Here's an episode for anyone interested in the risky side of owning a brewery. In Ep 52, I sit down with Joe Ploof, owner of Hanging Hills Brewing, which nearly died a tragic death after closing its tasting room doors in Hartford, Conn. It's now in a second life, contract brewing at East Rock Brewing in New Haven, Conn.
In this episode we talk about the problems that Hanging Hills faced, how COVID nearly struck a fatal blow to the company, and the resurrection of a brand.
Thanks for listening, and tell a friend of 6 about It Starts With Beer. Contact host and producer Will Siss: email@example.com, and follow him on Instagram and Twitter: @beersnobwrites.
Publish Date: 8/23/2021
In ep 51, I had the privilege of talking to a giant in beer publishing. Stan Hieronymus has the rare ability to write for the casual and intensely informed reader. We focused primarily on the topic of using local ingredients in beer, as I recently read his 2016 book "Brewing Local: American-Grown Beer" (Brewers Publications). We veer off into how a recent love of the sweet in beer squares with tradition, and the commitment it takes to incorporate local ingredients like roots, mushrooms, honey, and spelt.
This episode is sponsored by Back East Brewing in Bloomfield, Connecticut. Background music courtesy of Pixabay.
Publish Date: 4/25/2021
Ep 50 (woo!) focuses on learning about beer from an unlikely place. As much as I enjoy scrolling through Instagram, it's primarily a fun factory of nonsense. However, Em Sauter (@pintsandpanels) and Proper_Josh (@proper_josh) make it a bit more educational. Em creates cartoons and Josh makes tasting videos and they both delve into beer from angles that are both informed yet fun. (You can see more of Em's work at www.pintsandpanels.com.)
Join me for the Afterparty, where I discuss Brass Works Brewing's Mango Habanero Fowl'd Up IPA.
Please share this episode with a friend if you like it, subscribe on your favorite podcast platform, and consider giving me a high rating wherever you listen. Thanks!
Publish Date: 4/2/2021
It was a delight speaking with Barb Baker for episode 49. Known as the Siren of Stout, this Michigan-based beer blogger works with Fermenta, an organization that raises money to help women achieve more in the fermented arts, including brewing. She's partnered up with others to create her own pastry stout and honey wine, and she's always promoting others and passing along information on her Instagram account (@sirenofstout).
We talk about the poise and confidence it takes to be an African-American woman in beer and her experience as a model, car show host, and actress. She's insightful and inspiring.
This episode is brought to you by the good people at Back East Brewing in Bloomfield, Conn. The Afterparty beer is Abel Coconut Vanilla Porter from Brass Works Brewing in Waterbury, Conn. Background music is courtesy of Pixabay. Photo by Darrel Ellis for SeenTheMagazine.com.
Publish Date: 3/12/2021
In ep 48, I confront the complicated feelings that low and no alcohol beer bring out in my rapidly aging body. Like this episode, I am also 48, and I have a toddler. To make sense of my new love of low-ABV beer without giving up my tiny amount of cool cred, I turned to experts and trusted friends: Good Beer Hunting reporter Kate Bernot, Bottle Stop beer buyer Kevin Thomas, Athletic Brewing brewer John Walker, and all-around nice guy Art Hendrickson Jr.
This is my first "narrative" episode and was a labor of love. It's not a straight interview, but a story told with many voices. I did the editing and even the music myself, with some help from Pixabay.
Speaking of music, during the Afterparty, I spin the single "Strangers" by Coleus, so stick around for that.
This episode is sponsored by Brass Works Brewing in Waterbury, Connecticut.
Publish Date: 2/5/2021
In episode 47, I chat with author and recipe creator Jackie Dodd Mallory, known as The Beeroness. She makes baking and cooking with beer seem easy and fun and she teaches me some valuable basics on when and how to use beer as an ingredient, the importance of yeast, why brown ale is like a bass player, how to take better beer photographs, and more.
Stay for the Afterparty, when I talk about the past and future of this nearly 1-year-old podcast.
This episode is sponsored by Back East Brewing of Bloomfield, Connecticut.
You can learn more about Jackie at her website: www.thebeeroness.com.
