A “Wee” award for a mighty brew

April 28 - If you look closely – past the steam billowing out of the brewing equipment, past the flannel and the oh-so-bushy beard, you might just see a smile beginning to form.

Often, we find that Brewer, Stephen Mathys, is all business. These days, though, there’s a bit of added spring in his step, as a beer he brewed especially for one landmark evening has earned acclaim far beyond our little town.

Recently, Mathys and the rest of the crew at Coast Fork Brewing learned that his ‘Wee Heavy’ – a Scottish Ale that’s anything but “wee,” earned a Gold Medal at the Best of Craft Beer Awards, an international competition that’s the third largest worldwide.

As the name most certainly does not imply, the Wee Heavy packs quite a wallop, clocking in anywhere from 6-10 percent ABV. Mathys says there’s a bit of oaky essence in this malt-forward brew, which he brewed for one of his favorite occasions — Robert Burns Night, an evening celebrated at Coast Fork Brewing that pays tribute to the Bard of Scotland each Jan. 25.

It’s a popular style in certain circles, but not an overly common one, and Mathys said he competed against about 30 other entries for the top prize. It’s his first medal for a beer, period, and the first medal to recognize a Coast Fork brew.

“It performed beyond my expectations,” he said. “That was not the one I expected to do as well as it did. The judges had some really good things to say about it. I guess we just hit the nail on the head.”

We’d imagine you’ll have some good things to say about our Wee Heavy as well – soon, that is.

“As soon as I found out about the award, I started brewing another batch,” he said. “It should be ready in a few more weeks.”