UC Davis gunrock lager

Cameron Hughes / UC Davis

Quick summary

  • Available at Sudwerk, coming soon to UC Davis Pavilion and Davis restaurants
  • Recipe by UC Davis alumnus using ingredients that include locally grown rice

The University of California, Davis, a world leader in brewing science and education, is now one of the few universities nationwide to have its own branded beer. It has teamed up with Sudwerk Brewing Co. of Davis to launch a light-bodied lager called Gunrock, named after the university’s iconic mascot, a blue mustang.

Sudwerk, official partner of the UC Davis Brewing Program, will have the beer on tap at the Sudwerk Dock Store. Gunrock also will be on tap at The Pavilion on campus in time for the first home game of the men’s basketball team on Nov. 29. Some of the proceeds will benefit UC Davis Athletics.

Home brew

The recipe for Gunrock came from UC Davis alumnus Doug Muhleman, retired Anheuser-Busch vice president of brewing operations and technology. Muhleman wanted the beer to be the perfect complement to sports events.

“We wanted it to be sessionable, an easy-to-drink beer. We wanted a lighter-bodied but flavorful beer,” said Muhleman.

He also wanted it to represent the region, which is why Gunrock is made with locally grown rice. Another UC Davis alumnus, Jack DeWit, who farms in Sutter, Yolo and Sacramento counties, is donating the rice.

The main ingredient in Gunrock 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.

‘Pour with vigor’

Gunrock is described as refreshing, crisp and clean, with a mild hop aroma and 4.6 percent ABV (alcohol by volume).

“I am thrilled with this beer,” said Charlie Bamforth, Anheuser-Busch Endowed Professor of Malting and Brewing Sciences at UC Davis. “It’s a recipe devised by one of our great alums, Doug Muhleman, uses a prime local raw material and is being brewed by the longest lasting craft brewery in the region, Sudwerk. And all in aid of such a great cause. Pour with vigor, indeed!” 

UC Davis Athletics and Sudwerk partnered successfully in 2011 to distribute Aggie Lager to numerous restaurants and bars in Davis. Markstein Beverage Co. has agreed to distribute the new Gunrock Lager to local restaurants. UC Davis hopes to have it available in cans by next year.