DAVIS, Calif. — Homebrewers often aspire to make their craft on a commercial scale. Those dreams came true this summer for Steve Katz, whose Basil Saison won the Greenbelt Brewers Association Professional-Amateur Brewing Contest, and is headed for an international competition in Denver.
Sudwerk Brewing Co. Lead Brewer Mike Hutson brewed, kegged and bottled Katz’s winning recipe. One of those kegs sits in cold storage in Denver, awaiting the Great American Beer Pro-Am competition Oct. 2-4.
Those in Davis will have a chance to try the beer at its release party Friday, Sept. 12, at the Sudwerk taproom, The Dock, from 4 to 8 p.m. Sudwerk will donate 25 percent of the tap sales to the the Greenbelt Brewers Association. The family-friendly evening includes live music from The Blue Tones, along with games like corn hole and foosball.
The Great American Beer Festival Pro-Am competition is part of the annual GABF, where judges rank professional beers from around the world. Judges, knowing only the style category, “identify the three beers that best represent each beer-style category,” its website says. Amateurs must first win an American Home Brewers Association competition with their home brew, and then brew it professionally with a member of the Brewers Association.
Professional judges deemed Katz’ beer the winner out of 22 submissions. Saisons, also called farmhouse ales, are fruity, spicy and refreshing, with an acidic sourness and dry finish. Originally brewed by Belgian households for their own enjoyment, Saisons are among the fastest-growing category of beers at the GABF.
“Having the GBA represented at GABF is insane,” said Katz, who recently moved from Davis to Texas, and is “still bummed” he couldn’t help Hutson with the commercial batch. “I’m thankful to Sudwerk for this opportunity.”
Katz describes his Basil Saison as “peppery and dry, with a bit of citrus.” Although he’s brewed Saisons several times, the basil addition was a whim motivated by his then-overabundant Davis garden.
Sudwerk Operations Manager Trent Yackzan enjoys “building on the local partnerships” just like his grandfather, Dean Unger, a brewery founder. Yackzan noted the longstanding relationship Sudwerk has with the Greenbelt Brewers Association, a club that meets monthly at the adjoining restaurant.
Katz commended the partnership. “I can honestly say ÔÇª the GBA would not be where it is today without Sudwerk. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the entire Sudwerk team.”
Building on 25 years of family legacy and brewing tradition, Sudwerk Brewing Co. specializes in artisanal craft brews, specifically West Coast craft lagers. Its taproom, The Dock Store, at 2001 Second St., Davis, Calif., is open from 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesdays; 4 to 8 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays; and has new expanded weekend hours: noon to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. It offers a rotating menu of experimental and innovative beers, “honest pints” and growler fills, fresh White Labs brewers’ yeast, and good conversation. Learn more at http://sudwerkbrew.com.