Music: “Dreamy Day” by Caffeine Creek Band and “Summertime” by JuliusH (royalty-free from Pixabay.com/music), and a snippet from “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” performed by Ella Fitzgerald
Please follow, rate, and recommend It Starts With Beer podcast.
Publish Date: 12/27/2020
In ep 46, we meet Matt Westfall, founder of the award-winning Counter Weight Brewing Company of Hamden, Connecticut. We discuss how he branched out on his own after 9 years with iconic New England Brewing Company, what it’s like to weather COVID-19 restrictions, and how he’s planning to build a new brewery.
During the Afterparty, I discuss the recent draconian Connecticut Consumer Protection mandate that forces breweries to essentially become brewpubs or face hefty fines. And we listen to the Afterparty track: “Songbird” by Jason Ingriselli and The Miles North Band.
This episode is sponsored by Brass Works Brewing of Waterbury, Connecticut.
You can find more episodes at beersnobwrites.com/podcast, and you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Intro: “Dance of the Sugar-Plum Fairy” by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, performed by the Apollo Symphony Orchestra
Outro: “Cali” Wataboi, from Pixabay.com/music
Publish Date: 12/18/2020
In ep 45, we meet AJ Keirans, who hosts a podcast that features the artists behind the beer. The 16oz. Canvas Podcast delves into the artist's role in creating a label's look and impact. I take AJ into another virtual pub; this one is designed like a giant museum that features beer art only. We talk about the process of creating beauty that most likely will end up in a recycling heap and why that matters in the ecosystem that is craft beer.
This ep is sponsored by Back East Brewing of Bloomfield, Connecticut.
Stay for the Afterparty Track after the interview, where I feature Shane Scarazzini and Eightfingers and their song, "West Virginia Girl."
[Super Mantis IPA - Nod Hill Brewing - Artist: Brian Steely
[Resting My Greatness Stout - Short Throw Brewing - Artist: Ryan Adams
[Toxic Earth IPA - Abomination Brewing - Artist: Sam Heimer
[Remedy stout - Houstatonic Brewing - Artist: Magge Gagliardi
[Music: Pixabay: “U said it” by Wataboi and “Midnight” by JuliusH
Publish Date: 12/12/2020
In ep 44, we travel to South Africa -- Capetown, to be specific -- and meet travel and beer writer Lucy Corne. We discuss South African beer history and present, what life as a travel writer is like in the time of COVID, and how exactly to pronounce a traditional drink spelled “Umqombothi.” You can follow Lucy on Twitter: @LucyCorne.
This episode was sponsored by Brass Works Brewing, Waterbury, Conn.
Read Corne’s article from Good Beer Hunting:
Publish Date: 12/4/2020
In ep 43, I got a chance to chat with experienced podcaster, writer, and fellow New Jersey native Tony Russo. We talked about his excellent podcast, Beer With Strangers, and his ventures into podcasts about veterans, writers, and true crime. We chatted in the virtual, "Pub Strange."
You can follow Tony on Twitter: @ByTonyRusso.
Music: "Rock Angel" by Joakim Karud
Publish Date: 11/27/2020
In ep 42, I had the privilege to talk to Tara Nurin, an independent journalist who writes for Forbes and other publications. We talked about her book about the role women have played in the history of brewing, set for publication by the Chicago Review Press in the fall of 2021. We also discussed the world of beer writing, and I got some highlights of her intriguing career. Tara is also a speaker and has great upcoming events, so if you’d like to sign up, here are some links:
Virtual Beer Tasting Class: https://bonbeer.com/tasting-classes/
Craft Beverage Expo Forum: https://www.craftbeverageexpo.com/
Craft Beer Professionals Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/5182876978396534
This episode was sponsored by Labyrinth Brewing in Manchester, Connecticut.
Background music: “Dreams” by Joaquim Kanud, “Bossa Nova Mix” by FreeSound Music, both copyright free.
Publish Date: 11/20/2020
For episode 41 I hung out on location with Dana Bourque and Justin Dawley of Firefly Hollow Brewing on their beautiful loading dock in Bristol, Connecticut. We chatted about the brewery’s history, what makes their beer stand out, and how they fit into the overall landscape of Connecticut and American beer. I also got to sample several of their beers and you can join me on my flight of fancy.
