Joe Ploof- Hanging Hills


Today’s craft beer badass is Joe at Hanging Hills brewing in Connecticut. He’s a guy that’s been run through the ringer. He’s lost a best friend to craft beer. He lost money. He was marked for pain and suffering by an internet douchebag. He’s fought and bled to build his business, only to watch it cough and die in his arms.

But through all that, Joe Ploof is still a believer. He still wants to make beer and sell it to people. He scraped his shit together and 8 months after his closure he reopened as a contract brewery. He shares how he restructured his distribution footprint, reworked his recipes and even hired one of those fancy social media people.

In this episode he shares why he did it and why he believes he’s on the pathway to purpose in his life. It’s too early to tell if he’ll be more or less profitable than the tired old brick and mortar brewery model.

But by the end of my time with Joe I found myself wanting to believe. He’s a great guy who makes great beer and I appreciate the Hell out of everything he shared with us. Our yourself a beer and let’s get to it. — Support this podcast:


Should Beer Be Regulated By Place?

Well, they do it for wine. 

If you produce a wine in Colorado and put California on the label, that’s not just morally bankrupt, it’s distinctly illegal. And if you distill agave in TX and call it tequila, you’ll likely have some badass banditos with guns on the hunt for your sorry ass. But it’s the lawyers with pens that’ll really push your shit in.

Same for distilled white grapes outside of Cognac. Or fortified red wine not produced in Porto. Or whiskey made anywhere but Scotland. And of course bubbly Chardonnay made someplace not called Champagne. 

But if the crappy little brewpub down the street releases their new West Coast IPA or Czech Lager or Belgian Wit? Currently no one gives half a fuck.

The French have this beautifully poetic word “terroir”. The Germans came up with something chunkier like Herkunftsgebiet. My good buddy Henry calls it “when your drink takes on the energy of a place”. Which he got from some chick. Which I’d argue all the truly good things that have ever mattered come from.

When something other than fizzy yellow fizz water explodes in your mouth for the first time, it breaks something loose in your soul. It creates memories and moments and monuments in your mind. When you seek out new experiences inspired by that first experience you have become something different. Something deeper. I would argue something so much better.

So there’s this worldwide precedent for defining your drink (and even food) by the region from which it came. Unless you’re fermenting grains to make beer. And barely if you distill that to make spirits.

Commercialism and corporate branding have gripped the beer industry like a 15 yr old boy choking all the chickens.

Brands like Budweiser, Stella Artois, Sutter Home, Coors, – – they all initially built their brands around a place. A thing. An experience. When you couldn’t get a Stella in your state or when you first heard the history of Hoegaarden or saw them pouring Kwak in that weird-ass glass that newness bred an excitement. And it was awesomely transcendent. So even Budweiser and its myriad of faux-craft brands were once tied to a time and place. Except maybe Shock Top. Actually for sure not fucking Shock Top.

But fuck you if you don’t think it would have been badass to double-fist it at Bud’s St. Louis facility on the Tuesday that America finally passed the 21st Amendment. I would argue these experiences make you a better person the way that hugging everyone within a 10ft radius did when you shoved a Molly under your tongue back in college. It opens your mind, it tickles your senses and it skips you one rock further down the road to universal love.

Enter 2021 and now it seems like marketing is terroir’s tyrannical team-leader.

Us not-boomers will remember the first time we had a pre-Heineken Newcastle or a pre-Diageo Killian’s at those out-dated European bars that haven’t seemed to be able to stay relevant during this last craft beer revolution. Us Gen-X, Y and even Z-ers had a Guinness there too and were blown entirely away. I can tell you from experience that it’s nothing compared to drinking one in a pub overlooking the sea on the West coast of Ireland but ours was an experience greater than the liquid in the glass.

