Da Beer Show is a new public access television show that piqued my interest. Alas, while I love beer, beer doesn’t love me – but I can live vicariously through hosts Steve B. and Erick T., who are obviously naturally wired to drink brews and talk about it. These guys can seriously keep it together after tasting several pints! Their set is a beautiful pub that Steve built himself, and it really sets the scene for beer analysis. The duo busts out tons of info, so I hit them up to tell us more about the show, and how they came to be such experts on beer.
MauiTime: So first, who are you and where did you get so much knowledge about beer?
Steve Barber: I’m originally from England where great beer is a way of life. My dad loves a good bitter ale in the winter or a refreshing cold lager in the summer. I grew up in and around that pub culture, I can remember summer days sitting out in a beer garden where my dad would walk out the pub with a half pint of shandy for me! I was like 8 years old, but a shandy is mostly 7-Up with a splash of beer on the top to add some colour and a little flavour. Nevertheless it was great for me, because I was having a beer with my dad.
Erick T.: I think Tom T Hall said it best, in his song “I Like Beer:”
I like beer, it makes me a jolly good fellow
I like beer, it helps me unwind and sometimes it makes me feel mellow
Whiskey’s too rough, Champagne cost too much, and vodka puts my mouth in gear
This little refrain should help me explain, as a matter of fact, I like beer
MT: How did you meet? Did it involve beer?
SB: At the time Erick and I were in the same line of work, producing live events. We met some 20 years ago here on Maui, working on a show site and ended up having a couple of pints together after work. I remember just talking about the beers we were drinking. We were always trying different styles and new beers. The craft beer brewing industry was just beginning to take off back in 2000, it was an exciting time as a lover of good beer.
MT: What is the mission for your show?
ET: Steve’s wife wouldn’t let him out of the house just to hang out at a pub, so now we can tell her that’s we’re doing market research for the show! In all seriousness, hanging out and tipping back a few pints with Steve is always a good time, but this gives us a chance to try some new styles and flavors and share our thoughts.
MT: What kind of beer will you be tasting on the show?
SB: All kine beer! Seriously though there are so many craft beers on the market today, We could do an entire season on IPAs alone.
ET: Hopefully very good-to-excellent beers and ales
MT: How long have you been analyzing beer?
ET: To some degree, since college when I noticed that when you spend more than $5 per 12-pack you can get beer with flavor. Traveling also introduced me to different styles of beer in different regions. I never really put together what made them different, just enjoyed each region for its own tastes. Now, I’ve learned that it comes down to using local malts and hops – that’s the real driver in a lot of beer.
SB: Ever since that first half-pint of shandy my dad gave me.
MT: What are your favorite kinds of beer?
ET: Free beer.
MT: What do you hope people learn from the show?
SB: I don’t know if people can learn from our show but I do hope more people will branch out and try different beers because of the show. Don’t just grab the “usual” 6-pack.
ET: There’s nothing wrong with the mass-marketed beers, but like everything else that’s made for mass consumption, it is a bit bland and there are more interesting things out there. In the case of beer, there are a myriad of styles ranging from easy-drinking lagers to the hoppiest of IPAs, from light-colored blonde ales to dark and chocolatey stouts, from fruity hazy IPAs to sour gose beers. Sometimes you want a Bud Lite, but there are other options.
MT: Where did you learn about beer and how it’s made?
SB: Around 2005 I knew I had to brew beer. I assembled the equipment and quickly became an all-grain homebrewer. I learned a lot about the different grains, hops, and yeast for sure but, for me, it’s the whole brewing process that got me.
ET: Most of what I know, I learned from Steve when he was brewing. Since then, I’ve started doing a little research on various web sites, mostly from craft breweries, but also from some Facebook groups of homebrewers.
MT: You started right out the gate on IPAs, one of the beers having a moment right now. Can you speak on their popularity?
SB: Our first show was all about IPAs because of their popularity. IPAs are popular, in part due to the selection of so many different brands and flavors in that style.
ET: It seems as though beer is taking over the space once only occupied by wine. At different points, merlot or sirah would be the preferred flavor of the moment. Today, with beer, it’s the IPA. A traditional IPA is typically high in IBUs – that is, very hoppy in flavor. Most mass-market beers tend not to be so hoppy, so people were obviously craving something different. I think as time goes on, preferences will move to other flavors.
MT: Break down IBUs: What is it? Why know about it?
SB: IBU stands for the international bitter units, essentially the higher the number the more bitter the beer will taste. The bitterness comes the hops which are added throughout the boiling process as many as three times. In some cases for high IBU numbers, hops can be added during fermentation, also known as dry hopping.
MT: OK got it. IBUs equal how bitter that beer is. What about ABV?
SB: It’s simply the percentage of alcohol by volume, most craft beers are in the five to eight percent range
MT: You talk about West Coast versus East Coast styles on the show. How do these styles compare in IPA?
SB: Right, that’s covered in Episode 1. I’ll let Erick take this one.
ET: West coast IPAs are a bit more traditional British style, adding a bunch of hops and really bringing up the IBUs for powerful taste. New England IPA, also known as hazys, aside from being unfiltered, also differ in that they reduce the hops in favor of other botanical flavors.
MT: What is the show format?
SB: The format… at the end of the day, it’s two guys in a pub having a pint.
MT: Well, two beer nerds in a pub having a pint. What are some of the future episodes that people can look forward to?
SB: We have most recently just shot our St. Patrick’s Day show featuring Guinness, of course, and a few other surprises in the mix as well. It’s a secret.
ET: The next one is always going to be the best one! If you like the current episode, just wait!
MT: What are some of the episodes you are really excited about?
SB: The funniest one to date is Episode 2. The even numbered shows are always – shall we say – a little looser because on the shoot day we film two episodes back to back.
ET: We have some plans to correlate with certain holidays. Also, we hope to do some remote segments from various brew pubs and beer festivals.
MT: How many episodes are on the air right now?
SB: We are currently running only the latest release but at some point I would like to run multiple older episodes in a later time slot, keeping the latest in prime time.
MT: When can folks see the show?
SB: Right now we release a new episode every two weeks on Akaku channel 55. The same episode runs for two weeks at a time, six times total. Then the following Tuesday we release a new episode. The show airs every Tuesday at 8pm, Thursday at 7pm, and Fridays at 10:30pm.
MT: Can fans of your show connect on social media?
SB: Our older shows can be found on YouTube, under DaBeerShow. Currently we have a Facebook page called Da Beer Show.
check out the show: