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Good Beer Hunting

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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. Continue Reading >>
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. << Show Less
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EP-341 Sarah Flora of Flora Brewing Expertise is an easy thing to pin down … or is it? There’s the oft-cited 10,000 hours that it takes to become an expert. Or there’s a dictionary we could pull from a book shelf or mobile device to look up a definition. Or maybe we just know it when we see it in action. There are all sorts of experts who share all sorts of expertise with the world, and whether they know it, like it, or claim it, it’s inspiring. We could turn to Google any time we want, but there’s something special—and perhaps necessarily human—about not relying on a manual or book and finding expertise from another person. In this conversation, we hear from Sarah Flora, a homebrewer with a large following across social media and YouTube, an award-winning podcast, and by all means, an expert. She connects people across the globe with tips and insights on the homebrewing process, beer reviews, and light-hearted reflections on what it means to exist in the beer and homebrewing worlds. Throughout this chat, we connect these things to how Sarah approaches educating herself and others, the value of taking risks, and why it’s valuable to have loved ones giving you a little push when you need it. Sarah was part of Good Beer Hunting’s 2021 Signifiers—an annual collection of people GBH celebrates who shape the future of the beer industry. It’s Sarah’s expertise that puts her in that position, and a drive to learn and improve that will help you understand the “how” and “why” she inspires others. The thousands of interactions Sarah gets on Instagram posts or YouTube videos every week are basic measurements of her impact, but as you learn more about her as a person as we talk, you’ll likely find an even greater appreciation for how she uses her skills to make being an expert delightfully human.
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Snippet of COVID-004 - Pivoting in a Pandemic Welcome to this special series of the GBH Collective podcast, where we’ll be checking in with members of our global team to keep you updated on unfolding events surrounding COVID-19. I’m Michael Kiser. Today's guests are special to me—both of them are media peers who I’ve often measured myself against. They’re also just delightful humans who are always accessible and open to inquiry. Over the years, they’ve helped me think about Good Beer Hunting’s business model, our audiences, and the ways in which we all develop our voices. As the world started turning upside down this past month, I wanted to check in with them to see how they were handling things—both personally and as part of a larger organization. How did they process the world-changing news? How did they work with their teams to adapt? And how do they expect to evolve going forward? These conversations go far beyond beer and media. First up in Eno Sarris of The Athletic. The Athletic is a phenomenon in the sports-writing world. It has a subscription-based readership, much like our own Fervent Few member community. And it serves as a platform for people who want both exceptional narratives and deep dives into data. In that way, it covers a spread much like GBH does.
Snippet of CL-038 Bryan Roth Asks For a Third Time Today the host is going to catch up with his Sightlines editor and lead contributor, Bryan Roth. It’s been a busy couple of years for Bryan, but this past week’s range of stories is evidence of all the ways Sightlines has become essential reading for their audiences. From the proactive analysis of the Denver scene as Colorado retail laws shift to digging into the closure of Lagunitas’ Community Room in Portland to keeping up with the shifting responses to the Founders racial discrimination case, and sensitively reporting a story of that importance—it’s all in a week’s work for Bryan. The hosts will catch up on how all that reporting came to be, and what he’s working on next. But they will especially dig into the process behind the Founders stories that he’s written, as well as the other essential updates that have been published by a range of publications. In fact, that’s turned into a new part of the site called FYI, which is designed to keep track of all the updates in a major story in one place—and which you can find by going to GoodBeerHunting.com/FYI/Founders. This is Bryan Roth, Good Beer Hunting’s Sightlines editor. Listen in.
