HenHouse Brewing earns silver medal at Great American Beer Festival
Three local brewers, HenHouse Brewing Co. (Petaluma/Santa Rosa), Seismic Brewing Co. (Santa Rosa/Sebastopol) and Third Street Ale Works (Santa Rosa), took home medals at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver last week.
Nearly 10,000 beer entries competed for national honors this year in categories ranging from fruited American sour ales to Bohemian style pilsners in what has become the world’s largest commercial beer competition.
HenHouse’s Work Life Balance Soft Saison nabbed a silver medal in the Classic Saison category this year, a first for the Sonoma County brewers. HenHouse Brewery has entered a number of beers over the years in this national event, making this year’s win in the competitive saison category especially sweet for the local brewery.
The popular saison features delicate mouthfeel, fruity yeast flavors and delicate spice profile of this beer. While HenHouse may be known for its hop-forward hazy beers, the brewers are also skilled in crafting European beers like Kölsch, Porter, and English mild ale. HenHouse nearly always has a saison or two on tap at their breweries, a perfect beer to pair BBQ, fish and grilled vegetables, as the clove and coriander flavors in this ale brings out the best in spiced dishes.
Santa Rosa Brewery, Third Street Aleworks, pulled off an interesting feat when they proudly brought home this year’s gold medal for their Annadel Pale Ale, a multi-award winner in the English Ale category. This beer won bronze in 2017, then took a year off, only to come back and nab the silver in 2019, and finally followed up this year with the top honor. This decidedly dry and crisp Annadel ale is usually available in 16-ounce cans at Petaluma Market and Wilibees, and on tap at the downtown Santa Rosa brewery, 610 3rd St.
Seismic Brewing Company also brought home a gold, improving on last year’s silver medal for the company’s Tremor California Light Lager by taking the top prize for the same beer in this year’s competition. Tremor California Light Lager earned gold in the category of American Style Lager, a highly drinkable beer style that technically includes the likes of Budweiser and Pabst Blue Ribbon.
However, Tremor turns up the craft aspect of this typical lawnmower beer style by using local malts, organic barley, and fruit-forward West Coast hops. This lager is highly carbonated with a light body that is balanced between pleasant bitterness and toasty malt, a perfectly thirst-quenching summer lager.
Since 1982, Great American Beer Festival has become the premier beer festival and competition in America, vetting 800 commercial brewers in more than 90 categories of beer. The first competition took place in Boulder, Colorado, with 47 beer entries, and moved to Denver in 1984, where it now sees close to 10,000 entries annually.
While the event normally attracts 60,000 beer fans and 1,700 breweries each fall to the Rocky Mountains for one of the nation’s biggest beer parties, the competition has been entirely virtual for the past two years. Coming up on the competition’s 40-year anniversary in 2022, current plans call for guests to reconvene in Denver next year to sample some 4,000 beers.