Year in Review - 2016
January 1, 2017
Written By: Josh Elder
With 2016 behind us, it’s time to take a look back at some of the key areas of the craft beer scene in Sacramento.
This year saw the number of breweries in the Sacramento region increase to more than 60, with ten opening just this year. New breweries include: Big Sexy, Big Stump, Claimstake, Crooked Lane, Flatland, Fountainhead, Moonraker, Sactown Union, Three Mile, and Tilted Mash. That list will continue to grow as six more breweries are slated to open in early 2017 including Fort Rock Brewing, King Cong Brewing, Outbreak Brewing, Waterman Brewing, Luck and Courage Brewing and Solid Ground Brewing. Of particular note is the development of the craft beer scene in Elk Grove which, until this past year, didn’t have a brewery to call their own. With Flatland and Tilted Mash, as well as Waterman joining them soon, Elk Grove has a young and thriving craft beer scene putting out fantastic beer.
In addition to the breweries that opened this past year, the established breweries have continued to put out consistent, great tasting beer, which has been confirmed in the results from both regional and national beer competitions. At the State Fair Commercial Craft Brew Competition, a competition comprised of over 1400 entries from around the state, the Sacramento region took home not only 28 awards but Ol’ Republic’s Dead Canary took the overall best of show . At the Great American Beer Festival, Sacramento craft brewers took home seven medals with Sudwerk’s Fünke Hop Farm receiving a gold medal in the Mixed-Culture Brett Beer category.
This commitment to quality and consistency in craft beer paid significant dividends to many of the breweries in the region with the opening of the Golden One Center in the fall. As part of the Golden One Center’s commitment to highlighting and promoting the Farm-to-Fork movement they sought to source the majority of their beer wine, and spirits within a 150-mile radius. With over 50 taps that include local craft beer as well as domestic, new opportunities were opened to local breweries to showcase their beers to attendees at arena events. Some of the local breweries you will find at the arena include Track 7, Knee Deep, Rubicon, Sactown Union, as well as many others.
This year also provided beer lovers with a plethora of events to attend. From Sacramento Beer Week in early February, arguably Sacramento’s largest event, all the way to the California Craft Brewer’s Summit in September, a beerfest with 140+ brewers from all over the state, not a weekend goes by without an event somewhere in Sacramento. This trend looks to continue into 2017, with the first major event being Sacramento Beer Week which has been moved from February to March 2nd-12th. After that we have the second annual Elk Grove Brewfest on May 26th, will feature 50+ local breweries, cideries, and meaderies.
With all these new breweries, the Golden One Center, and numerous events, it should be no surprise that 2016 also brought in some outside breweries to the region looking to join in the thriving craft beer scene. Fieldwork, a brewery based out of Berkeley, is bringing their craft beer that took the Bay Area by storm in 2015 to Midtown with their new taproom that opened this past summer to rave reviews. A significantly more controversial outsider attempting to join the Sacramento craft beer scene is Golden Road which has plans to open a beer garden and restaurant in Midtown sometime next year. Golden Road, arguably Los Angeles’ largest craft brewery, was sold to Anheuser-Busch InBev in 2015 and this move is seen by many as an affront to the thriving craft beer scene that has developed here in Sacramento.
2016 has truly been a transformative year for craft beer in Sacramento. We have always been surrounded by world-class wine, and as America’s farm-to-fork capital, we have had fantastic food as well. But now, with the continued opening of new breweries in the region, great beer, the new Golden One Center and its impact on the local craft beer scene, our fantastic array of beerfests and events, and the influx of outside breweries into the Sacramento market, Sacramento has truly become a craft beer destination and it will be interesting to see what 2017 brings.