CARSON CITY, Nev.--The small brewery on North Carson Street has been open for three years, but this is the first time High Sierra Brewing Company has entered the national competition.
"It was our first time at the great american beer festival, we didn't have any expectations of winning anything," said Jim Phalan, owner of the brewery.
The yearly gathering in Denver brings together about 600 breweries and roughly 4,000 beers. This year, five of the beers were from High Sierra.
"We said why don't we bring the honey with us, and so when they nominated the bronze and silver medalists. We though ok, it's not going to happen," said Phalan.
But it did happen, they knew their honey ale was good, but not gold medal good.
"What I like about the honey is it's a light beer and its pretty simplistic but there is a lot of complexity that comes through with the honey and the brewing process," said Jeff Young, Brewmaster.
Young adapted the recipe from one created by his mentor Joe Renan, who retired earlier this year. The win is impressive because impurities in a light beer can show up easily.
"To win on a beer like that is just even more satisfying because you know you cant cover a problem up in a beer," said Young.
The icing on the cake, their idols in the beer world got second place in the same category and they all got to share the stage.
"So I actually go to be congratulated and told we won by Sam Calagione from Dogfish Head Brewing Company. So that was special," said Young.