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Good Beer Hunting

Award-winning interviews with a wide spectrum of people working in, and around, the beer industry. We balance the culture of craft beer with the businesses it supports, and examine the tenacity of its ideals.

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EP-249 Jonny Coffman of Goose Island Beer Co.

Today’s conversation is one of the hardest—and most edifying—that I’ve been lucky to have. It reaches that level of dialogue and storytelling that I think, on occasion, puts the GBH podcast on the level of oral history. It has nothing to do with me. It has everything to do with the quality of people who we’re lucky enough to have share their stories on this platform. And each guest of this caliber serves as a sort of searchlight to others who might find their way here next. Jonny Coffman has been a bartender in Goose Island’s taproom, just down the street from our studio, for some time now. He’s worked in breweries and bars like Chicago’s Local Option, and serves as a warm, inviting face to the world of beer for so many. He’s the kind of unassuming and energetic person that makes you feel like you always made a great choice. But the last four years of Jonny’s life—including a long, sprawling battle with cancer—challenged that disposition in the most profound ways. And they did so over and over again. I recently ran into Jonny at the Goose Island taproom when he was celebrating the national release of the beer he helped design and that he and his colleagues used as a symbol to celebrate his new lease on life. That beer is called Lost Palate—for reasons you’ll hear about in excruciating detail in this interview. It’s a Hazy IPA with cinnamon, lactose, mango, and graham crackers. It’s a wild beer for Goose to have made. But Jonny is kind of a wild guy.  In the end, this interview is not about a beer. It’s actually a struggle for me to even talk about the beer itself in the context of this interview, but for Jonny it’s critical that we do. Rather, this interview is about all the things that this simple beer has come to represent—for Jonny, his colleagues, family and friends, and the message he hopes it carries to the rest of the world—as it spreads out onto shelves all across the country. This beer, and Jonny’s story, are going to pop up everywhere. Fair warning that this is a long one—and the listening will be hard-going at times. It was for me and Jonny, too. But I know I walked away better for having heard it. This is Jonny Coffman of Goose Island Beer Co. Listen in.

1hr 39mins

21 Dec 2019

Rank #1

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FF-10 Jim Plachy's Top 50 beer list gets ruined and a member says the word of the day

Welcome to another episode of The Fervent Few podcast. Every few weeks we present you with this bonus episode of the GBH podcast where we chat with members of our subscriber community. The Fervent Few subscribe to GBH like a magazine making a monthly contribution via Patreon. Members join us in a forum to talk about a wide range of topics that doesn’t just stop at beer. And every week we pick one of these topics and present the community’s answers to readers in the form of an article posted to Good Beer Hunting. You can find out more information by visiting patreon.com/goodbeerhunting On this episode we talk to Tyler Jackson of Chicago’s Present Tense Fine Ales a brewery that wants to serve beer exclusively on cask. Then we talk to Carla Jean Lauter, a prolific beer writer and tweeter, about a successful battle against a brewery that opened with a very terribly named beer. But first Michael and I will talk about Founder’s Harvest Ale and the way a very minor question can become very meaningful content for GBH. Finally, we start to think about the best beers we had in 2017.


26 Dec 2017

Rank #2

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EP-161 Jeffrey Stuffings of Jester King Brewery

About 20 miles outside downtown Austin, Texas, it’s easy to forget you’re a short car ride away from one of the fastest-growing cities in the country. Sitting partially hidden in the middle of spacious farmland is one the crown jewels of modern U.S. beer: Jester King Brewery. Enthusiasts make the pilgrimage from all over, waiting in line to try some of the most beloved wild, sour, and spontaneous beers being made today, every one of them with a purpose of time and place. It’s the brainchild of Jeff Stuffings, co-founder of the family-owned business and an advocate for all the ways making beer can be an intimate process. Plenty of wooden barrels and stainless steel tanks comprise a modestly sized brewhouse at the farm brewery, but it’s the ideas of what beer could and should be that have made Jester King such a popular brand among drinkers. And as you’ll find out in this conversation, the process of what's taken Stuffings and his team to this moment in time—not to mention what he hopes to achieve in years to come—is very much based on a connection to the land and people around him.


