Drink Beer, Think Beer

This weekly podcast gets to the bottom of every pint.

Every week, Drink Beer, Think Beer touches on all aspects of the brewing industry. From ingredients and process, to philosophy and the art in each beer, the podcast is hosted by long-time journalist John Holl and is available on all the major podcast platforms. Beer Edge releases new episodes of Drink Beer, Think Beer with John Holl every Wednesday.  

Matt Brynildson is the Brewmaster of the Firestone Walker Brewing Company in Paso Robles, California and in this premiere episode of Drink Beer, Think Beer all he wants to do is talk about foam. It makes sense, actually. He is currently spending a year in Belgium as part of a “beer sabbatical” where he is learning from fellow brewers in the Duvel Moortgat family. Sitting in a barrel room at De Koninck in Antwerp being lulled by the songs of Barry White, Brynildson talks about his brewing philosophy and how it has evolved over a career that started in a hop lab, took him to Goose Island in Chicago, and eventually out west where his beer regularly racks up awards.
Carol Stoudt was the first female brewmaster in the United States following Prohibition and for the last thirty years has been at the helm of her Pennsylvania brewery turning out authentic lagers and experimenting with ales. In this episode of the Drink Beer, Think Beer podcast, Stoudt talks about the changing landscape of the craft beer industry and how it has helped the brewery to be more nimble and to experiment in ways that seemed impossible when she first started. From brewing on a pilot system with new generation hops to worrying about bar accounts and the competition, Stoudt opens up and offers perspective on how one legacy craft brewery continues to push forward.
Garrett Marrero What’s in a title? For Garrett Marrero, the CEO of Maui Brewing Company it’s the latest in an evolution of his company that started off as a small brewpub and now is a major beverage company making not just beer but coffee, spirits, and hard seltzer. Recorded at the Falling Rock Tap House during the Great American Beer Festival, Marrero talks about his early days in brewing, his push towards sustainable technology, and the importance of being local on Hawaii. Although beer is central to the company’s success, he is also open about embracing other beverages for the sake of diversity and to grow his company. There are hard lessons to be learned as the owner of a company and anyone thinking about jumping into the beer industry should give this a listen.

Evan Watson is a farmer, brewer, musician, athlete, and all around thoughtful guy. When host John Holl showed up at the Plan Bee Farm Brewery in New York’s Hudson Valley a few weeks back, Watson was holding an axe in one hand and a magnum bottle of barn beer in the other. After sabering open the bottle, and pouring two glasses, Watson showed off the farm, including acres of heirloom corn he is growing and that will go into his beers. Watson talks about inspiration, music, and how he is still trying to figure out his place in the brewing industry all while staying true to his art.
Hagen Dost and Bill Wesselink Strap in folks, because this week it’s Hagen Dost and Bill Wesselink of Chicago’s Dovetail Brewery. There are no secrets in the brewhouse and the pair who met in brewing school and opened up a house of lager in Chicago a few years ago are ready to discuss it all. From how they brew a rauchbier to the equipment they have acquired from around the world to how they approach creating a recipe from the water up, the duo go deep on brewing passion.
Samantha Lee and Stephen Bossu Since the 2016 presidential election, politics has dominated the national conversation and it’s not always polite. Businesses of all sizes have struggled to maintain the right tone when talking about their political beliefs, if they do it at all, for fear of alienating customers. So when John Holl sat down with Lee and Bossu of Hopewell Brewing a few weeks ago, he was surprised at how candid they were about politics and their beliefs. But, it became clear pretty quickly that their beliefs, backgrounds, and passions are what make Hopewell the brewery it is. And don’t worry. They talk about the beer as well.
NoDa Brewing
Chad Henderson and Charles Willett John joined the good folks at NoDa Brewing during the Great American Beer Festival in the basement of famed Beer Bar Falling Rock. Chad goes by head brewer and co-owner and Willet is the brewery’s controller. In thinking about this episode, Holl says he’s “always struck, when talking with brewers, about how the littlest thing can happen and change the trajectory of a life, often to the benefit of us drinkers as well. On this episode, we talked about how changes in the law in North Carolina a few years back helped pave the way for the brewery, and how a simple conversation at a the Denver Rare Beer Tasting event helped Chad peruse his dream of brewing.
Cesar Marron Evanston Illinois is just north of Chicago and plays a big role in the temperance movement that swept the country a century ago. Frances Willard, the president of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union once lived here. After Prohibition the city decided to remain dry and did so until the 1970s and it wasn’t until 1984 that liquor stores were allowed in town. So, host John Holl was more than a little tickled when he sat down at Sketchbook Brewing in Evanston with founder Cesar Marron to have a pint. The city has come a long way over the last few decades and this brewery is now firmly part of the fabric. So much so that Sketchbook is currently undergoing an expansion. Holl first got to know Marron a few years ago when they were both judges at the Sam Adams Longshot competition, a contest Marron had won just a few years earlier. In this conversation, recorded at the Sketchbook tap room on an autumn afternoon they talked about juggling two careers and family, the tightrope walk that is distribution, and the thought and timing that goes into releasing specialty batches. Holl started off by asking Marron about his origin story and how he found his way into homebrewing and eventually going pro. We hope you enjoy the conversation.

