Piney River Brewing Company

Posts Tagged ‘Lucas Clem’

3rd Annual Drink Your Part for the Houston Education Foundation Event

In Beer Events, The BARn on September 2, 2015 at 7:45 am
Houston Schools recently completed a major construction project. HEF purchased new computers for the new media center that is in the 2nd floor of this new construction.

Houston Schools recently completed a major construction project. HEF purchased new computers for the new media center that is in the 2nd floor of this new construction.

Piney River Brewing is hosting a fundraiser for the Houston Education Foundation (HEF) on Saturday, September 5th at the BARn Tap Room.

Houston Education Foundation board members will be at the BARn from 2 to 7 p.m. selling bratwurst and hot dogs to raise funds for the local charity which benefits the students in the Houston School District. Piney River will donate a portion of all pint sales from the day to HEF.

Scott Dill, superintendent at Houston schools, and other musical professionals in the district will sing and play for tips that will also be donated to HEF.

Lucas Clem and Stacey Uchtman, brewers at Piney River, have brewed two specialty beers that will be released exclusively for the benefit. “Teacher’s Pet” is an apple beer highlighting the flavor of apples in an easy to drink ale. “Apples in the Fall” is also an apple beer featuring the flavor of apples and spices commonly found in apple pie or apple butter.

The event is free and open to the public, including families. Andy’s Homemade Root Beer is a non-alcoholic option available at the BARn.

Beginning this weekend, the BARn is open all weekend long, too...Friday, Saturday & Sunday!

Beginning this weekend, the BARn is open all weekend long, too…Friday, Saturday & Sunday!

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Drink Your Part This Weekend for CASA

In Beer Events on July 14, 2015 at 10:05 am

  Piney River Brewing is hosting a fundraiser for Court Appointed Special Advocates of South Central Missouri (CASA) on Saturday, July 18th at the BARn Tap Room.

CASA volunteers will be at the BARn from 2 to 7 p.m. grilling hamburgers and hot dogs to raise funds of the local charity. Piney River will donate a portion of all pint sales from the day to CASA.

A small batch of a Belgian wit-style beer brewed by Lucas Clem will be tapped and served on the 18th. The beer is called “Wit the Kids”.

Keith Allen, a lawyer from Sikeston, MO and a frequent musical guest at the BARn, will be singing and playing guitar for tips for CASA, too.

Brewcyrus Does Portland, A CBC 2015 Recap

In Beer Events on April 20, 2015 at 10:13 pm

“This is insane,” the cab driver said to Brian and I.

He was talking about the 11,000+ people in attendance at the Craft Brewer’s Conference in Portland last week.

“We aren’t able to handle groups like this,” the cab driver said. “We had a big coffee convention here, but those people didn’t go out to big events every night and need rides everywhere.”  (Which leads me to believe that the coffee folks just don’t have nearly as much fun as the beer folks.)

This was our 5th time to attend a Craft Brewer’s Conference, our first time to visit Portland, and the first time we were able to take our brewers—Amber and Lucas—to the conference, too. I’m sure we can all do much more damage to the Portland experience in the future, but while we were there we went hard and jammed as much fun as we could into the hours our feet were on Oregon soil.

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Left Bucyrus about 4:15 a.m. (CST) on Tuesday morning. Our plane landed in Portland about 2 p.m. (PST), and we were at Breakside Brewery drinking their GABF Gold Medal winning IPA and Pale Ale within two hours. Special thanks to the staff at Breakside for showing us around and for incredible hospitality.

A barrel full of tasty pours at Breakside.

A barrel full of tasty pours at Breakside.

And if it isn’t a small world—while at Breakside, we met Breakside brewmaster Ben Edmunds, and he asked, “Piney River? Do you make a porter?”

Of course we make a porter. Our Old Tom Porter had been part of the “Best of Craft Beer Awards” held in Oregon in January (where we bagged a gold award for our Masked Bandit IPA), and Ben was one of the judges. He liked the porter enough that he snagged the extra can of Old Tom Porter to take home and enjoy.