3 Mar 2018

Rank #3

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EP-152 Adam + Grace Robbings of Reuben's Brews

There’s a lot beer lovers may miss when they travel to the Pacific Northwest, a region overwhelmed not just with breweries, but really good ones. And while there are plenty of businesses that captivate beer geeks, one in particular has long caught my eye. Seattle's Reuben's Brews is something of rocket ship in an area pleasantly saturated with some of the best beer in the country. The name might not sound familiar to those outside Washington, but Reuben’s is one of the fastest growing breweries in the state. Not long before I sat down with owners Adam and Grace Robbings in September, their business was growing at just over 100 percent in IRI-tracked dollar sales in their home state compared to 2016.  Since opening about five years ago, Reuben’s has expanded into a pseudo compound spread across a few different buildings in as many blocks in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood, where they run a brewery and taproom, packaging facility, barrel-aging space and more. I came to know their beer years ago when my brother sent me a bottle of their award-winning Porter, but their lineup and my expectations have expanded rapidly since then. Amongst the phenomenal growth of Reuben’s Brews, Adam and Grace have faced typical challenges not entirely unique to their company, ranging from the kinds of brands they make to how they’re sold. However, Adam’s methodical processes and logical focus continue to push together aspects of art and science that drives the brewery’s core ethos. You’ll find the way he talks about making beer - and the level of detail he requires to do so - is rather inspiring. Above all else, however, this is a family business. The beer is important, but not as much as the people that surround it. The namesake of the brewery - Adam and Grace’s son, Reuben - is seen as a future. There’s been plenty of success so far, but this is still the start of a much longer journey.

1hr 7mins

23 Dec 2017

Rank #4

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EP-120 Hinrik Carls Ellertsson + Steinn Stefansson

Despite what some politicians may rally against, there is plenty of value of what a globalized society can bring. The different perspectives and experiences that flow from one border to the next has created a connectivity that enhance ideas the world over. It may come as no surprise, that also lends itself to how people from different countries use hops and malt, too. On assignment for GBH, I traveled in February to Reykjavik, Iceland with the goal of learning more about what that country’s beer scene is and what it offers drinkers a world apart from my bubble stateside. It’s easy to get caught up in an almost orthodox point of view of the global beer industry, where the Old World - countries like England, Belgium or Germany - and the New World - the United States - are the areas we most believe are worth our attention. But the flip side of that is the influence and cultural cache these places have, and how they’re helping to shape the way others think about and make beer. At KEX Hostel in downtown Reykjavik, I met with Hinrik Carl Ellertsson and Steinn Stefansson to talk about their small-time gypsy brewing operation and popular interests in the Iceland beer scene, which, no surprise, seem to be trending toward the hoppy side of things as Scandinavians look to the U.S. for inspiration. With visitors from around the world coming to Iceland for an annual beer festival, we found a spot in the shared space of the hostel where Hinrik and Steinn described what it’s like to work in a young industry seeking inspiration from today’s biggest names in beer. Some that will sound awfully familiar to American beer lovers.


22 Apr 2017

Rank #5

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CL-048 Anthony Gladman is social distancing in an orchard

Welcome to the Good Beer Hunting Collective podcast, the show where members of our team interview each other to get a behind-the-scenes look at some of our favorite articles. I’m Jonny Garrett, and I’m a staff writer for GBH. Today, I’m catching up with Anthony Gladman, a new writer at GBH. With the U.K. on lockdown, I thought this would be a great opportunity to transcend the physical distances and get some much-needed social interaction. The episode starts with a chat about how both are coping with the isolation—particularly now that Anthony is homeschooling his kids—before moving on to Anthony’s first full feature for GBH: a dive into the world of British cider called “Rebirth in England’s Orchards — Find & Foster Fine Cider in Devon, U.K.” Until the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the British cider scene was gathering some momentum and press as both an off-shoot of the craft beer movement and a traditional part of Britain’s beverage heritage. Anthony and I discuss the unique conservational approach of Find & Foster, and whether the world of cider is better or worse placed to weather the current storm than beer. This is Anthony Gladman on the Good Beer Hunting Collective podcast. Listen in.


