Ep. 15-& Brian & Departed Soles Brewing Co.

Hi everyone and welcome to another week of People & Pints & Podcasts!  This week’s episode is a bit shorter than usual but still lots of fun. I went to my old stomping grounds in Jersey City near St. Peter’s Prep, where I went to high school, to visit Departed Soles Brewing Co. I got the chance to talk to the owner and operator, Brian, who is actually a Boston College alum, which was a very exciting coincidence. He suggested I come early in the afternoon to beat the late rush but we were both surprised to find that the taproom was steadily busy all day. So, I had to wait until closing time to sit down and record with Brian. We had a little bit of ambience as people were finishing up their beers but hopefully it helps put you in the space. Listen in as we chat about Brian’s craft beer history and the inaugural year of DSBC!

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I ended up not really minding having to wait for the afternoon in the taproom and I sampled my way through a few of the beers. Brian started consciously brewing as a gluten-free brewer in honor of his friend, who was diagnosed with celiac disease. Unfortunately that friend later inspired his brewing venture as he passed away. Still, his presence is palpable in the taproom with the two gluten-free options and the memorial of the name of the brewery, Departed Soles (Brian elaborated that they had been really into buying sneakers).

The DSBC taproom is a mix laid back and fun elements: with graffiti on the walls, an old subway car lining one wall, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles memorabilia and plenty of beer. Moreover, Brian proudly announced–as his Australian Shepherd, Bogan, walked around the taproom–that this was the only space where beer and dogs could legally coexist in Jersey City.

As I waited for a few minutes of calm in the taproom I tried a few of Brian’s beers. The first was Cantankerous Blonde, a mellow and standard blonde ale. Later I tried A Dark Night, a gluten-free Black IPA, which won Bronze at the World Beer Cup this year for the Gluten-Free category. Then, I really enjoyed the beautifully colored Deuces, a DIPA with a good mix of bitterness and lingering sweetness. I ended up taking home a growler fill of Philoso-Rapper, a Belgian Ale, which Brian told me was potentially their best-seller.

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On the episode we chatted about Brian’s role as the sole operator of DSBC. “It’s my fault if something’s bad, it’s my fault if something’s good,” Brian noted. Still, he was more than willing to give credit to friends and fellow brewers, as well as honoring the memory of his deceased friend. I asked Brian earlier about potential collaborations with other brewers and he shared some hopes for collaborating with other New Jersey/New York brewers. “I’d also love to collaborate with people up in Boston,” Brian said wistfully. As of right now there aren’t any firm plans to brew with anyone but, as is the custom with craft beer, collaboration is almost always a part of the process.

Brian definitely seemed at home in the taproom and brewery and hopes to continue to build DSBC and claim his stake in the beer world. I think he certainly has room to grow and will do so. His first big change for the summer is swapping his personal pick-up truck for an actual delivery truck!

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Brian has found a home in Jersey City but remembers his roots in Boston, bartending at the infamous Mary Ann’s and touring Sam Adams. And if you’re a Boston College alum, come visit DSBC and ask for the secret menu!

Usually we drink, review and rate a beer on the show but we expedited the episode so Brian could finish cleaning up and enjoy his social life. Hopefully you still enjoy it and get out to Jersey City to try Departed Soles for yourself!

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Ep. 14-& Bill & Lindemans Kriek Cuvee Rene

Hey everyone and welcome to the fourteenth episode of People & Pints & Podcasts! For this episode, I traveled down to Washington, D.C. and managed to check out both a local brewery and a Belgian-inspired beer bar (I also spent some quality time with my girlfriend and former guest of the show, Rosa). I met with Bill, editor of DC Beer, to talk about the history and growth of craft beer in the District and his own personal history with beer. We also get into a Cuvée René Kriek from Brouwerij Lindemans in Belgium. We wrapped up by talking about the sociology of craft beer and Bill’s work in education in the nation’s capital.

I began my beer adventure in D.C. with a trip out to DC Brau, Washington, D.C.’s first production brewery since prohibition. DC Brau is a little out of the way from the center of the city but the interior is gorgeous and was an exciting venue to check out. I enjoyed a few samples from the taps and left with a six-pack of collaboration beers.

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Later on, I met with Bill DeBaun of DC Beer at The Sovereign in Georgetown. The Sovereign is a beautiful bar with a delicious lineup of Belgian imports and Belgian-inspired beers from US breweries. Bill had some trouble with traffic and the public transportation so I waited a few minutes chatting with Erich, an expert bartender. Once Bill arrived the three of us chatted a bit over a few drinks before recording the episode.

Bill, who is familiar with the staff of The Sovereign, asked if we could find some quieter space for recording. They suggested we try recording in the bottle room, a small room lined with hundreds of bottles of delicious beer. There was some ambient noise from the hum of the cooling unit, but hopefully that doesn’t distract from a truly fun and exciting episode.