Lauren Woods Limbach The wood cellar director and blender, Limbach has been with New Belgium Brewing Company for 22 years and has seen the changes to the industry first hand along with changes to New Belgium’s ownership, including the recent, pending, sale to Kirin-owned Lion Little World Beverages. On this episode of Drink Beer, Think Beer, Limbach talks with host John Holl about the sale but then shifts into wood and sour beer production where she is one of the country’s foremost authorities on the style. But, how do you classify the style and what separates a truly good representation from a mediocre one? Limbach shares some guidance and tips on how we can all be better educated when it comes to what we’re tasting. The pair caught up at New York’s Blind Tiger Ale House in early December, just two weeks after Lion announced that it would be adding New Belgium to its portfolio, which includes brands like Four Roses Bourbon. She was in town to talk about the brewery’s 2020 beer portfolio and even shares some release news on this show for the first time. Limbach and Holl cover a lot of ground over pints of pilsners and imperial stouts. Here’s their conversation.

Augie Carton This particular episode has been a long time in the making. Despite co-hosting a show with Augie Carton for the last four years, John Holl hasn’t really had a chance to sit down with him one-on-one for an interview. It’s something Holl has wanted to do, and judging by the emails and social media pings from listeners of Steal This Beer, the podcast they co-host, it’s something many others wanted as well. Holl sat down with Carton, the co-founder of Carton Brewing at his house on a recent Saturday morning. They drank some champagne and some of the beers Carton has been working on. They talked about building out recipes, fine dining influences on his brewing career, and how observing interactions, tastings, and general curiosity from his father, mother, and their friends laid the ground work on what he is trying to accomplish today. Each week on our show Holl sees Carton tease out flavors from beers that are poured blind, and while the brewer is always confidant and occasionally wrong, he does manage to bring some nuance to the forefront most of the time. So, that’s where the conversation begins: on flavor.

Jace Marti This week our guest on Drink Beer, Think Beer is Jace Marti, the assistant brewmaster at the August Schell Brewing Company in Minnesota. Beer has always been the family business, but rather than follow the status quo, Jace is working to bring the brewery into new arenas, notably wild and wood aged beers through the Starkeller Brewery Noble Star collection. Thanks to some long forgotten equipment – namely foudres – in the brewery’s New Ulm facility that were refurbished and moved to a separate location in town, the brewery that has long been known for bocks and adjunct lagers is now gaining acclaim for vibrant ales with fruit additions and great depth. Bringing change to a brewery that has been around for 160 years isn’t easy – both for the company itself and for customer perception, but adaptation is key to survival and growth these days, something Jace knows well. As the brewery prepares to transition leadership to a new generation of the family, Jace sat down with host John Holl in Denver just before the Great American Beer Festival to talk about what comes next. While it may seem like an obvious question, Holl wanted an answer, so he started off asking this 6th generation brewer if his destiny was sealed even before he could walk.
Maureen Ogle My guest today is Maureen Ogle, the author of several books including In Meat We Trust: An Unexpected History of Carnivore America and Ambitious Brew: A History of American Beer. There is a Revised Edition that is now available and you should use those holiday gift cards and return credits to get yourself a copy. In this conversation, recorded in Denver during the Great American Beer Festival, we cover a lot of ground, including her next project – another beer book – that might interest those of you who got a kick out of my previous show with Jace Marti. There’s a lot to learn from Maureen’s research and while we all might be focused – especially headed into a new decade – on the future – the lessons of the past are important. Since we’re both writers, there’s a lot of talk about that particular craft and I try to gain a little more insight on what Maureen learned as a historian diving into beer. That’s where we start.

Bill Shufelt Welcome to a new year and a new episode of Drink Beer, Think Beer. The first month has become known as Dry January by a certain segment of drinkers. The excess of the end-of-year holidays and new year resolutions that have people thinking healthier thoughts has played into this cultural movement where people decide to give up booze – or go dry for the first whole month of the year. So, I thought it fitting to sit down with Bill Shufelt of Athletic Brewing Co. He founded the company after he gave up beer and drinking but still wanted the experience of knocking back a cold one. His brewery is based in Stratford, Connecticut just a short distance from Two Roads Brewing. Athletic is part of a new wave of non-alcoholic breweries that have opened across north America in recent years, riding the trend of healthier drinking or drinking less. This is something that younger drinkers, the Millennials are doing, along with Boomers. The word “occasion” is often used when talking about when people consume non-alcoholic drinks and it can be everything from office happy hours to back yard barbecues. The non-alcoholic category is still small in the US. Like, almost non-existent small. But consider Europe where the NA category is about 10 percent of beer sales. So, there’s room to grow. In this interview, recorded in New York City at the Arts and Craft Bar, Shufelt talks with host John Holl about some of the challenges to get his beer to market and into the hands of interested drinkers. He’s reluctant to talk about how the company actually makes the liquid and prefers to stick to marketing pitches. But he is in a driver’s seat on the road to the non-alcoholic beer revolution, and Holl started by asking him to set the scene of where things stand as we all start off a new decade.
Linus Hall Nashville is a great city for drinking, from the bars along Broadway to the clubs on Music Row. But the beer has not always been local. That has changed over the last 20 years, and while it was not the first, Yazoo Brewing was one of the city’s early craft breweries and been a force for positive beer change in the music city where long neck bottles of Bud reigned supreme. And of course that beer is still king, but there is choice like never before and Yazoo is a big part of that. This week’s guest is Linus Hall, who founded the brewery in 2003. The brewery has grown as the city has grown and it is now in its third location. It’s on the outskirts of town, a drive away from the raucous parties and vacationers that populate downtown, which allows the taproom to once again serve locals, something Hall cares deeply about. The brewery has added a canning line, and have additional plans to expand the property to bring the Embrace the Funk program headed by Brandon Jones to the campus. On this episode, recorded at the brewery on New Years Eve, we talk about real estate, brewery growth, consumer expectations, and why you shouldn’t drink on New York City subway platforms.

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