30 Apr 2020

Rank #6

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EP-185 Taylor and Dan Suarez of Suarez Family Brewery

Suarez Family Brewery has become something of a North Star for our editorial staff—not to mention many brewers and drinkers around the country—for everything that’s right about craft beer in 2018. Sessionable, delicious beers made by a family in the Hudson Valley that’s part of a small community of farmers and small businesses in the area: What’s not to love? To top it all off, Dan Suarez’s brother owns an essential restaurant in Germantown called Gaskin’s. At the little brewery on U.S. Route 9 across the from the corn fields and housed in an old lighting factory, the Suarez family makes exquisite Pilsners and Pale Ales alongside what they call Country Beers—those that are barrel-aged or wild-fermented, but still every bit as delicate and balanced. Their taproom is family-friendly, in large part because they have a small, young family of their own. How could it not be? Our Editorial Director Austin L. Ray’s profile of the brewery in 2016 was something of a coveted assignment amongst our team, and one of the few that Austin claimed for himself. It’s a moving portrait. You should read it. But like any small business so closely tied to the family that runs it, there’s struggle, too. And it’s about more than just making ends meet. While the beers may be the epitome of balance, balancing one’s life is every bit as difficult and necessary. Managing the start-up pace of a small, hands-on brewery, expanding the market for those beers via delivery runs to New York City, raising a toddler, and maintaining a busy taproom that’s increasingly becoming a destination for beer fans? These things, perhaps even more than trying to crack the code on these so-called “crispy little beers,” are what’s keeping Taylor and Dan Suarez up at night. Not that you’d believe they struggle with anything. Their reputation for being very relaxed, chill folks with a small town brewery is, at least on the surface, the epitome of the small brewer dream in America. Taking a deeper look, as we do today, will only make you love them more.

1hr 26mins

24 Aug 2018

Rank #7

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EP-131 Luke Dickinson of Wicked Weed Brewing

We’re a little over two months since Wicked Weed, one of the nation’s most popular and ambitious sour beer producers, was acquired by AB InBev in a sale that set the beer world on edge. Indeed, it seemed to push many people over the edge, galvanizing craft beer’s hardcore base against AB while others started reconsidering the future of craft beer, from its definitions and divisions to even the future of their own breweries and customers.  Since then, AB InBev itself has seemed to get a bit on edge with the release of the Brewers Association “independence” seal. Despite the fact that the seal was reportedly in the works for more than two years, the timing of its release seemed to add fuel to the fire of an imminent crisis point between BA-defined craft brewers and those who had passed over the threshold into just being brewers of craft beer.  In response, AB's High End group, which is a portfolio populated by those acquired craft brewers, many of whom have maintained their posts, are now part of a strategic and creative leadership team for AB. They created a somewhat impromptu video response to the BA encouraging them to think about the overall health of the beer category, which is indeed shrinking, as a result of increased competition from wine and spirits. Unity was their call, rather than division. And that, depending on your scale, priorities, and opinion of AB InBev, is either prescient or absurd.  Needless to say, it’s been a wild couple of months for craft beer. This barely scratches the surface, really. But relevant to today’s guest, that’s more than enough context for what makes this interview both timely and interesting to me.  Today, I’m talking to Luke Dickinson of Wicked Weed. Luke is the less-exposed, less-publicized brother of Walt Dickinson. This starts as a story of siblings, Luke being the quiet one who was initially inspired to start a brewing career based on his time at Dogfish Head, and Walt being the more entrepreneurial type who saw Luke’s vision for what was meant to be a nano brewery on paper, and consistently found opportunities to finance and scale the concept for Wicked Weed into the force it is now, including the sale to AB InBev, alongside the Guthys, a very successful, Asheville-based business family they’ve known since they were children.  Talking to Luke, the story of Wicked Weed comes to light as a sort of humble concept that created its own vortex of growth and a series of can’t-say-no kind of opportunities. It’s a story of what happens when a single idea gets dispersed amongst four other partners, each with their own skill sets, resources, and ambitions. And if nothing else, it tells a story of how two brothers can challenge and motivate each other into unknown—and what remains still a somewhat-unknown territory.  Before we begin, I wanted to give a couple shoutouts. First to Marco from Craft Commander down in Florida and Artisan & Apprentice, two blogs whose interviews with Luke some time ago served as great primary resources for some of the things we talk about today. It’s amazing how much craft brewing history has been captured by writers all over the country in the last five years, and we appreciate what you do so much.