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CL-096 Alexander Gates on the Archipelago of His Beer Journey There’s a difference between idols and mentors. The allure of idols is their unattainability—their preciousness fueled by the impossibility of a first-hand connection. Mentors, on the other hand, spark curiosity and encourage personal growth by sharing their experience with others. Mentors, often selflessly, help shape the future, and ensure the traditions they hold so dear remain intact for generations to come.  That’s exactly why writer Alexander Gates decided to profile Cindy Goldstein, a national BJCP judge and fierce advocate for craft beer in Hawaii. In his piece titled “Finding Her Own Route — A Honolulu Brewery Crawl with Cindy Goldstein,” which was published on February 2, 2022, he outlines Cindy’s extensive background in science, homebrewing, judging, and community-building, and how her efforts have helped shape the small but ever-changing Hawaiian craft beer scene. In today’s conversation about that piece, Alexander and I discuss what it’s like writing about a mentor (and why people should seek out their own), why he decided to share her story, how Hawaiian beer is better than ever—despite the pandemic’s massive disruption to tourism and the supply chain—and his own judging experience through the Beer Judge Certification Program. You’ll hear how beer unites the chain of volcanic islands, thanks in no small part to Cindy’s tireless and ongoing efforts, and what he’s hoping to see as in-person beer classes, events, and competitions begin to awaken once more.
CL-097 William Costa on the Subculture in the Subtropics Craft beer is starting to show up in places where many of us have never been, and maybe never even thought about visiting. The small South American nation of Paraguay could be considered fairly remote by most standards: Paraguay is fully landlocked, roughly in the middle of the continent, bordered by the much larger countries of Brazil, Argentina, and Bolivia. Its capital, Asunción, is fairly off-the-radar compared to popular South American tourist destinations like Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires. And yet even in Paraguay, good beer is really starting to make waves, as the writer William Costa reported in his recent story for us, “Mother of Cities — Subtropical Wanderings in Asunción, Paraguay.” Paraguay’s location makes for some interesting dynamics. As a landlocked country, going to the beach for relaxation or swimming means heading to a river, not the ocean. While Asunción is mostly Spanish-speaking, Paraguay actually has two official languages: Spanish and Guarani, which is the only Indigenous language to be spoken by the majority of a non-Indigenous population in the Americas. And distinctive local ingredients, including yerba mate, cassava flour, and the medicinal herbs known as pohã ñana, are now starting to show up in Paraguayan beers. In this episode, I talk to Costa, a long-term British resident of the country. We discuss beer, his article, snack foods, and even talk about some unique sounds from his daily life in Asunción, Paraguay.
EP-332 Amin Anjedani, Sam Madani, and Kai Drewry of BOMANI Cold Buzz Walk down the right aisle at your grocery or convenience store and you might come across an alcoholic version of just about anything. Hard seltzer is an obvious. Hard kombucha is gaining traction. Hard yerba mate? You bet. It should be no surprise that hard coffee is now a category worth tens of millions of dollars. In this episode, we meet the people behind one of the companies carving out a corner of this increasingly successful—and interesting—hard coffee space. We meet Amin Anjedani, Sam Madani, and Kai Drewry of BOMANI Cold Buzz, a 5.7% alcohol-infused cold brew. The trio are friends who have identified this percolating space and have created a premiumized version for a category once monopolized solely by Pabst Blue Ribbon Hard Coffee.  How can this space exist? How is this not Four Loko 2.0? These are things we'll learn about as the three co-founders give insight on a continued evolution of beverage alcohol. We're at a point where consumers can find just about anything to fit their mood or occasion—with or without alcohol—so it actually makes perfect sense that in 2022, we should be talking about what's next for alcohol-infused coffee.
CL-094 Anthony Gladman Believes The Time Is Ripe There are some artistic endeavors that occur against all odds. Perry, or cider made with pears, is one of those things. Perry pears are hard to grow, hard to ferment, and sometimes hard to explain. But when all the elements of time, energy, climate, effort, and care come together, the end result can be otherworldly. In his piece titled “Madness and Bitter Fruit — Making Perry in the Shadow of May Hill,” writer Anthony Gladman dives into the relatively unknown world of perry, and how ancient seeds have helped create a contemporary cult following around this marvelous and mythical drink. He admits that you have to be a bit of a nerd to really get into perry, but once you do, there’s no turning back.  In today’s conversation, we talk about who’s making perry (and why many people don’t), how perry’s PR problems have created confusion about what it actually is, the importance of preservation in the face of climate change, and how this fragile fruit may hold the key to our past and our future. If you can (legally) partake, this conversation and article are best experienced with a bit of cannabis influence, and, of course, with a nice pint of perry as well. We only scratch the surface of what there is to know, but it’s a great place to start.
