The World Beer Cup finally held its biennial celebration this month with festivities that included flurries of medals, thousands of brews and plenty of good news for California breweries.
It has been a long four years since the last competition — the pandemic canceled the 2020 event, of course — and that lapse seems to have driven a massive surge in entries for the world’s largest international beer competition. I was among the 226 judges who sampled a record-breaking 10,542 different beers. Brews poured in from nearly 3,000 breweries in 57 countries.
The United States racked up the most wins with 252 of the 300 medals awarded. California brought home 59 of those, including 24 gold medals, more than any other state or country. And 15 medals — including seven golds — went to Bay Area breweries.
Perhaps the most impressive Bay Area wins came via Tracy’s Morgan Territory, whose bar I visited last fall as part of my brewery day trip series. Co-owner Michael LaCross and brewmaster Craig Cauwels earned a gold medal for Dark Reckoning, a Baltic style porter, a silver for Big Bock Energy and a bronze for The Cushman, a Munich Helles. Just three breweries had a hat trick like that.
Other gold medal winners included Fort Point’s Yuzu KSA in the American wheat category, Woods Beer & Wine Co.’s Divine Origins Carignan in the experimental beer segment and Barrel Head Brewhouse’s Brother Harker Paterbier in American-Belgo style. All three are San Francisco breweries.
Boonville’s Anderson Valley Brewing brought home a gold medal for its Holy Gose, as did Sebastopol’s Seismic Brewing for its Tremor California Light Lager and Santa Rosa’s Third Street Aleworks for its always-delicious Blarney Sisters’ Dry Irish Stout.
Oakland’s Ghost Town Brewing won a silver medal for its Ossuary in the robust porter category, and Temescal Brewing won a bronze in the hoppy lager category for its 49 Mile West Coast Pilsner.
Danville Brewing nabbed a silver medal for Granny’s Tipple in the barley wine-style ale category. Santa Rosa’s Russian River Brewing won a silver for its Jannemie saison, and on the opposite side of the Bay Area, Santa Cruz’s Humble Sea Brewing earned a silver medal for its Humble Sea Helles. And San Francisco’s Barebottle Brewing brought home a bronze for its Citra Powered Jetpack in the highly competitive juicy or hazy imperial IPA category.