1hr 36mins

21 Jul 2017

Rank #8

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EP-154 John Keeling of Fuller Smith & Turner

Fuller Smith & Turner—or Fuller’s as it’s more commonly known—is the oldest surviving brewery in London, as well as being one of its largest. Fuller’s has been brewing at The Griffin Brewery in Chiswick, West London, for more than 160 years. The face of the British brewing industry has undergone tremendous change many times over during the course of its existence. Now, in 2018, the brewery faces fresh challenges. For instance, finding relevance in a market that constantly craves the rare and the new, while still championing traditional styles in an age of Hazy IPAs and Pastry Stouts. Surprisingly, this hasn’t phased Fuller’s one bit. Along with some of the UK’s other historical breweries, such as Adnams in Suffolk and Harvey’s in Sussex, Fuller’s is ensuring that styles such as Porter and ESB remain as relevant to the beer market as ever. Behind it all is the ebullient Brewing Director, John Keeling, who has been employed by Fuller’s for 37 years. Keeling has worked in the brewing industry since the 1970s, initially for the now-defunct Watney’s, then studying brewing science at Heriot Watt University before finally settling at Fuller’s. He became Head Brewer in 1999, a role he passed on to Fuller’s current Head Brewer Georgina Young in January 2017. Over this time he’s witnessed Fuller’s shift from being a completely manually operated brewery, to one that is almost entirely automated and state of the art. Keeling has been instrumental in ensuring that Fuller’s legacy be preserved. Be it by reviving historical recipes from the archives, by collaborating with the UK’s latest crop of brewers such as Fourpure and Cloudwater, or by constantly championing the simple pleasures found within a pint of Fuller’s flagship beer, London Pride. In October 2018 Keeling will retire, leaving an illustrious brewing career behind him. The industry won’t be getting rid of him that easily, however, as he’s just been voted chairman of The London Brewers Alliance, a guild that supports the collective interests of London’s independent breweries.   Over the next hour we discuss—or perhaps I should say John discusses—subjects ranging from the history of Fuller’s, to the importance of cask ale, to the price of beer, all the way up to his favorite subject: the philosophy of brewing.


13 Jan 2018

Rank #9

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EP-129 Bill Savage of Northwestern University

Chicago’s beer story is an historical one, full of the bawdiness that to this day continues the association of beer with the rougher parts of our civility. It’s political - in the burbs is where the temperance movement spawned, we’ve had workers riots and rallies, and our alderman would use their saloons to sway the vote. As American craft brewing brings beer back to the local, and hyperlocal level, some of these histories don’t seem so remote. Tied houses, saloon culture, and good old-fashioned bartending are newly refreshed in their relevance to our daily experience, but the ways in which history repeats itself are sometimes not what we expect.  Are breweries with taprooms the same concern as tied houses a hundred years ago? Does "local" mean the same thing in contemporary craft brewing? What’s the role of a bar when it’s not just the corner spot but some sort of craft beer concept, or a sportsbar.  And for today’s guest, a lot of that is tied to the role of the bartender themselves.  Bill Savage is a Chicago historian, writer, teacher, and long-time bartender going back some 30 years.  All of that has led to him being one of the most important voices in Chicago’s drinking culture, and that of our entire country.  His new project, The Old Time Saloon originally written by George Ade and resurrected by Bill, kicks off today’s conversation. And it serves as great window into many topics relevant to today’s craft beer drinker.

1hr 26mins

1 Jul 2017

Rank #10

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CL-005 GBH Collective - GABF, NAGBW, and other very important acronyms

Welcome back to another episode of the GBH Collective, where we bring you the stories behind the stories from our writers and photographers all over the world.  This new series of episodes is made possible by our Patreon subscribers. Patreon is a way our readers and listeners can become a part of GBH with a monthly contribution, just like subscribing to a magazine. We give back to our subscribers, which we call the Fervent Few, through events, discounts, exclusive gear and art, and a host of other perks. To us, being a Fervent Few member makes you part of the team. And the 70 or so subscribers we have already are enjoying the Slack channel we set up as a direct connection with the GBH crew and each other. You can join them, too. This week we’ve got myself, Bryan Roth, and Matthew Curtis, all fresh on the heels of GABF in Denver. We discuss the North American Guild of Beer Writers awards, the value of GABF, and some of the things that make GBH tick.


