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 and All About Beer editor John Holl and is available on all the major podcast platforms. All About Beer releases new episodes of Drink Beer, Think Beer with John Holl every Wednesday.  

2023 brought beer guests from all around the world onto the Drink Beer, Think Beer podcast. Holl asked questions that went beyond the basic and deeper than the technical to explore the passions and ethos of brewing professionals.

Download new episodes of Drink Beer, Think Beer with John Holl via Apple PodcastsSpotify, Overcast, or wherever you download shows.

Here are the top episodes of 2023 that got to the bottom of every pint.

1. Kelsey Grammer of Faith American Ales

While he is best professionally known for roles like Sideshow Bob, The X-Men’s Dr. Hank McCoy, and of course Frasier Crane, actor Kelsey Grammer has also launched a beer brand: Faith American Ales which is available in New York and New Jersey.

2. Introducing the Monocacy Hop

Hop lovers, put your attention to Maryland where this month brewers and growers there released a beer with a hop that is native to the state and unlike anything else found elsewhere. The brewer and researcher behind it are here to share the story.  As you’ll hear from Tom Barse at Milkhouse Brewery at Stillpoint Farm and Bryan Butler at the University of Maryland Extension,  the Monocacy hop has been in plain sight for forty years and because of a farmer with an appreciation for the plant, as well as it being strategically located on the farm it was able to grow and thrive until it was eventually tested.

3. Jim Koch on the Evolution of Samuel Adams Boston Lager

It’s impossible to imagine the modern American beer landscape without Boston Lager. When the Boston Beer company launched in 1984 Jim Koch and co-founder Rhonda Kallman were hand selling samples to accounts all over the city. The beer, based in part on a historic Koch family recipe and further developed by Joseph Owades, a brewing scientist who is credited as the inventor of light beer, was seen as an alternative to the macro offerings of the early 1980s. 

The beer won early accolades at the Great American Beer Festival in both the consumer preference polls and the formal judging. Top honors gave it bragging rights as “best beer in America,” something the brewery still uses in the beer’s marketing nearly 40 years later.  Boston Beer has grown. Brands like Angry Orchard Hard Cider, Twisted Tea, Truly Hard Seltzer, and Dogfish Head are now all part of the company. Samuel Adams has released hundreds of beers, some that landed well with consumers, and others that faded quickly. 

Boston Lager endured. On draft, in bottles and cans, and in every variety pack the brewery releases, the familiar lager is ever present. But as consumer preferences change, and technologies advance, and as brewers strive for a better version of their vision, the beer has evolved. 

The changes, or “remastered” version of Boston Lager that Samuel Adams announced earlier this year are not as drastic, but are important and do have an impact on what is poured into the glass.  Koch shares insight on how hop harvest helped evolve the beer, and how historic brewing processes are being used to help the lager taste smoother. If it’s been a while since you last had a Boston Lager, now is a good time to give it a fresh try.

4. The Beer Initiative to Promote 9-8-8 the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline

This episode will specifically be talking about self-harm experiences and prevention.  Guests Jon Lane of O.H.S.O brewing in Arizona and Russ Klisch of the Lakefront Brewery in Wisconson discuss the beer initiative around 9-8-8, the national Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. This episode will specifically be talking about self-harm experiences and prevention. Lane has lost family and friends to suicide, and, as you’ll hear, even had ideations himself. He credits the volunteer he spoke with after dialing 988 for saving his life.  Not everyone knows about the number and the service and Lane wanted to raise awareness and to shine light on the importance of mental health and saving lives. The 9-8-8 beer initiative helps breakdown barriers and bring suicide prevention to the forefront of conversations. Lakefront Brewery released its beer, Save A Weiss, earlier in September.  If you are having thoughts of suicide, call or text 988 to reach the Lifeline. Additionally, in the United States you can visit SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for a list of services. Individual countries also have their own resources. 

5. Averie Swanson at Funk Fest

Averie Swanson of Keeping Together is on the show this week in a conversation recorded last month at Funk Fest in Nashville, TN. We’re talking about saison, building a new brewery, and the creative process. Swanson is one of the most talented and thoughtful brewers in the U.S. today and her career path is well known. Going from a volunteer at Jester King in Austin to its head brewer in just four years before leaving several years ago to start a new venture called Keeping Together. Originally operating out of Chicago it was focused on mixed culture, rustic, Belgian-inspired beers. 

Now, she and her partner Pat Fahey have purchased a property in New Mexico and plans to open a brewery and tasting room. Over the last year she has been thinking about  new iterations of her beer, specialty ingredients, becoming part of a new community, and the experiences that come with new beginnings and space. 

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