This episode is sponsored by Labyrinth Brewing of Manchester, Connecticut.
Send any correspondence to email@example.com.
Background music: “& Kites” by Kavi and “I Can’t Get Started” by Bud Powell
Publish Date: 11/13/2020
In ep 40, cohost Jamal Robinson and I interviewed Nathaniel Chapman, a professor of sociology and co-author of “Beer and Racism: How Beer Became White, Why It Matters, and the Movements to Change It.” Chapman said that he and his co-author David L. Brunsma have faced backlash for the book, including death threats, from parts of the web well known for white supremacists. We discuss why he wrote it, what it uncovered, and how we can overcome white fragility and make some honest change in the beer industry when it comes to diversity.
This episode is sponsored by Labyrinth Brewing in Manchester, Connecticut.
Mentioned in this episode: Ale Sharpton, Craft Crew, NEBCO, and the Chicago Newseum.
Background music: “Misha, Monma” by Spiral, “Cafe Music from BGM Channel.”
Publish Date: 11/6/2020
Julia Herz has shaped the rise of American craft beer for over 10 years, primarily as the program director of the Brewers Association. In episode 39, this author/speaker/educator/consultant talks about how the beer scene has changed since she joined the association and how being laid off in June has shifted her focus, prompting a vision quest.
After the interview is the Afterparty, when I talk about joining the Hopped Up Network..
Background music: “Encounter with a Mech Patrol Unit” by Ibrahim, “Roundabout” by The Jaguars, and “Uh Oh” by The Imps.
Photo: Brewers Association
Publish Date: 10/30/2020
What do breweries need to do to ensure quality? My guest Mary Pellettieri in ep 38 of It Starts With Beer knows. Join special cohost Chris Sayer of Brewery Legitimus and I for an informative conversation that covers material from her book, "Quality Management," advice for small breweries, and gems of wisdom from Mary, who has taught at the Siebel Institute; worked with Goose Island, Miller, and many other breweries; and written extensively on many beer quality topics.
Background music: “Lofi Hiphop Mix 2020” and “Piano Bar: Smooth Jazz Club at Midnight Buddha Café”
Publish Date: 10/16/2020
How do you feel about non-alcoholic beer? Why do folks drink it and why is becoming more popular? In ep 37, we meet John Walker, the head brewer at Athletic Brewing Company of Stratford, Connecticut. He explains why his beer tastes unlike any other n/a beer on the market and talks about his journey from New England restaurant kid to Western U.S. blacksmith to seeing his beer being distributed all over the country.
This episode is sponsored by Brass Works Brewing in Waterbury, Connecticut.
Background Music: “Lullaby” by Joakim Karud, “Joan’s Red Dress” by David Luong
Publish Date: 10/9/2020
In episode 36, we meet Kat Manning, the marketing director for the Connecticut Brewers Guild, a photographer with her own Hello Studio, and a label designer for Connecticut breweries.
We talk about what makes for effective marketing for breweries online and on cans, how she brings her design aesthetic to breweries like Armada Brewing, Marlowe Ales, and Alvarium Beer.
This episode is sponsored by Nod Hill Brewery in Ridgefield, Connecticut.
Copyright free background music: “Rock Angel” by Joakim Karud, “Not Too Cray” by Huma-Huma, and “The Lounge” by bensound.com.
Reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Publish Date: 10/2/2020
In ep 35, we meet the Craft Crew: James, Jamel, and Antron, who are determined to "widen the demographic" and introduce beer to Black and Latinx drinkers in Connecticut while supporting minority-owned businesses and organizations. They brew, they throw mixers, they make review videos, and they are a lot of fun to hang out with.
Mentioned: Blue Moon, Knee Deep Brewing, Samuel Adams, Tree House, NE Video, Unknown Clothing (New Britain), Fishy Tails, My Wife Didn’t Cook, Hog River Brewing, Hanging Hills Brewing, Jamal Robinson, Beer Kulture, New England Brewing Company, 16 Ounce Canvas podcast, The Hops Company, "This Ain’t the Beer That You’re Used To" by Dom "Doochie" Cook, The Sampler in Brooklyn,, Rhythm Brewing, Lady Lager, Urban League of Greater Hartford, and more.