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We started by talking about the history of DC Beer, the website, and D.C.’s craft beer scene. DC Beer was started before the rise of craft beer in Washington, D.C. just as a resource for tracking bars that had craft options on tap. Bill joined the staff right around the time DC Brau started and tracked the growth of the craft community. Bill shared his own experience with craft beer, explaining that he cast “a wide net,” trying anything he could get his hands on. I affirmed this route into craft as a good way to find what you enjoy. We then moved on to the beer.

We drank a fruit beer, Cuvée René Kriek, from Brouwerij Lindemans, which definitely had the look and smell of something with quite a bit of fruit and something sweet. When I went in for a sip I noticed an interesting blend of sweetness and tartness. Bill took the time to describe spontaneous fermentation, a tricky but potentially delicious way to produce beer. For our review, Bill described the Cuvée René as “cherry-bleach,” which Bill noted might sound off-putting. I decided to describe it as “challenging.” We then discussed what this beer’s spirit animal would be; I said it would be a fox, while Bill dubbed it a Disney “wicked stepmother.” Lastly, we both agreed that the ideal drinking time for this Cuvée René Kriek would be with lots of friends and for some sort of event or celebration.

We shifted away from the Cuvée René Kriek and ended up talking about the lack of and need for diversity in the craft beer industry. We talked a little bit about the socioeconomics behind craft beer, citing DC as a test subject, and also thinking about gender in the market. We broke down the “normalcy” of homogeny and how the community should be more inclusive. Beyond that, Bill pointed out that it makes more economic sense to market to different groups.

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Bill then shared some of his work in education down in Washington, D.C. He spoke about access to college and “who gets opportunities.” He cleverly noted the “intersection” of craft beer and education in that regard, but also mentioned some differences.

We returned to the Cuvée René at the end and gave it a rating. Bill gave it a 7.5-8/10 while I landed on the 8-8.5/10 range. We both agreed it was a good beer and certainly enjoyed it during our conversation.

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This ended up being a longer episode but we hope you enjoyed it!

Ep. 13-& Rosa & Bantam Cider Wunderkind

Hey everyone and welcome to another episode of People & Pints & Podcasts! I’ve finished my semester at Boston College and have returned to New Jersey. I decided to record another episode with my girlfriend Rosa and continue the Sippin’ Cider with Cuppari series (For the other cider episodes click here and here). On this episode we enjoyed Wunderkind from Bantam Cider. We also took some time to chat about homebrewing and play an improv game.

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FullSizeRender (13)After last week’s episode with Tom from Boston Homebrew Supply, I decided to try homebrewing with my roommate Adam. Adam has been homebrewing for awhile but it would be my first time. Adam drew up a recipe for a pale ale and we set aside some time to brew our beer. It was a messy but fun process and I’m hoping it’ll turn out well. Our beer is fermenting now but should be able to be bottled in a week and a half. We tried to name our beer so I dubbed it Rest in Pale Ale, because our dorm room is getting knocked down. Adam decided on C-Line Pale Ale because we got our ingredients at Boston Homebrew Supply, which is along the C-Line on the T.

 

I’m glad I got the experience in because Rosa bought me a homebrewing kit! She got me a kit with a Harvest Pumpkin Ale recipe from Box Brew Kits. I’m really excited to try it out and will let you know when I get into it!

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Bantam Cider is a cider house from Somerville, MA and we tried their Wunderkind style, a bright and crisp traditional cider. Rosa and I both really enjoyed it and had some fun “reviewing” it. Rosa described Wunderkind as “sophisticated” while I said “dry.” Then, we decided on the ideal drinking location. Rosa said while watching a documentary and I said a cocktail party. Finally, Rosa would pair Wunderkind with some appetizers, while I said it could go well with a salad.

To wrap it up we played a couple rounds of “What Am I Thinking?” an improv game that I took from one of my favorite podcasts, Comedy Bang! Bang! The point is for the two participants to think of a word and then say it out loud, working to meet in the middle. If you’re confused, just listen.

We returned to Bantam Cider for a rating, Rosa gave it an 8.75, while I gave it an 8.5. We both really enjoyed it and will probably return to it!

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We hope you enjoyed this episode!

 

Ep. 12-& Tom & Boston Homebrew Supply

Hello everyone and welcome to this week’s episode of People & Pints & Podcasts. It took two tries to actually finish this episode, so I apologize for the delay in posting. We ran into some technical issues the first time so I returned to Boston Homebrew Supply in Brookline to record again with Tom. Tom owns and operates the homebrewing store and we chatted about the local craft beer community and Tom’s process of brewing beer. We also drank some of Tom’s beer, which was delicious!

 

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Tom’s beer was a berliner weisse, which is typically a sour, tart style of German beer. We had had this beer on the first try of recording and it was still very tasty. We didn’t repeat our fun review process but did try to describe the beer. We agreed that it was very refreshing and crisp, best enjoyed outside with friends on the beach. Tom then described his beer for me saying he might call it a “sour cream ale.” It was very tasty and I certainly didn’t mind trying his beer again. He also had me try it with a fruit syrup, which is sometimes added for German drinkers who don’t traditionally enjoy the sour flavor of the beer. I preferred it without the syrup but still enjoyed it.

