Sudwerk Brewing Co. dominated the most prestigious craft beer competition in the United States with two gold medals and being named Brewer of the Year at the 2021 Great American Beer Festival.
The third-generation Davis, California, craft brewing company rooted in German tradition was awarded two gold medals for The People’s Pilsner and the Backyard Hero American Lager, on top of the being announced as the Brewer of the Year in the 5,001 – 15,000 Barrels category. It was a monumental achievement for one of Northern California’s oldest craft breweries, sitting in Davis for 32 years.
“Since 1989, lagers have been at the core of who we are as a brewery. As a pioneer of craft lagers, this is our passion and it’s an honor to be recognized for that,” said Ryan Fry, co-owner of Sudwerk Brewing Co. “We are so grateful and proud of Tom Stull (Head Brewer) and our team. It takes a great team to make great lagers and we have one of the best.”
Great American Beer Festival has become the standard for budding craft brewers in the United States. The festival is the largest of its kind in the country, and perhaps the world, with awards in 97 beer categories covering 175 different styles.
The festival’s gold medal criteria calls for “a world-class beer that accurately exemplifies the specified style, displaying the proper balance of taste, aroma and appearance.” These awards are among the most highly regarded in the industry and heralded by the winning brewers in their national advertising. To be eligible for the Brewery of the Year award, a brewery must enter two or more beers and verify its 2020 production information.
Sudwerk joined a group of local breweries that received gold medals at the festival. Other NorCal winners included a gold medal for Seismic Brewing Co.’s Tremor California Light Lager, a gold medal for Fall River Brewing Co.’s Sherbet Drip Fruited Kettle Sour, a gold medal for Third Street Alework’s Annadel Pale Ale, a gold medal for Ghost Town Brewing’s Nose Goblin, and a gold medal for Barebottle Brewing Co.’s Cryo Chemistry.
But it was the lagers of Sudwerk that especially turned heads at the festival.
“It’s especially gratifying to be recognized for being the best in those lager categories,” Fry said. “Lagers are easy drinking but one of the most challenging styles to brew. We have been dedicated to continuously pushing the boundaries of lagers in new, innovative ways and are proud to be recognized for a style that fellow brewers judge themselves upon. Lagers are what we love, what we drink, and what we do.”