Apr 13, 2012

Beer Radio

When I first started, brewing was all I could think about.  It is all I wanted to talk about.  I would spend hours thinking of what next to brew, researching equipment upgrades, learning, reading - just trying to soak it all in.  As my wife would attest, I tend to jump into things with both feet.

The problem I ran into was there wasn't anyone available, reliable, and knowledgeable I could interact with and actually hear their input on brewing beer.  Sure, I had books on beer, but those can only take you so far.  My brewing buddy was just as much of a newbie as I was, so that wasn't going to help me progress (though, we did talk a lot about brewing anyway).  The homebrew club only met monthly.  And internet forums, well, you know how the internet is.  There is lots of good info and there is lots of craptacular info.  Wading through all of it, finding stuff that was reliable and applicable, that was a chore and it took a long time to find topics I was interested in and/or that applied to me.  It was hard to get my beer information fix.

That is until I discovered thebrewingnetwork.com.  In particular, I listened to the podcast Brew Strong, hosted by Jamil Zainasheff and John Palmer (yes, that John Palmer, the one of How to Brew fame).  I didn't know anything about Jamil, but, as it turns out, he is a pretty decorated homebrewer and very much an expert with all things brewing.  The podcast has been on for a few years and the entire archive is open to download through their website or iTunes.  

They discuss and cover everything.  It is great!  If you want to wood-age a beer, just look that up, listen to the podcast, and you will be filled with brewing knowledge.  Hops, water profiles, fermentation, sanitation, Q & A shows... hundreds of shows, all there for you, all free.  I cannot recommend this podcast enough.  Some of the shows are beyond my skill or brewing method at the moment - pH of the mash, for instance - but most of them are applicable right away, even as an extract brewer.  

Here's the downside to the podcast - it isn't always "family friendly."  I mean, you have a bunch of dudes drinking beer, talking beer, and f-bombs get dropped, crude jokes and comments are made... you get the picture.  Another thing negative is it often takes a while to actually get into the information.  Jamil and John and the other hosts often banter back and forth about random stuff, so sometimes I just skip on ahead.  Sometimes it is entertaining; sometimes not.  But it does make the show more real and helps you connect with the guests.  

There are other brewing podcasts out there.  I have not tried them, but this one is great.  It has very reliable information, a very impressive pedigree of hosts, and the guests they have come on are usually tops in their field.  You can't beat that.  

So, pour a pint, throw on some headphones, and just relax and learn.  I think you will be glad you did.