Music: “The Craft Crew Show” theme song by Born(IE), produced by GovMag.
Reach out! I'm at email@example.com and at beersnobwrites.com
Publish Date: 9/25/2020
Ep 34: Allan Heida is a busy guy, what with his I Know Nothing About Beer podcast and Dad Domesticus, a look at the Stay At Home Dad (SAHD) life on YouTube. We talk about beer in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, how best to take a kid to a brewery, and why he’s still hopeful. You can follow him as @AlTheBrewer on Instagram and Twitter.
This episode is sponsored by Nod Hill Brewery of Ridgefield, Connecticut.
Music in episode: Chill Lo-Fi Hip Hop Mix, “Coast to Coast” by Ducks Deluxe, “I Can Tell” by Dr. Feelgood, “Laid Off” by Cyanide Pills, “One Je Ta” by Optimal Problem, “Mr. Bartender” by Lew Lewis & Reformer, “Get Out of Denver” by Eddie & the Hotrods, “War Zone” by the Vibrators, “No No No” by T.U.S.H., and “Sally’s Dream” from the Lewis Luong Relaxation Cafe.
Publish Date: 9/18/2020
Daryl Neal is the insightful host of Beer Talk Now who knows his Bay Area beer. In episode 33, I talk to D. Neal about the beer scene in and around the 'Sco, why pilsners are great, the myth of racial harmony in Northern California and more. Join us in my virtual creation -- The Bay Area Pub -- then stay for the Afterparty.This episode is sponsored by Back East Brewing in Bloomfield, Connecticut. Discussed in the ep: East Brother Beer, Counterweight Brewing Company, Oakland United Beer Works, E-40, and more!
Publish Date: 9/11/2020
In ep 32 we get to hear about life behind the counter at the liquor store, or as we in New England call them, package stores. Girish Patel and Kevin Thomas of Bottle Stop in Torrington, Conn., are our guides. My on-site interview includes a tasting of Alvarium Beer Company and Firefly Hollow Brewing beer. Don’t forget to hang out at the Afterparty following the on-site interview.
This episode is sponsored by Back East Brewing of Bloomfield, Connecticut.
Subscribe to and rate It Starts With Beer podcast on your favorite platform app, please. For comments or advertising rates, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Publish Date: 9/4/2020
Ep 31: Tom Acitelli has a lot of experience in writing about alcohol, and when it comes to writing about beer, he’s one of the best. His recent book, “Pilsner,” (Chicago Review Press) is an informative, entertaining look at how this style of beer interacted with history and dominated the world. Enjoy my interview with Tom and then stick around for the Afterparty.
Episode sponsored by Back East Brewing.
Intro music: “Heat It Up” by Will & the George
Questions? Comments? Just want to unburden yourself? Email me at email@example.com.
Publish Date: 8/28/2020
Ep 30! Interested in farm breweries and farmhouse ale? Enjoy my talk with Barry Labendz, co-founder of Kent Falls Brewing in Kent, Connecticut, which in 2015 opened as the first modern farm brewery in the state.
Barry and his team started out with a farmhouse beer focus, and Barry and I talk about just what that means. We talk about his dedication to local ingredients, from the hops that come from their own farm and nearby Smokedown Farm (subject of ISWB Ep 29), to the grain that comes from local maltsters.
When you’re done listening, get reading some of Barry's recommendations for books that focus on food and the food cycle:
Stay tuned after the interview for The Afterparty.
This episode was sponsored by Back East Brewing in Bloomfield, Conn.
Intro music: “Heat It Up” by The Will-George Experience
Publish Date: 8/20/2020
It’s almost hop harvesting time, so in ep 29 learn about hop growing from those who get their hands dirty in this episode, featuring Dr. James Shepherd, owner of Smokedown Farm in Sharon, Connecticut, and farm manager Ally Hughes. Shepherd -- an epidemiologist on the front lines of dealing with COVID-19 -- provides some unexpected insight into the connection between virus control and hops, and Hughes discusses how their hops make local beers extra special.
