Santa Rosa’s Battle of the Brews crowns best brewers, barbecue pitmasters

Beer and barbecue lovers flocked to the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa April 1 for the 26th annual Battle of the Brews.|

Beer and barbecue lovers flocked to Grace Pavilion at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa April 1 for the 26th annual Battle of the Brews.

Active 20-30 Club of Santa Rosa hosted the event which raised money for local underprivileged youth.

Around 1,700 people spent the afternoon tasting creations from 65 breweries and sampling barbecue from local pitmasters, according to event organizer Ben Kerstetter.

Tickets were $95 and included unlimited food and beer.

More than a dozen judges who participate in the worldwide Beer Judge Certification Program, which develops standardized tools and methods for beer judging, sipped on 80 beers from nearly 30 West Coast brewers.

West Sacramento’s Bike Dog Brewing took home three of the day’s nine awards, including best stout and best of show for its Snake Oil Tanker.

Local winners included Santa Rosa’s HenHouse Brewing Co. for best IPA and Rohnert Park’s Parliament Brewing Co. for best pilsner. Also from Rohnert Park, Old Caz Beer won the event’s People’s Choice Award.

Additionally, seven judges tasted barbecue, and Kerstetter said Santa Rosa’s War Pigs BBQ stood out, winning best ribs, best in show and people’s choice.

Providing the event’s soundtrack live on stage was Santa Rosa rock band The Voodoo Vultures, Sonoma County pop-rock group Salty De Vito and DJ Batman.

The event raised approximately $60,000 from tickets sales, a silent auction and a raffle. Kerstetter said popular silent auction items included pairs of San Francisco Giants tickets and neon beer signs.

The club will use money raised toward youth programs, including the club’s annual back-to-school shopping spree at Coddingtown Mall in Santa Rosa, Kerstetter said.,

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