Q&A with S D BEER TALK G R E G H O M YA K A N D B R I A N B E AG L E CO M P L E T E 1 0 0 P O D C A S T E P I S O D E S Photos by Tim Stahl
You're coming up on your third anniversary in August. What have you learned that you wish you could go back in time and tell yourself? GREG : I would tell myself two things. First, make sure everyone involved in the show is on the same page. At the beginning we suffered from rants and tangents which turned off some listeners to the show. Also, we didn’t do a show every week; scheduling was sporadic at best. Second, I’d tell myself to be more prepared. During the first 20 episodes we had no predetermined questions and no structure to the show. It wasn’t until I asked Brian Beagle to join the show that that changed. His one requirement was to have a “show sheet” with at least some sort of structure and direction for what we wanted to accomplish.
BRIAN : Originally, I was extremely nervous to interview the amazing indie beer industry members we've been fortunate enough to have on the show. If I could go back to the beginning, I'd tell myself to squash that nervousness and reassure myself that the San Diego craft scene is full of incredibly interesting, talented, and approachable people. They say craft beer people are good people; in my experience craft beer people are the best people.
You're now 100+ episodes in. I'm sure all guests have had something to offer... but which guests have been particularly memorable? GREG : Well I realized that not all people in the industry talk like a sailor. So during our first interview with Liz and Curtis from Council Brewing on Episode 9, Hooker and myself are swearing left and right, not realizing that neither one of them cuss. While I don’t think they minded, it was awkward at times. Another guest, Brian Mitchell, has been on the show eleven times. The first time he came on was when he worked for Twisted Manzanita, which was only for a few months. We should have titled that show “Brian Mitchell” and not “Twisted Manzanita” since the company actually asked to come back on shortly after to do a “proper” show. Mitchell always brings his no-BS attitude.
BRIAN : First off, I have to shout out the two most prolific guests in terms of appearances, Brian Mitchell and Alex Van Horne. They’ve had nearly 20 appearances between the two of them, yet never at the same time. It's difficult to pick other favorites from the amazing people we've had a chance to meet but here goes, in no particular order: Jill Davidson, Ray Astamendi (hilarious), Shannon Rogers, Shawn McIlhenney, Carli Smith, and Cosimo Sorrentino. Secondly, I’d like to give a special shout out to some of our fill-in hosts: George Thornton, Travis Hudson, and Tom Keliinoi.
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Who have you not had on the show that you would like to? GREG : Even though we now have recorded over 100 episodes, we have barely scratched the surface of the independent beer community. While we probably won’t stop until we hit pretty much everyone in San Diego craft beer, there are a few off the top of my head that I would love to interview. In no particular order: Tom Nickel, Jeff and Dande Bagby, Lee Chase, Peter and Vicky Zien, and Jacob McKean. We are also very excited to talk to newer breweries like Rouleur, Thunderhawk, California Ale Works, and Black Plaque (when they open).
BRIAN : I agree with everyone that Greg mentioned and would add Greg Koch, Tomme Arthur, Chris White, Mike Hinkley, Matt and Rachael Akin, Chris Cramer and Brandon Hernández.
Has your perception of San Diego beer changed over the years? GREG : My overall perception has not changed. I still see breweries helping other breweries, new and old. I see brewers giving advice to other brewers, even homebrewers. What I do think has changed is the maturing of the industry. We’ve seen brewers like Cosimo, Chuck Silva, Mitch Steele, and (most recently) Bill Batten leave their breweries and move on to their next challenges. For two of them, it meant leaving San Diego to other beer markets. I still am waiting to see where Cosimo and Bill land. The other perception I’ll talk about is that all brewers get along. I’ve learned over the years that there are groups of brewers that seem to get along better than others. While there are many factors that lead to that, I think that if you put 140+ people together who are all trying to do the same thing, all with their own artistic goals and methods, there will be certain people that just do not get along.
BRIAN : My perception really hasn't changed much. I'm still completely enamored with the industry and community alike. My knowledge has grown tremendously, though, which I feel has lead to deeper and more meaningful conversations with our interviewees.
How do you fund the podcast? GREG : Originally all the cash came from my pocket. All the equipment, hosting fees, beer and food that was purchased, and hundreds of hours spent editing was all for the love of the podcast. As anyone can assume, that is not a reliable method long-term. While I will never complain about the time or money spent on this podcast, I quickly went looking for a solution. I listen to