This episode is sponsored by Back East Brewing in Bloomfield, Connecticut.
Opening/closing music: “Heat It Up” by Will and George
Background music: “Eternal Flame” by Lahar
Publish Date: 8/14/2020
Ep 28: Phantom Brewing in Hartford, Connecticut, opened in April of this tumultuous year. My guest Jon Patrei and his business partner Bo Kolcio previously ran Beer & Wine Makers Warehouse, and continue to run a similar enterprise in their brewery. Jon and I talk about his background in beer and how opening during a pandemic works when you are prepared and make wise decisions.
Information on the Phantom Ship in the intro comes from “The Ghost Ship of New Haven Sets Sail Shrouded in Mystery” by Michael Hoberman, from ConnecticutHistory.org. Background music: "Chill Lo-fi Hip-Hop Mix [No Copyright]."
This episode was sponsored by Back East Brewing and Witchdoctor Brewing. [Aired 8/4/2020]
Publish Date: 8/4/2020
Ep 27: In this special history episode, author/historian Gregg Smith discusses topics including taverns during the colonial era, his favorite early brewery stories, the history of beer advertising, the hard life of a brewer in the early 20th century, historical methods, Prohibition, the role of women in beer history, and more. Warning: You will learn something! His books are available on Amazon and BrewersPublications.com.
Publish Date: 7/25/2020
Ep 26: In their 512 Brewed podcast, Melanie Demi and Caitlin Johnson entertain and inform. Based in Austin, Texas (with its 512 area code), these media-savvy beer lovers bring a fun, well-researched approach to beer styles, beer tasting, and a bunch of other beer-adjacent topics. In this episode we step into my shoddily created hologram world, the latest virtual pub that I've called "The Great Outdoors." We talk podcasting, Austin beer, and get served by a lion. In other words, we keep it weird.
Thanks for listening to It Starts With Beer. Please follow and subscribe on your favorite podcast platform. You can support this podcast by dropping a Venmo tip for william-siss. My website is beersnobwrites.com.
Publish Date: 7/20/2020
Ep 25: When Jamal Robinson, director of sales at New England Brewing of Woodbridge, Conn., put up some simple videos in his greenhouse in June, he was doing more than letting off some steam about race relations in America. He was setting down some wisdom that I couldn't get out of my head. In this episode, Jamal talks about his career in beer, how he's dealt with racism, and what a brewery can do to affect change.
To watch Jamal's videos, check them out on his YouTube channel linked here. You can follow him on Instagram at @nebcojammy.
Publish Date: 7/7/2020
Ep 24: Writer Jay C. Williams is Connecticut-based with a background in copywriting. His love of beer has propelled him into freelance opportunities, including writing for Wine Enthusiast, Cuisine Noir, October, and other publications. Listen in as we talk writing for multiple audiences, the expanding "beer scene," and Williams' straight-edge punk past.
Background music from Saiki Beats and Relax Music Meditation.
Publish Date: 6/22/2020
Ep 23: Alisa Bowens-Mercado is used to stepping into unfamiliar territory with confidence and a twist. The owner of Rhythm Brewing -- which is based in New Haven, Conn., but has its lagers brewed at Black Hog Brewing in Oxford, Conn. -- is also the owner of a Latin dance studio. As an African-American woman in a largely white, male beer industry Alisa has decided to focus on quality first, to go along with inclusion.
Enjoy our conversation from June 11, in which Alisa (aka Lady Lager) describes her passion for beer and shares thoughts about race in America and how beer can bring people together.
Music featured: "Fantasy" by 3D Rhythm of Life
Learn more about Rhythm Brewing at www.rhythmbrewingco.com.
Publish Date: 6/17/2020
Ep 22: I've been a fan of Back East Brewing in Bloomfield, Connecticut, ever since they opened back in 2012, which in Connecticut craft beer years might as well have been the Middle Ages. I'm what's known as a superfan of Back East Porter, so you can understand how happy I was to have Tony Karlowicz on as a guest. Tony is the co-owner of Back East Brewing and we talked about how his brewery is weathering COVID and looking to the future, plus we play The Lightning Round.