1 Nov 2017

Rank #11

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EP-106 Paul Vander Heide of Vandermill Cider

We’re sitting down with Paul Vander-Heide of Vandermill Cider out of Michigan. I first met Paul back when he was a tiny little cider mill in Spring Lake, personally loading a few kegs into his van and driving them to Chicago. He’s always been one step ahead of the cider wave that took off like a shot—and is currently hitting a bit of a plateau—in the U.S., depending on what kind of producer you are. But the reason he's succeeding is because of his foresight, willingness to adapt, opportunistic approach and, frankly, his ability to give the people what they want even as he sets his sights on a brighter future for the category.  In the Midwest, I don’t think there’s a cider company that has opened more doors than Vandermill. And the growth of his company is an indication that his days ahead are even more ambitious. He’s moved production from Spring Lake to Grand Rapids in a beautiful new facility with a tasting room and a kitchen. And there’s a ton of room in there to grow.  So I’m finally sitting down with Paul on what seems like the precipice of his success, but being the pragmatist that he is, he knows that his competition is getting fierce, and the entire category needs room to grow before cider makers start turning on each other.  He’s a great ambassador for cider, and I’m excited to share this conversation with you. Even if I was a little hungover from a bawdy evening at Sovengaard the night before. (I think it was that last Orval or maybe the Rosé that got me.) So pardon any sluggishness in my brain on this one.

1hr 2mins

30 Dec 2016

Rank #12

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EP-112 Chase Healey of American Solera

In the tradition of American Wild Ales, a name like American Solera might sound fundamental—but it’s a relative newcomer for brewer/founder Chase Healey. In Tulsa, Oklahoma, far from the hotspots and critical masses of drinkers for such delicacies, Healey has carved out a life and a living that's far different than the way he entered brewing. His first venture, Prairie Artisan Ales, in which he still plays a small supporting role, is quickly growing from one state to the next. And it was his come-to-Jesus moment with the vast potential for Prairie that helped him understand his more personal goals as a brewer. Through that shift in focus, and his curiosity surrounding Wild Ales, an entirely new, unproven chapter of his life opened. But for all the anxiety of venturing into unknown territory, it's his obsession with simplicity that seems to keep him keeled.  I caught up with Healey at RateBeer Best in Santa Rosa this year, fresh off his second place win for best new brewery in the world with American Solera, in addition to his legacy wins for top beer and top brewer in Oklahoma for Prairie in 2017.


10 Feb 2017

Rank #13

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Taprooms Vs. Everybody, Pt. 1

This episode is a two-parter devoted to the intersection of taprooms and retailers as they increasingly find themselves in competition with each other for the limited number of customers and dollars available in their markets for craft beer. There are a number of factors that have made taprooms a newly competitive aspect of the three-tier system—or what’s left of it in some cases. Laws have been changing, the consumer experience is shifting, OG beer bars are feeling the squeeze from every bar and restaurant seemingly carrying craft beer now, and larger trends like at-home consumption, bottle shares, trading circuits, and beer tourism. It’s hard out there for a retailer right now, and it’s kind of becoming taprooms versus everybody. The purpose of this two-part series was to dig into that tension and determine if there’s a concrete principle at play, or if, like most things in craft beer, it’s more of a loose relationship-based thing where some competition is welcome, and some isn’t. Most of all: how are we going to be thinking about all this in the future? Because I think we can all agree that competition that works in the drinker’s favor is generally a good thing, but if we start losing great bars in the process, then maybe we’re not all getting what we want in the end. Solemn Oath Brewery in Naperville, Illinois is the catalyst behind these episodes. As a small production brewery making right about 8,000 barrels, with an expanded taproom and a new one opening in the city of Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood, they were starting to feel the pushback from some key retail accounts who see them as competition. So they took the bold step of reaching out, inviting those accounts to brew a beer called Taproom Exclusive, and serving it anywhere but. They asked us to come along and lead a discussion around how we can maybe sort all this out productively and gain some perspective. Bavarian Lodge and Hopleaf joined in—both accounts that have carried Solemn Oath over the years, but who have been vocal about how they don’t like where things are heading. Kudos to everyone for being willing to come the the table—both figuratively and quite literally—over a beer and dig into the issue. This episode is recorded at the Hopleaf, and I’m joined by: Michael Roper, proprietor of Hopleaf Peter Rock-Tiernes of Middlebrow, who just owned a taproom in Logan Square Jay Jankowski of Maproom, just down the street from Middlebrow and Solmenn Oath’s future second taproom Eric Hobbs, sales director at Solemn Oath This is Taprooms Vs. Everybody, Pt. 1. Listen in.

