Cover image of Good Beer Hunting
(185)

Rank #50 in Food category

Arts
Food

Good Beer Hunting

Updated 3 days ago

Rank #50 in Food category

Arts
Food
Read more

GBH is not a voice speaking only from the outside looking in, but rather, from the middle of some of the most rapidly changing dynamics that any U.S. industry has ever seen. The interviews go deeper and the articles work harder to balance the culture of craft beer with the businesses it supports, shifting the conversation with our readers toward the future of the industry we love and the tenacity of its ideals.

Read more

GBH is not a voice speaking only from the outside looking in, but rather, from the middle of some of the most rapidly changing dynamics that any U.S. industry has ever seen. The interviews go deeper and the articles work harder to balance the culture of craft beer with the businesses it supports, shifting the conversation with our readers toward the future of the industry we love and the tenacity of its ideals.

iTunes Ratings

185 Ratings
Average Ratings
156
12
8
1
8

Invaluable

By mca_mike - Aug 16 2019
Read more
The most holistically focused podcast about beer out there. The team of deft interviewers that make up the GBH team make their guests, topics, and beer on the whole more approachable. An invaluable resource for understanding why beer means more than just beer.

Brian Roth, piqued is pronounced “peaked”, not “picked”

By PeterBruceH - Feb 21 2019
Read more
This is an excellent podcast. Respectful of the craft of brewing and lacking the “bro” factor that seems to plague so many other podcasts about the industry.

iTunes Ratings

185 Ratings
Average Ratings
156
12
8
1
8

Invaluable

By mca_mike - Aug 16 2019
Read more
The most holistically focused podcast about beer out there. The team of deft interviewers that make up the GBH team make their guests, topics, and beer on the whole more approachable. An invaluable resource for understanding why beer means more than just beer.

Brian Roth, piqued is pronounced “peaked”, not “picked”

By PeterBruceH - Feb 21 2019
Read more
This is an excellent podcast. Respectful of the craft of brewing and lacking the “bro” factor that seems to plague so many other podcasts about the industry.
Cover image of Good Beer Hunting

Good Beer Hunting

Updated 3 days ago

Read more

GBH is not a voice speaking only from the outside looking in, but rather, from the middle of some of the most rapidly changing dynamics that any U.S. industry has ever seen. The interviews go deeper and the articles work harder to balance the culture of craft beer with the businesses it supports, shifting the conversation with our readers toward the future of the industry we love and the tenacity of its ideals.

Rank #1: EP-147 Bart Watson of the Brewers Association

Podcast cover
Read more
It’s hard to be objective when it comes to such a subjective thing like beer. We’re all driven by our own preferences and tastes mapped out by sensory experiences of flavor and aroma. Things are good and bad, sought after whales and shelf turds. Beer is an experiential good and our exposure varies on time of day, mood, company and more. But there are still plenty of cold, hard facts that factor into the social, cultural and business side of beer, which is why this week’s guest is a special one for me.  Bart Watson deals with numbers. Truthful, verifiable, factual data. As one of only several economists who work within the beer industry, it’s his job to offer context and insight into what’s changing, and often, what’s to come. His logical and well-cited reason is regularly seen on the Brewers Association website and increasingly in media around the country. When some may be focusing on the hot take du jour, Bart can be found writing a blog post or interacting on Twitter with calculated answers. And it’s about beer. As the BA was preparing to kickoff the Great American Beer Festival in early October, I sat down with Bart inside the Colorado Convention Center to geek out, talking about the new challenges within the beer market, including price points, marijuana use, distribution and more. With thousands of people scurrying around the building ready to celebrate craft beer, it was exciting to take a fittingly calm moment to evaluate the state of the industry and where beer lovers should be looking in 2018. Who knew economics could be so cool?

Nov 11 2017

1hr 8mins

Play

Rank #2: EP-240 Theresa Bale of Temescal Brewing

Podcast cover
Read more

Welcome to the Good Beer Hunting Podcast. I’m Ashley Rodriguez. 

