I remember the first year we poured our handbuilt ales at the Great American Beer Festival in 2012. It came just a few months after getting a few of our beers on tap at local restaurants, which had been a thrill in itself. But here this small 3 barrel nano-brewery brewing beer out of its garage was serving beer to 50,000 people in three days. This was the big game, the real deal. We could feel the excitement and energy in the hall when we first walked in. The anticipation as we rushed to setup our booth and make sure everything was just perfect. My wife and I worked every session and told our story to every person that would listen. We were exhausted and our voices were hoarse, but we were thrilled to see people smile and come back to taste our beers again.
Now on our third year we were just as nervous and excited. The morning of the awards ceremony I was whistling the bagpipe tune as we got dressed to try and calm my nerves. Every year as I go to the awards ceremony, or the "beer Oscars" as my wife likes to call it, I get this feeling in my stomach. I tell myself that I can't win, that my beers are too different, coming at a beer from a chef's perspective and trying to build flavors can create a very different interpretation of a style of beer. But that morning, things ended different.
We sat through the ceremony, beer after beer being called off. Impatiently waiting for the three categories we entered. After the first two had passed we waited as another 50 categories went by, chatting, sipping on delicious craft beer, and waiting some more. Then, it was time. The Scotch Ale category popped up and then LOCH week heavy scotch ale came across the screen. My jaw dropped. We had won silver.
--Ian Clark, beer chef / founder