Have you ever had a New Belgium 1554 black ale in the shadow of the mountain of Peak 9 in Breckenridge after a full day of snowboarding powder? Ever sat on a pristine beach in Jamaica running the range of Appleton Estate rums while watching the ridiculously beautiful sunset that seems to stretch on forever in all directions? How about tasting wine in the gorgeous tasting room of Sherwin Family on Spring Mountain (which fucking burned in the 2020 fires) on the East ridgline of Napa Valley at 10am Sunday morning with a bit of hangover? Did you ever drink Abita Amber at 8am in Houma, LA watching the Crewe of Whatever at the Mardi Gras parades as a warm-up for a full day in the City that somehow didn’t end until well after midnight? Ever started to feel a bit buzzed as the room filled up with the aroma of Tennessee whiskey as you and the other tourists shook the wooden cap over the charcoal mellowing vat at the Jack Daniel’s distillery? I’m sure you’ve slammed a case of salted Dos Equis bottles while slamming a tequila slammer in Cancun every third beer. Maybe even at 16 years old. But have you ever climbed under leaky pipes on a tiny sidestreet to enter a brick building that maybe should have been condemned just so you could taste Yuengling at the source?

I’ve done at least all of those. I’ve also waited in line to give my ID to wait in line to get inside the building to wait in line to order a beer to wait in line to get a seat to drink my beer in at Russian River Brewing. A brewery I’ll always love but an experience I most definitely didn’t. I’ve also ordered a flight of beers after hunting down a brewery in a warehouse district and all of them had noticeable off-flavors. I’ve even hosted bottle-shares where the worst beer of the night was the hardest to get and the best-rated on the interweb of bullshit.

So many brands today tie themselves to an inspiring sense of place with a disappointing lack of authenticity. Tito’s Vodka sells a largely flavorless drink that claims to represent Austin in TX and TX in the USA and even abroad. But them and Deep Eddy Vodka aren’t fermenting anything in TX because it’s cheaper to source and you and your friends don’t seem to want to care. And I’m not sure I do, either. Zilker Brewing in ATX is around 6 miles from the actual Zilker Park, or 3.9 hours in Austin traffic. Pecan Street Brewing in Downtown Johnson City is actually on Pecan Street. But their beers have words like German, Vienna, English so what does their latitude and longitude mean to the beer? Well over half of the brown-water distilleries in TX bottle a product not created solely within the rather expansive boundaries of the State Davy Crockett and company defended to the death at the Alamo. But even Ty and Tommy (who do) at my favorite TX distillery, Andalusia Whiskey, named their malt house after some peninsular region of Spain that like, does horses good and stuff.

There is no Houston Brewing Company but there’s Buffalo Bayou which doesn’t make beers that taste like muddy water anymore than Galveston Island makes salty beer. If Austin Beer Works set out to make a beer that tastes like the capitol city smells I wouldn’t drink it. I’d be excited to see what a terroir-driven beer from Wild Acre would taste like – until I found out that they were neither wild nor on acreage but instead their brewery was in the shadow of the intersection of two of the biggest highways in the country. These guys all make fine beer, just not derivative of their local area. Nor does the beer carry the flavors from whence it came. 

When it comes to regulating regional authenticity, consumers seem to belly up the bar with an empty fuck bucket.

German Pilsner tastes amazing when Live Oak brews it under the shade trees in Austin. But the question is, do you consider it German? Should you consider it German? Should they be allowed to call it German?

Somewhere someone came up with the dirty little idea to just say it’s German-style and the Federal Government said, “Sure, that’s OK.” But just what manner of stupidity is that? Do you think the California Association of Winegrape Growers would think it was cool if a Georgia winery called their red wine Napa Valley-style Cabernet Sauvignon? What if Hershey’s started calling their flagship a Swiss-style chocolate bar. You might even be able to get the Swiss to pick a side and even pick up a gun on that one. I bet Elon would have something to say on Twitter if Toyota decided to call it’s electric car division Tesla-style EV motors. 

Where does it end? Can I start a software company and call it Microsoft-style. A new soft drink called Coca-cola-style Soda Water? Incidentally you can’t do this because we have laws preventing it. Because it is stealing the intellectual property of someone else, which really just justifies my entire premise. 

The hyphen style workaround is lazy and stupid. It drags down the creativity integrity of the beer industry at large. It reduces innovation. It blurs the lines of what makes a style great. And it makes us all dumber.

