You don't need to spend too long in the beer world to discover that inhabiting the pointy end of it is a section of people who dedicate more time and energy to the cause than an objective observer might deem healthy. These people go to every event, chase down every new beer, have every opinion under the sun and tend to shout about them at every opportunity. They are the beer nerds, and without their unrelenting enthusiasm the industry simply wouldn't be what it is.
It’s questionable whether you'd call Chris Sincek, Dan Shaw and Pete Bainbridge outright beer nerds, but they themselves admit to being all kinds of other nerd: comic books, death metal, games, TV, cinema – think of a segment or sub-segment of pop culture and there’s a good chance they’re into it. And then some.
Based on this, in 2016 they launched a gypsy brewing outfit, Bounty Hunter Brewing, as a means of bringing all their interests together and sharing them with likeminded folk. It was a slightly different approach to most brewing companies in that coming up with the beer recipe was the last part of the creative process (as you can read in our 2016 Who Brews?… feature) and could almost be viewed as an excuse to get together and talk about everything else they loved.
As they did this, at some point they decided to flick on a microphone and record what they were saying. The result is Bounty Hunter Banter, a beer podcast that’s not always centred on the beer.
With a few episodes now under their belt, for our latest Podcast People feature, here’s Pete to explain a bit more about their approach to beer and banter…
Who are the voices behind Bounty Hunter Banter?
Dan, Chris and I have been mates since primary school and, while there's been occasional periods of little contact over the 25-odd years, we've always ended up back in a pub together due to our collective interests: pop-culture and damn fine beer.
Why did you start podcasting about beer?
It was actually Dan's idea after too many beers at a Christmas party last year. Chris and Dan had just kicked off Bounty Hunter Brewing and we'd enjoyed seeing the grassroots brand grow with a life of its own. Our wives are always complaining that we talk too much about video games, comics and movies when we catch up, and we definitely drink too much beer, so we decided to grab a mic and start recording it instead.
Are you authority or inquisitor?
Both, actually! Dan's been in the industry for a long time and his beers have won both national and international awards [he is head brewer at The Australian Brewery], so I'd definitely call him an authority. Chris and myself, well, Chris knows more about beer than I do because he drinks way more than I do, but I'd say we're both inquisitors.
It's actually been really cool to have Dan teach us stuff about beer throughout the course of the podcast – and hopefully my dumb questions will help convert more of our pop culture audience over to enjoy more craft beer as a result.
How do you choose your guests?
We are a pretty young podcast, so we've only had a couple of guests on so far. We are very keen to interview some more though, and hopefully strike a balance between the beer industry and pop-culture, since we straddle both in the show.
Does much preparation take place or is it a case of press record and let's see what happens?
Haha, I think we were all worried at the start that we'd eventually run out of stuff to talk about; but our "prep" extends to each of us making a list of topics we want to talk about and we haven't once gotten through one person's list in an episode, much less all three. Our conversations are far too tangential for that to happen!
What's the best question you've ever asked a guest?
We had Anton [Szpitalak, CEO] from Stockade Brewing join us for a brief stint recently, and we asked him to intro the beers we'd be trying on that episode. He went on to detail the whole creative process behind those beers and we all found it intriguing to listen to the behind-the-scenes process that went into their genesis.
And the best answer anyone has ever given?
Probably Tom Pigott from Uncle Hops responding to: "What did you think of the latest Transformers movie?" Spoiler: he didn't like it. Delivered with gusto and much hilarity.
Who have you most enjoyed having on the show?
That's tough because we're still quite a young podcast. We've had two great guys who run bars take a risk on inviting us into their establishment and recording a podcast while they're trying to run a business, so we have huge respect and appreciation for them both.
Having said that, we also had a fan named Alistair donate to the brewing co's fundraising campaign and had him on as a guest for an episode and that was a whole load of fun. You never know what you're going to get inviting a stranger to your house who you met on the internet, but he fitted right in like a regular and we all had a blast.
And who would be your dream guest?
For me, that would be someone from the TV shows I love, but someone down to earth and a bit grassroots rather than super famous. Stephen Amell from the Arrow TV series comes to mind, or John Barrowman (Doctor Who, Flash).
Chris would like to have a chat with Stan Lee or Michael Keaton, and Dan would love to interview Ben Affleck. Maybe we can get Keaton and Affleck on for a Batman face-off, that'd be hilarious.
After donning a Bounty Hunter Brewing shirt for everyone else's fan photos at Supernova, I think we'd all also love to have a beer and a laugh with Temuera Morrison – that guy is a legend!
Do you drink while recording? If so, what's the ideal beer to have while in action?
Heavily! So heavily, in fact, that we still have a "drunken episode" we recorded early on that we haven't been game enough to release (we were slurring at the end, it was the last time we attempted a back-to-back double recording).
The best beers are ones that are interesting to explore, and therefore talk about on the show.
For those of a technical bent, what is your technical setup? Has it evolved over time?
As the resident gear-head, I can say that I'll never be completely happy with our setup.
At the moment we're using Shure SM-57 mics (yep, drum mics, but they work well), and a Midas MR18 digital mixer into Adobe Audition on my work laptop (shhh, don't tell them...). We also have a Mevo camera to broadcast our live episodes to Facebook from time to time. It hasn't really evolved as much as expanded to support more guests, FBLive and very soon, Skype interviews.
Where can people find the podcast?
Are there any non-Aussie podcasts you'd recommend? Any non-beer podcasts?
I personally love The Weekly Planet, focusing on comic book movies. It's so great to see a couple of fellow Aussies rocking a podcast on the world stage! I know Chris listens to a lot of Kevin Smith on SModcast, and both Dan and I listen to a few D&D podcasts like Pretend Wizards and the Adventure Zone.
Yup, we're all super-nerds!
For more interviews with Australia's most prominent beer podcasters, see our Podcast People series.