San Diego brewers show their winning ways

Last Saturday was a memorable day for San Diego brewers. First, Council Brewing’s Lickable Staves, an American sour red ale, won best of show at the 11th annual San Diego International Beer Competition.

Council, just 3 years old, is a labor of love for its married co-owners, Curtis and Liz Chism.

Part of the San Diego County Fair, the competition also resulted in Miramar’s AleSmith named champion brewery and Colorado’s Redstone Meadery champion meadery.

Full results can be found at

Hometown homebrew heroes

Another victorious bulletin from last Saturday: QUAFF is back. At the annual American Homebrewers Association conference in Minneapolis, San Diego’s Quality Ale Fermentation Fraternity was named “National Homebrew Club of the Year.”

This was QUAFF’s second consecutive year to win this honor, following a six-year streak from 2001 through 2006.

First place honors went to QUAFF members John Horton for his American pale ale and Eric Robinson for his porter.

Second place to Todd Higginson, porter; Christopher Hotz, stout; and Ketchen Smith, American IPA.

Third place to Miles McLennan, Scottish & Irish ale; Kandy Corona, strong Belgian & Trappist ale; and Scott Rauvola, specialty beer.

A complete list of winners is at

Zymurgy salutes Stone, Ballast Point

The 2017 readers’ poll by Zymurgy, the homebrewers association’s magazine, included an upset. After eight straight years as America’s top-ranked beer, Russian River‘s fabled Pliny the Elder was knocked down a notch by Bell’s Two-Hearted Ale.

Not an upset: The top-ranked breweries included two Zymurgy poll regulars, Escondido’s Stone (in fifth place) and San Diego’s Ballast Point (10th).

Sculpin, Ballast Point’s flagship IPA, scored as the 10th ranked beer.

Stone, meanwhile, was tapped as having the country’s best portfolio of beers. Stone IPA tied for 19th on the list of the nation’s best 50 beers, and Stone Enjoy By IPA tied for 38th.

The complete list is at