I’m well-aware that beer drinkers mostly don’t care and I’m sure that at least 90% of the reason that this regional appropriation is allowed to happen. But just because they’re asleep at the wheel doesn’t make it right. Or justifiable.

Or, more importantly, not worth changing. Wake up kids, it’s time to make the beer world a better place. 

what is sour beer?

Back in 2017 I stopped producing anything with laboratory yeast. No IPA, no stout, no pilsner, really no style of beer you’d recognize from your grocery store shelves. Before that I would call the lab in California and have them next-day air me yeast the day before brewday so it was healthy, predictable, viable and ready to make a beer that tastes like a beer style.

Now 100% of the sugars in my wort (the sugary extract that comes out of my brewhouse on brewday) are converted to alcohol, acid and esters by native, or feral or local or indigenous yeast and bacteria. Yeast and bacteria that happen to make their home where we make our home in Historic Downtown New Braunfels-just floating around on the air and chillin’ near the river. Much like kombucha, my multiple strains of yeast and bacteria work symbiotically to create a Mixed Culture Beer that is funky, dry, refreshing and makes you pucker a bit.

I still drink beers brewed with pure culture yeast (Live Oak Pilz is always in my fridge) and still appreciate them for what they are and the role they’ve played throughout brewing history. But as an artist, I’m not interested in producing any particular style of beer. A style of beer is, by definition, someone else’s art that they created and other brewers have attempted to improve or just keep up with. At best, every subsequent brew is a brew-by-numbers copy of the original recipe. Artistically I find that uninspiring. Again, I’m happy to drink those beers, I just don’t want to be the guy making them. 

So when someone asks if I brew sour beer, the answer is no. No, I don’t. 

I’ll try to explain why. 

Ever had a sour wine? How about a sour fruit smoothie during Dry January? Ever seen sour buttermilk pancakes on the menu? Was there ever a Super Bowl ad for Sour Coke? Red Bull is way more sour than any beer I’ve ever shoved in my face. No one markets their low pH products as sour unless it’s beer. Or candy. 

What is a Sour Beer?

For beer we measure the acidity of a liquid two ways; Titratable Acidity, which I’m not gonna address today, and Ph. Ph is the measure of the concentration of the free hydrogen ions on a scale of 0-14. Anything above 7 is alkaline and anything below 7 is acidic. Technically all beer is lower than 7Ph so has acid present and could be categorized as sour. The acid dries the body, engages more taste-buds and balances some of the residual sugar left behind in a beer fermented with pure culture yeast. Somewhere around 4Ph we start to notice that the beer is sour. The other components the brewer brings to the recipe will affect your perception of the acid. More hops, alcohol and more residual grain sugar are the obvious ones. Even spices, roots, fruits and (dammit) lactose milk sugar are used to create a counterpoint to acidity. So you may have two beers with the same Ph and one will taste much more sour than the other. Sorry, there’s nothing I can do about that, it’s just science. 

A few types of Sour Beer

Kettle Sours are produced by adding bacteria pre-boil while sitting in the brewer’s kettle. These would include BerlinerWeiss beers and Goses, although traditionally they weren’t all fermented this way. 

Mixed Culture beers are produced by fermenting with more than one yeast strain and usually also with bacteria. These would include some Saisons, all lambic beers and spontaneously fermented beer, typically most oak-aged beers and a lot of beers that say Brett on the label or in the name. 

The Belgian Oud Bruins and the Flanders Red Ales are kind of a hybrid of the two with a focus on acid production and mixed culture fermentation. Usually these are done in stages so they are a little different than mixed culture fermentations. 

If there are organic acids present in the beer (as there are in wine or fruit juice) your tastebuds will perceive that as sour. There are many more than one acid that can be present but most sour beer will contain lactic acid in quantities high enough to make you pucker. You’ll see acetic acid pretty regularly also. With the addition if fruit, malic and citric acid will also put on their dancing shoes. 