EP-337 Tara Hankinson and LeAnn Darland of Talea Beer Company There is a lot of calculated nuance in today’s beer industry. You have to be purposeful in your business plan, consider who you’re selling to and where, and what your company stands for. Good beer is the table stakes, and these are differentiators that help create a successful business. It’s not easy to carve out a niche, but it is possible, when you see all this nuance. In this conversation we meet Tara Hankinson and LeAnn Darland of Talea Beer Company. The pair are the co-founders and co-CEOs for the Brooklyn-based brewery, which has built its early success on attracting previously underserved consumers and creating a unique atmosphere at their taproom to appeal to all. You’ll hear them cite statistics and anecdotes as we chat, and their background in non-beer industries gives them a valuable perspective on new ways to differentiate themselves. I know it’s cliché to talk about how an outsider can bring new ideas and perspectives to old industries, but in a market where space is at a premium, both on shelves and in people's minds, Tara and LeAnn recognize what they can do to create something special and expand their reach across New York City. You’ll get to hear about what first brought them to this moment and even what they see as important next steps for themselves and the future of the business. All of what happens between is intentional, thoughtful, and works to establish itself within this complicated nuance that allows a company to make connections that can create lifetime customers.
CL-103 Emma Janzen Bears Witness in Oaxaca The first time I connected with Emma Janzen off social media happened last year when she, very graciously, offered to help guide me in the early stages of my book proposal. Since then, she’s continued to mentor me through the harrowing process of actually writing a book. She’s also made big career moves; recently published her latest book, “The Bartender’s Manifesto” with Toby Maloney and the bartenders at noted Chicago bar The Violet Hour; and even picked up a James Beard Award for her previous book, “The Way of the Cocktail,” co-authored with Chicago bartender Julia Momose.   Throughout that time, she’s also continued her work as a journalist, editor, photographer, and storyteller. Emma published an almost painfully beautiful personal essay for Good Beer Hunting titled “Slow, Reflective, Quiet — Meditations on Mezcal in San Baltazar Guelavila,” on May 18, 2022. The story, which was born out of a straightforward press trip, evolved into something that resonated deeply within her soul, which in turn created an opportunity to tap into her voice as more than just a witness to creation.   In today’s conversation about her piece, Emma shares what it was like to break out of a more journalistic mindset in order to experience what was happening to and around her, the importance of balancing a generational legacy of artistry with increasing global awareness and demand, and what’s at stake as mezcal marches towards a fork in the road, where one way leads to commodification and the other honors time and tradition. That story culminates with a feeling of optimism—or at least, I hope it does. Bonus: In the latter part of the conversation, Emma mentions a Spotify playlist that helped center her thoughts at the end of her trip to the heart of Oaxaca. If you’re curious about the vibes, here’s a link to said playlist.
CL-099 David Jesudason bellies up to the 'color bar' The color bar may be Britain’s most shameful secret—even though it’s not so secret after all. In journalist David Jesudason’s intensely researched and deeply personal new piece titled “Breaking the Color Bar — How One Man Helped Desegregate Britain’s Pubs (and Fought for an Anti-Racist Future),” which was published on March 16, 2022, David shares the story of Avtar Singh Jouhl, a British Indian activist, communist, and beer lover who was instrumental in bringing awareness to and dismantling segregated drinking spaces in Britain. In this conversation, David and I unpack his process for approaching the piece: how his personal experiences and identity help him tackle thorny topics like racism, what he didn’t learn from the history books (and what he took upon himself to discover), which current events led him to write this, and how Britain continues to deny its legacy of racism both yesterday, today, and tomorrow through the residual effects of imperialism and nationalism. You’ll also hear a clip from Avtar himself, sharing his own experience in his own voice, as a part of living history. This is a good time to remind anyone who still thinks beer isn’t political how wrong they are, and how far we still have to go to ensure safe, inclusive spaces for all. Join us, right now, to hear about how one extraordinary man made an enormous impact in the fight against racism in Britain, what didn’t make it into the story, and what comes next, both in and out of beer.
