Hop Hedz Official Gear had the wonderful experience of meeting Steph Heffner of the Beer Busters Podcast at the Homebrewers Harvest event at the Brewery of Hershey in October. We had the fortune of being placed next to their booth as we were selling our gear and began what is hopefully the beginning of a long-standing relationship with the Beer Busters.
For those of you that may not know, I am a seasoned broadcast veteran, with six years of radio experience on stations like WRSK (Slippery Rock) and WLER (Butler). When we first met Steph, I was in awe that there was actually a beer podcast in the local area. If you are a fan of the local craft beer scene, you must do yourself a favor and listen to their podcast, which can be found at: http://www.beerbusterspodcast.com.
During that afternoon, we were invited to stop by and be a guest on their podcast, which we had the pleasure of doing last month. Do yourself a favor and listen to the episode: http://beerbusterspodcast.com/episode-43-hedz-and-shoulders/. Within it, we discuss our upcoming collaboration with Pierce Brewing Company and our Ugly Sweater Holiday Party, happening Friday, December 12 at the Batdorf Restaurant in Annville. Other topics include: Our stories of how we first got into craft beer, a tasting of Dean’s amazing Ugly Sweater II (and other beers we brought along), as well as a hilarious segment about whether certain titles were actually beer names or not.
Prior to the episode, I had an opportunity to sit down with Producer and avid homebrewer Steph Heffner as she answered a few questions for me regarding their podcast. The first question I posed to Steph was: How did the Beer Busters crew get into doing a craft beer podcast? There are three major players behind the Beer Busters brand: Dan Baker (resident broadcaster who has worked for WMMR and currently SiriusXM), Steph, (Networking and Producer), and Wayne Baker (graphic and web design). Each of the members of the team has a job to do, and each does it well.
The Beer Busters started this podcast in April 2013 because, according to Steph, “We just had so much fun doing the first few episodes.” Wayne came on board after the first episode and has never left. The early episodes talked news and reviews, but Steph explained the rise of the Beer Busters. “This (podcast) has turned into something that none of us could have ever imagined. We don’t go an episode without a guest anymore,” she explains. Steph also mentioned on separate occasions that the podcast is to the point where they are moving to bi-weekly podcasts and that the group is in the process of making this a full-blown business. The Beer Busters have had individual articles with 4,500 views and have eclipsed over 10,000 podcast downloads.
Another question I asked Steph was: What is it about craft beer/homebrewing you love so much? Let’s get one thing clear: Steph loves spicy beers. This is a major reason why Steph began brewing her own beer, because in her opinion not very many breweries do spicy beers properly. She went on to say, “For me to be able to grow my own peppers and create these creations is amazing. The feeling of serving someone a beer that you created and having them get excited about it, that took it to a whole new dimension for me.” Steph Heffner is an avid homebrewer and member of the Berks Homebrew club with dreams of opening her own brewpub. She is a graduate of the American Brewers Guild in the Craft Brewers Apprenticeship program, so clearly she knows her stuff when it comes to the craft beer scene.
The last question I asked Steph was about her transition into craft beer. Steph professed her early love of wine, mainly as a bonding experience between her and her mother. Her first beer that she appreciated was Corona and Yuengling, but it was really visiting breweries and going on the breweries tours that peaked her interest in the craft beer scene. Steph went onto discuss how she was not a fan of IPAs (at first) and that German beers were her first real non-mainstream beer of choice. She explained how her pilgrimage to Harpoon Brewery opened her eyes to different styles in the craft beer world.
We ended our conversation with a question I’ve posed on this blog before: Is the craft beer scene becoming over saturated with too many options and breweries? Her response was priceless: “Not everyone can make good craft beer. Over saturation is not a problem as long as the breweries can make good craft beer,” she said. “You don’t want some asshole to (screw) it up for the rest of us. What if that beer is the first and only craft beer someone has tried? This could turn them off forever because of one bad experience.”
Hop Hedz Gear would like to thank the Beer Busters for showing us a tremendous amount of hospitality and professionalism and we look forward to a return visit to the studio in the near future. In the meantime, get over to http://www.beerbusterspodcast.com and start listening to some of the greatest minds in the craft beer scene.
Blog Entry By Paul Miller read more of his work at PaulMiller.wordpress.com