With festivals and competitions back in full swing, the Great American Beer Festival—largely considered the most prestigious beer competition in the United States—returned with in-person judging, in-person schmoozing, and in-person boozing on a level that only the independent beer community can achieve.
And with it, two of Long Beach’s most respected breweries—the long-loved Beachwood (which mainly brews out of its much larger space in Huntington Beach as opposed to its DTLB location) and Signal Hill (aka Long Beach Island)’s Ten Mile Brewing—took home gold.
Beachwood took the top spot for its Full Malted Jacket, the brewery’s Scotch ale that has been a part of its tap line since practically opening in Long Beach. Largely an esoteric beer before the boom of craft brewing in the late 2000s and early 2010s, Scotch ales are heavily malted, super caramel-y, boozy-as-all-hell beers that are deceptively smooth. In the case of Full Malted Jacket, a powerful 9.5% ABV and one of the best examples of a Scotch ale on the West Coast. (Well, in the case of this year, the best. In the whole nation.)
“Beachwood is humbled and honored to be recognized at this year’s GABF,” master brewer and Beachwood co-owner Julian Shrago said via text. “We’re grateful for our tireless passionate team and unending support from our fans—they are the fuel behind our success.”
Meanwhile, Ten Mile snagged the gold for their Hooked on Onyx, a midnight ode to the almighty American black ale that has come to be expected of the brewery whenever they sample at beer festivals or have new patrons ask about their strengths. The reality is that, like Beachwood and Ambitious, Ten Mile is proving to be a stalwart for stellar beer in not just the city but the region.
“Our legs are still shaky the following morning and we woke up wondering if this was a crazy dream,” said Dan. “It’s amazing the doors this unlocks: Got to hang with a lot of the brewing world’s elite… Can’t wait to be back in the brewery to celebrate with our crew and community.”
While Ambitious Ales submitted three beers—their stellar coffee blonde and previously-medaled beer that is Central Perk, their classic IPA Batman Rapids, and Cinco Muertes, a Munich Dunkel that riffs off of dark Mexican lagers like Modelo Negro—but unfortunately failed to medal.But that’s all good, as co-owner Garrett Carroll notes, “Nothin’ for this year but hopefully next.”
Amen. Now drink up, Long Beach—for we have some of the best beer in the nation.