Checking out the barrel room at Breakside.

Breakside brewer, Nao, showing us the barrel room at Breakside.

We went from the brewery to the circus-themed opening ceremony where we started catching up with our craft beer friends and family while noshing on piles of oysters and Voodoo Donuts, all paired with Oregon-brewed craft beer. And that was followed by a fun little party in our hotel hosted by Lagunitas Brewing. No naps needed, it was an hour or two into Wednesday morning before we closed our eyes.  Time change and jet lag?  Take that!

Opening Reception at CBC 2015

Darth Vader on Bagpipes, Opening Reception at CBC 2015

Fire hoops at the Opening Reception, CBC 2015.

Fire hoops at the Opening Reception, CBC 2015.

We ran into David, Kathy, Keith and Alex from Bluff City Beer and Logan and Rodney from Grellner Sales.  It's one big happy craft beer family!

We ran into David, Kathy, Keith and Alex from Bluff City Beer and Logan and Rodney from Grellner Sales. It’s one big happy craft beer family!

On the bazillion square foot trade show floor at the conference we all fought off ADD trying to keep track of where we had been, who we talked to, where we wanted to go, who we needed to talk to all while being distracted by things we had never seen. Shortly after the trade show opened, we were all aware that our new Wild Goose Canning Machine was part of their floor display. How exciting is that?

Wild Goose Canning!  Piney River Brewing!  We CAN! Part 2...coming soon!

Wild Goose Canning! Piney River Brewing! We CAN! Part 2…coming soon!

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There were educational seminars every day on very exciting beer topics like “Yeast Management”, “Dry Hopping” and “Operating in Confined Spaces” that Lucas, Amber and Brian went to. Making high quality beer is numero uno at Piney River, but I attended classes that helped me stay in the know on the marketing and selling of craft beer in classes like “DIY Kick Ass Beer Festivals”.

We went to sweet parties at night hosted by Lagunitas, Oskar Blues and industry suppliers. We had the most fun on Thursday night at “We Can Jam” a canned craft beer party at the Wonder Ballroom hosted by Wild Goose, Crown and others supplying the canned craft beer industry. The event featured canned craft beer, music by Scott Pemberton Trio and The Supersuckers, and a photo booth.

Hey!  It's our West Coast craft beer family--Mike & Linda Hess and brewer, Frank.  We first met Mike & Linda in San Francisco at CBC 2015, and last CBC we both won World Beer Cup Gold Awards in Denver at CBC 2014.

Hey! It’s our West Coast craft beer family–Mike & Linda Hess and brewer, Frank Butler, from Mike Hess Brewing in San Diego. We first met Mike & Linda in San Francisco at CBC 2011.  Last CBC we both won World Beer Cup Gold Awards in Denver at CBC 2014.

This is called: How Many Brewers Can We Fit in a Photo Booth?

This is called: How Many Brewers Can We Fit in a Photo Booth?

The Supersuckers at Wonder Ballroom

The Supersuckers at Wonder Ballroom

A little Piney River fun in the We Can Jam photo booth.

A little Piney River fun in the We Can Jam photo booth.

(It was in the photo booth we determined that Brian lost his CBC badge. Have you seen The Hangover…everybody is having fun that they can’t remember the next morning, so they look at the photos. That was us. On Friday morning, when Brian couldn’t find his conference badge, we had to look back through photos from the night before. Brian was last seen wearing his badge in the We Can Jam photo booth. He must have accidentally removed it when he took off the feather boa he was posing with.)

It was at We Can Jam that we with the help of the Wild Goose employees dreamed up the idea of the best canning machine install ever—Canapalooza at Piney River Farm. We decided that it would take the entire Wild Goose crew to help install our new machine…and a bonfire…and beer…and Lucas delivering firewood…and beer…and a float trip…and beer…and music…and beer….all in the beautiful Ozark hills of Brewcyrus. No word on when the bus from Boulder will arrive….