I remember the very first time I went to Temescal Brewing in Oakland, California. I had been watching the buildout for months, waiting in anticipation. You could step outside of my apartment building and see it from the corner. So when they finally opened, I was excited—and pleasantly surprised by the number of crushable, low-ABV beers they offered from the get-go. I was immediately on board. 

My relationship with Temescal Brewing is a mirror of my time in Oakland, initially because of proximity—I could throw a load of clothes in the washing machine and have a beer as I waited to transfer them to the dryer. Eventually, however, it evolved into a closer connection with the folks who ran the brewery. I was used to talking with the bartenders—at that time there were maybe six or seven regular folks I’d see—and eventually I ended up joining the bar staff, and being forever changed not just by the way they brew beer, but by the way they hire, the way they advocate for the rights of others, and the way they became a guiding light for businesses seeking to operate ethically and responsibly. 

A lot of what I love about Temescal comes from owner Sam Gilbert, who we interviewed on this podcast a couple of weeks ago, but also from then-taproom manager Theresa Bale. Theresa hired me back in the day, and is also the founder of Queer First Friday, the Bay’s only craft-beer-focused queer dance party. Every first Friday of the month, Temescal holds one of the most exciting and inclusive queer events in the area. From queer families who bring their children in at the beginning of the night to folks hopping on the dance floor to new performers, DJs, and singers showcasing their talents for the very first time, Queer First Friday is one of the loveliest celebrations of diversity and inclusion that I’ve encountered. And it’s all because of Theresa. 

In this episode, we talk a lot about Queer First Friday—I was at the very first one, slinging beers from the outside bar, slightly overwhelmed by the number of people who showed up, clamoring to get in, and we also talk about how Theresa thinks about hiring for diversity. Theresa isn’t shy about this—she’s intentional, she’s open, and she makes a point to seek out bartenders who maybe don’t have a ton of experience or know that much about beer. Because, for Theresa, to build a truly inclusive staff, you have to look outside the corners and social networks you know. 

I could talk about Temescal and what it means to me forever. But I’ll let Theresa, who recently transitioned from taproom manager to head of operations, a job she created for herself, tell the story. This is Theresa Bale, head of operations for Temescal Brewing in Oakland, California. Listen in.

Oct 19 2019

54mins

Play

Rank #3: EP-155 Alex Kidd of Don't Drink Beer

Podcast cover
Read more
In craft beer, so many of the conversations we lead are less about the beer we’re drinking and more about how we identify with it, or the person who made it, or who owns that company and how that reflects back on our own self-image. Craft beer is a foggy mirror that way. And we get caught up in so many contradictions, hypocrisies and, in some cases, some serious self-hatred as a culture.  Basically, we’re a consumer base and an industry ripe for satire. Today’s guest is one of the most effective in that regard, sometimes holding up that filthy mirror to the populace, other times to himself.  Don’t Drink Beer is a weird website that started on the fringes and worked its way to the middle using satire and self-reflection as a way to expose some of the more insane things we do as beer makers and drinkers. The trading circuit, the line-waiting, the valuations we put on certain bottles while ignoring others, and the oft-enraging debates that start in Facebook groups and forums.  Don’t Drink Beer is a persona that often catches its intended audience off guard. And sometimes plays straight into it. And after following it for years, the pattern reveals it for what it is—the evolution of a comedian.  Alex Kidd, the guy behind the site, is a professional comedian. He studied and practices law in California, and as you can tell from some of his more elaborate beer reviews, he's also a studied writer, reader, and music history sponge. And describing him this way, so earnestly, just feels so wrong. He was in Chicago this past week on tour with a comedy show about beer called Barley Wine is Live, for which we’ll talk about the inspiration in the interview. But we also talk about the long history of Don’t Drink Beer and its relationship with Chicago and the Midwest, as an antagonist of sorts from the West Coast. Oh, and where all this is going, if it is, indeed, going anywhere.

