Brewers Cup of California honors locals

County's breweries – and San Diego Beer News’ founder – bring home awards from annual Golden State competition

Over the past five years, the California Craft Brewers Association’s biggest annual event, the California Craft Beer Summit, has featured a companion competition that’s become one of its most brilliant highlights. Dubbed the Brewers Cup of California, it is organized by the Sacramento Area Brewers Guild with support from regional organizations across the Golden State, including the San Diego Brewers Guild

The competition follows standard beer submission, tasting and scoring procedures akin to those of national and international competitions such as the Great American Beer Festival and World Beer Cup, and winners are announced at a physical ceremony. The 2024 Brewers Cup of California event was held last night at Sacramento’s Crest Theater, where the top-three winners in 83 beer-style categories were announced.

Pizza Port Brewing at Brewers Cup of California
Pizza Port Brewing accepts one of its six medals at the Brewers Cup of California awards ceremony at the Crest Theater in Sacramento

Fourteen brewing locations representing 13 San Diego County beer companies earned a total of 26 medals in 12 categories. The most medals went to Pizza Port Brewing. That company’s Ocean Beach brewpub collected three golds and a silver, while its Carlsbad Village pub earned a gold and a silver. Tying for most medals won was North Park’s TapRoom Beer Co., with three silvers (including one earned in the second-most hotly contested category, Hazy IPA) and a bronze, while a trio of spots – Julian Beer Co., Mike Hess Brewing and Smoking Cannon Brewery – nabbed three apiece. The other local breweries that struck gold were Black Plague Brewing, Burgeon Beer Co. and Kilowatt Brewing.

In addition to local breweries bringing home hardware, San Diego Beer News founder and Executive Editor Brandon Hernández (pictured below) received the 2024 Craft Beer Pioneer Award. The honor was bestowed on the 17-year beer journalist, author and brewery marketing professional after he received the most votes in a brewing-industry member poll. Per the competition organizers, this award recognizes individuals who have propelled the craft-beer industry over the years and helped shape it into what it is today.

Brewers Cup of California Brandon Hernández

This year’s competition received well over 1,300 entries from nearly 200 independent craft breweries across California. It is both the most entries and participants for the competition to date. 

Brewery of the Year went to remote Winters operation, Berryessa Brewing, which amassed six medals, four of which were gold. This year’s best-of-show beer was a German-style Pilsner called Ausflippen from Stanton’s Bearded Tang Brewing. Guild of the Year was awarded to the Los Angeles County Brewers Guild after an impressive performance by its member breweries.

The following is a complete list of San Diego County winners from the 2024 Brewers Cup of California competition…

Craft Beer Pioneer Award: Brandon Hernández, San Diego Beer News


  • Belgian Pale Strong / Tripel: Apollyon, Pizza Port Brewing (Carlsbad)
  • Belgian Session / Other Belgian Ale: Guillaume, Pizza Port Brewing (Ocean Beach)
  • Berliner Weisse: Paloma Sour, Pizza Port Brewing (Ocean Beach)
  • Chocolate Beer: Joslyn, Smoking Cannon Brewery (Ramona)
  • Historical Beer: Juniper Flats, Julian Beer Co. (Julian)
  • Imperial Stout: Brew for Ukraine, Kilowatt Brewing (Kearny Mesa)
  • Mild Ale: OB La Di OB La Da, Pizza Port Brewing (Ocean Beach)
  • Session Beer: Clever Kiwi, Burgeon Beer Co. (Carlsbad)
  • Specialty Stout: Medusa, Black Plague Brewing (Oceanside)


  • Berliner Weisse: Peachy My Other Vice, Mike Hess Brewing (North Park)
  • Collaboration Beer: Juniper Flats, Julian Beer Co. (Julian) & Smoking Cannon Brewery (Ramona) 
  • Dessert / Pastry Stout: Non Serviam, TapRoom Beer Co. (North Park)
  • English-style Brown Ale: Weasel, Julian Beer Co. (Julian)
  • Experimental, Wild & Mixed-Culture Beer: Merrill, Smoking Cannon Brewery (Ramona)
  • Field / Historic Beer: Ube Latte, TapRoom Beer Co. (North Park)
  • Hard Kombucha: Berried Deep, Embolden Beer Co. / New Motion Beverages (Miramar)
  • Hazy IPA: Double PB Haze, TapRoom Beer Co. (North Park)
  • Herb & Spiced Beer: Naughty Listers, Pizza Port Brewing (Carlsbad)
  • Juicy / Hazy Imperial IPA: Otter Romp, Pure Project Brewing (Vista)
  • Schwarzbier: Doxie Dunkel, Kairoa Brewing (University Heights)
  • Weizenbier: Flying Hawaiian, Pizza Port Brewing (Ocean Beach)


  • American Wheat: Nado Japanese-style Lager, Coronado Brewing (Bay Park)
  • Coffee Beer: Vietnamese Pastry Stout, Mike Hess Brewing (North Park)
  • Cream Ale: Sunny Vibes, Northern Pine Brewing (Oceanside)
  • Imperial Stout: Umbrix, Mike Hess Brewing (North Park)
  • International Pale Ale & IPA: Creative Differences, TapRoom Beer Co. (North Park)
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