I admit I’m a late adopter, a very late adopter. Podcasts have been around since 2004 and yet I only got hooked on them about a month ago. Then why is it a trending topic, when it’s been around for over a decade? Excellent question, I wondered about that myself. Though the medium is well established in the US, the podcast phenomenon is now also booming across the pond. The research articles I found stated that one in four Americans listens to podcasts regularly (25%), while in the UK that number is estimated to be currently about 8% and is growing fast. In 2017 the ad revenues from podcasts in the US were triple ($220M) that of 2015. According to a recent Forbes article the only other thing to experience such a similar surge is 3-second gifs.
What is a podcast? The term podcast is a portmanteau, a made-up word coined from a combination of the words ‘iPod’ and ‘broadcast’. It’s basically an audio platform much like a radio broadcast, except the expletives aren’t beeped out. They’re free and can be found through podcasting websites or apps, such as PlayerFM1, Soundcloud, Spotify or iTunes. The thing that I love about them is that you can stream it everywhere on demand. I started doing it during my commute, but now I often listen to them at home too, instead of watching TV. Most likely you can find one on any topic that you can think of, but of course the ones that I am most interested in are the beer podcasts. And there are loads of them. I haven’t been able to try them all, but already have found a few excellent ones that I thought I would share with you!
Obviously this is just the tip of the iceberg. Many of the best ones are made in the US, however not all of them cover breweries or beers that are known to us in Europe (or in my case The Netherlands). So I’ve been seeking out the ones that I can relate to in terms of brewery names, beer festivals and so on. Some are mainly fun banter, others super geeky like the science ones. My personal favorites are the interviews with the brewers, which give a good insight into the stories behind the craft beers we love so much. Check them out below and enjoy!
In-depth interviews with beer industry professionals
As you may know, if you have read my blog before, I’m a big fan of the behind-the-scenes stories. So of course the interview podcasts are my favorite! Here are several that focus on interesting in-depth talks with brewers and other beer industry professionals.
- Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine Podcast: A podcast full of fun interviews with great breweries like J. Wakefield Brewing (what the brewer thinks of extracts), Anderson Valley (talking about Gose and Gruit), Greg Koch from Stone Brewing (the challenges of the beer business), and Firestone Walker (about the evolution of sour and wild beer). They’re currently on episode 55. I look forward to catching up on all the previous ones!
- Good Beer Hunting: Hosted by Michael Kiser, this podcast boasts some pretty big names, too. I started listening to it after I saw they had recorded the symposia at Beavertown, the festival in London I went to this year in September, but where I unfortunately missed out on the live interviews. How awesome that I can replay those here! I also found some interesting episodes with e.g. Jester King, Hardywood, Duvel Moortgat. Good stuff!
- Belgian Smaak: The podcast is hosted by Breandán Kearney, originally from Ireland and now based in Belgium. He is a beer writer (named “Beer Writer of the Year 2015” by the British Guild of Beer Writers) and co-founder and brewer at Siphon Brewing in Belgium. The list of podcast interviews is impressive and I can’t wait to go through all of them. They include Brussels Beer Project, Cantillon, De La Senne, Boon, and more. And be sure to check out his blog too!
- We Made A Beer: A beer podcast by women! The last episode dates from a year ago, but still very much worth listening to. These two lovely British ladies tried their hand at brewing and at the same time managed to get some impressive names to join their podcasts, such as the likes of beer master Garrett Oliver (Brooklyn Brewery), Belgian beer sommelier Sofie Vanrafelghem, the founder of Magic Rock, and Tiny Rebel. Very cool! They have now moved on to make a new podcast called Oddrop Drinks Podcast, which is all about discovering curious drinks for curious drinkers.
- The Beer Podcast: Another British podcast with news, views and insights and interviews with the people and personalities behind the UK beer scene. I really liked their episode on Billie’s Craft Beer Fest, since I am going there in a few weeks, and their other festival reports. Unfortunately their last episode is dated May 2018. Hopefully they’ll be back with more British beer news.
