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Gunrock Lager on Ice, Football Coach on the Air

By Dateline Staff on August 28, 2019 in University

Quick Summary

  • Gunrock American Lager: Relaunch event Aug. 28 will introduce 16-ounce cans
  • At same event: Live broadcast of “UC Davis Coaches Show” with football’s Dan Hawkins
  • Gunrock American Lager in the new, larger cans will be sold at home football games
  • There’s a lot of Aggie in every can: Meet the rice grower and the brewer, and the recipe’s creator

Updated 10 a.m. Aug. 28: The Gunrock American Lager event will be from 5 to 7:30 p.m. today.

Gunrock American Lager and the UC Davis Coaches Show are teaming up for their season openers.

They’re happening Wednesday, Aug. 28, during a public event at Sudwerk Brewing Co. The Davis brewery will relaunch Gunrock American Lager in larger, 16-ounce cans, while also hosting the live radio broadcast of the UC Davis Coaches Show, 6 to 7 p.m., with head football coach Dan Hawkins as the first guest of the season.

It’s a perfect pairing, considering a portion of the proceeds from Gunrock American Lager sales go to UC Davis Athletics, and the 16-ounce cans will be sold during the Aggies’ home football games this season. Learn about the Aggies behind the beer, below.

Hawkins’ Coaches Show appearance with radio play-by-play announcer Scott Marsh will come three days before the Aggie football team plays its first game of the season, at Cal.

The Coaches Show will be presented weekly for 12 weeks on Sports 1140 KHTK AM or online at TuneIn Radio. The day of the broadcast may change from week to week, but the time will stay the same, 6 p.m. Look for the latest information on the UC Davis Aggies website,

Sudwerk celebration

To celebrate the relaunch of Gunrock American Lager, Sudwerk will sell the beer at a discount throughout the Aug. 28 event, 5 to 7:30 p.m. at Sudwerk’s Dock Store, 2001 Second St. (The hours as stated here have been corrected to reflect the time period of the Gunrock American Lager celebration, instead of the Dock Store hours, which are 4 to 8 p.m.)

Sudwerk’s online shop is taking preorders of the new 16-ounce cans in four-packs and 24-can cases, to be picked up during the relaunch event. The online shop also has Gunrock American Lager T-shirts, hats and pint glasses.

Sudwerk also has plans for online sales, perhaps by the end of the year, with deliveries limited to California.

The lager debuted on tap in the fall of 2017 and eventually went into 12-ounce cans that are available at local Nugget Markets. The 16-ounce cans will be available only at football games in UC Davis Health Stadium (formerly Aggie Stadium) and at Sudwerk.

UC Davis Athletics held its annual Football Fan Fest last Friday (Aug. 16) and has one other festive event scheduled before the Gunrock American Lager relaunch and Coaches Show: the annual Kickoff Party for football and other fall sports, this Saturday (Aug. 24) at Miner’s Leap Winery in Clarksburg.

Then, for the season opener at Cal, Saturday, Aug. 31, UC Davis will hold a tailgate starting at 12:30 p.m. at Evans Diamond. Kickoff in Memorial Stadium will be at 3:30 p.m. More information on the tailgate and the game, and how to attend.

Meet the Aggies behind the beer

Man pours large bag of rice into brewer.
Tom Stull will use about 600 pounds of J.W. Dewit Farms rice to make one large batch of Gunrock American Lager — more than 1,700 gallons of beer. Here, the rice is going into a mash tun, or kettle. (Courtesy Sudwerk Brewing Co.)

There’s a lot of Aggie in Gunrock American Lager:

Jack DeWit mugshot
Doug Muhleman mugshot
  • The recipe came from alumnus Doug Muhleman ’77, M.S. ’79, retired vice president of brewing operations and technology for Anheuser-Busch. When Gunrock American Lager first came out in November 2017, a UC Davis news release quoted him as saying he formulated the beer as a perfect complement to sports events: "an easy-to-drink beer ... lighter-bodied but flavorful.”
  • The brewer, Tom Stull, is a graduate of and now an instructor in the Master Brewers Program at UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education. He’s the head brewer at Sudwerk.
  • Alumnus Jack DeWit ’66 and his J.W. DeWit Farms donate the rice that goes into the beer.

“While rice is frequently used as a cereal in beer making, it’s taking more of a prominent role in several new beers, including Gunrock,” according to a recent post on the California Rice Commission’s Rice News blog.

The main ingredient in Gunrock American Lager is North American barley malt, which gives the beer its golden color and malty flavors. The rice brings crispness and lightness on the palate. For the hops, Muhleman chose traditional German-grown varieties that are found in many of the great lagers of Bavaria.

The Rice News blog post by Jim Morris, communications manager for the rice commission, is as much about the lager (he quotes Stull as saying the beer “is very approachable and pairs well with almost any occasion”) as it is about DeWit and his generosity.

“It’s a fun beer to talk about because it has a good story behind it,” Stull said.

Part of that story, Morris wrote, is the emphasis on local ingredients, including DeWit’s rice. “As a UC Davis alumnus, helping the project made a lot of sense, as a portion of the sales benefit the university’s athletics program,” Morris wrote. DeWit played football for the Aggies en route to earning a Bachelor of Science degree in agricultural business management.

DeWit and his wife, Bonnie, have been generous in other ways, too: They endowed the Jacob Wayne DeWit Student-Athlete Award, named in honor of their grandson, for football players whose majors involve early childhood development, special education or pre-med pediatrics, or pediatric developmental research including autism, Asperger’s syndrome or other related complex neurological infirmities.

“Gunrock’s reach is growing,” the blog post states. “If you like light, crisp beer, I think you’ll be rewarded when you try it. When you do, please remember the man behind it.”

He is clearly remembered at UC Davis for his support of athletics and research, as well as his contributions to agriculture. He was an alumni recipient of an Award of Distinction from the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences in 2017.

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About the author(s)

Dateline Staff Dave Jones, editor, can be reached at 530-752-6556 or Cody Kitaura, news and media relations specialist, can be reached at 530-752-1932 or