For me, I define Sour Beer as a beer produced with sour as the endgame. The flavor is concerned with pucker for pucker’s sake and is produced using techniques to enhance the sourness, purposefully lowering the Ph. Usually the body, the booze and the hops are kept light and there is residual sugar that attempts to balance the acid somewhat, making it more chuggable and heavier on your palate. The sour is one-dimensional and encouraged to steal the spotlight like some insecure diva. 

Labeling these beers is the tricky part. Brewers aren’t very adept at staying in their lanes so the term sour has been thrown around like a kitten at a 3-year-old birthday party. There is no accepted standard for the process to make it sour or the final measurement of how sour it is. Labels say all kinds of things and deciphering them takes some genius. It’s the wild west of wild fermentation out there. 

How do you make it Sour?

Typically by adding lactobacillus bacteria at some point into the fermentation. This bacteria eats a percentage of the sugars and converts them to lactic acid. 

For ‘kettle sours”, which will represent most beer with sour in the description and almost all sours in a can, this is done in the brewkettle instead of a fermenter. The unfermented beer (wort) is transferred to the brew kettle and heated to boiling or near boiling to kill any life that was living on the grains. It’s then cooled and left in the brewery’s kettle at around 110 degrees and a healthy, bioengineered strain of bacteria is added to maximize the lactic acid production. During this stage Oxygen is the enemy and many of these beers will showcase baby diaper or throw-up aromas due to sloppy brewing techniques. After a period of hours (sometimes days) at warm temperatures the bacterial fermentation is complete and the brewer will then boil the wort to kill the bacteria, add hops and continue skipping down the Yellow Brick Road to their fermenter. They then pitch laboratory yeast and ferment the beer like they would with a normal beer, with the exception of the additional lactic acid hanging around. 
Some of the more traditional German brewers would split the batch of wort from the brewkettle and use a ‘souring tank’ for half of the brew. They allow this tank to get bracingly acidic while the other tank ferments with a pure culture yeast. They then blend both tanks together to create a pleasing level of lactic sourness. 

For mixed culture beers (like mine), the beer is made sour after boiling as part of the normal fermentation process. This causes the bacteria to compete for sugars with the yeast strains, which balances the acid and creates new flavors and complexity. Fermentation can take place in steel and/or in oak barrels and can vary from months to years. Some of this acid will also be produced by Pediococcus after a few months and even Brettanomyces yeast as much as years later. With extended aging in oak (or brewer mistakes) another bacteria, Acetobacter, will convert alcohol to acetic acid in the presence of oxygen. Acetic acid is a bold acid that is extremely sour and tends to overpower everything else even in small amounts. Spontaneous fermentation also runs the risk of oxygen waking up some bacteria you don’t want. Again the baby diaper or throw-up aromas. 

You can also buy acidulated malt to brew the beer that basically has acid on it. Boooring. Shitty brewers can (and some do) also add food grade acid directly to a fermentation tank and just ‘make it sour’. To be fair, many winemakers, especially those in warm climates, will use this trick to keep their acidity on point for the style of wine they are making. I don’t appreciate it at all when they do that either. 

The soda companies just drop a mess of citric acid into their products and no one seems to care. But we already know those things will kill us, right?

Why is my beer not a Sour?

So to start, I think it’s fair to say that years ago my beer was a Sour. As early as 2012 I was experimenting with adding wild yeast and bacteria to a hefeweizen, dunkelweizen and a weizenbock. I wanted to take the experience of that beer and just add a pucker to it, enhancing the flavor and drinkability. Also because sour was weird and cool and I wanted to play in that sandbox. But I was a blind man (or a toddler in a sandbox) with a long paintbrush. As much as I might have been able to produce something that resembled a liquid Jackson Pollack, I was really just flinging paint on a canvas, not producing art. 

Looking back now I was just trying to add acid to beer. While I was using a mixed culture and creating a dry, effervescent beer, I didn’t fully understand the role all the components played in creating what got poured into your glass. 

Over the years I’ve refined my style, broken down the constituent pieces of the brewing and fermentation process and now have a cohesive story to tell through the beer I produce and the bottles it rests in. I start with your experience and work backwards to construct a process Hell-bent on crafting a thoughtful end product.