Jan 20 2018

59mins

Play

Rank #4: EP-140 Chris + John Trogner of Troegs Brewing Company

Podcast cover
Read more
There are so many paths people take to follow their passion, often surrounded by the support of friends and family. No matter what excites us enough to go pro for the thing that we love, there's still a shared experience in the fact that entrepreneurship is intimate. It's not uncommon to find partners in business to also be partners in life. Friends, spouses, parents, and siblings are all taking risks—every day and together—to create something they deeply care about. From a surprisingly early age, Chris and John Trogner assumed this would be their lot in life. A duo served well by their love of brainstorming and invention, teamwork between this pair has led to youthful mischief (a homemade cannon), practicality (a skateboard ramp), and what they're now best known for—beer. This summer marked 20 years in business for Troegs Brewing Company, now one of the 50 largest breweries in the United States. Behind a quickly growing production limit and expanding staff are these two brothers, overseeing an evolving company that is adapting to the industry through new additions at their Hershey, Pennsylvania headquarters and their lineup of beers, which offer new experiences and inspiration through their beloved Scratch series of experimental batches. Stories of how people came to start a business in beer are plentiful, each with their unique anecdotes and nuance. Sitting down this summer with the founders of Troegs provided an opportunity to not only talk shop, but learn more about the personal and familial ties that have helped them become so successful. Behind all the company has accomplished, it’s still about two brothers who care deeply about beer and the people who help them share it with the world.

Sep 22 2017

1hr 6mins

Play

Rank #5: EP-149 Erik Lars Myers of Mystery Brewing

Podcast cover
Read more
The Brewers Association loves to tout the ever-growing number of small and independent breweries that are popping up across the country. It’s gotten to the point where there’s really no type of geographical area that’s without some "hometown" beer. In North Carolina, the number of breweries has ballooned in recent years, with businesses finding homes all over. While you might have heard of places like Asheville, Charlotte, Raleigh, or Durham, the town of Hillsborough is less commonly known. But it’s this location—population: about 7,000—where we’ll visit today for the chance to hear from Erik Lars Myers, the founder and CEO of Mystery Brewing. In July 2010, Erik’s brewery was the first in the U.S. to successfully crowdfund a portion of its startup costs, something that seems near-ubiquitous in today’s marketplace. Since then, his business plan and Mystery Brewing have evolved rapidly. In our conversation, which is far ranging and really in-depth, you’ll hear me refer to him as something of a futurist. A lot of what Erik decided just as the American craft beer industry was really starting to take off was adventurous at the time. But now a lot of it is simply stuff people do: heavily rotating brands, focusing on bringing people to a taproom, wearing your heart on your sleeve. This is a long conversation. But so much of what we discuss is really topical to drinkers and business owners alike. Erik’s honesty and love for beer and its industry made for one of those interviews that you just ride out. There are tips and insights that highlight how Erik and his team are doing something special, and I hope his story and point of view expresses something new and interesting to you, too.

Dec 01 2017

1hr 55mins

Play

Rank #6: EP-195 Holy Mountain Brewery + Friends

Podcast cover
Read more
The more of the beer world I’ve seen during my travels, the more dots I’ve been able to connect between certain kinds of breweries. Not just with the kinds of beers they make, like a Hazy IPA brewery, or a sour brewery, but broader than that—something that sort of gets to that phrase you hear so often amongst brewers” “like mindedness.” Sometimes this phrase makes me queasy, as it sounds a bit familiar in the larger context of the monoculture that plagues craft beer. But when it’s used with intent to describe a deeper set of ideas and principles, it can do a good job of describing why some brewers find a near-instant connection with each other. Sometimes it’s the branding, or the tone. Sometimes is the design of the taproom or the part of town they’re in, even in separate cities. Every small business makes thousands of different decisions on their way to becoming a brewery, and some of those decisions are more self-aware than others. But in the end, you get a sort of gestalt—a combination of factors that add up to a vibe, or a presence. Brewers can recognize each other in a second. It’s a sort of love at first sight. More often than not, this is at the root of brewing collaborations. A consummation of sorts that helps prove that initial inkling. So it is with Solemn Oath Brewery in Naperville, Illinois—longtime friends of GBH—and Holy Mountain Brewing in Seattle. There’s plenty of commonality between these two beer makers on the surface. Anyone who’s been to both taprooms will see the connection. If you’ve seen the branding, you can get that attraction, too. And so it is that these two became fast friends. The team from Holy Mountain was in Chicago, making a collaboration beer with Solemn Oath, so we got them all together, along with Solemn Oath co-founder John Barley, and dug into what these two see in each other.

