Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

Tasting the GABF Pro-Am beers at 21st Amendment, Triple Rock

By William Brand
Thursday, September 25th, 2008 at 3:34 pm in Uncategorized.

The Pro-Am competition at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver each October is a contest where professional brewers and  home brewers team up and brew a beer. I haven’t paid much attention to the contest – there’s just too much going on at the GABF to deal with it.  Besides,  how can anyone taste the beer?

Well, this year there are at least two places in the Bay Area, and more likely many others, where you can taste a pro-am beer:

  • On tap at Triple Rock , 1920 Shattuck Ave. in Berkeley:  North Berkeley Double IPA, brewed by head brewer Rodger Davis and homebrewer Nathan Smith,  Mad Zymurgists, Dublin, CA..  Among other awards, Nate’s Imperial IPA won best of show this summer at the Alameda County Fair.  Rodger earned serious stars as the head brewer at Drake’s in San Leandro.  He took over at Triple Rock this summer after Christian Kazakoff signed on at Iron Springs in Fairfax.

I’ve tried Tasty and it is indeed tasty. Mike, of course, is the champion homebrewer whose double IPA will be produced this winner as one of four Longshot beers by Boston Beer Co./Sam Adams.

Tasty is 5.8 percent ABV, 55 IBUs. It’s a medium copper color, pours with a little bit of foam that leaves a nice lacework trail down the side of the glass.  It starts out  dry with a rising hoppy finish.  It’s a very drinkable, hoppy, American style pale ale.  Once it warms up, the malt-hop balance improves and it becomes damn good, highly drinkable.

I haven’t tasted Triple Rock’s North Oakland Double IPA, but  Rodger says it’s 9 percent, made with a lot of Simcoe, Centennial and Columbus hops. It’s basically made with two-row, pale malt with a bit of speciality malt for color. It’s 80 IBUs, unfiltered. Sounds delicious.

By the way, Rodger says he currently has all the beers he entered in the various Great American Beer Festival competition on tap right now at Triple Rock:

  • A Belgian-style pale ale, 5.8 percent, made with a Trappist yeast, dry hopped with mild and spicy Mt. Hood and Styrian Golding hops.
  • A German-style Schwarz beer,
  • Pinnacle Pale Ale, 4.8 percent
  • Monkey Head, 8 percent, sold in bottles on Thursdays.

Rodger said he’s also made a harvest ale. “We took a bunch of fresh hops and threw down some Pinacle on top of the hops,”  Rodger said.

Besides Triple Rock’s own beer, Rodger currently has Valley Brewing’s Uberhoppy on tap. If you’ve never tried the beers made by Steve Altimari at Valley in Stockton, this is a great one to try. Hint: Plan on BARTing it, don’t drink this puppy and expect to drive away.

Here are the notes on that from Steve Altimari at Valley.

  • A massively hopped Imperial IPA brewed to celebrate Valley Brews 10th anniversary. 1 pound of hops were added every 10 minutes during a 100 minute boil, a total of 10 different boiling hops. 4 different fresh hops were used in the hopback and then the beer was passed through a chamber containing 10 lbs of fresh hops on the way from the serving tanks to the bar taps. Hopperiffic. Approx. 10.5% ABV

[You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.]

  • Steve Altimari


    Thanks for the Uber write up. Here is a more recent description of the beer and a peek at the new artwork we are preparing for eventual bottling I have on a brewery blog.

    Thanks again,


  • William Brand

    Thanks Steve. You make great beer, you know. I really love your sours and I plan to visit Triple Rock Friday afternoon. Here’s you new Web description:

    MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2008

    New Releases
    There Here!!!!!

    The latest releases are now on tap at the Pub. Uberhoppy can also be found at Triple Rock in Berkeley, The Bistro in Hayward and at Pete’s Brass Rail in Danville. The Russian Imperial Stout is also at The Bistro and at Pete’s.

    Uber Hoppy is now 11.3 percent and uses 10 hops. OK I’m IMPRESSED.

  • Nathan Smith

    Thanks for the write up on the Pro-Am beers!
    Some pictures I took while brewing the North Oakland Double IPA:

    In addition to Triple Rock, North Oakland Double IPA will also make a limited appearance at the Trappist very soon.

    And Tasty is amazing. It’s well worth a trip to seek that one one if you’re not often at 21A..

    -Nathan Smith
    DOZE/Mad Zymurgists/Bay Area Mashers

  • Beer Drinker

    T-rock’s double IPA is fantastic. I tried it on Monday. Incredible hop aroma and great flavor; in my opinion their best beer in the last few years, and a strong competitor against other DIPAs.

  • Mike McDole

    Bill, Glad you got to try the beer. Sully reports it ran out Thursday night but more will be brewed as part of his regular rotation.

    I raise a toast to Sully and Rodger for being two of only 8 California brewers who extended their mash paddles to homebrewers for the 2008 GABF ProAm.

    I give you a heads-up when the beer is available again. Meanwhile, I’ve had the North Oakland Double IPA over at triple Rock and it’s excellent. Great job Nate!

    Mike McDole

  • danny

    please post when the beer is available at the trappist.

  • Nathan Smith

    I second that, McDole. Cheers to Shaun O’Sullivan and Rodger Davis! The Brewer’s Association does this to keep the link between craft brewing and home brewing strong, and that’s a wonderful thing. As per the rules of the Pro-Am category, the breweries who particiapte go out of their way to be as authentic as possible to the homebrew recipe. This often means tracking down malts, hops and adjuncts that the brewery doesn’t normally stock, obviously meaning extra hassle and expense. This happened in the case of both of these specific Pro-Am beers, and wow, how respectful is that?!

    North Oakland Double IPA will be on at the Trappist sometime
    today or possibly tomorrow. I will definitely post again when it is. Cheers,

  • Nathan Smith

    North Oakland Double IPA just went on tap at the Trappist less than 10 minutes ago. Stop by and enjoy a glass! Cheers, and THANK YOU!

  • William Brand

    Yes Nathan. I got in there Friday afternoon. Loved it. Gonna’ do a post in a few minutes. Thanks for the heads up