Watching the 2024 World Beer Cup in 1886

1886 Nachos, aka a Matterhorn of crispy chips. photo – Greg Nagel

Why do some people call it “the Orange Circle,” when it’s actually called “the Plaza Square,” I ponder, while sipping a rare brown porter in the brick-walled 1886 Brewing, just north of the newly rebuilt central fountain. I pick at my heaping plate of nachos, looking for the perfect bite, then gasp as I see the countdown to the 2024 World Beer Cup awards ceremony amongst the various brewpub TV sports.

(World Beer Cup Winners are listed below)

“They make beer here?” asks my niece, who attends college nearby. I point out the grist case and malt mill next to the front window and antique door. “Poor bastard has to walk up those rickety steps carrying bags of grain to get it done,” I reply, hoping she’s cool with us watching the World Beer Cup awards.

1886’s Chili Verde poutine, fresh fries, gooey curds, flavorful pork.

Next to 1886’s tap list are various ribbons and awards they’ve won over the years, including one for the brown porter I’m sipping now. Record Beer, as it’s called, is a luscious ale that lays on the malt pretty thick, yet reverberates some fruity esters on the finish. “If they win an award this year, they’ll probably put it up right there,” I mention.

And just like that, Orange County breweries start getting called up and the place lights up.

“California’s good with some hoppy lagers,” notes Chris Williams of the Brewers Association as he calls out the Hoppy Lager category, with two of the winning breweries within five miles of where we’re at.

The place erupts when 1886 gets called for their ESB, a silver for Ellieigh’s. Man, the World Beer Cup awards are so much more fun to watch at a brewery. 1886’s service is fast, attentive, and super friendly, which matches perfectly with their brunch to happy hour and beyond menu. The malty beers shine here, and you won’t find a hazy IPA…what did you expect? It’s 1886.



2024’s World Beer Cup competition saw 9300 beers from 2060 breweries from 50 countries in 110 categories judged by 280 judges from 27 countries.



  • Green Cheek Beer Co – Chance Favors the Prepared Mind, DIPA
  • Riip Beer Co. Wannabe Wallaby, NZ-style IPA
  • Docent Brewing – Double Nickles, Pale Ale
  • Noble Ale Works – Harry Porter, Strong Porter.


  • Green Cheek Beer Co. – False Memories, WC IPA
  • Chapman Crafted – Cabin Season, Strong Porter.
  • Everywhere Beer Co. – Branching Out, Hoppy Lager
  • 1886 Brewing – Ellieigh’s ESB
  • Docent Brewing – Rabbit Habit, DIPA


  • Golden Road Anaheim – Ride-On Tropical, Experimental IPA
  • Green Cheek Beer Co. – It Just Works, Hoppy Lager
  • Green Cheek Beer Co. – Guava in Berlin, Gose
  • Tustin Brewing Co. – Blimp Hangar Robust Porter