I Was a Judge for Samuel Adams's Food and Beer Contest

This editor found out that it is really hard to give feedback when you're stuffing your face with deliciousness.
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Some days, work is, well, work. It’s a grind that's only respite is waiting in line for 20 minutes to order a burrito bowl at Chipotle that will possibly kill you before you can bus your tray.

But other days, work isn’t so death-by-burrito-y, and it leaves you with feelings of ecstasy rather than E. coli.

I had one of those days a few weeks ago. For my job here at Entrepreneur, I had to board a train to Boston, take a cab to the Samuel Adams Brewery, and then sit on a panel to eat, drink and judge stuff created by startup beverage and snack companies.

It's okay if you hate me. (For this or any other reason.)

Back to the eating and drinking. Not to brag, but I’m really good at doing both of those things. Have been for most of my life. Happily, Entrepreneur was involved in Samuel Adams's third annual Brewing the American Dream contest, which awards one startup company $10,000 to help its product get into our nation’s collective mouth hole, and they sent me as their representative.

Within 15 seconds of stepping inside the hallowed grounds where Samuel Adams founder Jim Koch started cooking his great-great-granddaddy’s sudsy sauce recipe in 1984, I was asked, “Can I get you a beer?”

Related: Why Jim Koch Wants Employees to Tell Him 'F--- You!'

I didn’t want to be rude, so I said yes -- and then started quietly weeping with joy.

It was an awesome night. I met so many inspiring small-business owners, and I ate and drank so much of their handcrafted yumminess. Their energy was intoxicating -- almost as much as their products. It was a nearly impossible task to pick a winner, but one won the judges's hearts, minds and stomachs. Watch the video above to see who got the nod, and get inspired to brew up your own idea for next year's contest.

Edition: September 2017

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