We did not put our politics aside while in Oregon. Everyone from Piney River stopped at the Brewer’s Association booth and sent an emails to US Representative Jason Smith and US Senators Claire McCaskill and Roy Blunt asking them to co-sponsor the Small BREW Act because excise tax reform for small breweries is an important thing to all of us craft brewers and it will help create jobs and provide funds to reinvest back into our local breweries. And I stepped up into a board role for Missouri Small Brewer’s Guild.

The Brewer’s Association puts on an excellent conference every year. Not only is it fun, but it’s an opportunity for breweries of all sizes to come together and network and learn together. The commitment to high quality craft beer is unwavering, and the industry suppliers know that we want the tools to help us achieve that. We can see a lot of those tools first hand. We also were able to take part in a full slate of classes with excellent guest lecturers. Brewing is not always glamorous or high paying, but it is awesome to be able to connect with others in the industry in this way once a year.

Before 12 a.m., we were on the Friday night red-eye flight out of Portland.  Saw the sun come up in Detroit.  Found ourselves back in Bucyrus by 1:30.  Three time zones stops in 9 hours.  #howweroll

Next year’s conference is in Philadelphia. Brian and I are going back to the scene of the crime—that’s where we first met in September 1992 at small liberal arts college on the Main Line. And that’s when the next World Beer Cup Awards will be held, too.  We imagine that it may just be another good time.

4th Aleiversary—The Best One Yet

In Beer Events on March 17, 2015 at 9:33 pm

Yes, we had some anxiety about the 4th Aleiversary.

Just like the 3rd Aleiversary, we planned to be overwhelmed.

Portapotties?

Check.

Two food trucks?

Check.

Security?

Check.

Beer trailer with six taps outside?

Check.

ID bracelets and beer tickets?

Had those to.

We even had a brand spanking new deck addition–built just in time.

Everyone knows that the sun always shines on the Aleiversary, so even though we began watching the weather religiously a month in advance, sunshine seemed pretty likely (insert fingers and toes crossed).

On February 13th the construction on our building ground to a halt with snow, cold, snow that melted into ice to be topped by more snow that melted into ice to be topped by more snow that melted into ice. Finally, the weather warmed up on March 7th and the great melt and dry-out began. Only six days to the 4th Aleiversary (insert nervous mud discussions here).

Due to construction, our parking lot was cut down (to a mud pit) the week before the Aleiversary. The week of the Aleiversary, the rebuild of the parking lot began. A couple dozen loads of chat later, hours upon hours of work by Holland Excavating, some additional gravel laid on Walnut Grove Drive by our township, and with some gravel spreading help from Brian in the skid steer, we were ready for the for the 4th Aleiversary.

Of course, it rained up until the morning before the Aleiversary. The yard around the brewery was muddy, but the field (aka additional parking) drained well. A little well-placed gravel, some caution tape and we were ready to go.

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Smokey Folk from Springfield and Joshin the Giants from Joplin provided handcrafted tunes that were enjoyed by all ages all day long.

Smokey Folk

Smokey Folk

Joshin the Giants

Joshin the Giants

Emma, Lucas and Ian served in the taproom. Pete and Amber served at the beer tent. Tessa and Jonathan sold beer tickets outside. Jamie and Brian handled parking.

Pete and Amber at the beer trailer with the head root beer maker.

Pete and Amber at the beer trailer with the head root beer maker.

Ian and Emma behind the bar in the tap room.

Ian and Emma behind the bar in the tap room.

Ian and Lucas behind the bar in the tap room.

Ian and Lucas behind the bar in the tap room.

Jonathan and Tessa took care of beer tickets for almost every customer that came through the Aleiversary.

Jonathan and Tessa took care of beer tickets for almost every customer that came through the Aleiversary.

I tried to do everything else as needed (no photos of that).

