The Biercast is a podcast fully devoted to—what else?—beer, and its ties with culture. The concept comes from Andrew Camp and Eric Baker, two friends who met at a dry college campus, oddly enough. Today, both guys are approaching 30 and have observed something captivating about grabbing drinks with friends.
"We noticed that our conversations got super-interesting when our group of friends got together over a beer," Camp says about why they decided to launch a podcast. "So we thought the dynamic of that conversation could be fun for listeners of a podcast, especially those interested in beer."
In just six months, this duo has gained nearly 900 Twitter followers and landed interviews with the brains behind Thr3e Wise Men Brewery and Three Hammers Farms, a hops farm in Knightstown, Ind., southeast of Indianapolis. They've had Graham Brown, founder of a popular Indy-centric apparel shop, United State of Indiana, on their show to discuss his October collaboration with Indiana City Brewing.
And now they're tapping into musicians: First up is critically acclaimed singer-songwriter and national touring artist David Bazan. Before Bazan went solo, he fronted Pedro The Lion, a heavily influential band that helped kick-start a new wave of indie-rock music in the mid-'90s. Today, Bazan releases music under his name and has made living room or house shows cool again by selling out almost every date he posts across America.
Here's a sud-soaked conversation with Andrew Camp at The Biercast's studio space, touching on the best Indy environment for beer drinking, that tandem interview with David Bazan at Iechyd Da Brewing Co. in Elkhart, Ind., and more.
Why do you think beer, especially through local markets, has become such an important item, especially in the culture of twentysomethings?
For a long time craft beer was a subculture, and still is to a certain degree. And I think subcultures historically rise to the surface of popular culture a lot of the time. A lot of it has to do with the nature of the breweries themselves, gaining popularity at a time when local pride and exceptionalism at the state level are sort of a really healthy fad. And I think the craft-beer community has a history of giving to its surrounding communities.
How would you say Indiana is doing for itself in the beer community?
I think Indiana is one of the best and fastest growing beer cultures in America right now. We have that unique quality of getting distribution from both coasts, and a lot of variety finds its way through here. So I think that inspires and drives Hoosier brewers to make interesting and competitive ales. Three Floyds Brewing in Munster, Ind., is a great example of that creativity. Even a guy like David Bazan, who lives in Seattle, had heard of it and tried their beer.
In your opinion, where’s the best environment to grab a good beer in Indy?
Oh, man. [laughs] I love to watch basketball at Thr3e Wise Men in Broad Ripple. And I’ve drunk innumerable beers at Flat12 Bierwerks' tasting room by myself.
What beers did you guys drink during your hour-long interview with Bazan at Iechyd Da Brewing Co., in Elkhart?
Eric and I had the Big Pit Porter, the Centurion English IPA, and the Yam Bam Thank You Ma’am Amber seasonal. I also had the Main Drag Amber in my quest to find more ambers I can enjoy. Bazan drank exclusively the Revolution American IPA because he loved it so much. All these drinks were exclusive to Iechyd Da Brewing Co. You can only get them at the brewpub, so that’s pretty cool.
How were you able to get Bazan on board?
Bazan is very good about doing new and local forms of media. And I knew he was a beer lover just from reading interviews and listening to his songs. [laughs] I got a hold of his manager through a mutual friend and sent him a link to our website, and we coordinated from there. Then we just waited until his Living Room Tour came through Indiana.
It seems like you are a definite fan of Bazan's music. Were you nervous meeting up with him?
I've seen him live and read enough about him to know how candid he is. So I knew he'd be perfect for the conversational style of our podcast. But I was nervous about not balancing my love for his music with an actual discussion over beer.
Fans know Bazan loves to drink, but with his heavy touring schedule taking up so much time, were you impressed with his beer knowledge?
Yes, we actually talked a little about that in the episode. Part of it is the fact that people bring regional beers to his living room shows all the time. So he gets somewhat familiar with different regions.
Speaking of Bazan’s living room shows, you guys mention in the episode how that’s a perfect atmosphere for grabbing a beer and chatting. What is it about music and beer that mix so well?
AC: Mostly, beer-induced conversation is our focus. And artists like David Bazan are true conversationalists and are aware of the nature conversations can have when accompanied by beer.
Here’s The Biercast's full interview with Bazan. Warning: If you know little about beer, you might get lost in the lingo.
Follow The Biercast on Twitter at @thebiercast and drink it up with your eyes at www.thebiercast.com.