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LA Homebrewer Wins National Contest; “Zeal Island Pale Ale” on Tap in LA Soon

“During the judging process, the statement was made that there is not a commercial pale ale in the craft beer market that is better than this beer.” Stephen Johnson, New Brew Thursday

Local homebrewer Andrew Bell has won the Bison Brewing / New Brew Thursday competition with a pale ale made from New Zealand hops that wowed the judges with its complexity, taste, and technique. The brew will now be made commercially by Berkeley-based Bison and will be in select LA bars on draft later this year. From

“As an organic brewer, hops are the most expensive and least accessible ingredient for us to work with. Only 25% of the hop varietals used in brewing are available certified organic. This is why hop centric beers are the most challenging for us to brew. However, the organic hops coming from New Zealand are quite extraordinary, with many varietals being higher in alpha acids (the bittering component of hops) than many of the trendy American hops. We are really excited to release a beer that showcases the true tropical beauty of New Zealand hops.” – Dan Del Grande, Bison Brewing.

Extremely aromatic from excessive dry-hopping, Bison’s Zeal Island Pale Ale (6% abv) boasts an intensely tropical nose with hints of passion fruit, grapefruit and fresh cut grass. Very light pale malt flavors and virtually no caramel sweetness allow the bright tropical and citrus notes of the hops to shine through on the palate.

“The homebrewed version that Daniel and I chose to win the competition was the hoppiest Pale Ale that I’ve ever tasted. I can’t wait to taste the final product.” – Dr. Bill Sysak, Master Pairings and Expert Drinking. And coming from a man that has tasted over 30,000 beers in his lifetime, this statement should not be taken lightly.

Light-bodied and refreshingly crisp with a dry bitter finish; Bison’s Zeal Island Pale Ale is a perfect everyday sipper on its own, but also pairs well with a variety of foods. Suggested food pairings include: Fried foods, curries, jambalaya, jerk chicken, fresh seafood & shellfish, ceviche, spicy sushi rolls, fresh milk cheeses, South East Asian, Tahitian and Hawaiian cuisine. Recommended glassware: pint glass.

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