Creator / The Brewing Network
The Brewing Network is an internet radio station devoted to discussion about home brewing, craft brewing, and the brewing industry. Online since 2005, the network started with just one show, and expanded to its current lineup of seven. All shows broadcast live, followed by archiving in podcasts. It is owned by Justin Crossley, though there are many people working to make the station work. It currently airs from The Hop Grenade, its affiliated craft beer bar.
The Session (formerly The Sunday Session): The BN's flagship show, it is relatively long for podcasts (usually 3-4 hours long). When creating the show, Justin aimed to mix the breakfast radio format with long form interviews with experts and brewers to get the sort of information short interviews wouldn't garner. Episodes air four times a month on Mondays.
The Jamil Show: Brewing With Style (formerly Can You Brew It): The Jamil Show started as a show where Jamil Zainasheff and John Plise give recipes for brewing to style guidelines. When they ran out of styles they changed to Can You Brew It. John left to be replaced by Tasty Mc Dole, and in this iteration they interviewed brewers to get the information required to brew clones of commercial beers. When they ran out of brewers willing to give them the information they needed, they swapped to Brewing With Style. John returned (described in the intro as a "special guest"), and now they discuss styles, what they should taste like and commercial examples. Episodes air fortnightly, though it's frequently recorded live in batches of two.
Brew Strong: Hosted by Jamil Zainasheff and John Palmer, it is focused on technical issues, in a more concentrated information format than The Session. Episodes air fortnightly (interleaved with The Jamil Show), though it's frequently recorded live in batches of two.
Lunch Meet (AKA "That Other Show"): The BN's rarely broadcasted and even more rarely archived off topic and politically incorrect show. Canceled because Justin got sick of doing it and the fans didn't donate $10,000 to keep it on the air.
The Homebrewed Chef: Officially on hiatus (though the last episode was January 2012), chef Sean Paxton discussed cooking with beer as well as beer and food pairings.
Dr Homebrew: Hosted by JP, listeners send in beer and have BJCP certified judges taste and give feedback while discussing the beer with the brewer. Frequently described on air as an "interactive BJCP Score Sheet".
The Sour Hour: Jay Goodwin of The Rare Barrel hosts this show that focuses exclusively on sour brewing (possibly because Justin is an unashamed sour beer lover). Updates monthly on Wednesday nights.
The Brewing Network features examples of:
- The brewcasters and Scott have fun with his being Jewish, embracing and having fun with the cliches associated with being a Jew.
- Audible Sharpness: When Jamil was introduced for Can You Brew It, a sword 'shing' was played
- Award Show: The BN As (Brewing Network Awards), which is usually the first episode of the year.
- Birthday Episode: Doctoberfest. It was even planned as a surprise.
- Broadcast Live: Emphasized frequently, as it allows people to ask questions of the guests either via the chat room or Skype, as well as making the overall experience more interactive than a pre-recorded podcast would be. At the beginning it was the main aspect used to sell the BN as being better than competing podcasts.
- Butt-Monkey: For a long time, JP. After some years though he lost it and told the others that the insults they were hanging off him were actually getting to him and they should lay off a little. There are still jokes about JP, but they are less harsh as they originally were. Also Sam.
- Catch-Phrase: Jamil's "Hey howdy hey my brewing brothers and sisters", followed by John's "greetins cretins" (pronounced 'creetins'). For a long time listeners would sign off letters with "suck it JP". Scott signs off his segments with "This is Scott the Jew, saying la hiem". For a long time Tasty Mc Dole would try to squeeze a mention of his popular recipe Janets Brown into a discussion, to a point where he would sometimes just say its name for no actual reason.
- The Commandments: The Brewing Network at times refers to what they call "the brewer's code", which is "don't be a dick". Usually cited when a competition relies on the honor code (ie not checking the internet for answers) or talking about behavior at beer festivals and conferences.
- Cooking Show: The Homebrewed Chef
- Dead Air: Justin is a stickler for broadcast standards, including going nuts at brewcasters who forget to turn their microphone off when they eat or drink and at one point going on a long rant when they criticized the pictures in a calendar which was being discussed because it was made by a new sponsor.
- Drinking Game: The drunk of the week award, which usually involved contestants giving their drinking resume, telling them what they act like when drunk or encouraging stupid behavior. This was dropped as a regular contest for about a year, as taking the calls and deciding a winner became a chore to do. It has been replaced by people competing for the prize by leaving funny voicemail messages while drunk.
- Drinking on Duty: Understandable and pretty much expected as all of the shows involve discussing various aspects of beer. Justin pointed out in one episode of The Session that he couldn't remember an episode he was in where he didn't have a beer.
- Eagle Land: Their video for their indiegogo page raising money for their trip to Australia to cover the ANHC. It also has fun with Australian National Stereotypes.
