Escondido Brewing head brewer Ketchen Smith has been winning awards with his IPA for years. Even though that recipe garnered him a National Homebrewers Conference medal—not to mention Beer of the Week status here in West Coaster—the first-place finish it earned last weekend might just be its most meaningful accomplishment to-date. That win came at Green Flash Brewing’s first annual Brew Down Beer Festival.
The event, which was held at Green Flash’s Mira Mesa headquarters and benefited the San Diego Brewers Guild, included a competition aspect where attendees sampled beers from 22 breweries and cast votes for their favorites. In the end, there was no need for intense tabulating; Escondido Brewing’s Hopcondido IPA won by a landslide. But there was more to the victory than bragging rights, and that’s what has Smith so amped.
“This was the first beer festival we ever participated in, and we chose it because it was for a good cause. The winning brewery received $5,000 toward the charity of their choice, which is awesome and not common for festivals,” says Smith. Escondido Brewing selected Wounded Warrior Homes as its beneficiary, and will be presenting the organization with a check on live TV in the near future.
“I can’t believe how much we won by, especially with so many of the big guys in the mix,” says Smith. “I was working hard and didn’t really see what was going on at the other booths, so I was caught off guard when the head brewers at Green Flash and Alpine told me to stop pouring and be around for the ceremony. Truly surreal!”
Looking to taste and take home some of this award-winning beer? Escondido Brewing will release the beer in a limited run of cans at its tasting room at 649 Rock Springs Road in Escondido this Saturday, April 20. Previous sales of this canned small-batch creation have sold out same-day each time.