88 episodes

Brew Ha Ha with Steve Jaxon & Mark Carpenter is a weekly one-hour radio show and podcast where we interview the leading craft brewers and we taste and describe the beers we talk about. The conversation is always lively, entertaining and informative. Beer expert Mark Carpenter was for decades the brewmaster of Anchor Brewing in San Francisco and brings a unique perspective with his vast experience.

Brew Ha Ha Podcast Steve Jaxon & Mark Carpenter

    • Food
    • 5.0, 6 Ratings

Brew Ha Ha with Steve Jaxon & Mark Carpenter is a weekly one-hour radio show and podcast where we interview the leading craft brewers and we taste and describe the beers we talk about. The conversation is always lively, entertaining and informative. Beer expert Mark Carpenter was for decades the brewmaster of Anchor Brewing in San Francisco and brings a unique perspective with his vast experience.

    Marc Meltonville, Food & Drink Historian

    Marc Meltonville, Food & Drink Historian

    Today's Brew Ha Ha podcast is an interview with English food historian Marc Meltonville, on the telephone from England, talking with Steve Jaxon and Herlinda Heras. Marc is the consulting food and drink historian for the historic royal palaces in the UK. So he knows a lot about what people were brewing and eating and drinking in different periods of history.

    Marc Meltonville jokes that being a Consulting Food Historian doesn't feel like a real job. He entered the field when he was working in a museum and was approached for a Tudor food project. He mentions that during the 1918 flu pandemic, they did not shut the pubs, even when they closed over venues. The British pub licensing laws close the pubs from 3pm to 6pm and they close again at 10pm.

    Herlinda mentions that a lot of our familiar alcoholic beverages actually began as medicinal cures. Marc agrees, that a lot of recipes were in the "physic" i.e. medicine books, not the cooking books.Distillation was reserved for tonics. Around the early 17th century the digestive drink after dinner became popular. Gin and tonic is an example. Marc tells about how king William, who came from Holland,

    Hampton Court and Kew Gardens both have extensive kitchen which have been recently explored, discovered and put back into use to demonstrate techniques and recipes from the past. Marc was also recently at Newland Grist Mill in Pennsylvania, outside Philadelphia, where there is a mill that can make its own malt, so they have built a colonial brewery with period equipment. "Two guys with a stick and a bukcket." He has also worked at Williamsburg and at Mt. Vernon where they produce George Washington whiskey without modern equipment.

    He is currently involved in two brewing projects, looking at brewing processes in the 1700s. He also designed an event based on recipes of Stonehenge, 4500 years ago. He used a mass spectrometer to study the residue of old containers to understand how they had been used. He calls it a "backwards recipe" where he reverse engineered the brew based on the residue. Yeast is from fruit skins, grapes in southern Europe or apples in the north, he realized that by mixing barley, cut apples, honey and water, he got a drink, that he calls, "a drinky thing. "He made a "pre-beer beer" like they did 4500 years ago before malting of barley or extraction of yeasts. It tasted like hard cider. Herlinda says it reminds her of braggot, which is a form of mead made with barley malt and honey.

    In the past, the luxury of choice was a feature of food for wealthy classes, wherever you look, whether in colonial America or Europe. This was true with regard to food and drink, across the centuries.

    • 19 min
    Russian River Brewing Co. Special Offers during Quarantine

    Russian River Brewing Co. Special Offers during Quarantine

    Russian River Brewing Company has special takeout offers for customers during Coronavirus confinement and Natalie Cilurzo is on the phone to tell Steve Jaxon and Herlinda Heras about it all, on the Brew Ha Ha podcast today.

    Their downtown Santa Rosa pub on 4th Street in Santa Rosa, the Russian River Brewing Co.

    The downtown pub is open daily from 11-8 for pick-up orders. Visit the website for the menu and call (707) 545-BEER to order for delivery in and around Santa Rosa. They are all wearing masks, keeping distance and sanitizing everything so they have a safe environment. They are able to ship beer directly to customers but only inside California. They are also shipping bottles to supermarkets and grocery stores, so business is still down but not by as much as they feared at first.

    Steve Jaxon reads the report that Pliny the Younger brought in a record 5.1 million dollars to the local economy in February 2020, according to the headline. Here is the news in a May 14, 2020 article in the Press Democrat. Natalie was reluctant to inquire about this year's results due to the extraordinary situation. She expresses her gratitude to the fans. She also says they hope to keep the experience smooth running so that people don't have to wait so much.

    The Windsor location made it possible to put Pliny the Younger with its superior equipment.

    Is it too early to plan 2021 Pliny the Younger? Yes, although whatever happens it will be different. Natalie says, "I can't imaging having large gatherings not only approved, but appropriate. We are worried about the safety of our customers... As time goes on I'm sure we'll come up with some creative things to do."