- Early Installment Weirdness: Listen to the first few episodes of The Jamil Show and you'll hear a very reserved, quiet Jamil hosting. This was brought up in Lunch Meet, as Justin tries to imitate Jamil's quiet, softly spoken demeanor. Fast forward to the time they wrap up the BJCP, Jamil is much more extroverted, using sexual innuendo all the time (which is encouraged when the network gets sponsorship from Adam and Eve) and being more natural as he got used to being on the radio.
- Enforced Plug: Several, with Adam and Eve, BYO magazine and AHA memberships being the most consistent ones.
- Excuse Question: Averted by Justin, who insists the listeners do something to earn prizes. Typically it involves playing games tilted towards brewing, such as Beer Jeopardy or Guess the Fake. It only happened twice- the much-maligned at the time and afterwards "Guess What Number JP Is Thinking", and "Guess Where JP Is Having His Vacation", which was ruined by Doc.
- Fake Guest Star: John Plise on Brewing With Style. In one episode Jamil wonders aloud how long he will be introduced as a special guest. It got even sillier after he left but was still mentioned in the intro.
- Filler: From 2012 onwards Brew Strong was criticized for having too many Q&A episodes, as well as having a "Going Pro" series that went for 12 episodes. Jamil justified the number of Q&A episodes by saying they receive lots of questions and they needed to get them out of the way. Listeners who didn't mind argued that Jamil, hosting two shows and running a brewery, had less time to prepare the more detailed and in depth style of show. Some critics of The Session consider the banter to be this and prefer the shows that get directly to brewing information.
- Friendly Rivalry: The Sour Hour has one with The Session, though it's pretty much one way. Jay encourages people to leave iTunes reviews that say his show is better than The Session, and he reads reviews he likes on air. On The Session they're barely aware of this.
- Heh Heh, You Said "X": Frequently used, especially by Doc. At one point they were using it so often listeners complained and they had an episode of The Session where using the joke was banned.
- Iconic Logo: The Brewing Network's hop grenade. Justin vigorously defends his trademark, usually contacting breweries who use a hop grenade personally before getting his lawyer involved. He argues that the grenade is his only brand to sell his network (and now craft beer bar), and that he cannot risk diluting the brand by allowing others to use it. Within the brewing community, when someone sees the hop grenade on someone's shirt, they know that person is a member of the BN Army (see above).
- Tired of constant requests to bring back Lunch Meet, they set up an Impossible Task: they'll bring it back if the fans donate $10,000 here
- Instructional Film: The Homebrew U DVD series. Currently only one volume (American Pale Ale), there was an offhand mention in one episode of The Session about shooting for a DVD about pilsner.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: The cast of The Session expanded over time to include a stable group of regulars, as well as a much larger group of people who regularly appear in episodes. Add on regular listeners who call and contribute, plus the stable of hosts of the various shows that got added after The Session
- Never Trust a Title: The Sour Hour. It is theoretically an hour long, but there are more episodes that are an hour and a half or longer than those with times closer to an hour. There's also the fact it isn't exclusively about sour brewing but goes into all types of funky brewing such as the use of brettanomyces.
- Now Buy the Merchandise: For some time Justin was pretty much supported by merchandise sales and donations from listeners (with a lot of on air gratitude), with some sponsors making up the gap. There are more sponsors now, but he insists that donations and merchandise sales still help not only keep the show on the air but keep him in food.
- Obsession Song: the songs written by listener Sugar Valley Brewer about chat moderator Beevo. While he has written songs about other brewcasters ("JP Lost His Wiener in the Dildo Mold"), his most popular ones are creepy songs about Beevo. For a lot of the other brewcasters and listeners they are Creepy Awesome, with "Wakka Wakka Wakka On Her Bare Behind" winning the Song of the Year award for 2013.
- Overused Running Gag: Due to the nature of the show, The Session has had many. Examples include Vinnie puppet, turning down a drunk of the week caller and playing In Da Gadda Da Vida, jokes about Justin's brewing ability, and the period where people were calling to see if their Skype was working.
- Shock Jock: In the early years people accused the Brewcasters of being this, something Justin strongly denies.
- Sound to Screen Adaptation: The Brewing Network briefly expanded to television with its reality TV show Beer Wars, on community TV station KOFY.
- The Smurfette Principle: Justin tries hard to make sure there is at least one woman on The Session- usually it's the chat moderator, with the role mostly filled in the early years by Daniela and afterwards by Beevo. Occasionally Nicole would join the crew. Listeners have criticised the show as being overly blokey as a result. The other shows are almost always 100% male, though Beevo occasionally makes a contribution to the other shows as she is working at The Hop Grenade while the shows are recorded.
- Title Montage: The Session starts out with a series of clips from previous episodes, along with a voice over that gives a basic description of what the show is about. The clips have been changed several times to give some variety.
- You Can Leave Your Hat On: A Very Stripper Christmas.