Takes a Look at the Craft Beer Scene with Fun and Humor
TR Robertson — What happens when five couples who like to travel, visit breweries, share stories and seek new adventures get together? Sometimes ideas are born that can blossom into reality. This is exactly what happened to the families of Jeff Spanier, Jeff Riccitelli, Tom McMahon, Tod Muilenberg and Joe Szalkiewicz. Both Jeff’s and Tod are instructors at Carlsbad High School, Tom is in Event Productions and Joe works for a Social Media agency. The idea of creating a way to share information, suggestions and stories about the craft brewery scene was first born in 2016 at a Carlsbad Campground when Jeff Spanier and Jeff Riccitelli started mulling over the idea of creating a podcast that would center around visiting as many different craft breweries as they could and sharing information about the breweries as well as sharing fun stories, discussions and other information.
In 2017, the 5 couples rented a large van, during Spring Break, and set out to visit their children who were attending universities in various schools in California. These empty nesters began in the Sacramento area, crossed to Chico and along the Russian River. Along with seeing their sons and daughters in their universities, the 5 couples would stop in 20 breweries along the way, speaking with the owners and the brewers. The couples came up with a name for their group – PGW – Parents Gone Wild. They took tours of the breweries, spoke with the experts about their process and stories behind the beginning of the breweries as well as how they came up with the name and logo of their brewery.
In 2018, the couples, now called PGW 2.0, headed to the Pacific North West for 8 days, beginning in Seattle and ending in Bend, Oregon, visiting 34 breweries. All along the way they were gathering information and ideas that would help in the development of the podcast. 2019 would find the couples heading to Puerto Penasco in Sonora, Mexico, this time taking a variety of beers with them. As they sat around the campfire they shared ideas on how the podcast should be put together and what it should look like.
The name of the podcast, “I Like Beer the Podcast”, came from a Tom T. Hall song, “I Like Beer”. Jeff Spanier said he did further research on what existed as podcasts concerning craft beer and of the five he found, nothing resembled what this group wanted to do. He said most of the podcasts were too scientific and one was a little bit too crass. This group wanted to put together a podcast that would be easy to understand, fun to listen to and would offer a casual discussion of not only the beer scene and specific breweries, but would also discuss topics everyone would have opinions on.
They said they also wanted to go to the breweries and let the brewers tell their stories about their product and business, even stories about their name and logos. The “I Like Beer the Podcast” has had 20 episodes to date. They have discussed topics like summer vacation beers, had themes for discussions like shark beer week and best movies. The have interviewed owners and brewers, dedicating the entire podcast to them when this occurs.
Their podcast airs every Monday and runs between 40-50 minutes. The format usually includes an Introduction detailing info about the brewery, beer or theme for the podcast. It then moves to a Toast-Roast-Pour section which includes a salute to something, a funny story and at times a knock or poke at something. The podcast is staged at Joe’s home 75% of the time and in field trips to various breweries 25% of the time. Their podcast field trips have taken them to Guadalupe, Culver, Viewpoint, Latitude 33 and the Vista brew scene along the Hops Highway. They have also visited breweries in San Diego County, Hawaii and Canada. The podcast has currently had over 700 downloads. Many of their younger, drinking age family members are helping out with the social media contacts and designing logos for the group as they look at what works and what doesn’t work. In the planning stages is PGW 4.0a with a trip to Canada.
Jeff Spanier said “Beer for some is a social drink that brings people together, sharing stories and laughter and their plan is to emulate in their podcast this social aspect of the beer scene as well as sharing great beer from many breweries and the stories that go with these businesses”.
The “I Like Beer the Podcast” can be found on Facebook, Apple Music iTunes and Podbean. On Facebook go to @ILikeBeerthePodcast and on Twitter go to @ilikebeerthepo1. If you have ideas to share with the group about the craft beer scene, contact them on one of the social media sites.