The annual Craft Brewer's Conference is unlike other professional gatherings. Every expo hall reeks of hops. The hospitality suite boasts 140 free-flowing taps. And, the attendees are significantly more bearded.
As usual, the Bay Area beer scene was heavily represented at this year's event, held last weekend. Some of the most buzzed-about panel sessions featured our hometown brewers. Russian River Brewing's Vinnie Cilurzo spoke about sour beer production and its pitfalls (who knew that brewers need to keep an eye on cyanide levels while using certain types of fruit?). Almanac Beer Co.'s Jesse Friedman spoke on a panel about "brewing local" while supporting local economies and farms. Increasingly moving towards all-local ingredients, the Almanac model envisions a brewing community that embraces locality in the way that S.F. restaurants take pride in listing the farms that contribute to their dishes.
Our community also raked in the accolades at the biennial World Beer Cup awards. Chef Adam Dulye of Monk's Kettle had the honor of cooking the biggest-ever beer dinner for the crowd of over 2,000 industry vets. The five-course meal, paired with previous World Beer Cup winning brews, highlighted Dulye's rustic cuisine and keen knowledge of beer and food pairing.
Anyway, without further ado [director's cue: everybody drum roll on your desks], here's the Bay Area's World Beer Cup medalists! Grab a beer, peruse the list, and plot your trip to taste these world-class brews:
American Style Sour Ale: Bronze Medal, Supplication, Russian River Brewing Co.
Indigenous Beer: Silver Medal, Hqt, 21st Amendment Brewery
Other Strong Beer: Gold Medal, Star Brew, Marin Brewing Co.
Rye Beer: Silver Medal, 3 Flowers IPA, Marin Brewing Co.
American-Style Black Ale: Gold Medal, Black Racer, Bear Republic Brewing Co.
American-Style Amber/Red Ale: Bronze Medal, Mavericks Amber Ale, Half Moon Bay Brewing
American-Style Amber Lager: Bronze Medal, Cali Common, Lucky Hand Beer
Classic English-Style Pale Ale: Gold Medal, Annadel Pale Ale, Third Street Aleworks
Classic Irish-Style Dry Stout: Gold Medal, Blarney Sisters Dry Irish Stout, Third Street Aleworks
Further to the North, medals were awarded to Fifty Fifty Brewing, Sierra Nevada, Mad River, and Feather Falls Casino Brewing.