Closet Drinking Toward Destiny: The Story Behind “Tap That AZ Podcast” – Part 1
By Eric Walters – Founder and Host of “Tap That AZ” Podcast
When I was growing up I didn’t like beer – or at least I didn’t THINK I did. When your choices are Red Dog and Busch it’s easy to not like beer. There was one reason to pound beers like that and I’ll tell you this, it was NOT for the taste. My pinnacle of binge drinking terrible beer came at a college party when I did a 73 second keg stand. Yeah, I know. I still can’t believe I did it. I saw a bunch of frat bro’s doing 20 and 30 second keg stands and throwing their arms in the air like they just knocked out Conor McGregor. I needed to show these jabronies how it’s really done. And I did. Needless to say that the 73 seconds worth of beer did not stay in my body much longer after that. Nor did the 4 packs of Ramen Noodles that I had wolfed down before the party. My mouth literally became a fire hose of crappy beer and poison noodles. But it was worth the legend. And it wasn’t even my college. I was an unknown. I slipped in and out like a phantom (aside from the attention-grabbing beer/noodle hose display). Rumor has it that for years there was a frame on the wall of the frat house with a black silhouette labeled “John Doe” honoring the record for the longest keg stand. I like to think I still hold that record. So proud.
In 2007 I decided to make the 2,117 journey from my small town in Ohio to the big city lights of Litchfield Park, Arizona. I needed to discover beer for what it really is meant to be. I just happened to be able to enjoy more than 45 minutes of sunshine per year, meet my amazing wife, and have 2 awesome little girls. And as luck would have it I came out right at the beginning of the craft beer surge in Arizona. With my first trip to Flagstaff in early 2008 I hit up the pool hall side of Beaver Street Brewery knows as “Brews and Cues” which was my first step in an actual brewery. By this time I had tasted a few craft beers such as Shiner Bock and Kilt Lifter but this was my first experience with a beer that was made in the same place in which I was consuming it. I fell in love instantly. It helped that the Railhead Red is an amazing beer. Also having pool tables and an awesome jukebox helped to seal the deal on an awesome experience. And thus the table was set for my enthusiasm for craft beer. Within a few years Mother Road Brewing Company opened up a few hundred feet away from Beaver Street and thrust upon me Lost Highway Double Black Highway which is still my #1 beer of all time although a few recent NEIPA’s have put that crown to the test. I knew from the first sip of the “Black Gold from the Great North” that I was in it for the long haul. No more crappy beer for me. But little did I know that it would eventually become much bigger than that. Coming up in part 2 we take a look at how getting drunk in my closet talking about music with my buddy in Florida via Skype helped me realize what I was destined for in this crazy world. Stay tuned!