(All of the podcasts above are available on Player FM. Craft Beer & Brewing and Good Beer Hunting can be found on Spotify as well.)
Funny banter and beer reviews
There are so many beer review podcasts out there; it’s pretty tough choosing one in the cornucopia of beer banter and opinions on beers and breweries. Here are a few that I think are good. The best part is, these podcasts don’t require a lot of concentration and are great for listening during your commute or while waiting at your dentist appointment.
- Hop Nation USA: This show is recorded in Pittsburgh and makes for fun and easy listening. They describe their podcast as “Just three yinzers hell-bent on saving the world from crappy beer”. It’s not completely random though. Their broadcasts generally have a theme, like ginger beers, spicy beers or hefeweizen, with some beer news and funny stuff thrown in for good measure.
- Beers Without Frontiers: A relatively new British beer podcast by a few beer geeks who cover pretty cool topics like the new fad Brut IPA, the UK’s first Trappist brewery and their festival visits, such as the Coventry Vegan Beer Fest. I like their beer reviews of well-known UK beers and Belgian brews. Love the accent!
- 3 Boys Three Beers: Three brewers drink three beers and see where the conversation takes them. Sometimes informative, often not. Banter, banter, banter, beer review, banter, banter. I can listen to that English accent all day!
- Malt Couture: Another humorous chitchat-filled broadcast on beer, well at least some of the time! One of the hosts is Alex Kidd, who is known from his website Don’t Drink Beer. He is also a professional comedian and a studied writer, reader, and music history sponge. Together with his co-hosts “they explore the absurd underbelly of the craft beer world while also discussing movies, music, video games, pop culture, and their sad, basement dwelling lives”.
- Podjebier: There is even a Dutch beer podcast! Every episode four friends review four beers (blind tasting) leading to funny non-beer related comments. Think He-Man slime and comedy roasts.
(Hop Nation USA, Malt Couture and Podjebier are available on Player FM and all, except Podjebier, are on Spotify.)
Geeky beer science podcasts
For all you beer geeks who are into the technical beer stuff, there are some amazing podcasts out there covering all aspects of the brewing process and beer science. Knock yourself out!
- Brülosophy: A great podcast for homebrewers about the science of beer, featuring for example episodes on off-flavors, base malts, the mashing process, yeast and fermentation temperatures. Hosted by beer geek Marshall Schott, who is a psychologist when he is not talking about beer. A super educational podcast, love it!
- BeerSmith: Another excellent podcast for homebrewers and anybody interested in the science of beer, hosted by Brad Smith. I love the interviews with the authors of some of my favorite beer books, like Mirella Amato, Stan Hieronymus, Charles Bamforth and Ron Pattinson. I highly recommend!
- Master Brewers Podcast: Interviews with the industry’s best and brightest on topics such as wort aeration, the hidden secrets of NEIPA and kveik (just to name a few random ones). Brought to you by The Master Brewers Association of the Americas.
- BJCP Review session: This podcast is 4 years old, dating from before the BJCP guidelines update in 2015 and only consisting of about 10 episodes, but nonetheless a good source of information on beer styles. Hopefully useful in preparing for the beer sommelier exam.
- The Business of Craft Beer: The podcast is hosted by Gregory Dunkling, director of the University of Vermont Business of Craft Beer online certificate program and discusses today’s craft beer sector in the U.S. It focuses on the business side of the industry, covering topics such as social media, partnerships, financing, intellectual property and more.
- The Brewing Network: Last but not least I want to mention the range of podcasts produced by the Brewing Network for homebrewers. I enjoyed listening to The Sour Hour, on the process of making wild ales, but there are many more interesting ones. Check it out!
(All of the podcasts above are available on Player FM.)
Do you have a favorite beer podcast? Let me know in the comments below!
- I mostly use Player FM when possible, because I can use it on both laptop and Android, so I will refer to that when the podcasts are available there. The podcast links direct to the page the podcast has marked as their home site.