Brew Dogs Season 2: An interview with James Watt

James Watt (above) and Martin Dickie (below), the Brew Dogs (Photo Courtesy: YC Media).

James Watt (above) and Martin Dickie (below), the Brew Dogs (Photo Courtesy: YC Media).

The latest and second Colorado-centric episode of Esquire’s Brew Dogs recently aired and it’s always a treat to see the outsider’s perspective on our state’s renowned craft beer scene.  To get an even more in-depth grasp on the episode, the show, and the minds of the hosts, I had the opportunity to interview James Watt, one-half of the Brew Dogs team.  Here are his thoughts on beer in the Centennial State (click here for a dissection of last season’s Colorado episode):

My first question is why Colorado—again?  You filmed an episode here last season.  As a local beer geek, I think you could do ten Colorado episodes and still have leftover material but why did you, the Brew Dogs, want to come back?

Colorado just has such an amazing craft beer scene.  Durango is a small town of 20,000 people but there are 7 phenomenal craft breweries there!  Plenty of untapped territory and fantastic beers outside of Denver to explore and taste.

Who usually comes up with the unusual recipes you brew on the show?  Are they usually your ideas or is it a collaborative effort?  What inspired the “ancient beer” you brewed with Ska?  

We’re all about pushing boundaries and breaking the rules when it comes to brewing.  It’s definitely a collaborative effort between Martin and me, and on the show, we take inspiration from these amazing American beer towns we get to visit.  In Durango, we were really inspired by the ancient Native American brewing methods and local ingredients, but with a modern twist.

I think the best part of the Denver (and Colorado) craft beer scene is, yes, we have nationally/internationally known brands like New Belgium, Oskar Blues, and Ska and they’re all fantastic, but what really makes  the local beer scene special are the tiny breweries at the end of loading docks, the ones tucked in industrial zones, or the ones hidden away in suburban strip malls.  During your visits to Colorado, did you get a chance to experience our nanobreweries and other small operations?  If so, what did you think of them? What’s your favorite brewery that wasn’t explicitly featured on Brew Dogs?

I have so many favorites! Martin and I are really inspired by the American craft beer movement — and Colorado is totally leading the charge.  So many truly passionate brewers there.Crooked Stave is an incredible nanobrewery in Denver.  Some others that weren’t featured on the show that I really love are Avery and Great Divide.

(Photo Courtesy: YC Media)

(Photo Courtesy: YC Media)

One scene from your previous Colorado episode stands out in my mind.  It was the “Craft Beer Virgins” segment where you and Martin visited the beauty salon in Boulder and asked some of the young ladies there what type of beer they liked.  In other episodes in other cities, the response from craft beer virgins is usually “I don’t like beer.”  However, these ladies in Boulder chimed in right away saying “IPAs,” “Porters,” and “Saisons.”  They didn’t sound like craft beer virgins to me.  Did you find it any more (or less) difficult to find true craft beer virgins when in Colorado?  In your experiences travelling the U.S., which city has the most craft beer virgins and which has the most “craft beer sluts?”

It’s true — Coloradoans know their craft beer.  But it’s our mission to convert craft beer virgins and we always find some. I love when someone tells me “I don’t like beer,” and then I give them a beer they end up really liking.

It’s clear I’m a big fan of my local beer scene but I recognize that the craft beer movement isn’t confined to the obvious cities like Denver, Portland, and San Diego.  It’s alive and well in America’s obscurer cities, too.  How off-the-beaten path is the show willing to go to find great craft beer in the U.S.?  Oklahoma City?  Indianapolis?  Grand Rapids?  They’re not the first places to pop into mind but they all boast a thriving beer culture.

I’d love to travel off the beaten path — I’ll go anywhere with great craft beer. Maybe if they give us a 3rd season…

Have you had the opportunity to visit Denver during the Great American Beer Festival?    

No, hope to one day though!

(Photo Courtesy: YC Media)

(Photo Courtesy: YC Media)

LIGHTNING ROUND:  Based on your experiences in Colorado, finish the sentence by naming a Colorado beer (excluding the two you brewed for the show, of course).

The one Colorado beer I would bring with me if I were stranded on a desert island is: Ska Mexican Logger

The quintessential Colorado beer, the one that best embodies the flavor of the state, is: Great Divide Hercules Double IPA

The one Colorado beer I can’t get in Scotland but wish I could is:  Oskar Blues Ten FIDY stout

The most avant garde, experimental, Brew Dog-esque Colorado beer is:  The Ancient-style Ale we brewed on the show, of course.

About Chris Bruns


Chris Bruns is a self-professed beer geek living in Denver. Chris spends much of his time brewing beer at home with friends and family, attempting to visit every brewery in Colorado, attending special beer events and festivals, purchasing and assessing the latest releases from local breweries, and blogging about his adventures in the world of craft beer. He is also the Denver Craft Beer Examiner on Examiner.com. Contact Chris by e-mail at chrisdbruns@gmail.com or through his blog at www.beerincolorado.blogspot.com.

  • Jasmin Hudacsek

    Do women craft beer drinkers really go around calling themselves “craft beer sluts?” I thought we could at least be above slut-shaming…

    How about just calling us women who’ve had craft beer and like it? Or really anything other than that. I would have picked a different opposite phrase, Chris.

    • Jasmin Hudacsek

      Also, as someone who serves craft beer to the general public five days a week, I encounter almost just as many men as I do women who don’t know what a saison or porter or DIPA is. I’d be more interested in this show covering a GENERAL population other than just women they assume to know nothing about beer.

      • Chris

        Offensiveness is hard to ascertain. I figure if my mother wouldn’t be offended by a term, it’s okay to use. It’s not scientific but it works most of the time. This stuff is 100% relative. Talk to a man or woman from the UK, Ireland, Australia, or New Zealand and they’ll use the ugly “C Word” as easily as they say “hello.” No offense or misogyny intended; in my mind, “slut” can refer to a man or a woman and the term was only used as an opposite to the Brew Dogs’ term “beer virgin.” Also, the Brew Dogs DO cover a wide swathe of the population, I was only referring to one episode–the previous Colorado episode–and only one of two “beer virgin” segments in that episode. The other segment covered elderly men on a gold course.

      • Amanda

        Yes! I can’t stand it when someone assumes that I know nothing about beer because I am a female! Ugh.

    • Amanda

      I’ve referred to myself as a beer snob before, but that’s not really associated with gender. Never heard of a “beer slut” before, but, at the risk of over generalizing, it sounds like something a bud light drinker would say…

  • Stan

    You guys should check out Kannah Creek brewery in Grand Junction, Co and Suds Bros brewery in Fruita, Co the next time you come out here

  • Alex Miller

    Not your fault, Chris, but the responses to these questions are terrible. 5 seconds responses to some solidly-thought out questions.

    Also, great response to “what smaller places in CO did you like while here?” Avery, Crooked Stave and Great Divide – you know, those small mom-and-pop places no ones ever heard of! Haha. So in other words, Brew Dogs, you did NOT go to any places around Denver when you were here…