I cannot say enough about our staff and the work they do to help put the Aleiversary on. In addition to helping get everything ready for the day, they arrive early the day of the event and work their butts off until every customer goes home. There is no time for breaks, eating the great food served or even sipping a beer. They put their heads down and poured beer and tried to keep customers happy for seven hours straight. And they did a fabulous job with helping make another wonderful Piney River experience at the 4th Aleiversary.

Asking 21-year olds to wear a wristband and to purchase beer tickets made for a very smooth day for patrons and for our staff. Nobody had to wait very long for a pint at all.

The 2015 Mule Team IPA was delicious and smooth. Several people were proud to take home a four-pack or more.

Both decks and the tap room were filled.

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Even the muddy yard became a place to sit and enjoy a beer with family and friends.

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Both food trucks had a steady line of customers all day long, but the waits were very reasonable.  Mike and Julie’s Smoked Meats and Aviary on the Fly both received rave reviews and even sold out of some food items. We appreciate everyone supporting our local food vendors, too.

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At some point about mid-day a customer said to me, “The parking lot is full.”

I thought, “The parking lot????”

“You mean the field?” I asked.

“Yes.”

cars at aleiversary

Indeed the field was nearly full of cars, and all day long only one truck needed some assistance in getting out.

One of our neighbors noted to his wife that at about 12 p.m. when cars were pouring down ZZ Highway, it “was like we live in the city”.

And we appreciate our neighbors sharing this little piece of heaven with the hordes of folks that want to celebrate Piney River in the Ozarks. Thank you!

We believe 850 or so people came out and participated in this particular Piney River experience.

As the official “field attendant” for every car that came down the drive last Saturday, Brian had the opportunity to personally greet most folks that joined us. As I wound my way up and down and in and out of the brewery and the grounds, I kept running into friends, family and fans. We were honored to host staff members from three of our distributors, too. I hope we had a chance to say hello, shake a hand, share a smile or laugh with you.

The Aleiversary is not about selling a bunch of beer a the BARn one day a year. The Aleiversary is about celebrating craft beer in the Ozarks with you. Two people that some thought were a little (or a lot!) crazy had a dream about making beer in a barn on farm just up the hill from the Piney River.

We dreamed of making beer that celebrated our home, a great place in the US—the Ozarks. We dreamed of making beer that could be canned for consumption in the beautiful and secluded places of the Ozarks. Four years later, all those dreams and much more have come true.

From Brian and I and our whole Piney River Crew, THANK YOU for four phenomenal, unforgettable, mind-blowing years!

Cheers to you!  From All of Us--Jamie, Emma, Brian, Joleen, Pete, Amber, Tessa, Jonathan & Ian (Lucas, not shown)

Cheers to you! From All of Us–Jamie, Emma, Brian, Joleen, Pete, Amber, Tessa, Jonathan & Ian (Lucas, not shown)

Piney River Brewing Wins Gold at the World Beer Cup®

In The Beer on April 13, 2014 at 9:54 pm

Piney River Brewing Company in Bucyrus, MO claimed a gold award in the 2014 World Beer Cup, a global beer competition that evaluates beers from around the world and recognizes the most outstanding brewers and their beers.

Gold, silver and bronze awards in the competition’s 94 beer style categories were presented April 11, 2014 during the World Beer Cup award ceremony at the Hyatt Regency in Denver, Colorado.

Piney River Brewing was awarded a gold award in the American-style wheat beer style category for its Float Trip Ale, a wheat-based blonde ale featuring pale wheat and malted barley with balanced, light hop bitterness and a smooth finish.

“We are truly honored to receive this gold award which recognizes our little brewery for brewing the best American-style wheat beer in the world,” Brian Durham, co-founder and head brewer at Piney River Brewing Company, said.

Float Trip Ale has been brewed since the brewery opened its doors in March 2011. In May 2013 the brewery began packaging the beer for distribution in kegs and 16-ounce pint cans. The beer highlights the Ozark experience of “floating” in a canoe, kayak, raft or tube on a Missouri stream.

