jolly Pumpkin, Hanssen, Brasserie des Franches-Montagnes, Russian River, Panil, Ommegang, Birra del Borgo, Strubbe and Cantillon just to name a few. This event is limited to 40 people so act fast.

Movie Night: The Shining
9:00pm, Park Chalet, 1000 Great Hwy. San Francisco. (map)

No cover, late night happy hour prices and free popcorn.

Saturday, October 29

Iron Springs 7th Anniversary Party & Halloween Costume Contest
12:00pm – 11:00pm, Iron Springs Pub & Brewery, 765 Center Blvd, Fairfax. (map)

Help Iron Springs celebrate all day with prize giveaways, free raffles and costume contest prizes. Music all day and night, which includes a rare Moonalice acoustic performance.

Half Moon Bay Brewing Halloween Party
7:00pm – 10:00pm, Half Moon Bay Brewing Company, 390 Capistrano Rd., Half Moon Bay. (map)

The 11th annual Halloween Party with rock music from the Megatones. All ages are welcome to enter the costume contest. Prizes will be awarded by the following categories: Most Scary, Most Original and Best Group Costume. Free Entry.

Sunday, October 30

2nd Annual Freaktoberfest Boutique Beer & Music Festival
12:00pm – 5:00pm, Beer Revolution, 464 3rd Street, Oakland. (map)

60 beers from 25 different breweries will accompany live music from Sex with No Hands, Pit Bull Rodeo, Deep Cover and burlesque acts. Street food will be served up by Guerilla Grub and beer will be poured using a ticketing system. No entry fee.

Monday, October 31 (Halloween)

17th Annual Halloween Costume Contest
8:00pm, Moylan’s Brewery & Restaurant , 15 Rowland Way, Novato. (map)

Pacific Brewing Laboratory Poised to Sell Beer


Occasionally big news arrives in small packages. In this case, three words and a single photo via Twitter, courtesy of Pacific Brewing Laboratory co-founder Patrick Horn. The tweet was simple and to the point, “Here we go!,” with an image of Horn standing alongside a notice of application to sell alcoholic beverages.

With little explanation the message left some avid followers with more questions then answers, but it’s clear they’re moving forward with business plans.

Pacific Brewing Laboratory Patrick Horn

Patrick Horn. Photo provided by Pacific Brewing Laboratory.

As it turns out, Horn and brewing partner Bryan Hermannsson have begun the stressful licensing process and signed a contract brewing agreement with Devil’s Canyon Brewery in Belmont, which is where the photo was taken. This method will allow Horn and Hermannsson to establish their brand in the marketplace without having to build their own brewery from the ground up at tremendous cost. “If everything goes well, we hope to be selling kegs in October,” according to Horn.

Since March of 2010 they’ve been hosting bi-weekly brewing parties in their SOMA garage that have become increasingly popular. Guests come for free beer and get up close and personal with the brewing process. In recent months the crowds have swelled making it hard to keep the beer flowing. It’s a good problem and a source of confidence they’ll need for this big leap.

So what beer can we expect if everything goes as planned? At the moment they’ve decided to brew their popular Hibiscus Saison and Squid Ink Black IPA.

Drake’s Brewing Company is Big on Giving Back

Whether it is because, as the drink of the everyman, beer inspires giving back to one’s fellow man, because the tight-knit feeling of community in the Bay Area’s beer scene prompts giving back to the community at large, or because good beer simply causes feelings of happiness and generosity, there is no question that charitable giving is a big item on many Bay Area breweries’ and beer hubs’ agendas.

Drake’s Brewing Company in San Leandro, in particular, is one brewery that has had a longstanding and substantial commitment to giving back to the Bay and especially its hometown. Their main event is “First Fridays” which, until its barrel house opened this past week, were some of the few days Drake’s opened their doors to the public. The first Friday of each month the brewery holds a party and gives the proceeds to a different local charity, often one located in San Leandro itself.

Brittany Dern, sales and marketing spokesperson for Drake’s, explained, “when the First Friday events started, they (Drake’s owners, John Martin and Roy Kirkorian) thought it was a good way to give back to San Leandro, to the community, for supporting Drakes.”

At First Fridays guests are asked to give a $5 donation at the gate, and then they may either bring their own Drake’s glass or purchase one at the brewery. To get a pint, guests then purchase beer tokens. From there, the beer stays flowing into the evening, and all the profits go to the sponsored charity for the night.

This format has caught on too. Devil’s Canyon Brewery in Belmont implemented a similar monthly charitable facet called Cheers for Charity this past May at their monthly Beer Friday events on the last Friday of each month.

But the First Fridays are just beginning for Drake’s charitable arm.  Their event calendar consistently has one or two events on tap that focus on giving back–  even infiltrating some events that you may not have expected to see craft beer before.

Last Thursday, Drake’s represented craft beer at the posh Union Square restaurant Postrio for an event with a few local wineries for the CASA organization of Contra Costa County. CASA, a national organization with several local chapters, provides volunteer mentors or CASAs to help guide particularly vulnerable children in the foster care system. There, roughly 120 guests for $75 a head tasted wine, munched on smoked salmon and mushroom and garlic confit pizzas and drank Drake’s beer.

Drakes Brewing-Guests-at-the-Postrio-Event

Guests at the Postrio event listen to Charles Mead, CASA’s executive director between glasses of wine and Drake’s beer.

At the event, women and men clearly more accustomed to a Napa pinot noir than an IPA, cautiously approached Drake’s representative Jeremy Wanamaker with his long hair and lumberjack-esque beard and build to ask about the brews available. One woman, casually holding a Coach handbag in one immaculately manicured hand, sipped on Drake’s hefeweizen cautiously and declared, somewhat surprised, “I like it!.”


Jeremy Wanamaker explains the beer selection to one guest at the Postrio Micro Beer and Wine Summer Solstice event.

“You worry at these events that people might be, you know, standoffish,” Dern said, “this has been great because people have been very interested.”

According to Dern, the exposure for the beer is admittedly huge perk of doing charitable events. At Postrio, it was quite evident that few of the guests in attendance had never heard of Drake’s before, but several mentioned that they were new fans after trying the beer.

While the event was somewhat an oddity for the Drake’s crew, their participation like most of their charitable giving still stemmed from a close community affiliation. Dern’s father, John Dern, owns Postrio, and his sister has been a volunteer with the CASA organization in San Jose for years.

“If someone in the brewery has their own special project,” Dern said, “they are more than welcome to pitch it.”

Which is exactly what Dern and her father did, and thus was born what could the first of many pizza, beer and wine events Postrio hosts in the future, according to Mr. Dern.  Drake’s, therefore, may make further inroads into the Postrio set than they imagined.

But for Drake’s, spreading the love around is just what they do. This weekend the brewery will be holding their First Friday for the Boys and Girls Club of San Leandro on Friday and then participating along with other local breweries in “Breastfest” at Fort Mason Center in San Francisco on Saturday to support, you guessed it, breast cancer research.

In the end, all the giving and exposure seems to have been a win-win for Drake’s and the organizations they support. Drake’s is one of the faster growing breweries in the area. According to Dern, Drake’s output was just over 6,000 barrels last year, and they expect to hit around 8,000 this year. The brewery also recently opened a taproom at the brewery that will serve Drake’s beer to the public every Wednesday through Sunday.

For Drake’s it seems, some seriously good karma is certainly paying off.