Tonight's the first episode of the new Esquire Network show, Brew Dogs, (find the channel here), which follows the duo behind the Scottish Brewery, BrewDog, as they embark on a cross country craft beer road trip. And where better to start things off than sunny San Diego?
Eater San Diego caught up with BrewDog co-founder and Brew Dogs co-host, James Watt, to talk about his connection to the local beer community and find out what tonight's San Diego-centric episode has in store.
What do you hope to accomplish with the Brew Dogs show?
When we set up our business back in Scotland in 2007, our mission was to make other people as passionate about craft beer as we are and we see what we're doing with the show an extension of that. We want to open people's eyes to the whole world of stylistic diversity and amazing artisans who are making some of the best beers in America and just get people excited about the great beers that are being made at the moment.
How did the San Diego show come together?
For us, San Diego is kind of the epicenter of craft beer universe and it's the home of the West Coast-style IPA. The beer is just phenomenal, from Stone to Ballast Point, AleSmith, Alpine, Green Flash, The Lost Abbey and Pizza Port - there's just so much good beer so we had to make sure we went to San Diego.
Can you give us a little preview of tonight's episode?
Every place we visit, we work to make a beer that's inspired by that city, so in San Diego we made an IPA but in order to give it a twist, we used the hottest chili on the planet. San Diego's also famous for surfing so we went surfing and harvested some kelp from just beyond the surf line. We also made it in quite an unusual way, on Amtrack's Pacific Surfliner as it ran between San Diego and Los Angeles.
Is that the first beer ever made on a moving vehicle?
I think this is the first time anyone's been silly enough to do that.
Where does the show go from here?
From San Diego, we went to San Francisco, Seattle, Denver, Philadelphia, Portland and then ended up in Boston.
How does the beer culture in San Diego compare?
Just the availability and the understanding; you can go anywhere and you're almost guaranteed to find a great beer. There's a great diversity of people in San Diego who enjoy beer; it's young people, old people, guys, girls - and I don't think that's something that you always find in other cities.
Has San Diego beer influenced what you do?
Massively...we took a huge amount of inspiration when we set up our company from Stone; we were disillusioned that in the UK there weren't any comparatively hoppy, high-octane beers so those were the styles we set out to make when we started.
Will you try and reclaim the title of World's Strongest Beer?
No, but we had fun making those beers. We made them because we wanted to challenge people's perceptions of what beer was and how it could be enjoyed, and to push the boundaries.
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