Nov 10 2018

1hr 19mins

Play

Rank #7: EP-185 Taylor and Dan Suarez of Suarez Family Brewery

Podcast cover
Read more
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.

Aug 24 2018

1hr 26mins

Play

Rank #8: EP-121 Artisanal Imports, Whiner Beer, Dovetail with Lanny Hoff + Co.

Podcast cover
Read more
The three-tier system is something that’s continuously up for debate in our country, surfing on arguments about who it serves poorly and who it services well, who it protects us from and who it favors. It’s a complicated value chain mandated by the federal government to exist, but also regulated by states, and increasingly getting sliced up into more unique and critical ways of bringing your favorite breweries to market.  One part of that value chain that’s been quietly evolving is the role of the importer. They work between the brewer and distributor, and traditionally bring you beers from oversees from places like Belgium, the UK, and Germany. You may have heard our interviews from Shelton Fest two years ago when we interviewed two of their operators to demystify this part of the business, and shine a light on the value that importers bring even when they’re working with domestic instead of foreign breweries. For its part, Shelton Brothers just announced their next festival will be in Atlanta on August 18-19.  Then there's the domestic side of the import business, sometimes even called a domestic importer. It's really a convoluted way of describing an importer who moves products domestically through their existing infrastructure, state-to-state instead of country-to-county.  As more and more small local breweries are finding ways to grow sustainably and gain access to market when the shelves are tight and tap handles are scarce, the role of the domestic importer is helping some of these niche breweries find niche audiences wherever they might be.  Today’s guests are excited to talk about a very unique scenario in this vein. Artisanal Imports, known for importing brands like Sunner Kolsch, St Feuillen, and De Proef, are now partnering with U.S. brands. They’ve been working in U.S. cider for some time now with Farnhum Hill and EZ Orchards, which are among the best in the world. But niche, hyperlocal breweries is a new step towards diversifying their business and finding new territory to explore. In Chicago, they’ve partnered with Dovetail and Whiner Beer, two newcomers with unique portfolios.  Today we’re going to hear about what’s behind that move, and why it might be a new model for small brands going forward. It’s a full room on this one, so I do my best to keep it all straight. We’ve got Hagen Dost and Bill Wesselink from Dovetail Brewery, Brian Taylor of Whiner Beer Company, and Lanny Hoff of Artisanal Imports. Listen in.

Apr 28 2017

1hr 19mins

Play

Rank #9: #SHELTONFEST2017 — Chris Herron of Creature Comforts

Podcast cover
Read more
Today’s episode is part of a series of talks we recorded at the Shelton Brothers festival back in August in Atlanta — a phenomenal gathering of some of the best brewers in the world, as well as a few niche cider and wine makers, all holding their own in one of the most diverse and interesting product portfolios that’s ever been assembled.  The folks from Shelton Brothers gave us a room, and free rein to curate talks with anyone we wanted, on any topics we wished.  It’s a somewhat speedy series of interviews, much shorter than you’re used to on GBH, and that’s because we wanted to see if a series of topics might emerge — a pattern of sorts, that might give us an indication of what’s on people’s minds at this point in time, in this particular portfolio of producers. And sure enough, it worked.  On a few of these episodes, other folks from GBH drop in from time to time as well, so you’ll also here from Blake Tyers and Kyle Kastranec

Nov 21 2017

27mins

Play

Rank #10: SL-011 What does growth look like in a slowing beer industry?

