Before Christmas, I attended the 21st annual holiday tasting at Pacific Coast Brewing in Oakland. It was my first time at the long-running event and I had a terrific time. Owner Steve Wolfe and brewmaster Don Gortemiller were gracious hosts and I spent the afternoon with several friends and colleagues. I also didn’t realize just how much food would be served — which I should add was a welcome development — with the fifteen beers. Having done this for decades, they have the process down. Every fifteen minutes a new beer was poured and in between a new dish was made available for noshing.
Pacific Coast Brewing’s Steve Wolfe with brewmaster Don Gortemiller.
Don and Steve chose all the beers with an eye toward serving the most special beers they could get their hands on, and ones which were appropriate for the holiday season. Nine of the fifteen were holiday seasonals, and three were anniversary ales.
Every attendee was provided with an elaborate scoring sheet along with some guidelines on how to score each beer. Most people in the brewpub seemed to take scoring the beers very seriously. At the end of the tasting, the completed sheets are collected and tabulated. Brewmaster Don Gortemiller released the results of the 2009 tasting a few days before Christmas. This year’s winner was the Double Jack from Firestone Walker Brewing in Paso Robles, California. Deschutes Black Butte XXI came in second and third place went to the collaboration between Dogfish Head Brewery and Sierra Nevada Brewing, Life & Limb. To see the full tally, check out the results on Pacific Coast’s website.
This year’s winner, Firestone Walker Double Jack.
Below is a slideshow of the Pacific Coast Holiday Tasting. This Flickr gallery is best viewed in full screen. To view it that way, after clicking on the arrow in the center to start the slideshow, click on the button on the bottom right with the four arrows pointing outward on it, to see the photos in glorious full screen. Once in full screen slideshow mode, click on “Show Info” to identify each photo.