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California breweries, led by Beachwood, dominate beer fest

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California brewers, led by Long Beach's Beachwood Brewing, dominated the competition at the Great American Beer Festival this past weekend.

Nearly 50,000 beer fans, brewers and industry professionals converged on Denver for what has become one of the most prestigious beer competitions in the country. This year, the festival’s 27th, more 600 breweries poured their beers over the four sessions of the weekend-long festival, and the competition saw more than 4,000 entries in over 80 categories.

California breweries took home 52 of the 250 medals awarded, with about half of those going to breweries from the Southland and San Diego.

Beachwood Brewing was a big winner, taking home five medals as well as the Mid-Sized Brewpub of the Year award. Beachwood won gold medals for its Kilgore Stout and Foam Top cream ale, a silver medal for its Utter Love Milk Stout, and bronze medals for its System of a Stout and Barrel Aged Full Malted Jacket.

Other L.A.-area winners included:

-   Redland's Hangar 24 Brewery won a gold medal for Warmer in the specialty ale category

-   Left Coast Brewing in San Clemente won a gold medal for its Ale Epeteios Imperial Stout

-  TAPS Fish House & Brewery in Brea won two bronze medals for its Helles Lager and Schwarzbier.

-  Kinetic Brewing in Lancaster took two bronze medals for its Torque Session IPA and Potential Blonde Kolsch.

Though most of the medals won by California breweries ended up in San Diego or the Bay Area, the Central Coast, traditionally wine country, was further established as a hotbed of beer making, with nine medals split between Figueroa Mountain Brewing in Buellton and Firestone Walker Brewing in Paso Robles. Firestone was also named champion midsize brewing company.

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