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Hop-Fu! — from homebrew to world champ

13 San Diego breweries accounted for 17 medals

North Park Beer Co takes gold in American-style IPA at 2022 World Beer Cup
North Park Beer Co takes gold in American-style IPA at 2022 World Beer Cup

“I’ve been chasing this specific award since I made the leap from homebrewer to brewery owner almost six years ago,” beams Kelsey McNair, founder and head brewer at North Park Beer Co., discussing his gold medal win in the American-style IPA category at the 2022 World Beer Cup. “Hop-Fu! as a homebrew was my most award-winning recipe, and to this day remains one of the most award-winning homebrew recipes out there. Winning gold in this category with this beer is so incredibly gratifying, a pinnacle moment of my brewing career,”

Place

North Park Beer Co.

3038 University Avenue, San Diego

Taking gold in the category, which is one of the most hotly contested, would be an honor any year, but this year is extra special, since — due to the pandemic — this is the first time the bi-annual event has been held since 2018. McNair’s winning ale, Hop-Fu!, is a hop-heavy 7.5% ABV West Coast IPA featuring Simcoe, Chinook, Mosaic, Columbus, Amarillo, and Mosaic hops that combine to deliver a well-balanced, piney taste. McNair comments, “We use a tried-and-true blend of some of the best hops available and employ multiple dry hop additions to create a deliciously complex flavor and aroma profile that includes notes of zesty tangerine, pine forest, fresh florals, tropical fruit, berries, sticky hop resins, and bright stone fruit. To me, Hop-Fu! is everything that a modern West Coast American-style IPA should be.”

Since San Diego is so well known for its IPAs, it may come as no surprise to learn that another local brewery also medaled in the American-style IPA category. Karl Strauss took bronze for its Aurora Hoppyalis, a 7% IPA with a dry finish and citrus and tropical fruit notes thanks to Citra, Mosaic, Simcoe, and Amarillo hops. Andrew Wilde, Marketing and Creative manager at Karl Strauss explains that the goal was to bring the hops front and center in the award-winner, which was originally part of Karl Strauss’ Small Batch program, and one which the brewery refers to as a “San Diego-style IPA.” According to Wilde, the process is key to Aurora Hoppyalis, “We lighten the malt profile, lending it’s signature golden-hue, and go big on late kettle-edition hops, as well as the dry-hop.”

An award-winning pour of Hop-Fu!

Altogether, 13 San Diego breweries accounted for 17 medals at this, the world’s largest international beer competition, including four gold medals. In addition to North Park’s Hop-Fu!, Pizza Port Bressi Ranch won gold in the American-style Pilsner category for its Dieguito, AleSmith won gold in Scotch-style Ale for its Wee Heavy, and Ballast Point won gold in Smoked Beer for its Schlenkerlish.

Asked what he thinks make San Diego breweries so successful at competitions, McNair credits local culture. “We’re fortunate to have a deep-rooted brewing community that includes not only some of the most talented amateur and professional brewers in the world, but also many highly qualified beer judges. The beer enthusiasts in our region have incredibly high expectations when it comes to beer quality, which makes it necessary for us all to be passionate about making the highest quality beer possible. When we’re passionate about quality and take it seriously, the awards tend to follow.”

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North Park Beer Co takes gold in American-style IPA at 2022 World Beer Cup
North Park Beer Co takes gold in American-style IPA at 2022 World Beer Cup

“I’ve been chasing this specific award since I made the leap from homebrewer to brewery owner almost six years ago,” beams Kelsey McNair, founder and head brewer at North Park Beer Co., discussing his gold medal win in the American-style IPA category at the 2022 World Beer Cup. “Hop-Fu! as a homebrew was my most award-winning recipe, and to this day remains one of the most award-winning homebrew recipes out there. Winning gold in this category with this beer is so incredibly gratifying, a pinnacle moment of my brewing career,”

Place

North Park Beer Co.

3038 University Avenue, San Diego

Taking gold in the category, which is one of the most hotly contested, would be an honor any year, but this year is extra special, since — due to the pandemic — this is the first time the bi-annual event has been held since 2018. McNair’s winning ale, Hop-Fu!, is a hop-heavy 7.5% ABV West Coast IPA featuring Simcoe, Chinook, Mosaic, Columbus, Amarillo, and Mosaic hops that combine to deliver a well-balanced, piney taste. McNair comments, “We use a tried-and-true blend of some of the best hops available and employ multiple dry hop additions to create a deliciously complex flavor and aroma profile that includes notes of zesty tangerine, pine forest, fresh florals, tropical fruit, berries, sticky hop resins, and bright stone fruit. To me, Hop-Fu! is everything that a modern West Coast American-style IPA should be.”

Since San Diego is so well known for its IPAs, it may come as no surprise to learn that another local brewery also medaled in the American-style IPA category. Karl Strauss took bronze for its Aurora Hoppyalis, a 7% IPA with a dry finish and citrus and tropical fruit notes thanks to Citra, Mosaic, Simcoe, and Amarillo hops. Andrew Wilde, Marketing and Creative manager at Karl Strauss explains that the goal was to bring the hops front and center in the award-winner, which was originally part of Karl Strauss’ Small Batch program, and one which the brewery refers to as a “San Diego-style IPA.” According to Wilde, the process is key to Aurora Hoppyalis, “We lighten the malt profile, lending it’s signature golden-hue, and go big on late kettle-edition hops, as well as the dry-hop.”

An award-winning pour of Hop-Fu!

Altogether, 13 San Diego breweries accounted for 17 medals at this, the world’s largest international beer competition, including four gold medals. In addition to North Park’s Hop-Fu!, Pizza Port Bressi Ranch won gold in the American-style Pilsner category for its Dieguito, AleSmith won gold in Scotch-style Ale for its Wee Heavy, and Ballast Point won gold in Smoked Beer for its Schlenkerlish.

Asked what he thinks make San Diego breweries so successful at competitions, McNair credits local culture. “We’re fortunate to have a deep-rooted brewing community that includes not only some of the most talented amateur and professional brewers in the world, but also many highly qualified beer judges. The beer enthusiasts in our region have incredibly high expectations when it comes to beer quality, which makes it necessary for us all to be passionate about making the highest quality beer possible. When we’re passionate about quality and take it seriously, the awards tend to follow.”

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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