Students’ Winning Ale Going on Sale

Iron Brew Champion Will Have 1st Pour at The Gunrock

Student helps with beer packaging
Moises Gomez of the winning Iron Brew team assists with packaging Mighty Gale Ale at Sudwerk Brewing Co. (Joel Mackendorf/UC Davis)

Quick Summary

  • Campus restaurant offers burger and ale combo with swag
  • Sudwerk brewed the Scottish export ale and will sell it, too
  • UC Davis Brewing Program receives a portion of all sales

Raise a glass to the newest beer in town: a Scottish export ale created by UC Davis students that is due to go on sale this week. Mighty Gale Ale’s production by Sudwerk Brewing Co. of Davis was the prize for the students and their ale having won the 2022 UC Davis Iron Brew Competition among brewing science students.

The limited release will be available on draft at The Gunrock restaurant and pub on campus (in the Silo complex) beginning at 2 p.m. Thursday (June 2). Among those expected to attend: one or more of the students behind Mighty Gale Ale, to make the first pour; and Glen Fox, the Anheuser-Busch Endowed Professor of Malting and Brewing Sciences, who leads the annual Iron Brew competition.


Mighty Gale Ale in can and Gunrock-logo glass, alongside hamburger on a bun
New Release Combo: Mighty Gale Ale and Halfback Burger.
  • WHAT: 1st release of Mighty Gale Ale, a Scottish export ale, winner of the 2022 UC Davis Iron Brew Competition
  • WHEN: Thursday (June 2), during Aggie Hour (actually two hours), 2-4 p.m.
  • WHERE: The Gunrock (part of the Silo complex)
  • DEAL: The first 20 people to purchase the New Release Combo (a pint of Mighty Gale Ale and a Halfback Burger) will receive swag courtesy of UC Davis Student Housing and Dining Services and Sudwerk Brewing Co.

Sudwerk sales

Mighty Gale Ale will be available Friday (June 3) on draft and in four-packs of 16-ounce cans at The Dock (Sudwerk’s taproom at 2001 Second St.) and through Sudwerk’s online store for delivery throughout California, while supplies last. The four-packs will also be sold at Nugget Markets and other retailers.

A portion of all sales will go to the UC Davis Brewing Program within the Department of Food Science and Technology, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

Wide appeal predicted

Glen Fox headshot
Glen Fox

Professor Fox said the ale is a malt-dominated beer with a low hop rate, a copper hue and hints of caramel and toffee flavors. He said Mighty Gale Ale is very true to style, and he believes it will have a wide appeal.

“I think it’s a good example of a beer that everyone would want to drink,” Fox said. “It’s not too extreme in any direction. We can sometimes have lagers that are way too sweet and IPAs that are too hoppy. The Scottish ale is a nice combination of sweet malt, toffee flavors, and it’s not too high in alcohol. It’s a beer really for everyone.”

The Mighty Gale Ale team comprised Arpa Boghozian, Abe Cooper and Moises Gomez, all viticulture and enology majors, and Cleopatra Constantin, a chemical engineering major. The students worked with Sudwerk’s head brewer, Tom Stull, to produce their recipe on a larger scale at the Davis brewery.

Born of a tempest

The students also designed their own label concept, which includes a short story of how they came up with the beer name. Mighty Gale Ale refers to Skara Brae, an ancient spot in Scotland that was once buried in sand and earth but was uncovered after a strong storm.

The label reads, in part: “In 1850 a great tempest swept sand from the ruins of a Neolithic city in Scotland named Skara Brae. So too was the recipe for this malt-forward ale unearthed and brought to life by the champions of the 2022 Iron Brew Competition.”

Mighty Gale Ale can material rolls through machine
Labels unroll from spool, destined to wrap around cans of Mighty Gale Ale at Sudwerk Brewing Co. (Joel Mackendorf/UC Davis)

Sudwerk’s operations manager and co-owner, Trent Yackzan, said the unique story and design was brought to life by the brewery’s in-house artist, Gregory Shilling. “The label is a big part of it; of course the beer is extremely important, but the story and the marketing are, too,” Yackzan said. “They did a great job.”

Showcasing UC Davis

“From every angle of this release, we’re trying to showcase UC Davis,” Yackzan said. That includes alumnus Chris White and his San Diego-based company, White Labs, which donated the yeast for Mighty Gale Ale. White earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biochemistry from UC Davis.

The malts are from Admiral Maltings, a craft malting company that produces floor-malted, California-grown grains for brewing and distilling. The company is based in Alameda and owned by Ron Silberstein, who served as a judge for this year’s Iron Brew Competition.

Gomez, who is set to graduate next week, saw his team’s work come full circle last week when he joined the Sudwerk team to help package the beer. “It’s not just about making it, but selling it, too, so it’s been a good opportunity,” he said. “I’m happy with how it all turned out.”

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