Closet Drinking Toward Destiny: The Story Behind “Tap That AZ Podcast” – Part 2

In part one you heard about how continual visits to Flagstaff helped to convert me into a born-again craft beer drinker. Hallelujah. In the years that followed my palate continued to develop. Soon I was focusing my lunch and dinner outings around the beer selection at the location opting for a brewing location when possible. Even trips out of state had at least 2 breweries on the agenda. Coinciding with my ever-growing beer maturity was the budding craft beer scene here in Arizona. Since 2011 the number of breweries in Arizona has almost tripled so needless to say I had plenty of opportunity to grow.

A buddy who I grew up with in Ohio and I had talked for a few years about starting a podcast but could never think of a topic that would of interest to the general public. We had always both been really into listening to and discovering new music so in late 2015 we started The Mixtape Podcast. He set up his mic in his home office in Florida, I set up a studio in my walk-in closet (best acoustics in the house…don’t judge me), and recorded our Skype conversations on my computer. Later I would cut them up and pull in music clips. It was just basically me and my buddy hanging out again talking about music and drinking. 2000 miles away from each other. And it was a blast.

We noticed the trend of always drinking when we recorded so we started a segment we called “What the ‘F’ Are You Drinking?” where we talked about…well, what the “f” we were drinking. Due to my infatuation with the Arizona beer scene I always did my best to represent my state with my beer selections. This led to tagging lots of local breweries in our social media and Matt from Peoria Artisan Brewery reaching out and saying “dude, you should come into our place for a live podcast”. I was very intrigued. How do I take my mobile closet studio and get that into a physical location? I had no idea but I was bound to figure it out. On the music podcast we interviewed a handful of up-and-coming bands and I loved the process of interviewing. How cool would it be to get to travel around our beautiful state talking about beer with people who love beer? Real tough gig. But I was willing to rough it to help these awesome local people get the recognition they deserved. Plus my complete love affair with craft beer was etched in stone by this time.

I was a member of a podcasting Facebook group and there was a dude from North Carolina who did a really cool traveling booze podcast called “Make It A Double”. He posted about riding his motorcycle across Route 66 and wanting to meet up with podcasters along the way to record episodes. Heck yeah! You know where Route 66 runs through? And you know where there are really great breweries? I’ve got 2 words for you: Flag. Staff. So I end up meeting up with this guy I met online (which really threw my wife off when I put it that way) and we drank some beers and BS’d for a few hours at Historic Brewing Company. Super cool dude. He had a simple battery-operated set up that he carried around in a small tool box looking thing: 2 mics, some type of pre-amp, and a plug into his phone to record. Boom! Simple. Effective. Side note: after 3 episodes I upgraded because it ended up sounding pretty crappy. But the point is that this chance meeting with a biker I met online turned this thought into something that could really happen. So I took that first step.

In part three we’ll take a look at how the first four interviews started with me sitting in the parking lot pretty much hyperventilating praying the brewery would call/text/email me to cancel. But they never did. And I survived somehow. Stay tuned!

 

 


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Eric Walters
I love beer. Specifically Arizona craft beer. Oh yea, my family is pretty awesome too. An amazing wife and 2 awesome little girls make my life great. And did I mention beer?



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