EP-339 Greg Browne of Art History Brewing Today’s guest has been a bit of a ghost int he GBH machine for more than a decade - since our founding really - and he’s someone I think about every time someone asks me how GBH got started - and as you’ll discover shortly, he had no idea.  Greg Browne was the brewer at a brewpub in Chicago’s NW suburbs - a place called Mickey Finn’s. He was known for brewing a hefeweizen - a recipe he inherited from his predecessor when he took over as head brewer.  More importantly, for me, he was the host of a weekly Beer School at The Map Room in Chicago - a midday gathering on Saturday’s where guests would enjoy some bread and cheese and learn about beers in a thematic way - and the themes were whatever happened to be on Greg’s mind that week.  It’s an incredible memory for me - from a time when I’d only had a smattering of craft beer experiences to rely on - and I hardly considered myself a fan of beer in any particular way. It was just causal and sometimes interesting fun. Most of my bar experiencers a the time involved $1 off specials of Blue Moon and some Golden Tee. Not exactly sophisticated stuff - but it was kind of the Chicago way.  Map Room - and Greg Browne’s beer school painted an entirely different picture however. And I’m forever indebted to that moment when he served me my first Saison Dupont. That’s the beer that inspired GBH - and Greg is the one who created that moment, unbeknownst to him.  But that’s not the real reason we’re talking today - that’s a story we could have shared at any point in in past decade really. Today I’m talking to Greg because for the first time in a long time, I saw his name pop up as part of a new brewing project called Art History, and it recently started supplying two fantastic beers to Chicago’s Hopleaf Bar. As far as I know the sis the first time Hopleaf has ever had a house beer. The venerated tap list there is a target for anyone trying to make a name for themselves in Chicago’s beer scene. Brewers host parties just to celebrate getting on tao there for the first time if they’re lucky enough to make the list at all. So for Greg to have a new gig - and so quickly become a mainstay on that list as a pair of house beers - is an unprecedented achievement.  And for this episode, I reached out to Michael Roper of Hopleaf for his perspective on all that.  It was a sign for me that it was finally time to get Greg on the podcast, share this story with him, and hear so much more about his own. It takes us deep into Chicago’s craft brewing past - and paints pa picture of the future that I’m very excited about.
EP-341 Sarah Flora of Flora Brewing Expertise is an easy thing to pin down … or is it? There’s the oft-cited 10,000 hours that it takes to become an expert. Or there’s a dictionary we could pull from a book shelf or mobile device to look up a definition. Or maybe we just know it when we see it in action. There are all sorts of experts who share all sorts of expertise with the world, and whether they know it, like it, or claim it, it’s inspiring. We could turn to Google any time we want, but there’s something special—and perhaps necessarily human—about not relying on a manual or book and finding expertise from another person. In this conversation, we hear from Sarah Flora, a homebrewer with a large following across social media and YouTube, an award-winning podcast, and by all means, an expert. She connects people across the globe with tips and insights on the homebrewing process, beer reviews, and light-hearted reflections on what it means to exist in the beer and homebrewing worlds. Throughout this chat, we connect these things to how Sarah approaches educating herself and others, the value of taking risks, and why it’s valuable to have loved ones giving you a little push when you need it. Sarah was part of Good Beer Hunting’s 2021 Signifiers—an annual collection of people GBH celebrates who shape the future of the beer industry. It’s Sarah’s expertise that puts her in that position, and a drive to learn and improve that will help you understand the “how” and “why” she inspires others. The thousands of interactions Sarah gets on Instagram posts or YouTube videos every week are basic measurements of her impact, but as you learn more about her as a person as we talk, you’ll likely find an even greater appreciation for how she uses her skills to make being an expert delightfully human.
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