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Anchor Hosts Falcons
By Jay Sheveck

Capping off its landmark 30th year, the Maltose Falcons Home Brewing Society of Woodland Hills, Calif., was awarded the title of “2004 California Homebrew Club of the Year” by Anchor Brewing Company of San Francisco. The award ceremony and celebration took place in February on a rainy afternoon inside the historic Anchor Brewery. Over 200 members and invited guests attended the crowning event.

The master of ceremonies was none other than Bob Brewer, Anchor’s longtime national sales representative. Brewer praised the members’ dedication and the club’s longevity. He bestowed the trophy upon visibly anxious Falcons President Drew Beechum. In keeping with the Anchor tradition, Beechum methodically detached the hand-hammered copper tankard atop the three-tiered trophy and drank its beery contents in one, long-felled gulp. He then offered a rumbling, “Cheers!” The crowd exploded with elation.

Moments later, in a surprise gesture, each member of the Maltose Falcons Brews Band was presented with a framed “gold record” in recognition of the 15th anniversary of the band’s formation. The all-homebrewer rock ’n roll group first played at Anchor in 1989 when the Maltose Falcons first won “California Homebrew Club of the Year.” After thanks from band leader Brian Vessa and closing remarks from the Falcons’ activities director, Gregor Reti, the band kicked off in concert.

This year marked the fifth time the Maltose Falcons have won the prestigious title.

A buffet dinner was prepared on-site by the brewery staff, which consisted of barbecued beef brisket and chicken, corn-on-the-cob, mashed potatoes and salad. For five hours, Anchor brewers Tom Littig and Mark Carpenter manned the bar, pouring their trademark beers, including Anchor Steam, Liberty Ale, Anchor Porter, Old Foghorn, Anchor Small Beer and Anchor Summer Wheat.

The main level of the brewery was accessible to all attendees. Many folks roamed freely about the brew-kettle and mash tun or observed the shallow rectangular fermentation vessels at work. A select few were able to witness the hops storage room first-hand. The price: nothing. The gala event was a freebie. As a gift to the club for winning the contest, it was provided compliments of Anchor Brewing and its founder, Fritz Maytag.

The partying continued off-site. Upon departing the brewery, many of the club members taxied over to the Rogue Ales Public House for a private after-party. Rogue’s management graciously closed the entire pub that evening and threw a Falcons-only party. The following day, the club chartered a bus to three regional brewpubs. The tour ultimately wrapped up at the Celebrator Battle of the Bands event at Trumer Brauerei Berkeley.

Anchor Brewing Company’s California Homebrew Club of the Year contest is open to all active homebrew clubs within the state of California. This year marked the fifth time overall that the Maltose Falcons have won the prestigious title. For the Maltose Falcons, 2004 finished as a truly great year!

Jay Sheveck, aka "the Beer Guppy, is the author of the destination guidebook The Beer Guppy’s Guide to Southern California. Preview it at BeerGuppy.com.


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