The student winning beer is on sale

Raise a glass to the newest beer in town: a Scottish export beer created by UC Davis students set to go on sale this week. The production of Mighty Gale Ale by Sudwerk Brewing Co. of Davis was the prize for having the students and their beer winning the 2022 UC Davis Iron Brew competition among brewing science students.

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


New Combo version: Mighty Gale Ale and Halfback Burger.
  • WHAT: 1st release of Mighty Gale Ale, a Scottish export beer, 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)
  • OK: The first 20 people to purchase the New Release Combo (a pint of Mighty Gale Ale and a Halfback Burger) will receive a gift courtesy of UC Davis Student Housing and Dining Services and Sudwerk Brewing Co.

Sales Sudwerk

Mighty Gale Ale will be available Friday, June 3 on draft and in four-packs of 16-ounce cans at The Dock (Sudwerk’s carpet at 2001 Second St.) and through Sudwerk’s online store for delivery throughout California, until while stocks last. All 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 in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

Broad appeal expected

Glen Fox

Prof Fox said the beer is a malt-dominated beer with low hops, a brassy hue and hints of toffee and toffee. He said Mighty Gale Ale is very true to style, and he thinks it will have broad 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. You can sometimes have lagers that are way too sweet and IPAs that are too hoppy. Scottish beer is a nice combination of sweet malt, caramel flavors and it’s not too high in alcohol. It really is a beer for everyone.

The Mighty Gale Ale team included Arpa Boghozian, Abe Cooper and Moises Gomez, all majoring in viticulture and enology, 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 storm

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

The label reads, in part: “In 1850 a great storm swept away the sand from the ruins of a Neolithic city in Scotland named Skara Brae. The recipe for this malt beer was also discovered and unearthed by the champions of the 2022 Iron Brew Competition.”

Mighty Ale Gale labels head to cans after filling at Sudwerk Brewing Co. (Joel Mackendorf/UC Davis)

Sudwerk COO 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 hugely important, but so is the story and the marketing,” Yackzan said. “They did a great job.”

Introducing UC Davis

“From every angle in 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 in Biochemistry from UC Davis.

The malts are sourced from Admiral Maltings, a craft malting company that produces California-grown grains for brewing and distillation. 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 due to graduate next week, saw his team’s work come full circle last week when he joined the Sudwerk crew to help pack beer. “It’s not just about making it, it’s also about selling it, so it was a good opportunity,” he said. “I’m happy with how it all turned out.”

Laura J. Boyer