1hr 53mins

28 Feb 2019

Rank #14

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EP- 156 Mitch Ermatinger of Speciation Artisan Ales

As the growth of craft beer and its various offshoots continues to find its niche in smaller and smaller cities and towns, a remarkable thing is happening. Some of the most obscure styles of brewing are making their homes far from the urban centers where most of the drinkers they tend to attract actually live. Breweries like Jester King and Hill Farmstead have long embodied this anomaly. And increasingly, there’s a new gelatin of sorts that’s had experience working in these sought-after breweries who are venturing out on their own, a bit like settlers, as they return to a place they call home and set up shop. They’re not met with instant success very often—even as they take on the challenges of making beers inspired by the Lambic, Gueuze, and wild traditions, they’re also met with the challenge of finding their audience in these smaller, out-of-the-way markets. Speciation Artisan Ales is one of the newest of these in the midwest. After an immersive education experience brewing for Black Project in Denver, Mitch Ermatinger and his wife Whitney decided to return home to the Grand Rapids area of Michigan, find some cheap industrial space, and start making wild ales of their own. Having learned a good deal of the brewing, aging, and blending side of things, they had to learn how to run a business, create a selling strategy, and start attracting an audience for a region of the country that simply doesn’t have much exposure to these kinds of beers—not to mention the way in which they were going to be sold. Even with a brewery like Jolly Pumpkin in his backyard, and being named Beer City USA, this was still a novel idea in 2018 Michigan beer. Listen in as we talk through how it came to fruition.


27 Jan 2018

Rank #15

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EP-169 Devon Kreps of 7venth Sun Brewery

I didn't expect to talk about a serial killer when I sat down with Devon Kreps recently, but sometimes life can be full of surprises. For a while, that was a recurring theme for Devon and her brewery, 7venth Sun, which she co-owns with Justin Stange. As you'll hear in our discussion, natural disasters and local tragedies played an unexpected and unfortunate role in the early story of their brewery's new production space in Tampa, Florida. But when we got together, it was in the cozy confines of their original brewery and taproom in Dunedin, a sort of golf cart community also on the western side of the state. Devon and Justin opened 7venth Sun in 2012 after meeting at Sweetwater Brewing, and her roots in beer go back to a degree in fermentation science from Oregon State University and time spent with Anheuser-Busch. You'll hear from Devon on a lot of similar topics craft brewers are facing today, from finding a niche in a local market to learning how to best run a business and, perhaps most important, overcome unexpected challenges for which you have no control. Through it all, Devon has helped run one of the flagship breweries in the greater Tampa area providing growth and excitement for her team and customers alike. Grab a Florida weisse, relax in a reclining chair and think of sandy beaches.


21 Apr 2018

Rank #16

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EP-204 Jude La Rose and Jeremiah Zimmer of Hop Butcher

Today’s guests represent a kind of brewery that lives, sometimes tenuously, in the spaces in between traditional brewery models in American craft brewing. They’s very small. They have an alternating proprietorship arrangement with another local brewery, which means they use another brewery’s system to brew their beer. But on that particular brew day, they technically own the license. They brew, package, and sell that beer via self-distribution. And their portfolio, for reasons both of constraint, personal interest, and identity, is hyper-focused on Hazy IPA, Double IPA, and adjunct Stouts.  While the growth in craft brewing slows, and 2019 looks to be a topsy-turvy year for many folks, a brewery like this could either be seen as exceptionally vulnerable, or crazy like a fox. They have low overhead, even if expenses are relatively high due to small volumes. They have a strong alt-prop relationship with a good local brewer, but that means they’re dependent on someone else’s business stability. And they have a great brand and profile in Chicago, but there’s always somebody new coming for their share of the pie. So, how do they balance all that uncertainty, while also finding the mental energy to be creative, connect with their fans, and explore the nerdier side of hoppy beers that seem to consistently delight those drinkers? Good question! This is Jude and Jeremiah from Hop Butcher for the World, a Beer Company. Listen in.