“Around the world, people of all ages enjoy activities on streams, rivers and lakes, but in the Ozarks we are known for using the term ‘float trip’, which describes what many men, women and children do every year in the Ozark National Scenic Riverways,” Durham said, explaining that the brewery seeks to highlight the Ozarks with its beer.

Durham noted that when he and Joleen, his wife and brewery co-founder, decided to start a craft brewery in the Ozarks, they planned to package their beer in outdoor and river friendly aluminum cans.

“It was only natural that we highlight the quintessential Ozark experience—a float trip—with one of our beers,” Durham said. “Joleen and I love floating, and we developed this beer as something that could be enjoyed all day long while floating or doing anything fun in the Ozarks.”

Piney River Brewing is located on the Durham’s 80-acre farm, operating out of a 70-year old barn. The brewery was founded in 2010 with a 10-gallon brewing system. Today the brewery has a seven-barrel brewhouse which turned out 1,100 barrels of beer in 2013. In addition to draft beer, the brewery cans all of their beer in 16-ounce aluminum cans. The brewery has distribution in Central and Southern Missouri and Arkansas.

Last October, Piney River Brewing received a gold medal for their Old Tom Porter, a brown porter style beer, at the Great American Beer Festival—a national competition.

“We are thrilled to again shine the spotlight on our brewery and the beer that we’re brewing right here in the Ozarks,” Durham said. “To receive the top award for one of our beer styles at national and international competitions within less than one year’s time is a huge recognition for us.”

The Float Trip Ale was brewed by Lucas Clem and Amber Powell, the two full-time brewers at the brewery. Four additional part-time employees also work at the brewery.

“I cannot say enough about our brewery team and their commitment to quality,” Durham said. “Our mission at Piney River Brewing has always been to brew high quality beer that celebrates the Ozarks, and this World Beer Cup gold award for Float Trip is the realization of our brewery’s mission on an international stage.”

World Beer Cup winners were selected by an international panel of 219 beer judges from 31 countries. Regarded as the “Olympics of Beer Competition,” the World Beer Cup saw an impressive field of 4,754 entries from 1,403 breweries in 58 countries.

Presented by the Brewers Association, the World Beer Cup has been held every other year since 1996, to celebrate the art and science of brewing by recognizing outstanding achievement. For more additional information, visit the World Beer Cup website.

Piney River Brewing received their gold award at the 2014 World Beer Cup held in Denver on Friday night.  Shown here, left to right:  Brian Durham, head brewer and co-founder; Joleen Durham, co-founder, and Charlie Papazian, president of the Brewer’s Association.

Piney River Brewing received their gold award at the 2014 World Beer Cup held in Denver on Friday night. Shown here, left to right: Brian Durham, head brewer and co-founder; Joleen Durham, co-founder, and Charlie Papazian, president of the Brewer’s Association.

The All True Story of Piney River’s First Trip to the GABF

In The Beer on October 15, 2013 at 10:20 pm

There’s a really good chance you know how this story ends. But beyond the official photo and press release, you really need to know the whole story.

Brian and I decided that we were going to attend the GABF (Great American Beer Festival) this year. We wanted the opportunity to enter our beer in a national competition—mostly to see what kind of feedback we would receive. We have two brewers that are new to brewing and to the industry—Lucas joined our team in January and Amber joined our team in April. We wanted them to get their first taste of “the industry” of brewing, and heck, Brian and I always enjoy hanging with “our people”.

We left Bucyrus as 4 a.m. on Wednesday. There was a lot of talk about sleeping on the drive to Denver, but there was very little sleeping done. We were all too keyed up to sleep. There were soybean fields, corn fields, rolling Kansas hills, a big tom turkey standing on the edge of a cornfield, the world’s largest prairie dog….

We got to Denver, settled in to our hotel rooms and went to a special event at Wynkoop for the GABF attendees. There were some great beers on tap, yummy food, and our St. Louis Cardinals advanced to the NLCS.

