Archive | May 2012

Beyond the Pour Podcast Episode 8: Beer Competitions

I’m about a week late on this episode, and I apologize. I started back to complete my undergraduate degree last week, and that’s definitely affected the amount of time I have to natter on about beer on the internet. This podcast is a priority for me, but doing well in the classes I’m paying a small fortune for is a higher priority, so the schedule may suffer a bit going forward until I can get things back in order.

Anyway, we’ve decided to switch up the format a little bit. Previously we’ve done what we’ve been drinking first, and sometimes it felt like we had to squeeze a bunch of topics in at the end of the episode. So we’ve decided to try putting the more informal chat into a separate podcast so that those people who want to hear that stuff can still hear it, but those looking for the news and commentary can get it without having to wade through the rest.

For this episode, it’ll be two separate files, but we may end up adjusting that as time goes on. You can always email us at with comments, questions, and suggestions.

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Show Notes:

0:00 to 1:42 Introductions and general comments. We’ve changed up our format a bit here so fans of the show should definitely listen to this bit.

1:42 to 8:45What we’re drinking right now. Ryan’s drinking the Firestone Walker Wookie Jack Black IPA, and I’m doing a Bell’s Consecrator Dopplebock. Ryan also makes passing mention of the Lost Abbey Track #5 release, and I talk about Bell’s lagers in general.

8:45 to 18:17 Revisiting prior topics covered on the podcast. First, responding to our friend Jamison’s ( criticism of the way we handled terroir.

18:17 to 29:00 Session Beer! Firestone Walker believes that session beer should be local beer, and we agree. I also take back some stuff I’ve said about session beer in the past and discuss some comments from other beer writers on the concept.

29:00 to 32:17 Michigan Brewing Company has had its brewery locked by their landlord — apparently they weren’t paying their rent on time. Is Celis White a cursed beer recipe?

32:17 to 36:43 Bell’s possibly being sold? What’s up with Larry Bell wanting to get rid of the brewery? I think it’s really just a restructuring, although Budweiser’s been wanting to buy the brewery for a number of years now.

36:43 to 40:20 Grand Rapids ties in the Beer City USA poll with Asheville, NC. Does this mean anything?

40:20 to Sam Tierny, brewer at Firestone Walker, wrote a piece about beer competitions. Do these kinds of beer competitions mean anything? How about homebrew competitions? What’s the value of awarding medals to beers?


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No time codes here, but we talk about Imperial Pilsners and Imperial Witbiers, how many hops really go into Dogfish Head’s 120 Minute IPA, twelve ounce versus twenty-two ounce bottles, and Ryan makes an impassioned plea for more people to do bottle shares. And more, of course — it’s a fun time.

The Session Number 63: The Beer Moment

Pete Brown’s topic for this month’s Session is “The Beer Moment.” Here’s how Pete describes it:

So in that spirit, my choice of topic – with 62 topics already covered – is this: simply, the Beer Moment.

What is it?

Well, what is it to you? What does that phrase evoke for you?

That’s the most important thing here. Switch off and float downstream, what comes to mind? Don’t analyse it – what are the feelings, the emotions?

I’ve been thinking about this quite a lot recently, because I’ve been talking about it to various people who are working hard to try to improve the image of beer in the UK. Because whether we articulate it or not, whether we drink vile, sunstruck Corona or barrel aged imperial stout brewed with weasel shit, it’s about the moment far more than the liquid itself. The only people who disagree with me on this are people I wouldn’t want to share a beer with.

The moment – for me – is relaxation, reward, release, relief and refreshment. It’s a moment to savour, a moment of mateship, potential, fulfilment, anticipation, satisfaction, and sheer bliss.

It’s different from the moment you drink wine or spirits – it’s more egalitarian, more sociable. It’s not just about the flavour, nor the alcohol. It’s about the centuries of tradition and ritual, the counterpoint to an increasingly stressful life, and the commonality, the fact that it means the same thing to so many.

At least – I think it does. What does it mean to you?

I might have gone slightly off topic here, but the whole point of the Session is to get a kind of shaggy dog feel for the beer community at large, so I think it’s okay. And as a way of fostering connection between the beer blogging community and the Youtube beer community, I have done my answer on video:

I hope those of you who are visiting from the blog world will check out the wonderful beer community on Youtube. You can find my channel here, and there’s plenty more out there if you look. And those of you who are fans of mine on Youtube, I hope you check out Pete Brown’s blog linked above and read some of the other bloggers covering this month’s topic.

Beyond the Pour Podcast Episode 7: Location, Location, Location!

Ryan and I are back again in this episode, and we hadn’t talked at all since recording the last episode due to conflicting schedules, so this was a treat for us. Consequently, we spend a bit longer than usual talking about what we’ve been drinking and generally just chatting, but we move into more serious topics soon enough.


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Show Notes:

0:00 to 25:15 What We’ve Been Drinking. Ryan starts with a Karl Strauss 23rd Anniversary Old Ale, one that we’ve both enjoyed quite a bit. (He sent me a bottle in his last beer mail.) He’s also tried some of the recent Lost Abbey Track Series, and talks quite a bit about various bottle shares he’s been to over the last week. Since he lives in San Diego, there’s always a bottle share going on somewhere. We also share some love for Goose Island King Henry, which is a phenomenal barrel-aged barleywine. We’ll be talking more about Goose Island later in the podcast.

On my end, I’ve been drinking a lot of oak-aged sour beers lately, particularly several Livery beers, included 3 Weiss Men provided in growler form for me by brewer Sawyer. (I do a video review of 3 Weiss Men here.)

25:15 to 32:00 Goose Island is quadrupling their barrel program, and will be making their Bourbon County Brand Stout a year-round offering. Has the ABInbev buyout of Goose Island been good for Goose Island?

32:00 to 38:45 Three Floyds is opening up a brewing facility/brewpub in Chicago, and possibly eyeing a location to co-own a brewpub with Mikkeller somewhere in Europe. Chicago is becoming a world-class beer town, and more and more craft breweries are expanding via location.

38:45 to 56:35 Location, location, location! Ryan and I discuss the concept of terroir as it relates to beer, in response to a viewer of mine on Youtube who asked me the question during a Q&A segment I’m working on. Special thanks to Youtube user Donut8Danggs for the question! Will Sierra Nevada’s move to brewing some of their beer in North Carolina make those beers “different?” Are there any beers for which a change in location really does make a significant difference to the “soul” of the beer?

Thanks as always for listening, and remember that you can always send us feedback, comments, and questions to