Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

GABF _ The Big Finale – 2004

By William Brand
Saturday, October 2nd, 2004 at 7:32 pm in Uncategorized.

GABF _ The Grand Finale

DENVER _ If you’re a rabid craft beer fan and care about Great American Beer Festival awards by the time you read this _ assuming I get it posted during my layover in Salt Lake City around 7 p.m. MST, you’ll already know who won what this year.
In fact, one web site put the whole show on live. Right now, you can click on and see all the results and download them for that matter.
First _ the big story at this 22nd running of the GABF _ was once again the Pizza Port breweries and pizzerias in Southern California. They may not have cleaned house, but they won a number of awards and medals.
Tomme Arthur of Pizza Port Carlsbad was named Small Brewer of the Year and his brewpub won Small Brewpub of the Year.
Large brewpub and large brewpub brewer honors went to Seattle’s Elysian Brewery & Public House and brewer Dick Cantwell
Widmer Brothers, Portland, Kurt Widmer won mid-size brewing company and brewer of the year. Miller won the big brewery award and Miller master brewer David S. Ryder got the brewer award.
Anyway quickly for Bay Area residents _ here’s what happened to our “local’’ Northern California brewers:
It was a great day for two small breweries around here, David Heist’s Hoptown in Pleasanton won first place gold again in the American-style amber category for Paint the Town Red. This is an amazing, high octane, super-hopped amber.
Schooner’s Grille & Brewery in Antioch landed a second place silver for its 2002 Casked Barley Wine and a third place bronze for IPA, a tasty brew, dry hopped for weeks with Centennial and Amarillo Hops. It’s a beautiful beer _ huge hoppy nose, fine malt-hop balance and fragrant hops propelling a fine, dry finish.
Bear Republic, Healdsburg, maker of the hopheads favorite Racer 5, won gold this time for Pete Brown Tribute Ale in the brown porter category. Pyramid Porter, Pyramid Seattle, won the bronze.
Vinnie Cilcurzo’s sainted Russian River Damnation won silver in the Belgian strong-ale category. It’s available on tap at the new Russian River brewpub in Santa Rosa and also in bottles there.
Third Street Aleworks in Santa Rosa, won bronze in the classic Irish-style section for the very deservedly famous Blarney Sisters Dry Irish Stout.
Up in the “boonies’’ Anderson Valley, Boonville, captured bronze for its classic Barney Flats Stout. If you’re reading this out of California, the “boonie’’ reference was to a dialect of English that evolved in isolated Boonville over a century. Many of Anderson Valley’s beers have names based on boonie words. If you’ve never tried this one _ do so at once; it’s widely available in bottles and in taverns and pubs.
Out in the Central Valley, north of Stockton, Elk Grove Brewery & Restaurant won bronze for Otis Alt _ a German-style ale;
Firestone-Walker, Paso Robles, won the silver behind Hoptown for Red Nectar Ale. This one, originated by Humboldt Brewing, was one of the original California ambers. Firestone-Walker contract brewed it for Humboldt for a time, but now they’re listed as the brewer. Will have to check this out later.
Firestone-Walker also won bronze for Coastal Light Pale in American-style light ambers.
Sierra Nevada won bronze in German-style pilseners for Summerfest. Alpine Beer Co., in Alpine in the Sierra won silver in Irish-style red ales for McIlhenney’s Irish Red. — William Brand

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