Cardinals advance to NLCS.  Surly Pentagram.  Hanging with your peeps at a private party at Wynkoop.  #winning

Cardinals advance to NLCS. Surly Pentagram. Hanging with your peeps at a private party at Wynkoop. #winning

We made our way to Star Bar for a few beers, and Brian and I finally went back to our hotel around 1. Lucas and Amber closed the place down. So much for starting the day at 4 a.m.

On Thursday we drove up to Fort Collins to a VIP event at New Belgium—such a great place with awesome co-workers that really care about taking care of fellow brewers.

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We stopped in at Odell where a friend showed us the brand spankin’ new brew house and tap room expansion. Odell Brewing, a family-owned business that started on a kitchen stove, is SUCH an inspiration. (Thanks again, Lynsey!)

Thursday night was our first session at GABF. Each session is 5 hours. I don’t know how many people are at each session, but the GABF was a sell out with 48,000 tickets. That’s a lot of people! We were pouring Black Walnut Wheat, McKinney Eddy Amber Ale, Old Tom Porter, Missouri Mule IPA and Sweet Potato Ale. We sent our beer out in advance, in kegs, and they were already set up and ready to go. I should add here that the Brewer’s Association puts on this event with the help of volunteers. The volunteers are AWESOME. They work their butts off, and everyone that helped the area we were in and at our table was spectacular. I don’t remember all their names, but they were great.

Every session opens with a bagpipe parade.

Every session opens with a bagpipe parade.

The Piney River booth.

The Piney River booth.

The Piney River Crew in the booth.

The Piney River Crew in the booth.

The GABF divides the breweries up according to region. Our booth was in between Nebraska Brewing and Budweiser (St. Louis connection). Rockbridge, Tallgrass, Springfield Brewing Company and Mothers were some of the other beers in our section. There were breweries from all over the US—a lot of representation from breweries in Colorado and California. It was neat to have beers from New Glarus, Surly, Sun King, Three Floyds, Russian River and Elysian available to sample—all under one roof. There were also some lesser known breweries (some even smaller than Piney River) with great beers to sample, too.

Our Sweet Potato Ale was a big hit from the first night. There was only one other sweet potato beer being poured, and the brewery it was from was not pouring it. It was being poured at the Craft Brewers Guild tables. On Friday evening, we had to stop pouring the Sweet Potato so we would still have some for the later sessions. We still ran out of Sweet Potato in the first session on Saturday. Then, the attendees began hitting the Black Walnut Wheat.

On Friday we traveled to Upslope in Boulder for a special event with Crown Packaging (the place we get our cans from) and Wild Goose Canning (the company that made our canning machine). The labeled Piney River cans went over better than free beer. There’s serious interest among craft brewers in finding a way to do lots of brands without purchasing lots of truck loads of cans. This little brewery in Bucyrus has found a great option for breweries that can.

The very cool Sanitas Brewing logo--a new brewery that cans which we also visited in Boulder.

The very cool Sanitas Brewing logo–a new brewery that cans which we also visited in Boulder.

Saturday morning, about 5,000 members of the industry gathered in a ballroom in the bottom of the Denver Convention Center for the Great American Beer Festival Award Ceremony. Coffee, donuts, beer, bronze, silver and gold medals were awarded for beers in 84 different categories. We entered 10 beers—the maximum number we could enter–so we had 30 chances to win a medal. The possibilities were exciting, but we felt as though we would really just get good feedback to help us learn what to do for future competitions.

The stats for the 2013 GABF competition.

The stats for the 2013 GABF competition.

I had a dream on Friday night that we won a gold medal for McKinney Eddy Amber Ale, but at the ceremony 9 of the 10 categories came and went—including Amber Ale–without a mention of Piney River. Brown Porter, the 74th category of 84 beer categories, was our final chance. Brian, Lucas and I (Amber had to go back to Missouri for a family event) were sitting on a front row in a section with a bunch of people from CA that we didn’t know. But they knew each other because they kept congratulating other CA breweries as they received awards.