As the soul of the brewery, Blondine is a critically important part of my brewing portfolio. What began life in 2015 as a hefeweizen that ‘went sour’ is now a bone-dry, crisp wheat beer with subtle nuance and a dancing delicacy. It’s the beer that rests in barrel to create 4-6 fruited sours each year and the beer that rests in steel to create their spent fruit counterparts. It’s important, it matters. And it’s more than just sour. 

To brew Blondine I start with 85% white wheat/15% pilsner and mash at low temps to give the slower yeasts something to much on over the years they spend in barrel or bottle with the beer. I boil 90 minutes for complexity and to fully incorporate hop acids into the wort. In Mid-2019 I began adding 40% aged hops to the boil from my supply of 4-5 year old hops that have aged in the TX weather in my outside storage. This is one way that I limit the activity of the acid-producing bacteria without making a bitter beer, which I can’t stand. My target IBU (a measure of how bitter the beer is) is around 15 but with the aged hops your perception of the bitterness will be down near 10. Translation: you can’t taste it. Lactobacillus doesn’t like either hops or alcohol and the presence of either in high quantities will slow its growth so we might be soul-mates. 

Fermentation is where Blondine matures and it’s true depth of flavor really comes from. The mixed culture that ferments all of my beers used to complete primary sugar conversion in 6-7 weeks. Years later it now completely finishes in 3-4 weeks with a more balanced and subtle range of flavors and aromas. And that’s only the very beginning of the life-cycle for this beer. By controlling the temperature after primary fermentation and bottle-conditioning I can extend that secondary fermentation for years, depending on what I’m making and targeting with the final beer. There is still sugar left in the beer and energy left in the microorganisms and it’ll be years before they’re both exhausted. When we release Blondine in kegs and bottles it’s typically 8 weeks old and, like an obnoxious kid throwing rice on the floor at Chipotle, it has quite a bit of growing up to do. After 2-3 years in the bottle, a silky cohesiveness opens the beer in new and noteworthy ways. The yeast becomes more present with funky, Earthy notes and the acidity is softer and more balanced. It evolves ya’ll. Everyone’s opinion is correct so whether you like infants, like my wife, or don’t, like me, Blondine has you covered if you invest some patience and thought. 

Normally Blondine will ferment in steel first and then I transfer to barrel second but sometimes I’ll ferment directly in barrel just to create something a little different. Every Fall I go through the brewery and select 8-10 barrels of Blondine for my annual blend. Each barrel is unique and brings it’s own personality to the complexity of the final blend. I’ll add 4-week old Blondine to the blend to extend the bottle maturation and slap a Heavenescent label on it. This is the most complex version of Blondine and one that may develop gradually in arousing ways for many years in the bottle. 

Refermentation with fruit adds additional layers of flavor. I’ll select barrels based on character of the fruit I’m using. If the fruit is bright and aromatic like peaches, I’ll select a more funky, yeasty barrel. If the fruit is highly acidic like raspberries, I stay away from the really sour barrels. 

Then I contact the fruit with barrel-aged beer twice. The first press is half the volume of beer and extracts the juice, the jamminess and the acid. The second press extracts the tannins of the skins, a brighter fermentation character and adds a deeper complexity than one big press would. These are the Saison de line of fruited beers. 

After the second press, I ferment a very young batch of Blondine directly on the spent fruit for 3-4 weeks to extract the essence of the fruit and the tannins from skins and seeds in light and delicate ways. These are the Blondine de line of spent fruit beers. 

I also age Blondine on fruity hibiscus flowers for Funkromancer. I’ll dry-hop it with tropical hops for Hopfenstopfen. Or blend it with a dark beer for Bier No.217. Once I even boiled it with green coffee beans and Mexican sugar. 

So you see Blondine gets around. 

Call it Mixed Culture Beer

Sour doesn’t tell the whole story of a Mixed Culture Beer. It’s like saying that your car is red when it’s actually 4 colors and its only 30% red. People like to put things in cute little boxes that they can compartmentalize and understand, but the types of beer I make just don’t fit. You wouldn’t call yourself Native American if you only have 3% Cherokee in your family tree. (maybe when you’re applying for scholarships but not on Indigenous People’s Day). But that’s what we like to do with sour beer. 