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Tom explained his own history with craft beer, saying that he had first experienced craft with Sam Adams’ Oktoberfest. He continued to try different beers, preferring big IPAs at first but still sampling different styles. He tried homebrewing in college and continued to pull on the thread of craft beer. He then described his most recent beers that he’s brewed: a split batch of a Belgian witbier and a Saison.

We then chatted about the “point” of homebrewing and Tom shared some great points about just focusing on the brewing process and not necessarily aiming toward opening a brewery. I was referencing a great blog post from the Beer Simple site that suggested that home brewers shouldn’t necessarily plan to open a brewery simply because they brew good beer. Tom shared similar sentiments and seems content just letting the beer speak for itself; he just enjoys the brewing process.

I asked Tom if he believed that there is a craft beer bubble and he suggested that “there can’t be too many breweries.” Tom elaborated on his optimistic approach and clarified that there will always be demand for beer, quality just needs to follow.

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Tom mentioned a few of his favorite local breweries including Jack’s Abby (featured on the show here) and Notch Brewing. We also denounced the “aleholes” and praised the generally welcoming nature of the craft beer community. Lastly, Tom brought up another passion of his: music. Tom listens to a lot of soul, jazz and rock, citing some of his favorites as Queens of the Stone Age and LCD Soundsystem.

We ultimately gave the berliner wiesse an 8.5/10 with Tom considering it his best attempt at the style. It was definitely delicious and I was honored to try it!

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Follow the podcast on twitter and instagram @peopleandpints to keep updated. Also check out Mass. Brew Bros. for all things craft beer in Massachusetts.

 

Ep. 11-& Caz & Artifact Cider Project Roxbury

Hey everyone and welcome to another week of People & Pints & Podcasts! My roommate and wonderful friend Caz joined me for another episode of the podcast (first one found here). I spent my weekend visiting Rosa down in DC, so I decided to record an episode before leaving. Caz claimed I was using him as a back-up, he may have been right…But in all honesty we had a great chat and really enjoyed our drink: Roxbury cider from Artifact Cider Projects.

Caz and I recorded the podcast very late on Wednesday, April 27, so we were very sleepy. Nonetheless, I was thrilled to try the highly recommended Roxbury cider and glad to share it with Caz. I had picked up the cider from Craft Beer Cellar Fenway (as usual), while at a tasting for Bent Water Brewing Co. I spent a good amount of time chatting with Ryan, Bent Water’s sales rep, about the history and plans for Bent Water. He highly recommended that I make the trek out to Lynn so I might have to. I also let him know that we had recorded an episode sampling Pearl from Bent Water and he seemed interested. It was certainly a good outing and I really enjoyed the conversation.

On the day of recording I decided to go visit Tom, the owner of Boston Homebrew Supply, to chat about craft beer in Boston and to learn about the process of homebrewing. I’m hoping to make my first foray into homebrewing with one of my roommates soon, so getting a peak at all of the ingredients and recipes available was very useful. Tom was very helpful and gave some great tips. We also spent some time talking about the potential craft beer bubble in Massachusetts. It was a great trip and we are hoping to schedule some time to record a podcast episode together.

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Caz and I really enjoyed Roxbury cider and had some fun with the review process. We dubbed this the second installment of Sippin’ Cider with Cuppari (named after the aforementioned Rosa). Initially, Caz described it as “pumpernickel” (a strange one), though he changed it to the more appropriate “crisp.” I suggested that it was a “refreshing” drink. Then, we both agreed that we would order Roxbury for Rosa or “anyone who isn’t a big craft beer fan.” Roxbury definitely has the character and flavor of a craft beer but might be a little more approachable. Lastly, we thought that we could both go through somewhere between 3-5 glasses of Roxbury.

After the cider talk, Caz and I took the opportunity to reflect on the semester. This episode came at the opposite end of our last episode which was a nice point to consider the change in between. We talked about growing more comfortable with life back at Boston College after studying abroad in Europe. I also said how much I enjoyed spending quality time with a small group of good friends, like Caz. We also looked forward to our fall semester, when we will have a great space for grilling and lounging outside. I teased that I might be able to brew some beer for us, so we’ll have to see how my first batch goes!

Finally, we returned to Roxbury for a rating. Caz gave it a 9.17/10 while I rounded down to a 9. We both agreed it was delicious and highly recommend it to anyone interested in cider. It certainly does not have any of the puckering sweetness sometimes found in cider and was perfectly crisp and refreshing. I’m sure Caz will be joining me again soon so if you enjoyed the episode, please let us know! Also, to get all of the episodes in one place, subscribe to the show on iTunes or anywhere you listen to podcasts.

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You can follow the show on Twitter and on Instagram @peopleandpints and email us at peopleandpints@gmail.com