Right around six weeks before the Great American Beer Festival takes place on October 5th, a magical thing happens. Just like flowers bloom in spring, brewers tap the freshest beers that they’ve sent to the GABF in hopes of winning at the big event. It’s sort of the like the Oscars of beer, where a huge auditorium is filled with the who’s who of American brewing: Dickie’s wearing bearded men and colored-hair and tattoo’d women waiting to see if they’ve won the most esteemed award in brewing: GABF gold.
Of the 100ish categories awarded, harder to find beer styles have 30-50 entries, thus making the odds of winning a medal that much greater. For things like IPA, the entries are ten-fold, making winning for an IPA a rarity and almost random. One brewery has proven its not all random: Noble Ale Works, with back to back medals with hoppy beer, a rare feat, considering they’ve not only changed staff, but also upgraded brew systems along the way.
At the OC Brew Ska Ska this weekend, among the various checkered socks, plaid skirts, and Aquabat cosplayers, brewers had their best IPA’s on display. From the foggiest of hazies, to the nimblest of session IPA’s, down to what OC kills year after year…the West Coast IPA. After trying them all, Noble’s Tongue in Cheek is an absolute smash. It takes what’s great about I Love It! IPA that previously won gold, and improves on it.
Can they win again? Tune into the GABF award show on October 5th and cheer them on. Until then, grab a pint of Tongue in Cheek before it’s gone!
Noble Ale Works is at 1621 Sinclair St B, Anaheim noblealeworks.com
Greg Nagel has been writing about beer since 2011, is an avid homebrewer of wine, cider, and beer, is a certified Cicerone Beer Server, level 1 WSET in Wine, a podcaster with the Four Brewers Show, and runs a yearly beer festival called Firkfest happening on June 29th in Anaheim!