The Great American Beer Festival was this weekend in Denver, CO. Beer lovers from around the world converge annually as this event is beer heaven, with 2100 beers from 457 breweries across America served over three days. The only people happier than the attendees are the brewers who get to pow-wow with their brethren and sistren (sistern?) brewers and, hopefully, bring hope some accolades.
This year, Sacramento has two winning breweries at GABF. Rubicon Brewing brought home the Silver Medal for their multi-award winning Winter Wheatwine in the Strong Beer category. Sacramento Brewing Company won the Bronze for their Collaborative Evil in the Belgian and French Style category. This is
currently on tap sold out but coming back in the future at SacBrew and is delicious.
Collaborative Evil is an interesting story, regardless of the awards and the deliciousness. Todd Ashman, brewmaster at Truckee’s Fifty Fifty Brewing Company, had an idea to highlight the unique style that different brewers can bring to the same beer recipe. His plan was to have brewers make the same beer each with one unique aditional ingredient, and to compare the outcomes. Last year, he tried this idea with two other brewers and a Dark Belgian Ale recipe called Collaborative Evil. This year, he recruited eight other brewers to try the same experiment with a Belgian Strong Pale Ale. Again, each brewer had to make the same beer, but add one unique ingredient. Both SacBrew and Stockton’s Valley Brewing Company (which won the Gold Medal this year for their Old Inventory Barley Wine) were among the participating breweries, each with great results. SacBrew’s recipe featured an addition of oats, while Valley Brew added pomegranate honey in the second fermentation. I envy those who went to GABF this year, as they had the opportunity to sample all nine versions of this beer, but at least we Sacramentans have a second version less than an hour south of here. With an recently expanded beer menu from Brewmaster Steve Altimari, Valley Brew is also worth the trip for a little taste of Evil.