Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

A Report from the Bistro IPA Fest

By William Brand
Monday, August 14th, 2006 at 6:46 pm in Uncategorized.

Two days late, but here are the results oF the ninth annual IPA Festival at The Bistro in Hayward, CA. There were 45 IPAs entered. The fest drew well over 1,000 people, who rocked to some great bands, ate barbecue and drink a whole lot of good beer. People’s Choice was Shaun O’Sullivan’s 21st Amendment IPA. This is a beautiful beer, easily my favorite IPA this year. What’s more the San Francisco brewpub is canning this beer You can buy it at the bar, $7.99/6 and worth every penny. I wrote about it on this blog and in my column last month. Drop me an e-mail ( and I’ll send you a copy or do a search at

Also, Bistro proprietor Vic Kralj has a complete list of participating beers, with hopping, brewing details. E-mail me and I’ll send you a copy.

Winners, chosen by a panel in a blind tasting, were:

First: Russian River Blind Pig IPA, Russian River Brewing, Santa Rosa, CA. This recipe was first brewed by Vinnie Cilurzo at his original micro, Blind Pig, in Temecula, in Southern California, 72 International Bitterness Units, 6.1 percent alcohol by volume, Magnum bittering hops, Cascade, Centennial, Columbus aroma hops. Also dry hopped (hops added to the fermenter) with Cascade, Centennial, Columbus.

This spectacularly well-balanced beer also won gold this summer at the professionally judged World Beer Cup in Seattle: A dusty, hazy gold with a thick head of white foam and a malty nose and taste with the hops coming on strong in the follow.

Second: Pizza Port Wipeout IPA, Pizza Port, Carlsbad, CA. By the time I got to the Bistro Saturday after work, Wipeout was wiped out. So sadly, I missed this one. Wipeout by Brewer Jeff Bagby was 70 IBUs, 7 percent ABV. Bittering hops were Tomahawk, Amarillo and Centennial. Aroma hops, Tomahaw and Amarillo.

The Pizza Port breweries are a story themselves. There are three, all in northern San Diego County: the first in Solana Beach, opened in 1987; the second in Carlsbad, opened in 1993 and the third in San Clemente opened in 2003. Pizza Port has purchased the old Stone Brewing plant in San Marcos and plans are to begin bottling in the big way under director of head brewer Tomme Arthur, who has won many awards for great beers, especially, knock your socks off, strong ales.

Third: Ballast Point Sculpting IPA, Ballast Point Brewing, San Diego, CA I got to try this one and loved it. A bright copper, a bit lighter in color than Bass, it had a big hoppy nose, but the taste was full and malty with the an aromatic, but not bitter hoppy rush lasting into a long follow. Loved this beer, 75 IBU, 6.5 percent ABV, Magnum, Warrior, Tomahawk, Northern Brewer bittering hops, Centennial, Simcoe, Amarillo aroma hops, dry hopped with Cascades and Tomahawk.

There were a lot of beers left when I arrived and I got through several. I found Alpine Brewing (Oroville) Organic Rye IPA excellent: heavy, hoppy nose, but the taste was fairly dry, from the rye with lots of hops– all New Zealand organic hops.

David Heist’s Hoptown (Pleasanton) Hoptown IPA was mellow, 40 IBUs, 7.1 percent alcohol, Galena bittering hops, Cascade, Centennial, Columbus aroma hops, dry hopped with Amarillos and Cascades. This is one you can get in bottles if you live around the East Bay. I highly recommend it.

Another I really liked was Schooner’s IPA, Schooner’s Grille & Brewery, Antioch. Beautiful hop-malt balance, spicy finish – perfect for a evening treat. Horizon bittering, Amarillo, Centennial aroma and Amarillo, Centennial, Hallertau dry hopping.

Also, Green Flash West Coast IPA, Green Flash Brewing, San Diego: A big hoppy hit in the aroma, but a delicious, sweet malt taste with hops in back, gradually growing in intensity as the taste fades. A green flash by the way is a spurt of green light that sometimes can be seen just as the sun hits the ocean at sunset. Here’s a link
And here’s a photo:

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