When: Season 2 debuts 9 p.m. June 25.
Where: Esquire Network.
There was no chugging, flip-cup tourneys or keg stands, but at a recent beer party there was plenty of drinking and cheering as James Watt and Martin Dickie took over Golden Road Brewery for a “beer-off.”
The two self-proclaimed Scottish “beer evangelists” and hosts of Esquire Network’s “Brew Dogs” were at the Glendale brewery and pub Tuesday to wrap up taping of their Los Angeles episode set to air during the show’s second season, which debuts June 25.
The two already had been around the L.A. area last month, visiting hot spots like Father’s Office gastropub in Culver City, Simi Valley and an orchard in Fillmore for the first half of the episode as part of an apprenticeship of sorts. Watt and Dickie are the purveyors of BrewDog, a fast-growing United Kingdom brewery, and have invaded American towns over the last two seasons to celebrate each area’s distinctive culture.
In San Diego, they brewed IPA along Pacific Coast Highway aboard the area’s commuter rail, while in Seattle they brewed a caffeinated beer.
“For us, it’s not just about the beer, it’s about the culture as a whole. That’s why our goal whenever we visit a place is to bottle it up in a beer,” Dickie said after Tuesday’s two-hour taping. “In L.A., where it’s all about sunshine, we wanted to use citrus and other flavors known to this area.”
So this time around, they took local home brewers Dana Cordes of Thousand Oaks and Andy Ziskin of North Hollywood under their wing on a mission to make the quintessential L.A. beer. The two brewing buddies, both members of the Maltose Falcons, a home-brewing club that meets in Chatsworth, were given secret ingredients for their brewing challenge and went head-to-head before the three local judges — Sang Yoon, owner of Father’s Office and season 5 contestant on Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters” Season 5 contestant Sang Yoon, owner of Father’s Office; Sarah Bennett, executive editor of Long Beach Post; and Meg Gill, president and co-founder of Golden Road Brewing.
“The whole experience was really fun. Martin and James really gave us some good guidance with our beers and support with our brewing so it was a really amazing process,” said Cordes, who has been brewing for nearly three years.
“It’s a little weird having cameras follow me all the time, but it was cool,” Ziskin added. “I had heard so many good things about them. Then learning about the ethos that they have at their brewery, I was excited to work with them. They’re a ton of fun.”
The two Scots are known for their cheeky beer habits, including the hilarious way they talk to their beers. Watt even got the crowd of about 100 beer lovers at Golden Road to join in on the ritual on Tuesday. After taking a large whiff of a saison, he got everyone to say in unison, “Hello! How are you?” to his glass of beer.
“I probably won’t talk to my beer very much,” Ziskin said about what he’ll take from the experience. “But I’ve definitely learned about how to push the limits with craft beers.”
While fans will have to wait until June to find out who won, Watts and Dickie said their experience proved that L.A. beer lovers are the real winners.
“Los Angeles has been quite far behind other cities in terms of availability, understanding and appreciation of good beer,” Watt said. “But things changed about five or 10 years ago thanks to people making beers at home so we wanted to check out one of the best, most exciting home-brewing scenes on the planet.
“Golden Road and so many others here have really gotten people excited about good beers in the area, so we were really excited to come to the city now and see how that movement has grown out here.”
Golden Road Brewery, opened in 2011 by Gill and Tony Yanow, has been on Watt and Dickie’s radar for some time now. Gill said it was funny to be on camera with the guys after nearly six years of drinking beers with them.
“We’ve been in the craft beer industry for a while now, at craft beer conferences and drinking beer together, talking beer for years, so I’m proud that those guys have brought the popularity of craft beer to the spotlight,” Gill said.
“There have been a lot of reality TV people approach us and me, but this show — about the popularity of craft beer and going mainstream — was really exciting to us.”