"Brew Dogs" Finale Hits BostonBy Scott Kearnan
November 1, 2013
The new Esquire Network's alpha show, Brew Dogs, will wrap up with a season finale on Tuesday at 10 PM. Over the course of seven episodes, the two starring UK-based brewers, James Watt and Martin Dickie, will have zigged and zagged across America on a multi-city road trip to discover the best that our craft beer scene has to offer. And along the way, they've also been creating locally inspired drafts under unique circumstances: like, say, a colonial-style beer using ground corn and blackstrap molasses, brewed aboard a moving Fourth of July parade float in Philadelphia.
Tuesday's finale in Boston is a pretty poignant one. (Since we are sort of vital to American history. Not to brag.) And to celebrate, part of the gents' journey will involve a sail on Boston Harbor - not to toss tea overboard, but to brew a "seafood-inspired Scotch ale." Consider us intrigued. We raised a toast with James Watt, and grabbed him for a few questions about his time in Boston and looking back at the cross-country experience.
What did you think of the craft beer scene in Boston, and what set us apart from other cities?
I love the beer scene in Boston. It was my first time, and Martin and I were really impressed. The city and people rock - everyone was so welcoming, we could tell this city is full of hard-working, passionate people. It reminded us a lot of being back home in Scotland.
What are some of your favorite beers that you discovered here, and where did you find them?
We got to visit some really unique craft beer bars while we were in town, and loved being able to sample from the different local breweries. We tried a few from Pretty Things, Trillium and, of course, Harpoon. We found a great craft beer selection at places like Lord Hobo, Meadhall and The Publick House.
How did you decide to work with Sam Adams on the local brew?
Jim Koch wanted us to get in a hot tub full of beer with him. We did not need any more convincing.
A "seafood-infused Scotch ale" does sound a little scary. Describe.
The beer we made was a sour seafood scotch ale. We used peated malts, a partially soured mash and fresh lobster and clams. We caught lobsters ourselves at 3 AM to get the full experience and brewed the beer on a boat - naturally.
Ahem, you told Philadelphia that theirs was the "most American brew ever made." After visiting Boston, would you care to reconsider?
The phrase "most American beer ever made" was designed to be digested with a healthy dose of cynicism and an aristocratic disdain for two Scots even having the audacity to make such a foolish claim.
Brewing on Boston Harbor: what was that like? Any other great places you got to visit in town?
The roll of the boat definitely made it a challenge. We mounted our brewing vessels on an amazing gimbal system which kept all the boiling liquid in the tanks and ensured we did not die. The biggest challenge was cooling the wort, which we did in the sea. Each city brought its own collection of challenges with our out-of-the-ordinary brewing set-ups.
You know what goes great with beer? Food. So where did you eat in town? Any favorite bars or restaurants for grub?
Lord Hobo, baby. Not only is it possibly the best name for a bar, we really enjoyed the atmosphere and the people.
Now that you're wrapping up the trip and can compare: which city intoxicated you the most? Figuratively speaking, that is. What town reigns in the world of craft beer, and which surprised you the most?
We genuinely loved all the cities we visited and the whole experience was amazing. Each city really represented the amazing craft beer movement in the U.S., and we were proud to be part of it for a bit. There were things about every city that surprised us. We loved the craft beer scene in Portland and the hoppy beers in San Diego, had a blast in Denver, and think San Francisco is one of the coolest cities in the U.S. Boston definitely gave us the most heart and soul, it was an unforgettable trip.
Did you notice any recurring trends as you were traveling that you think could mark the "next big thing" in craft beer?
The next big thing in terms of craft beer is just more amazing artisan renegade vagabonds brewing killer beers all over the country, and more intelligent, informed, passionate drinkers enjoying them. Craft beer is going to save the world.
What was the coolest experience you had during the trip? And where would you want to visit next?
Martin stripping in an old folks home in San Diego was a treat. There are so many cities that are making amazing strides in craft beer beyond where we went this season. We are just excited to keep discovering them and meeting some astonishingly talented people along the way.