The bronze award winner for Brown Porter was announced. It was not us. Down to two chances.

The silver award winner for Brown Porter was announced. It was not us. And at that point, Brian, Lucas and I felt like our medal chances were over. What first time brewery wins a gold medal at the GABF?

Chris Swersey, the emcee, began announcing, “The Gold Medal goes to Old…”

“What?!,” I was thinking. Suddenly time slowed waaay down.

“Tom…,” Swersey said.

I screamed. I was sitting between Brian and Lucas, and suddenly we were high fiving and jumping up and stumbling down the aisle to accept a GOLD medal from Charlie Papazian.

Each of us has specific memories of going to accept that medal. Brian, who remembers walking on air, was tackled by a sales person from one of our distributors. I never saw it. I was just elated, reminding myself not to run to the stage. Lucas remembers feeling a little emotional, kind of teary-eyed.

And there we were. A gold medal around Brian’s neck. The flashes of dozens of cameras. The silhouettes of thousands of people looking back at us on that brightly lit stage. I never saw the red carpet, but Brian said one was there.

I had to snap a photo of all those people looking back at us.

I had to snap a photo of all those people looking back at us.

Piney River Brewing received their gold medal at the 2013 Great American Beer Festival awards ceremony held in Denver on Saturday morning.  Shown here, left to right:  Lucas Clem, brewer; Charlie Papazian, president of the Brewer’s Association; Brian Durham, head brewer and co-founder; Joleen Durham, co-founder and original keg washing queen. Not present, Amber Powell, brewer.

Piney River Brewing received their gold medal at the 2013 Great American Beer Festival awards ceremony held in Denver on Saturday morning. Shown here, left to right: Lucas Clem, brewer; Charlie Papazian, president of the Brewer’s Association; Brian Durham, head brewer and co-founder; Joleen Durham, co-founder and original keg washing queen. Not present, Amber Powell, brewer.

As soon as we walked off the stage, I gave Brian a GIANT hug. I remember thinking, “All that work. All the sacrifices. All days where we went to bed and got up to go to our day jobs in the same day.” I was so proud of Brian. I was so proud of Piney River. And then I started shaking.

I couldn't take a decent photo because I was shaking!

I couldn’t take a decent photo because I was shaking!

Lucas, Brian and I went to get a beer, but the beer stations were dry!!! (We need to time our medal winning a little better.) None of us really remember any of the last 9 award recipients. I was sending texts, tweeting and posting information online. Brian was texting our distributors. Lucas was texting Amber and his family.

By the time we were upstairs in the convention hall, the winners had been announced. Piney River’s booth was a non-stop sea of people. Yes, they were interested in Sweet Potato and Black Walnut, but many people just wanted to try Old Tom Porter. The story of Old Tom Porter would never be the same.

Later that afternoon, one of the judges of the brown porter competition stopped by to say how much they enjoyed our Old Tom Porter, and that even after the judging they finished drinking it. Another judge told us that gold medals only go to technically excellent beers. Brian realized that he no longer cared that he didn’t have formal brewing training and started Piney River as a homebrewer. Just like Paul Gatza from the Brewer’s Association said–when you’ve got a GABF medal around your neck, you can run through walls.

The winning entries ran inside the hall all day on Saturday.  I managed to snap a photo of the screen showing our category.

The winning entries ran inside the hall all day on Saturday. I managed to snap a photo of the screen showing our category.

Our first Piney River toast with our Gold medal winning Old Tom Porter.

Our first Piney River toast with our Gold medal winning Old Tom Porter.

We ended Saturday at the GABF with celebratory beers at Star Bar. It seemed like a good place to round out one of the most amazing days of our lives. On the ride home, I studied the corn fields, hoping to see another old tom. Old Tom didn’t need to make a second appearance. One was all we needed.

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