I mean Hell, if you’re a Dallas Cowboys fan you cheer for the Patriots around 0 percent of the time. We don’t like when things don’t fit their box but that’s exactly what my beer does-or doesn’t do. It’s all over the place. It pairs with fish, it tastes like wine, it makes you salivate, it goes down easy, it’s intended for thoughtful inspection, it holds up to steak, it warms your belly and it refreshes your soul. 

Plus, I just don’t like it. Calling it sour doesn’t take the time to give credence to the whole picture and the effort behind it. If you took a 1” square of Picasso’s Girl With The Mandolin you’d think it was part of his grey period. Only by zooming out can you realize it was one of the most influential works of his Cubism Period.

Really I’m just asking you to zoom out. See it all, drink it all. 

Thanks for Drinking, 

Kelly KFM Meyer

Day Off: Hot Tub Beers


Today I’m doing something a wee bit different. I’m basically co-hosting a mashup of my podcast and the Hot Tub Beers podcast. Hosts Tim and Jake brought a pickup-mounted hottub to my brewery parking lot and mic’d up. So I threw on some Speedos, jumped in and kinda took a day off from my hosting duties. We’re joined by my old brewer Nathan and some unsuspecting tourists that are walking by. My wife even takes a break from taking embarrassing pictures of me to jump in for a few minutes. No not in the hottub, in the conversation. We get a chance to discuss some of my mistakes, taste some of my beer and discuss their evolution. The last segment is a sneak peek of their show, which I hung around and recorded for a few more hours after this. Hot Tub Beers isn’t just a hang out and drink show and it isn’t just a shit-on-all-the-beers I hate show. Somehow it’s more and I hope you enjoy it. Episode Sponsored by: Brewery Direct Simpson Motorcycle Helmets Yakima Valley Hops — This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. Support this podcast:


Part 2 of 2: Theresa and Brett of Fetching Lab Brewery


What I have here for you today is Episode 2 from my interview with Bret and Theresa of the late Fetching Lab brewery.

If you haven’t listened to the first episode, well, get off your ass and go cue it up. Go ahead, we’ll be here when you get back. While you’re at it, maybe listen to any of the others you’ve missed, as well. My guests and I have spent precious time and energy making these things, and if we can’t agree that you should be listening to each of them, how the Hell do we expect to tackle the abortion debate.?

In this episode we discuss the role distribution played in their decline, the insanity of German chocolate cake and, ultimately, what it was like to finally close the doors on their brewery. This was a nearly 6 hour interview and by the end, I couldn’t help but be pissed that craft beer lost these two passionate souls.

So get comfortable, take a listen and see if you agree with me.

Episode Sponsored by:

Brewery Direct

Simpson Motorcycle Helmets

Support this podcast:

Josh Cunningham – Kora Kora Coffee


My guest today is not a beer manufacturer. He doesn’t distribute beer and likely hasn’t ever carried a half barrel keg up a flight of stairs. He does drink it but that’s not why I’ve asked him to sit down with us today.

See, I’ve always felt that if lessons are principles then they have to be universal. And they’re only universal if they can be applied across multiple disciplines and industries. If the 10 mistakes I wrote about in my book are worth the paper they are printed on, then I would be able to discuss them with someone far from beer and still have it make sense. I’ve also always believed that you can learn valuable insights by seeing how owners in other industries tackle their challenges.

So I asked Josh Cunningham if he’d sit down with us and talk about how my mistakes applied to his career. He is a detail-driven coffee guy who until last year was also a coffee shop owner.

Josh got interested in coffee through everyone’s favorite gateway drug, weed. If you’ve ever been to a coffee shop in Amsterdam, that wouldn’t sound weird at all.

Josh started working in coffee as a kid and actually got some artisanal training. But it was really just a job and he never quite appreciated the art of the thing until he got a job in college.

At fucking Starbucks of all places…….

