As the new kid in town Aslan Brewing Company’s CEO Jack Lamb was happy to be among the Bellingham breweries to be awarded at the Washington Beer Awards.
Of the 716 beers entered into the competition, three of Aslan’s beers were awarded on June 21.
Gold medals were awarded to Aslan’s Blueprint Session IPA and the Witbier and the silver was awarded to the FIFA.“We think our Session [IPA] is a great beer so we were proud about that,” Aslan founder and CEO Jack Lamb said. “The Witbier was funny because that’s the first time we ever brewed a Witbier before.”
Lamb said he is proud that organic and local craft beers are finally being recognized by the brewing community. With so many prominent brewing companies like Boundary Bay Brewery and Kulshan Brewing Company in competition with Aslan, the Washington Beer Awards was tough.
“We were confident, but two golds and silver was rad,” Lamb said. “I’m really proud about it, but I’m most proud that all the Bellingham breweries were awarded.”
Peter Twigg, an organizer for the Washington Beer Awards, said in an email interview about Aslan, that he would “certainly order a pint in any bar I saw their product in.”Twigg said Washington is blessed to be the largest producer of hops in the U.S., with Yakima Valley in particular being a major producer.
Bellingham, being primarily a college town, has been supportive of locally produced product, said Twigg.
“Being local isn’t enough to maintain public support,” Twigg said. “You also need quality product.”
Twigg, having relocated to Federal Way, the largest city in Washington without a licensed brewery, said he is envious of all of the Bellingham craft beers.
“I wish I had such a hard choice when going out for a pint,” Twigg said.
Aslan began a little over a year ago with Lamb, co-owner and head brewer Frank Trosset and co-owner and general manager Pat Haynes. Boe Trosset joined the team as co-owner and director of sales once construction on the brewery began.
Their inspiration for opening Aslan started over a pint at a local the Bellingham brewery Kulshan, Lamb said.“Kulshan for example of brewing coming in at the prime time,” Lamb said. “We just snuck in before it got too big, and we even were a little late.”
Lamb said it was hard in the beginning because none of them had started a business before, let alone a brewery and restaurant.
“It’s been organic growth, no pun intended,” Lamb said.
It took time for the public to begin stopping in to Aslan and checking the place out, said Lamb. Aslan never changed their principles, Lamb said. They kept going in the same direction, the only change is that the beer got better.
“It’s a wild thing to dream of and execute, and we tried our hardest every day,” Lamb said.
David Vitt, founder of Kulshan Brewing Co., which won Large Brewery of the Year and a gold medal for their IPA at the Washington Beer Awards, said he sees lots of growth happening in the Bellingham community, not only in quality brewing but in more unique brewing practices.
Vitt says that since so many breweries in Bellingham are doing so many unique things, residents should consider themselves lucky to be able to walk out their front doors to 10 or more breweries in their own town.
Lamb said organic brewing sourced from local hops was a way to differentiate Aslan from other breweries.
“We all go to the co-op, we all shop organic,” Lamb said. “It’s all valued so when designing your own business why wouldn’t you do organic? I guess the only reason people would have is that it costs a lot.”
Correction: A previous version of this article misstated Kulshan Brewing Co. founder David Vitt’s title.