The Bistro’s Annual Double IPA Festival just so happens to be one of our favorite events of the year. The sheer array of strong, hoppy brews available is staggering (which by the way is what many folks are doing by the time they leave the fest). Beers ranging from the hugely bitter and strong to fruity and mildly sweet to pine and citrus monsters hit the taps and are submitted to a panel of certified judges in a blind tasting. As hop heads ourselves, its great to see what other brewers are doing with their hoppy brews, and the challenge of the competition is exhilarating every year.
This year for the first time the judges did an separate round for the plethora of newly emerging Triple IPAs including our own Hopocalypse Black Label TIPA. And we are happy to announce that we were victorious! Amongst the intimidating competition of Triple IPAs including Triple Rock’s Rodger’s Last Stand (Silver), Pizza Orgasmica’s new TIPA, and Russian River’s iconic Pliny the Younger, Hopocalypse Black Label was chosen for the top honors.
We couldn’t be happier, especially considering the time and effort we put it to making this beer into a success. Head Brewer Brian developed the new huge recipe with some help from the rest of the guys, and Brewer Alexandra Nowell took on the task of handling this monster brew (our biggest yet with a starting gravity of 26.5 degrees Plato) from the very start of the mash in until the it was ready to keg and bottle. She coddled this beer like it was her little infant child making sure the yeast was in the perfect condition to ferment the extremely concentrated brew at just the right temperature, with right amount of oxygen, and with the occasional nudges to make this beer finish exactly how we wanted.
Because of the hard work of our brewers, we ended up with a beer bursting with hops, a big heady nose, and massive flavors of citrus, tropical fruit and just a touch of warm booziness. We love it. Glad to hear others did too.
In other news: As we move into Day 4 of SF Beer Week, we do need to take a moment to recap the past weekend (or we may just forget).
For Pictures of Our Beer Week Shenanigans you can check our Flickr Set below. We will continue to update it throughout the week.
The Opening Celebration put on by the SF Brewer’s Guild at the Concourse Pavilion was a universal hit. The space was perfect and large enough to accommodate the huge crowd of beer enthusiasts and brewers. We took a hopped-up arsenal of 6 beers, 5 of which were some form of IPA, and 4 of which were Double or Imperial IPAs. (Our list: Hopocalypse DIPA, Hopocalypse Black Label TIPA, Denogginizer IIPA, Jolly Rodger 2011 Imperial Dark IPA, Drake’s IPA, and 1500 Dry-hopped Pale Ale).
The whole night felt like an incredible craft beer reunion with all of our friends in the industry and fans of our beers coming together to taste some amazing brews. We were happy to be there.
On Saturday, while some of us went to the DIPA Festival in Hayward for the competition, others in the crew headed out to the Craneway Pavilion in Richmond for their 3rd Annual Chocolate and Beerfest with 16 kegs in tow. Over 2500 people came to sample chocolates and our beers, and by the end, everyone’s cup runneth over, and all our kegs came home tapped out.
Sunday, we started early hitting 21st Amendment for our 2nd Annual Big Beer Brunch. The talented chefs at 21A whipped up delicious brunch specialties and we took 4 of our biggest beers (Hopocalypse, Denogginizer, Drakonic, and The Good Sh*t Barleywine Blend). The place was crowded with folks looking for a beer and brunch nirvana, and in our opinion, it was pretty well achieved. After a meal that delicious and rich with beers that big, we’re pretty sure some folks went home for a post-brunch nap.
No, napping for us though. Some of the Drake’s crew then headed toward Triple Rock and Jupiter to help our brother brew pubs with their Annual Sour Sunday Festival which was epic as always
Then, last night, to end the weekend right we went took over the taps at Amsterdam Cafe in SF with a few great brews. There we got to introduce some folks to a few of our newest beers including our Brandy Barrel-Aged 2009 Barleywine, “Brandy Witches.” We had a great time, and loved hanging out in this way cool little bar in the heart of the city.
But, as we said, it is only Day 4 of the action, and we have lots more to come. Tonight, we are headed to a beer friendly cheese joint in the Mission in SF for a cheese and beer pairing night that already has our mouths watering.
Tuesday we head back to another place in the Mission on Shotwell’s and 20th for a Valentines Day Chocolate and Beer Pairing. Also, Brewer Alex Nowell will be representing women in Bay Area brewing at the film screening of the new documentary For the Love of Beer at 18 Reasons in the Mission.
Wednesday, we’re thinking about some Pig and Beer. The Second Annual Drake’s Sau & Brau will be going on here at Drake’s Barrel House with twice the pig, twice the space and over 3 times the beer from last year. Tickets are sold out for this event, but if you need your Drake’s and Pig fix, Brewer Kyle Wilson is going to a charcuterie shop in SF near Fell and Gough for a Pork Happy Hour. (Can you say Drakonic Sausage??)
Thursday, we will be all over the map with events in the city and the East Bay including a showcase at an Oakland beer bar near 3rd and Broadway, a barrel-aged beer tasting at an SF bar in SOMA (on Folsom between 7th and 8th) known for their spirits, the East Bay BrewFest at Pyramid, and an appearance at the Cal Academy of Science’s Nightlife.
Friday is Jack & Jolly time. We took our 2010 Jolly Rodger Imperial Red Ale and put it into Jack Daniels barrels for the past year and this Friday we will release 3 exclusive kegs in three different locations all to be tapped at 6pm. Locations: Drake’s Barrel House, SF Bar on Divisidero near Haight St., and at Iron Springs in Fairfax.
Saturday, Head Brewer Brian is heading down South to partake in a Meet the Brewer event at the Hermitage in San Jose. Excited to meet our fans down there in one of the few events we do down in the South Bay.
And, with a sigh of relief on Sunday we will be at the Celebrator 24th Anniversary Beer Fest at Trumer Brauerei in Berkeley to officially bid farewell to another great beer week.
Monday… we sleep.