1hr 8mins

26 Jan 2019

Rank #17

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EP-225 Dan Love and Chris Baker of Mother Earth Brewing

It’s no longer a surprise these days when a brewery announces it’s opening another location. Secondary production facilities and taprooms aren’t ubiquitous, but they are becoming more common for companies who quickly outgrow modest homes and expectations. In 2018, the largest brewer in Idaho came from California. Brewing a little over 10,000 barrels at its Nampa facility just outside of Boise, Mother Earth Brew Company has quickly become a mainstay in the state after opening its second space in 2016. The output from Idaho was about a quarter of all beer the business made last year, with its original facility still cranking out beer in Vista, California. So, what does it take to pull this off? While traveling through Idaho this spring, I sat down with Mother Earth’s president and CEO, Dan Love, and Chris Baker, director of brewing operations, to get an idea. In this conversation, they reveal that it’s not just a matter of time and money, but relationships and community-building can play a big role. And that’s before you even get to making and shipping the beer. With rapid expansion thanks to the popularity of beers like Boo Koo Mosaic IPA and Cali Creamin' Vanilla Cream Ale, there’s a lot to navigate on the march toward 100,000 barrels. In addition to selling beer, that also includes a unique situation—Idaho’s Mother Earth Brew Company happens to share an eerily close name to North Carolina’s Mother Earth Brewing. For a company coming east and entering many locations around the Tar Heel State, it creates a wild and interesting backstory you’ll hear in this interview. Dan and Chris share a lot on running a modern brewery over this hour, and it’s definitely representative of the variety of challenges owners and brewers have to consider today. This is Dan Love and Chris Baker of Mother Earth Brew Company. Listen in.


29 Jun 2019

Rank #18

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CL-003 GBH Collective — BrewDog's Misadventures, Lost & Grounded, Pricing in the U.K., A Grafting Workshop and Homemade Cider

Welcome back to another episode of the GBH Collective where we bring you the stories behind the stories from our writers and photographers all over the world.   This is our third edition of this format - and if you’re liking it, let us know. The team really enjoys sharing their perspectives, and I can say personally, I’m enjoying hearing more about their adventures.   And of course, this new series of episodes is made possible by our Patreon subscribers. Patron is a way that our readers and listeners can subscribe to GBH with a monthly contribution, just like subscribing to a magazine. We give back to our subscribers, which we call the Fervent few through events, discounts, exclusive gear and art, and a host of other perks. Because tot us, being a Fervent Few member makes you part of the team - and you’ll see that come true when we launch the community section of the website in the next month. So to all those who signed up already, thanks so much - you’re already enjoying the fruits of that subscription.   If you want to join, visit patreon.com/goodbeerhunting, or click on the link on our show notes.   This week we’ve got Matthew Curtis from London talking about stories underway with Wild Beer Co. and Lost & Grounded and others, but also the recent news cycles about BrewDog, which are troubling. And his recent trip to New Zealand.   We’ll also be checking in with Steph Byce based here in Chicago. She’ll be in the studio with her homemade ciders, as she prepares for a Vermont Trip to visit Shacksbury for a grafting workshop. And she’ll share her experience up in Michigan at Dark Horse as well.   An incredibly diverse range of topics from some great storytellers. 


5 Apr 2017

Rank #19

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CL-004 GBH Collective — Wicked Weed, Mitch Steele in Atlanta, and Crew Drives

This week we’ve got Austin Ray, our Editorial Director talking about our Wicked Weed coverage pretty much as we were writing it, and his interview with Mitch Steel about his new atlanta brewpub concept.  We’ll also check in with Bill Holland, one of our newest recruits who’ been contributing to our b-Roll section in between his hours selling beer for MillerCoors, which lends a unique perspective to our team.  As usual, a diverse range of topics from some great storytellers. 


16 May 2017

Rank #20