Local brewers snag California State Fair medals

By: Loryll Nicolaisen, Journal staff writer
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Placer County is brewing up some excitement at the California State Fair. Old Town’s Auburn Alehouse and Colfax’s Fox Barrel Cider Company each earned multiple awards in the California State Fair Commercial Craft Brew competition. Auburn Alehouse picked up first-place gold medals for Old Town Brown Ale and Gold Digger IPA, second-place gold medals for Scarlet Harlot Red Ale and California IPA, second-place silver for Shanghai Stout and Old Prospector Barleywine, in addition to silver medals for the Weapons Grade Ale, Auburn Export Lager and American River Pale Ale, and two bronzes for the Old Prospector Barleywine. “In the state of California, everyone is putting out good beer right now — it’s crazy — so it’s nice to be recognized,” said Brian Ford, Auburn Alehouse brewmaster. “To be recognized in that group is awesome. It’s flattering and it’s humbling.” Ford has been brewing craft beer since the early 1990s, and has been doing so professionally since 1996. He’s happy to see Alehouse brews get the State Fair nod. “Our main goal is to make sure our beer is good,” Ford said. “I’m excited about the industry as a whole because we’re putting out good beer.” Fox Barrel Cider Company picked up a first-place gold for its pear cider, third-place gold for its mulled cider, along with silvers for the black currant and hard apple ciders. Bruce Nissen said this is Fox Barrel’s fourth year entering ciders into the State Fair competition. “We’ve done really well at the State Fair,” he said. Nissen was pleasantly surprised by this year’s results, considering Fox Barrel has seen some facility upgrades and personnel changes in recent months. “I was really excited to see that, in the judges’ eyes, we were able to maintain the quality people expect of us,” he said. Nissen said it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day of operating the Colfax business, but that accolades like those from the California State Fair validate a lot of hard work. “It makes you proud,” he said. “It’s a good, honest living.”