VANCOUVER, Wash. (KOIN) -- Sunny and Rodney sounds more like a comedy team or a folk duo than brewers of award-winning beer. But their garage concoction was a big hit at the Brewfest and they won koin.com's first Battle of the Brews.
Sunny Parsons still has a day job, but he mortgaged a few rental homes to get Heathen Brewing started in a 900-square foot garage in Vancouver.
"We had to fit a lot in here quickly so everything is really efficient and set up," he told KOIN 6 News.
Rodney Stryker is the master brewer. "We see every step of the process and we have control over that," he said.
Parsons and Stryker are two people with one passion.
"We concentrate on beer. We love beer. We don't love paper work," Parsons said. "We don't love all the things that come with it because it's a business. ... What we start with (is) the passion for the beer."
Of all 84 brands at this year's Brewfest, Heathen was the third most popular according to a social media app that measured attendees preferences. They were also the favorite IPA.
"It still hasn't settled in," Stryker said. "Surreal that we made it."
Parsons added, "I guess we've lived right. Karma is good. I dont know."
They're feeling a bit lucky considering the IPA they brewed for the festival was a first-time batch.
"It's a gamble in front of 85,000 people, so I'd say we did pretty good. I think we got a blackjack on that one, and ace followed, so it was pretty awesome," he said.
A gamble, perhaps, but no accident, as they also beat 63 other beers to win koin.com's Battle of the Brews.
Heathen Brewing beers are on tap only in the Portland-Vancouver area but they plan to start bottling by November. They produce about 450 barrels a year and plan to expand organically -- that is, let the demand dictate their supply.
A $4.5 million federal grant will allow them to keep their salaries and benefits through 2015.
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