California brewers amassed more than 70 medals at the 32nd annual Great American Beer Festival competition last month. Of those, eight were garnered by Central Coast breweries, and three of those went to Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company, which is based in Buellton with taprooms in Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone, Los Olivos, Westlake Village, and Arroyo Grande.
Most impressively, Fig Mountain won a gold for one of its flagship beers, Davy Brown Ale, in the very competitive American-Style Brown Ale category, which featured 76 competing brews. The only other Central Coast golds went to Firestone Walker Barrelworks (based in Buellton) for their Feral Brute in the Experimental Beer category and to Alvarado Street Brewing (Monterey) for their Mai Tai P.A. in the category of International-Style Pale Ale.
Ever since first being tapped in 2010, Davy Brown, which is named after a 19th-century backcountry pioneer, has always typified the American brown ale style, which means it’s hoppier than its English antecedent and packs a more powerful punch in the ABV department. At 6 percent alcohol, Davy Brown is a great call for welcoming cooler temperatures after a hot summer and makes an ideal accompaniment to a rack of ribs grilled in the backyard or roasted butternut squash.
It’s hopped with the same Cascade hops that give beers like Sierra Nevada Pale Ale its telltale grapefruit character, so it’s not like hopheads can’t get jiggy with this number. But thank the chocolate malts for that auburn color and richer finish that the world’s foremost Beer Judge Certification Program experts deemed best in show.