Podcast cover
Read more
As of right now—May 2019—there are about 7,500 breweries in the United States. From 2016-2018, the Brewers Association counted about two new breweries opening every day, and in that time, the size, scope, and potential of what those businesses could become has quickly changed. Year-to-year volume growth for Brewers Association-defined craft beer dropped to 4% last year, a decline of 1% from 2017 and the lowest growth rate in a decade. Industry conversations now focus on going a “mile deep,” not a “mile wide.” In other words, staying small and local—while embracing close-to-home and taproom sales—is becoming a safer and more secure way to grow, albeit slower and with greater intent. As the beer category slows and more companies focus on staying small and local, the idea of “growth” as a business concept is changing. To better get a sense of what this change means, GBH connected with Bart Watson, the economist from the Brewers Association, and Tom Madden, co-founder of Lone Pine Brewing Company in Portland, Maine. With a mix of industry stats and real-life case study, we hope to get to the bottom of what growth looks like in a slowing beer industry. Listen in.

May 23 2019

27mins

Play

Rank #11: #BEAVEREX18 — I Can See Clearly Now — Chasing Beer Trends as a Means to an End

Podcast cover
Read more
I Can See Clearly Now — Chasing Beer Trends as a Means to an End Host: Jonny Garrett Panelists: Andy Parker (Elusive), Matt Brynildson (Firestone Walker), Alexandra Nowell (Three Weavers) At last years Extravaganza brewers clashed during the discussion of where the Hazy IPA fits within modern beer culture. In the year that’s passed, the style has gradually become a popular, almost common fixture within craft beer—even one of the panelists who denounced the style last year has been turned on to its charms. In addition to this, new IPA styles—such as Brut IPA—are beginning to turn heads. Should brewers continue to chase new trends in an effort to maintain relevance in the market? Or should they be seeking balance, and stability, as competition and other market pressures continue to increase apace.

Oct 10 2018

41mins

Play

Rank #12: EP-212 Greg Koch of Stone Brewing Co.

Podcast cover
Read more
[Photo by Matthew Curtis] Few breweries can represent the past, present, and future of American craft beer the way Stone Brewing can. And it’s co-founder, today’s guest, Greg Koch, has been known to speak authoritatively about the entire timeline of craft beer at times. And with good reason—he’s seen and participated in most of it himself. For some, though, his voice can sometimes seem anachronistic. It hearkens back to old, perhaps out-of-date realities of the business that can be jarring against new challenges and priorities for small, independent American brewers—and increasingly those inspired by American brewers overseas. How Stone has navigated the shifting priorities of craft beer has been varied over the years. Sometimes they seem to double down on their initial ethos. Other times, they seem to abandon it altogether. But looks can be deceiving. So this conversation—my first interview with Koch—was an opportunity to hear what some of those decisions have meant to him and Stone over the years. And why they may or may not be in conflict as he and the brand trek back and forth across the ocean in what might hopefully turn out to be a straight line toward some long-term goal. But as can so often happen in this business, it might eventually reveal itself to be a lost-at sea scenario just as easily. It’s almost impossible to tell when the waves are constantly crashing and the winds are constantly shifting and so many people want a hand on that wheel. In this interview, we talk about Stone’s place in the world then and now—growth and layoffs and private equity, breaking off brands like Arrogant Bastard, social media, sabbaticals, and finding the yin and yang with a co-founder. There’s a lot to cover. And I greatly appreciate Greg’s willingness to riff on so many different topics that are important to him, or me, and often both. This is Greg Koch of Stone Brewing. Listen in.

Mar 30 2019

1hr 32mins

Play

Rank #13: EP-161 Jeffrey Stuffings of Jester King Brewery

Podcast cover
Read more
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.

Mar 03 2018

1hr

Play

Rank #14: EP-131 Luke Dickinson of Wicked Weed Brewing

Podcast cover
Read more
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.