Support this podcast:

Part 1 of 2: Theresa and Brett of Fetching Lab Brewery


There was so much to share with this interview I had to break it into 2 shows. Part 2 will come out later this season. 

My guests today are Brett Bray and Theresa Hutchinson of the late Fetching Lab Brewery down in way South Houston.

Brett was a full-time financial advisor and a part-time homebrewer so he has qualified to own a brewery as most of us in the beginning.

Based on Brett’s research, he felt opening a brewery when there were less than 50 TX breweries was “so darn viable that you’d be a total idiot not to do it.”

In 2011, he announced on Twitter with the only tweet he’s even sent that he was going to open a brewery. At this point, he’d already been thinking about it for 2 years.

So he homebrewed hard for a year and a half every weekend on an all-grain system he cobbled together himself, with a little design help from Theresa.

After 6 long years of due diligence, practice and planning, Theresa and Brett finally ripped open their doors in 2015.

After ditching names like BadAss Brewing, at the last minute they decided to have the entire brewery inspired by their 11 week-old yellow lab. Which Theresa can do a much better job describing than I can….

Episode Sponsored by:

Brewery Direct 

Simpson Motorcycle Helmets 

Support this podcast:

Chris Rhodes – Off Rhodes Craft Beer Station


Today I am joined by Chris Rhodes of Off-rhodes Craft beer station. It’s a small taproom/bottleshop located here in New Braunfels serving arguably the best selection in town. He and his wife took what looked like a risk at the time and worked their tails off to make it a recognizable brand and loyal customers

Chris got his start in the industry working in bar management and even spent a brief sentence as a server in my Tasting Room. Prior to opening his shop he also started a Craft Beer Tour company right as the scene in our area started to take off. He’s well-known in our area and has been retailing beer now in his second location for years. It’s that experience that made me intrigued to interview him. Since he’s the at the end of the 3-tier system, his insights will help suppliers and distributors understand the market better.

When asked why he wants to peddle craft beer he answers like most of us do.

How NOT To Start A Damn Brewery:the book, available on Amazon

Episode Sponsored by:

Brewery Direct

Simpson Motorcycle Helmets

Support this podcast:

Byron Lewis from Altmeyer and Lewis Brewing Company


My guest today is Byron Lewis, co-founder of Altmeyer and Lewis from San Marcos, TX. They were a brewery known for classic styles and solid execution. They never packaged and never signed with a distributor. And although Byron does have some regrets, that is NOT one of them. We get into the logistics of building and managing a brewery and even some of the emotions around tearing it back down.

The idea for the brewery came around Christmas of 2012 when Byron’s wife’s sister’s husband called. He said, “Hey I got some money and I want to open a brewery. Wanna be my partner?”

As a homebrewer, it was an offer Byron couldn’t pass up so A&L began making beer as a family partnership 2015. Since Stewart brought cash to the table, he was 51% owner. As the sweat equity guy, Byron had……

How NOT To Start A Damn Brewery:the book, available on Amazon

Episode Sponsored by:

Brewery Direct

Simpson Motorcycle Helmets

Support this podcast:

Chris Rigoulot from Noble Rey Brewing


My guest today is Chris Rigoulot, the founder of Noble Rey Brewing in Dallas. Noble Rey came on the brewing scene in 2015 and made a splash with their can artwork. They quickly expanded across Texas and captured the attention of the craft beer scene with cool names, good beers and unique marketing. They expanded to two locations and by the end of 2018, word got out that they were in bankruptcy.

Chris got his start in this industry like most of us did. Brewing beer at home, working jobs he hated and dreaming of opening his own business making beer. He and his father bonded over their beer and decided to take their game pro.

In 2011 Chris started working at Dallas favorite, Peticolas Brewing, got into the American Brewer’s Guild school and finished up at Lakewood Brewing. It was during that time that he figured out the name he wanted to give the brewery and found himself overcome by the excitement of owning a beer business.

How NOT To Start A Damn Brewery:the book, available on Amazon

Episode Sponsored by:

Simpson Motorcycle Helmets 

Brewery Direct 

Support this podcast: