ABV 2018 Listicle Series: Our Ten Favorite Episodes
It’s weird enough for us to put together a “greatest hits” list of our podcast episodes, so I won’t make it any weirder by ranking them in some sort of order. This is just a chronological list of the ten episodes that were our favorite to record, and most of the time, the beer is hardly the driving factor for this. We hope you enjoy listening to these episodes as much as we enjoyed recording them. So if you haven’t heard them before, check them out below!
Yes, this was recorded in 2017, but as our first release of the year, how could we have started any stronger? We are self-admitted pFriem fanboys, and the beers on this show are so far above those from other breweries that it makes us giddy and gets us talking about Ja Rule and “dankness” and fish catching.
This is one of those shows where we had to wait on the perfect timing to pull it off, as s’more stouts aren’t necessarily as prevalent as you’d think. We literally got every one that was available to us at that time, including an elusive MoRE bottle. But this is on the list because it’s a blind tasting with results that left us truly stunned, for many reasons. Listen to the upset of the year, and how Craig must’ve sat on a Mario Super Star before making his guesses, while Ryan trips over his damn shoes and lands face first in the camp fire.
For a very long time, we both agreed wholeheartedly that smoked beers were not even remotely our thing. Dovetail changed that. Having their Rauchbier completely turned us, and we were a little scared but mostly excited to do this show. And the beer results were mostly very good. This show represents growth for our stupid palates. And maybe because we had 4/20 on the mind, our distractions and diversions are more lively and strange than ever. (A total sativa strain, you know?) There’s also a lot of gaunt Vin Diesel talk, and Ryan shares skin-crawling verbal vignettes about children’s YouTube videos.
Released to coincide with our annual Saisonathon, this one was enlightening in so many ways. Recorded with Mike Thorpe of the excellent Afterthought Brewing, our love of the saison deepened with a better understanding of the processes that make the style so special. It also made me obsessed with Blackberry Farm and Taras Boulba. And Craig explains what his first experience with celery – as a 36 year-old man – was like.
Despite what you may think about Josh Noel from however you’ve encountered him, he’s one of our favorite guests. He can be challenging or downright curmudgeonly, but he’s honest, quick-witted, and did you hear he wrote a book? Barrel-Aged Stout and Selling Out is one of the most important books about beer, its production, its ownership, and its relationship to the consumer that has been released in this modern, confusing age of craft. It was a great discussion to finally have, as over the years we’ve known him, he’d tease us with tasty morsels of the story without diving too much into the details. And oh yeah, we have some pretty tepid opinions about the 2017 BCBS lineup on here as well.
Some credit must be given to Jim Plachy for this episode. In March, he tweeted the following:
Look at me.
Look at me.
LOOK AT ME!!
You deserve better than this shit Old Style Radler. It is an insult to a great many things. Brewing tradition, lemons, aluminum, the list goes on.
Do not buy this terrible terrible beer. Do not reward them for this terrible potion.
— Jim Plachy (@jimplachy) March 28, 2018
ONE MORE TIME!
Do not drink Old Style Cooler by the Lake Radler. I have done the work for you. It is REPULSIVE. Have you ever wondered what a steel drum soaked in lemon juice might taste like? Nope. You haven’t. That’s what this tastes like.
— Jim Plachy (@jimplachy) March 30, 2018
Rarely do we get to “punch up” at the awful things corporate brewers are producing to reach drinkers that aren’t in their usual demos, so we had a riotous good time picking apart these (mostly) horrific beers. We’re not generally this outwardly anti-Big Beer, as we don’t really need to join the chorus on that. But holy smokes are some of these worse than we ever imagined. Like, how the hell do they spend this much money on one of these horrible concoctions than most small breweries spend on operating for an entire year?
We had unintentionally been on an 8-month hazy beer show hiatus, so this reopened the creamy floodgates as we finished the last half of the year with several more. This one predates GABF’s unofficial proclamation that Chicago is the Hazy Capital of the World, and this episode is certainly a testament to that. But also, Craig explains the genius behind “Throat Hops,” and we talk about one of our biggest highlights of 2018: actually getting Grammy-nominated songwriter Christopher Cross to listen to an episode of our show because I started a rumor about him stoically eating a sandwich on stage at his concerts.
This is another one where we stepped outside of our comfort zone, and we learned quite a bit about something we knew next-to-nothing about. There’s also an infamous explosion, just a little ranting, but a whole lot of wine-drunk hosts, which is an area we’ve nary explored on the podcast.
If you’re not thrilled by the sound of the two of us recording late at night after a four-day bender that included four sessions of GABF, don’t worry! We also have awkward and hoarsely-screamed interview questions from the festival floor! But in reality, our annual GABF episode will likely always make the list, because it’s an exhausted audio scrapbook of one of my favorite weekends every year. Plus, we got to discover breweries that have become minor obsessions to us, especially The Referend and Oozlefinch. Also, Tomme freakin’ Arthur not only talked to us on mic for a while, but he showed us how to properly pour Duck Duck Gooze and Cuvee de Tomme from the kegs (off mic, sadly). Also, there’s a really drunk kid that yells about Dogfish Head while we interview longtime beer judge and hometown beer hero Marty Nachel.
Sneaking in at the end of the year, but recorded back in October, this second WeldWerks show we recorded in a matter of weeks stands out for the ABV Beer of the Year ⓒ™ Mexican Medianoche, but it also has the legitimately longest laugh breakdown wherein we could hardly continue the show, thanks to Ryan’s “flerbals” flub. Also, there’s Craig’s “flavor aliens,” and the game of F***, Marry, Kill with discontinued snack items is high-caloric nostalgia content.