    Asked about the prospects for reopening, Natalie says that the brewery is required to serve food with alcohol, their license is not to serve alcohol alone. So if the rules restrict restaurants, that will have to adjust to make that practical.

    • 13 min
    Brews Brothers on Netflix

    Brews Brothers on Netflix

    Gregg Schaffer is our guest today on Brew Ha Ha with Steve Jaxon and Herlinda Heras. Gregg Schaffer and his brother Jeff are the creators of Brews Brothers, a new comedy series starring Alan Aisenberg and Mike Castle, that debuts on Netflix this coming April 10. The show is about a couple of brothers who own a craft beer taproom.  Here is all the information about the show and the official trailer, on the Netflix site. You can also check out the Brews Brothers trailer on YouTube, here.

    There are 8 episodes coming out all at once, on April 10. Herlinda tells how Gregg and Jeff really are brothers who love beer and who have a long pedigree in the TV business. Gregg did research up the west coast, visiting places like Lagunitas and Anderson Valley. Jeff has been a writer on numerous successful TV shows. Brews Brothers is a funny show and they will be doing promotions in a fun way.

    Gregg Schaffer joins the conversation on the phone. "I've been doing research all my life," as he states his credentials for a show about beer. The show is about two estranged brothers who get together to open a brewery. Each is a different kind of beer genius. They know lots about beer and "absolutely nothing about anything else." Gregg tells that there are plenty of goofy personalities around brewing to inspire the script, including themselves. The field is ripe for comedy. One brother, Will, loves any type of beer but is horrible with business. The other brother is the beer snob. Steve adds that he has interviewed practically everyone in brewing in northern California and speaks from experience, "they're funny."

    The 8 episodes of the first season of Brews Brothers premiers on Netflix on Friday, April 10.

    • 6 min
    Anne Marie Roberts from Teeling Whiskey

    Anne Marie Roberts from Teeling Whiskey

    Anne Marie Roberts of Teeling Whiskey in Dublin, Ireland is our guest today on Brew Ha Ha with Steve Jaxon and Mark Carpenter. She is the California Brand Ambassador, based in Oakland. Herlinda Heras is also in the studio today.

    Teeling Whiskey is the first new distillery to open in Dublin, Ireland, in 125 years. They opened about 5 years ago and the founders come from a very old whiskey-making family. “We represent a new generation of distillers, focussed on innovation and cask maturation and leading with flavor,” she explains.

    Their casks are made of at least seven types of wood and this is what gives most of the flavor to the whiskey, and over 100 cask types. Today they will taste four whiskeys from Teeling:

    a grain whiskey made of corn,

    a small batch blend of corn and malted barley,

    a single malt made from 100% malted barley and

    A single pot still whiskey, the first one produced since the 1970s.

    Mark Carpenter started the distillery at Anchor in 1973, it was the only pot still in America. All the big distillers use continuous stills, where you feed your mash in the bottom and the whiskey comes out the top. Pot stills are done in batches. The Irish distillers are the only ones who use the single pot still technique.

    The single grain in a corn whiskey but spends its 5 years of maturation in Cabernet barrels from Napa Valley.

    Irish whiskey must be three years plus one day old (one day older than the Scotch requirement). Also, Scotch and American whiskeys are required to be aged only in oak, while Irish whiskey calls for “wood like oak,” so they have more freedom.

    Tara Nurin calls in from Seattle, Washington, where she is continuing her research travels for her book about women in the brewing business. Today’s date is March 12, which is just as the Covid-19 crisis is starting to appear so she may cut the trip short. She describes the copper tanks at the New Albion brewery there, which are like the ones at Anchor in San Francisco.

    Teeling Whiskey is a fairly young company and they are building their brand and their distribution. They have won more then 200 awards around the world for their whiskey in the last five years.

    They were the first Irish whiskey to win the single-malt category at the World Whiskey Awards, for their 24-year. The single malt they are tasting today spends 9 to 23 years in different wine casks. There are many types of wine casks used, all of which lend flavor to the whiskey. “It’s a beautiful whiskey,” says Mark Carpenter. Anne Marie describes the flavors in each one.

    Teeling Whiskey's prices range from about $28 to $60, but there are some single casks and 34 or 35 year-old whiskeys which may sell in the thousands. The 24-year-old was the first Irish whiskey to win the worldwide single-malt award.

    • 24 min
    Tara Nurin Reports

    Tara Nurin Reports

    Tara Nurin is back on Brew Ha Ha with Steve Jaxon today, along with Herlinda Heras, to talk about her latest article in Forbes magazine and her upcoming book about women in craft brewing. Mark Carpenter is traveling this week. Tara Nurin writes about all aspects of the brewing and spirits business for Forbes magazine. You can follow Tara on Twitter here.