Please feel free to give me a Venmo tip: search for william-siss. I also mention in the episode that you should consider giving to ACLU.org and knowyourrightscamp.com if you believe in funding social justice organizations.
Learn more about Back East at www.backeastbrewing.com.
Publish Date: 6/12/2020
What a fun episode of "It Starts With Beer"! Not only do I get to speak to my first international guests, Wayne and Janice Dunne of the Irish Beer Snob podcast all the way from Ireland, but I get to take them to a virtual world of my own design: Pub Americana. From our hologram-realistic barstools, we talk about the state of Irish beer and get to know this lovely couple. Strap on your VR helmets because it's going to be a pixelated ride! Then listen to Wayne and Janice themselves at their Irish Beer Snob podcast.
Publish Date: 5/22/2020
What a fun episode of "It Starts With Beer"! In ep 21, not only do I get to speak to my first international guests, Wayne and Janice Dunne of the Irish Beer Snob podcast all the way from Ireland, but I get to take them to a virtual world of my own design: Pub Americana. From our hologram-realistic barstools, we talk about the state of Irish beer and get to know this lovely couple. Strap on your VR helmets because it's going to be a pixelated ride! Then listen to Wayne and Janice themselves at their Irish Beer Snob podcast.
Publish Date: 5/22/2020
Ep 20! Brando, Clinton, and Big Mike make up the trio known as Brewheads. They drink, they review beer, they hang around, and have fun on their YouTube channel. I had a chance to Zoom with them for a while and find out what makes for an entertaining beer review. We learned a lot about each other and came out of this one changed for the better.
Background music by Saiki Beats.
Publish Date: 5/13/2020
In ep 19, enjoy my interview with Clare Goggin Sivits (@beergoggins), the author of an April piece in the website October called “The Beer World Wasn’t Built for Moms." News music background by AudioTrend.
Publish Date: 5/5/2020
In ep 18, we find out: What’s happening with Massachusetts breweries? No one knows better than Rob and Bob of Mass Brew Bros, and in this interview we talk about their recent post on MassBrewBros.com about the future of Mass breweries post-pandemic.
Publish Date: 5/1/2020
Ep 17: Let's talk music and beer and the simple life in Ohio with Josh Norris of Witchdoctor Brewing in Southington, Conn. But it all starts with beer... in the news. Enjoy the sound effects, and stay in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org. Make sure to subscribe on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or Stitcher.
Publish Date: 4/27/2020
My interview in ep 16 with Maine beer writer Carla Jean Lauter was a treat. She's been active and effective at informing people about Maine beer, currently as the "Tap Lines" columnist for the Portland Press Herald. As @beerbabe she promotes diversity in beer. We had a chance to talk about her writing evolution and the current state of Maine beer.
Publish Date: 4/20/2020
Ep 14: Breweries, like nearly all segments of the economy, have some worries about what the new landscape will look like in the era of COVID-19. Daniel Flynn of DRF Consulting in Cheshire, Conn., works with breweries all the time on their accounting needs. I spoke with him about the big financial picture.
Publish Date: 4/14/2020
Ep 13: My interview with Phil Pappas of the Connecticut Brewers Guild reveals what the nonprofit advocacy group has been doing behind the scenes to help local breweries, particularly in regards to laws and loans. There's some money talk in this one, so get your finance hat on. Photo by Katharine Manning.
Publish Date: 4/9/2020
Ep 12: My discussion with Nils Johnson of Little Red Barn Brewers of Winsted, Conn., focuses on how the brewery is staying staying positive with the support of its community. Despite having to cut staff, the owners are hoping to bring them back when the COVID-19 crisis is over, and is collecting money for them along the way. Music by The Dead Dawgs featured in this episode. Cover photo courtesy of the Register-Citizen newspaper.
Publish Date: 4/3/2020
In ep 11, I interviewed Mark and Tess Szamatulski of Veracious Brewing Company and Maltose Express homebrew store, both in Monroe, Conn. We focused on how our current crisis is putting in peril a way of life: the face-to-face interaction in a quiet, publike atmosphere. This husband and wife team were optimistic nonetheless.
Publish Date: 4/1/2020