Jul 21 2017

1hr 36mins

Play

Rank #15: SL-002 So, you opened a brewery. Now what?

Podcast cover
Read more
What does it take to open a brewery these days? And what happens after you do? These questions are at the center of two conversations we have in this Sightlines addition of the podcast. First, we hear from Scott Janish and Michael Tonsmeire, co-owners of Maryland’s Sapwood Cellars. I sat down with the pair for episode #144 from October 2017, and have been tracking their progress since. Back then, they were working on recipes and trying to perfect an approach to New England IPA, all while finding the physical space for their business. They opened a year later, and when I caught up with them in January, we took some time to reflect on their first three months in operation. You’ll hear about challenges and triumphs and the changes that have occurred at the brewery and in their lives. After that, we check in with Scott Wood, who opened New Orleans’ Courtyard Brewery a little over four years ago, and also happened to be featured on Good Beer Hunting in the fall of 2017, just weeks before the guys from Sapwood. Scott just announced a second, larger production space for his brewery that aims to open in 2020, and even though he’s been in business for years, this is a big step for his business. It’s one that he admits in our conversation took a long time to get ready for personally and professionally. Here we have two breweries, years apart in experience, but still learning and changing. What does it take to operate a brewery in 2019? Let’s get an idea. This is Scott Janish and Michael Tonsmeire of Sapwood Cellars, then Scott Wood of Courtyard Brewery. Listen in.

Jan 30 2019

50mins

Play

Rank #16: Taprooms Vs. Everybody, Pt. 1

Podcast cover
Read more
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.

Feb 28 2019

1hr 53mins

Play

Rank #17: EP-117 Dan Jansen of Blue Point Brewing Co.

Podcast cover
Read more
A few years ago on vacation on Long Island, I stumbled across a few local beers that caught my attention—Toasted Lager and Rastafa Rye were two of them, both beers from Blue Point. After some searching, we found the brewery a road just a short walk from the center of a sleepy town. It was closed that day, so I didn’t get to visit, but the image of that building—a sort of repurposed gas station with an old school dive bar for a tap room—stuck with me.  Shortly after, I started seeing the growth of Toasted Lager as close as Michigan, and the Bluepoint story started to become regional. That little brewery on Long Island had contracted their Lager in upstate New York, like so many growing brands on the east coast. And it was about this time that AB InBev took notice as well, acquiring the brewery in a deal that was largely ignored compared to the uproar that came with some of their other acquisitions. Who was Blue Point? And why did AB want to buy them? Those questions were the common refrain. I’ll admit, other than the regional advantage, it seemed like a curious choice to me at the time, too.  But watching the brand evolve since the acquisition, some themes emerge. The coastal story is more prominent. The connection to the local culinary culture is there. And of course, they had a unique Lager that was already scaling up and reaching new markets. Now? They’re distributing to Chicago for the first time.  In all that change, Blue Point brought on a new brewmaster, a guy who came up through the St. Louis Budweiser brewery, a trained engineer who found his passion for beer. When the opportunity opened up for a role in one of AB's craft breweries, he leapt at the chance.  It’s a career story that can only exist in 2017 with America’s talent pool starting to move back and forth from big and little breweries within the same ownership structure, as each seek out a particular expertise. Whether it be engineering or cultural, both work to define innovation for themselves, and as some talent graduates, along with opportunities for scaling up or down, your focus as a brewer becomes valuable. Interesting times.

Mar 26 2017

47mins

Play

Rank #18: CL-003 GBH Collective — BrewDog's Misadventures, Lost & Grounded, Pricing in the U.K., A Grafting Workshop and Homemade Cider

Podcast cover
Read more

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. 

Apr 05 2017

53mins

Play

Rank #19: EP-106 Paul Vander Heide of Vandermill Cider

Podcast cover
Read more
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.

Dec 30 2016

1hr 2mins

Play

Rank #20: EP-112 Chase Healey of American Solera

Podcast cover
Read more
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.

Feb 10 2017

44mins

Play