Los Angeles County and Orange County breweries took home top honors last week at the World Beer Cup awards in Philadelphia. Beachwood Brewing in Long Beach was awarded Champion Large Brewpub and Noble Ale Works in Anaheim earned the title of Champion Small Brewery. Several other L.A.-area breweries also earned medals in the competition.
Held every two years and organized by the Brewers Assn., the World Beer Cup awards bronze, silver and gold medals in nearly 100 categories covering every style of beer, from light lagers to barrel-aged stouts. The beers and judges come from breweries around the world, and this year's competition included more than 6,000 beers from nearly 2,000 breweries.
The Los Angeles County craft beer scene was honored with a total of seven medals and Champion Brewer honors, and Orange County breweries earned 11 awards and Champion Brewer honors as well.
Beachwood Brewing led the Los Angeles area contingent with three medals: a gold medal for Mocha Machine coffee stout, a silver medal for Kilgore stout, and a bronze medal for Utter Love sweet stout. Three Weavers Brewing in Inglewood earned a gold medal in the Imperial red ale category for Blood Junkie, and Eagle Rock Brewery took gold for its Belgian-style Flanders ale Yearling. The West Covina location of the B.J.'s Restaurant and Brewery chain also scored a gold medal in the robust porter category with P.M. Porter. And Smog City Brewing in Torrance won a silver medal in the American-style amber/red ale category with a silver medal for its Sabre-Toothed Squirrel.
In Orange County, Noble Ale Works in Anaheim made a statement by winning a gold medal in the most competitive category in the competition: the American-style IPA. The brewery won gold (beating out 275 other beers) with the I Love It! IPA, which also won the 2014 Los Angeles IPA Fest. Noble Ale Works also won a bronze medal for Nobility in the Imperial IPA category and the fan-favorite Gosebusters won silver as a German-style sour ale. The three medals earned the brewers the honor of Champion Small Brewing Company, and cemented the brewery's reputation as one of the region's best IPA breweries.
The lauded TAPS Fish House brewpub also took home a trio of medals, with two silvers and a bronze in the American-Style Pilsner, American-style dark lager, and Schwarzbier categories respectively. Bottle Logic Brewing in Anaheim won a brace of silver medals for Cobaltic Porter and Darkstar November while nearby the Bruery Terreux — the sour beer-producing offshoot of the Bruery — was awarded a silver for Oude Tart, also in the Belgian-style Flanders ale category. Tustin Brewing Co. joined Beachwood on the medal podium in the Coffee Beer category with its Portola breakfast stout, that like Beachwood's gold medal winning Mocha Machine, uses a special roast of beans from Orange County's Portola Coffee Labs. Artifex Brewing in San Clemente finished out the haul for O.C. breweries with a silver in the American-style Imperial stout category.
With 287 total medals being awarded, the 18 wins from breweries in L.A. County and Orange County represent nearly 6% of all the prizes and one-third of the 49 medals won by California breweries. The awards may serve as proof that craft beer in Southern California has grown beyond the scene in San Diego, and Los Angeles County and Orange County breweries are now getting recognized as some of the best in the Golden State.
For the Record
May 9, 2:20 p.m.: An earlier version of this post said the L.A. and O.C. breweries won a total of 17 awards at the World Beer Cup. They won a total of 18. This post was also updated to include information on Tustin Brewing Co.'s award.