by Madison V. Fisler
Aug. 12, 2013. Barely four months after first opening on Valentine’s Day, Appalachian Mountain Brewery in Boone took home two gold medals this summer from the United States Open Beer Championship.
In its first year open, AMB has captured the attention and the affections of the High Country. With their “Pints for Nonprofits” initiative and their eco-friendly policies, the local brewery has become an institution in the Boone area for lovers of fantastic beer, good company and giant Jenga. The gold medals serve to solidify what the AMB fans of the High Country already know – Appalachian Mountain Brewery can craft some seriously delicious brews.
“It’s been huge to have such an early success, especially since we have only been open for a few months,” said Chris Zieber, a brewer at Appalachian Mountain Brewery.
The winning brews for AMB were the Honey Badger in the Blonde/Golden Ale Category and the Crooked Common in the German Alt Category.
At the United States Open Beer Championship, beers from all over the world, ranging from 1,000-year-old breweries to at-home microbreweries, are judged on criteria such as aroma, appearance, mouth feel, flavor and overall impression. Over 2,500 beers competed in 68 categories to try to grab the gold. This year’s competition also featured more than 20 international competitors from around the world.
Against such distinguished and established breweries, Appalachian Mountain Brewery came out on top, missing the top 10 spot by one point overall.
“Some people have been going a little crazy with craft beers, using lots of different additives and flavorings,” said Zieber. “But when you are doing a competition you should stick with the brewing style. The judging is based on how well your beer represents the beer style, and we want to show that we can make a clean and consistent product that tastes great. Our approach is not a lack of creativity, but right now we want to focus on producing drinkable, crisp beers.”
Though the AMB brewers were not present for the judging, hearing the news over the phone was no less exciting for the brewery.
“We were just ecstatic,” Zieber said. “We were hooting and hollering and just so excited. It shows the community all of our hard work, and we are very pleased with the outcome.”
After such a great result in one of the world’s biggest beer competitions, Appalachian Mountain Brewery can only look forward to the future.
“We intend to enter lots more competitions,” Zieber said. “Next year we are looking forward to the Great American Beer Festival.”
At the brewery, the crew likes to brew with the seasons. The summer’s lighter ales will soon yield to crisp autumn varieties. Coming up will be a coffee IPA in collaboration with a brand-new Morganton brewery, as well as the Oktoberfest, due out in the middle of September.
Even after such a great victory this summer, Appalachian Mountain Brewery will continue to do what it does best.
“We are very happy about the entire success of the brewery so far,” Zieber said. “We will continue to keep brewing great beer that people love to drink.”