For the first time, San Luis Obispo’s Central Coast Brewing won a medal at the annual beer competition, getting a gold for Monterey Street Pale Ale, a relatively new addition to the longtime brewery’s lineup.
“We did a more traditional pale ale for a long time, but we wanted to do something with the newer hops that are available,” said brewhouse manager Aaron Swink, who has worked for Central Coast Brewing for about nine years. “(Monterey Street Pale Ale) is closer to an IPA, but it’s a pale ale.”
Central Coast Brewing — which recently hired a new head brewer, Brendan Gough, who previously worked for Firestone Walker — will celebrate its 18th anniversary in March.
Firestone Walker, no stranger to international accolades, won the title of Midsize Brewing Company and Brewer of the Year for the fourth time in 10 years. The Paso Robles-based brewery also picked up gold medals for its beers Pivo Pils and DBA (Double Barrel Ale). It’s the third gold in a row for Pivo in the German-style pilsener category. Firestone’s Hammersmith IPA earned a bronze.
“(Brewmaster Matt Brynildson) and his band of brothers and sisters on the brewing team are writing history,” Firestone Walker co-owner David Walker said in a news release. “They are Central Coast residents who are making a global mark on the craft beer industry.”
Barrelworks, Firestone Walker’s wild ales program in Buellton, also got the judges’ attention. Feral One, a Belgian-inspired sour, earned silver in its category, and Sour Opal, a barrel-aged sour ale, won bronze.
Other Central Coast breweries that also earned praise include:
This year, 1,552 U.S. breweries participated in the Great American Beer Festival competition. More than 6,647 entries in nearly 100 beer categories were judged by 242 beer experts from 15 countries. One gold, silver and bronze is awarded in each category.