    Tara's latest article in Forbes is "The #MeToo Movement Is Coming To Craft Beer... Will It Arrive Before All The Women Leave?"

    Tara is also writing a book, "Don't Worry, Honey, I Didn't Burn the Beer," about women in the brewing business, which is due to be published in the Spring of 2021. She is visiting Sonoma County to interview several women in the brewing business, for her book.

    The #MeToo Movement and the Craft Brewing Industry

    Describing her current Forbes article, Tara says that many women she has interviewed who have suffered sexual harassment in the brewing business say that they could leave the industry if things don't change. She goes on to tell how the reputation of the craft brewing industry has been about how people are nice and support each other, and while that is true, there is another side to the story that is only being told now. Thanks to the #MeToo movement and to her research and reporting, the rest of story is beginning to be told. In particular, she tells the story of Natalie Phillips, who worked for a brewery in Columbus, Ohio where she was allegedly raped. "Everyone knew but nobody talked about it," until she went to the press a year ago and has now talked to Tara about the story. Since this story came out, many other women have also complained about the same person, yet the detective investigating the case has not interviewed the others.

    Tara Nurin's California Adventure

    Tara's visit to California includes a distillery tour organized by Hotaling & Co. distillers. They were spun off from Anchor Brewing after Mark Carpenter started their distilling branch, which was eventually separated from the brewing company after a series of ownership changes. She will have a tour of Anchor Brewing and they will also visit with Judy Ashworth, the pioneering Bay Area publican (who was featured here on Brew Ha Ha last December.) Finally they are going to visit Hopland Tap, which Ron Lindenbush has reopened on the site of the old Mendocino Brewing Co., for a taste of the new Red Tail Ale with Don Barkley. Tara lived in San Francisco in 1997 and remembers liking Red Tail Ale. There was also a beer called Red Nectar.

    Tara also belongs to a group called Barley's Angels, a women's home brewing club. This rolls in nicely with our sponsor The Beverage People, who since 1980 have been helping folks with home brewing, winemaking, and any and all other kinds of fermented foods, like yogurt, olives, mead, and much more.

    • 24 min
    Andy Hooper, Seismic Brewing + Karen Bianchi

    Andy Hooper, Seismic Brewing + Karen Bianchi

    Andy Hooper, brew master at Seismic Brewing Company, is our guest today on Brew Ha Ha with Steve Jaxon and Mark Carpenter. Karen Bianchi is also in, representing the 14th annual California Artisan Cheese Festival and also the  Valley Ford Cheese & Creamery. Herlinda Heras is back to tell about her latest European trip.

    The Artisan Cheese Festival has a full schedule of seminars and practical exhibits in different locations, plus "Bites & Booze" which will be held in an airplane hangar. March 27, 28 & 29, the full schedule is at their website, here:  https://www.artisancheesefestival.com/event. It has grown in size and this year the tours are happening on Friday and there are seminars at the Flamingo in Santa Rosa. Sunday is the big marketplace, starting with Bubbles & Brunch. Chef John Ash is going to be paired with Valley Ford Cheese & Creamery.

    Seismic Brewing sold their first keg in the Summer of 2017. They are located at 6700 Sebastopol Ave, in Sebastopol, in the Barlow. They brought several Seismic beers, mostly in cans. Shattercone IPA is the first beer tasted. A shattercone is formed when a meteor hits the ground, leaving a shattered cone shape. It uses hops from Idaho, Washington and from Germany.

    Visit our sponsor The Beverage People on 1845 Piner Road in Santa Rosa, for the best equipment, supplies and instructions for all your home brew and fermented food projects.

    Herlinda has brought back some beverages from her trip to Italy and Switzerland including a beer flavored liqueur.

    Karen Bianchi tells how Valley Ford Cheese & Creamery is now open on Hwy 1 in Valley Ford. They make three types of cheese, each one based on a traditional Italian type, so there is one based on Montasio (from the north-east Friuli region), one based on Fontina (from Piedmont, the north-west) and one that is like a Gorgonzola, which comes originally from a town called Gorgonzola in the middle of Lombardia, in north-central Italy. (It's the third-to-last stop on the green metro line, outside Milan.) She also brought an aged Estero Gold that is a lot like a Parmigiano, which literally means "from Parma" in Italian. Their Gorgonzola won 3rd place in the US Cheese Championships last Spring, and the plaque arrived the day that they opened their new shop.

    Finally, Herlinda tells a bit about her travels, she was just in Italy judging their national beer competition. Since the Coronavirus covid-19 has been spreading in Italy, she had some issues getting through airports but she made it.

    • 30 min

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