In my recent Muse, Craft Beer’s Place on Network Television, it was confirmed that beer lovers are accustomed to watching their beer programs via the broader band of the Internet. Yes, millions of craft beer enthusiasts, from beginners to beer geeks, are getting their sudsy info from more than just TV advertising and their social networks. The Internet by jove is a treasure trove of beer entertainment featuring today’s small and independent U.S. breweries.
So in case you were interested in touring breweries before you even bellied up to the tasting room bar, or you’re interested to “see” the brewers themselves (many even on the home level) describe their equipment, philosophy, challenges and triumphs, then you, my craft -luvin’ friend, are the prime audience for some of today’s online beer shows.
I decided to go straight to the source to learn about these popular beer entertainment series directly from their creators. See what they had to say about their programs below. Please do not think for one second that this is a complete list of the craft beer-centric online programs. Be sure to write in any shows you feel merit attention under “other” in the poll. And by the way, many of the beer media who produce these often only do it for the sheer reward of furthering their own craft beer journey.
A Sampling of Today’s Online Beer Shows
1. Basic Brewing Video
First episode: December 15, 2005
Number of episodes: 132
Most viewed episode: Beer Dinner Appetizers
Basic Brewing Video is the companion podcast to Basic Brewing Radio—the longest running homebrew-centered podcast on iTunes. Hosts James Spencer and Steve Wilkes, along with guest host Andy Sparks, celebrate homebrewing and craft beer through brewing experiments, food pairings, interviews and brewery tours.
Goal of Basic Brewing
By the end of every episode, homebrewers (and craft beer lovers) will learn something new about beer—how to brew it better or appreciate it more. Our goal is to continue to grow our audience by providing fun and educational episodes, with an open mind to new opportunities.
2. Beer America TV
First episode: August 5, 2008
Number of episodes: 180+
Most viewed episode: Beer America The Series
Beer America TV was truly one of the first video beer blogging sites on the Internet, and the only one promoting specifically American craft beer. Pairing Paul Leone, a broadcast TV producer, and John Pinkerton, the owner/brewmaster of Moon River Brewing Company, we deliver beer reviews with authentic knowledge and credibility.
Goal of Beer America TV
Our goal from the beginning was to never rate or judge beers because taste is subjective! Our goal is to educate and inform in an entertaining way by promoting American craft beer exclusively. And our goal was to use the brand “Beer America” to build an online craft beer resource that eventually moves into a nationally televised travel series.
3. Beer Nation
First episode: October 2009
Number of episodes: 23
Most viewed episode: Beer Nation Visits GABF 2010
Join us as we explore the raging craft beer revolution and discover all there is to know about beer from the brewery to your pint glass, including the brewers, the drinkers, and everyone else that makes this a Beer Nation.
Goal of Beer Nation
Our main goal is to promote craft beer, and we would be very interested in doing a cable version of Beer Nation if we were approached.
4. Brewing TV
First episode: May 7, 2010
Number of episodes: 60
Most viewed episode: Fulton Brewing Co. & Upper Mississippi Mash Out
The phrase “All for Brew, Brew for All” is more than the show’s slogan—it’s our mission statement. Through episode themes and guests, the viewer experiences first-hand the art and science of beer-making. From the small-scale stove-top homebrewer to multi-million dollar craft brewers—the love of beer and passion for creating it is the moving force behind Brewing TV.
Goal of Brewing TV
Brewing TV’s mission is to tell the stories of making beer—whether at home or at the brewery. No matter if that happens via the web, national TV, or telepathy, we’re committed to spreading the word of great beer.
5. The Hop Cast
First episode: August 15, 2008
Number of episodes: 172
Most viewed episode: #97 The Bench Wench at the 2010 Craft Brewers Conference
The Hop Cast is a video podcast hosted by Chicagoans Brad Chmielewski and Ken Hunnemeder focusing on craft beer.
Goal of Hop Cast
Its main purpose is for the hosts to share their love of craft beer with the world. By offering viewers tidbits of information about the brewing process, ingredients or even packaging, Brad and Ken hope to educate people on what makes craft beer a great product. We also recently released a spin-off show of the Hop Cast, called Cellarz. The show will be hosted by Brad and Ken and highlights, and pokes a little fun at the cellars of fellow beer “geeks” in a style reminiscent of MTV Cribs.
6. New Brew Thursday
First episode: May 2009
Number of episodes: 153
Most viewed episode: Aug 4: International IPA Day
Join the cast of New Brew Thursday: Stephen, John, Matt and Dr. Bill, as we explore the world of craft and homebrewed beer, talk about the revolution of craft, and how you can be an advocate for craft beer. Also, we bring you Dr. Bill who will teach you how to expertly pair food with beer, and hopefully along the way, we’ll make you smile, laugh, and want to get together with your buddies and have a craft beer!
Goal of New Brew Thursday
Ultimately we just want to have a good time and introduce craft beer to as many people as possible.
7. The Happy Hour Guys
First Episode: Pilot in 2006; regular episodes starting in 2008
Number of episode: 226
Most viewed episodes: The Alchemist: Tragedy and Triumph
Mark Aldrich and Jimmy Ludwig,The Happy Hour Guys, are two Broadway actors who travel to historic, remarkable bars and share with you the stories, the people, and the communities served by craft brewing businesses.
Goal of The Happy Hour Guys
If our show were to land on cable we would want to feature a much larger network of interesting restaurants that introduce their customers to unforgettable craft beer/craft spirits experiences thanks to The Happy Hour Guys. And a goal of several genius craft brewers naming a beer after us: The Hoppy Hour Geuze perhaps? Not that you’d ever hop a lambic—which sounds rather dirty…
8. The Session
First episode: June, 2005
Number of episodes: 100s
The Session is the original Brewing Network (BN) Sunday show that brought live beer radio to the internet. Each week the BN crew covers a homebrew and/or craft brew-related topic in depth through guest interviews with beer industry professionals and celebrity homebrewers. With a fresh mix of fun and information, an eclectic cast of characters, and live interaction with listeners, The Session brings beer radio to life!
Goal of The Session
Provide a bird’s-eye view of the Brewing Network live shows both from our home studios and on location from events around the country, including the Great American Beer Festival, National Homebrew Conference, Craft Brewers Conference and more!