It may not have been our region’s strongest showing ever, but a trio of Santa Barbara County breweries took home medals from Denver over the weekend at the Great American Beer Festival. With more than 800 breweries from around the United States submitting more than 5,000 entries for judgement, the annual affair is considered the nation’s top beer competition.
For the fourth time in 10 years, Firestone-Walker Brewing Company and brewmaster Matt “Merlin” Brynildson took home the esteemed prize of “Mid-Size Brewing Company and Brewer of the Year.” The achievement was further exhibited in the gold medals that Firestone — which is based in both Buellton and Paso Robles — won for its Wookey Jack black rye IPA (in the American Style Black Ale category), its Pivo Hoppy Pils (German-style pilsener), and its Taproom IPA (English Style IPA) and the silver it received for the Union Jack IPA (American Style IPA). “The amount of remarkable beers at this event is staggering, so it’s really humbling and gratifying to earn this distinction,” said co-owner David Walker. “Merlin and his team continue to amaze.” See firestonebeer.com.
The other big Santa Barbara winner was Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company, which landed golds for its Davy Brown Ale (American-Style Brown Ale) and Stagecoach Stout (Oatmeal Stout) and silvers for the Surfliner Lager (Kellerbier or Zwickelbier), Oktoberfest (Dortmunder or German-Style Oktoberfest), and Stearn’s Dry Irish Stout (Classic Irish-Style Dry Stout). “We feel very fortunate to have won amongst so many other great breweries,” said owner Jaime Dietenhofer. “We were proud to represent the Central Coast amongst a few others that also took home some awards.” They’ll be celebrating up in Buellton on Wednesday, October 16, when four of the five winners will be offered for just $4 a pint starting around 5 p.m. See figmtnbrew.com.
And Telegraph Brewing Company, which has won multiple awards in years past, took home a bronze medal for its flagship beer, the California Ale (Belgian- and French-Style Ale). See telegraphbrewing.com.