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Awards and New Openings in Novato's Craft Beer Circle

Lucky Hand and Moylan's capture international medals, and J&M Brewing Supplies and Beltane Brewing are settling into new locations.

Novato is making some bubbly news in the craft beer world, so it's time to say "cheers" to some accomplishments.

  • Novato-based Lucky Hand Brewing, which brews and bottles its products in Santa Cruz, won a bronze medal at the World Beer Cup.
  • won 10 awards, including two gold medals, at the recent Australian International Beer Awards.
  • J&M Brewing Supplies opened its doors on Roblar Road in southern Novato.
  • Beltane Brewing is just a few months away from opening its small tasting room and brewing facility in Bel Marin Keys.

Whew!

Let's start with Bill Jablon and Lucky Hand, which is based at 28 Pamaron Way in Bel Marin Keys. Jablon, who moved to Novato last year after 11 years in San Rafael, said he and his primary business partner Adam Krammer were stunned when their Cali Common placed third out of 40 entries in the American-style amber lager category at the World Beer Cup blind-tasting competition earlier this month.

"Here's the wild thing: It's our first award. It was the first competition we ever entered," Jablon said. "Adam is so good at what he does. It's huge. I was a little weepy over it."

Lucky Hand beers were first made at Linden Street Brewing in Oakland but in switched to Uncommon Brewers in Santa Cruz last year because Jablon and Krammer wanted to find a facility that made only organic beers. Lucky Hand purchased a 60-barrel tank and installed it at Uncommon, and another tank is on the way.

Jablon, a former winemaker and film industry colorist, said he has a long-range goal of creating a brewery in Novato, introducing the beers in 12-ounce bottles and cans. Look for Lucky Hand brews in 22-ounce bottles at , and other stores.

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A year after capturing at the Australian International Beer Awards, Moylan's did it again Down Under. With brewmaster Denise Jones and owner Brendan Moylan on hand, the brewpub garnered 10 awards: golds for NorCal IPA (India pale ale category) and Hop Craic (specialty beers); silvers for Kiltlifter (Scotch ale) and Dragoons (Irish dry stout) and bronzes for Tipperary Pale Ale (international pale ale), Moylander (double IPA), Old Blarney (barleywine), Ryan Sullivan’s Imperial Stout (imperial stout) and Chocolate Porter (specialty beer).

A year ago, Moylan’s received blue ribbons as Champion Exhibitor Brewery and Champion Small Brewery during the event at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.

The competition was scored by a panel of 13 international judges who reviewed 1,195 entries from 34 countries.

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Homebrewers now have a retail shop to grab their goods. J&M Brewing Supplies opened up on Roblar Drive, in that small strip of businesses just north of Hamilton Marketplace and just south of Bel Marin Keys Boulevard.

Joe Capone, who works at , opened the place May 19 with Grammy Award-winning sound engineer Marty Wall as a source for homebrewers as well as people who want to make wine and cheese. Capone said he and wall realized there wasn't a retail supply spot for the North Bay or a location where homebrewing classes and other DIY seminars could take place.

"We’re able to share a hobby that we love with others, and it’s particularly rewarding to fill a need in our local community,” Capone said in a release.

Store hours are 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. weekends.

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Beltane Brewing, a small-scale artisan operation, plans to kick open its doors at 401B Bel Marin Keys Blvd. sometime late this summer. Homebrewer Alan Atha and business partner Cathy Portje have been preparing the location for the installation of the three-barrel brewing system and furniture for patrons to relax, enjoy a pint and a few nibbles.

Atha, a longtime homebrewer and former president of the Sonoma County Beerocrats group, has been making beer at his Novato home and at the facilities of local supporters such as Iron Springs in Fairfax and Bear Republic in Healdsburg. He anticipates having about 10 beers on tap at the former soup cafe location.

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