Impressions of the 2016 Best of California Commercial Craft Brew Competition

July 16, 2016 was a rare day to be among the winners of the 2016 Best of California Commercial Craft Beer Competition. Morgan Territory was honored with a Silver for our Old Diablo Barleywine in the Strong Ale – English Barleywine style category and a Bronze for Locked, Bock’d, and Ready to Rock Maibock in the Bock category.

Honored this year were three founders of the craft brew movement in California, Fritz Maytag of Anchor Brewing Company, Jack McAuliffe of New Albion Brewing Company, and Ken Grossman of Sierra Nevada. Thanks to their pioneering spirit, they have a forged a path for breweries like Morgan Territory Brewing by educating the American Palette to what a great craft beer can be. Very impressive!

Fritz Maytag, Anchor Brewing, Jack McAuliffe, New Albion Brewing, Craig Cauwels

Morgan Territory Brewing at the 2016 California State Fair Craft Beer Awards

In addition to being in the presence of these greats, I also had the privilege of judging the Best of Show and was truly blown away by this year’s winner, Dead Canary by Ol’ Republic Brewing  This Dortmunder export is a hard to find lager that balances hops and malt perfectly, reminiscent of a malty pilsner. I’m saving a few bottles for a special occasion. I also tried the Port Barrel Aged Hurly Burly Barleywine from Out of Bounds Brewing Company that balanced the fruitiness from the port barrel and the caramel character of the malt. If you are a fan of barleywines, give this one a try.

I’d also like to give a special shout out to Daniel Riley from Riley’s Brewing Company who taught me something very useful – how to use my wedding ring as a bottle opener. It came in handy opening a tasty bottle of beer from this year’s brewery of the year, Danish Red Lager from Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company. We won this honor in 2014 as Schooner’s Grille & Brewery.

After the ceremony, we headed over to the Brewfest by the race track and share many great stories and insights with the many beer fans and aficionados. Another great experience at CalExpo.