Category Archives: Interview

TBR Special Edition – Groucho and Kyle at Harvest Cafe

The industry is in flux this week, and Groucho takes the show on the road to visit with fellow beer nerd and head chef at Harvest Cafe, Kyle.   We review all the news of the day and talk a lot about local venues that have opened…  And closed!!!

Beers on the show:  Hand of Fate – Coffee Vanilla Dream Ale, Revolution Anti-Hero (Less than two weeks old!)  2013 Northcoast Old Stock Ale.

  • The sale of Anchor Brewing to Sapporo.
  • Constellation brands buys Funky Buddha
  • Maytag Blue Cheese fortune!
  • Overvaluation, Blue-sky and the growing bubble!
  • Groucho’s microphone problems!  Alesis mixer reboot!
  • Budweiser is Ford?
  • Destihl article in Paste Magazine.
  • Peoria Brewing Company closing down.  We need a brewery in Peoria!
  • The Mr Beer Challenge!
  • New beers arriving weekly in Peoria!
  • CHUD… Groucho apologizes!
  • Kevin’s an *sshole!
  • Shelf space is a premium!
  • Tannin’s and Hops.  New opening in Peoria.
  • Small Pours…  Groucho’s favorite thing!  Destihl Brewery and Pour Brothers in the Heights can be a great bargain.
  • Pour Brothers.  Love is issued!
  • Northcoast Old Stock ale is killing it!
  • Interlude with Groucho while Kyle grabs a cleanup rag.
  • Kyle has never met the CHUD.
  • Mr Beer Challenge, a review.
  • Peoria Brewing company talk… Again.
  • Obed and Issac’s, a conversation!
  • Flying Dog talk!
  • Make room for the new thing!!!
  • Kyle the mule!
  • No splicing!

Thanks to the Harvest Cafe for hosting this “Very Special” Episode!

Look for a completely disjointed drunkfest show after this!


TBR Special Edition – Viva Las Vegas

Beers on the show:  Hop Valley – Citrus Mistress, Founders – Frootwood, Tahoe Mountain – Viejo Rojo.

How does this happen?

Groucho just happens to be driving through Las Vegas the same day that Superfan PJ is flying in for a 2 day work trip???  Kismet according to PJ!

Groucho and PJ hang at the local craft beer bar and have some great beers along with some conversation about Rick Steves, whiskey tastings and cigars.

Show recorded at Rebel Republic in Las Vegas Nevada!


Drunken Lullabies at The Social Kitchen


I will admit to being pretty blessed when it comes to this silly little podcast that CHUD and I have been plodding along with for the past decade.  It’s taken us to San Diego where we met new friends and interviewed Greg Koch.  It’s gotten us VIP visits to breweries and opportunities to work with those breweries to get a handle of the topic.   We have interviewed top Brewers and up and comers.   It’s even gotten Groucho a steak dinner in DC!  If we made a list of benefits that come from our 6 bucks a month invested in a domain and online space… It would be an article unto itself.

Adding to this amazing pile of benefits was a recent invitation I got from Dustin “The Voice” over at Drunken Lullabies podcast.  If you don’t know them, they are the other Pekin beer podcast.  Apparently this town IS big enough for two!  Dustin was doing a remote show at the Social Kitchen in Lasalle Illinois  with a few musical acts…  And figured out through shared friends that I followed one of the artists.  Primarily, he was talking about Bob Walkenhorst of the Rainmakers.  Also filling out the bill was Cody Diekoff, more known as the solo artist “Chicago Farmer”.

Cody is from Delavan.  He has been plugging away from complete obscurity a decade ago to near local celebrity in Peoria at this time.  The last time I saw him play was back in 2005 at the Farmhouse in his hometown.   He played against a wall to a local crowd that payed him no mind.  At the time it seemed a little sad, but in hindsight appears to be a testament to the perseverance that it took to get to where he is now.

Bob Walkenhorst.  The reason I listed all the great things that TBR has brought to us was to show you the reverence I had for seeing Bob.  This is right up there as a top benefit to doing the Beer Report.  I have been following his band The Rainmakers since their first major release in 1986.  Yeah, that’s a bit of time.  Bob still plays with the band, but recently seems to spend more time doing solo engagements as he travels across the Midwest.  I pretty much own everything he has produced…  Several times over as media has transformed from LP’s, Cassette and CD’s.  If Dustin was looking for a Bob expert to tag along for this show…  There are few in the Peoria area more qualified.

Drunken Lullabies does specialize in craft beers for its podcast.  But it also serves double duty by focusing on local bands.  Dustin had a unique advantage for this hosting job when he was manager of the local record shop, Co-Op Records.  Even though he is not there anymore, his love for music is evident in his efforts to bring local artists like this to the public.

The invite was to co-host this episode.  Of course, I was taking this gig!


The best part about taking part in something like this was coming across a new venue for great food, craft beer and music.  The Social Kitchen was new to me…. I had no idea that Lasalle was hiding this little gem on its historical Main Street area.

Smoked Salmon

Pre show, we sat down to dinner.  Social Kitchen’s menu is a fresh and inventive mix of local flavors.  They combine that with off the wall items.  Delicious lobster corn dogs anyone???

I had one of the amazing salads and a few Revolution IPA’s.  We shared a table with some other folks and everyone raved about their dishes.   Had we been to the Social Kitchen just to explore a new restaurant, this would have been enough to call the night a success.


Dave Gualandri got up to introduce tonight’s acts.  Dave is a rabid music fan turned promoter.  His sheer will and love to music is driving a series of concerts at Social Kitchen called the “Songwriter Series”.  I was not prepared for what he was announcing next.  He said that Bob and Cody would be playing side by side passing a virtual baton back and forth as they sang songs about subjects they had agreed to over dinner.  Of course, both artists are from small Midwestern towns, so the overall theme would consist of music aimed at this part of the world we call home.  I was game.  I wanted to hear whole show of Bob… But hey, this concept sounded interesting.


For nearly two hours, Bob and Cody (Who had never met until this night) went back and forth with songs themed with subjects ranging from cars to love.  It was a compelling show that sucked you in and made a couple hours disappear long before I wanted.    Adding to charm of the performance, the Social Kitchen acoustics were paired perfectly with the two artists acoustic guitars and voices.

So, you may be saying… OK Groucho…  This all sounds amazing.   I know that I write everything like a Penthouse Forum letter.  I am just that enthusiastic!   What do you have to show for this?  Funny you should ask.  Dustin had setup a special recording of his podcast with the artists after the show.  What I have to show is Drunken Lullabies Episode 43.


If you want to hear a couple of great Midwestern artists sing a few songs and drink Oktoberfest beers while being educated about beer by a completely entertaining writer named J.A. Konrath…  You have to listen to this one.  Oh, I’ll take credit for inspiring this episodes title as well when Konrath and I have a little fun with each other.

Thanks again Dustin for letting me tag along!



TBR 85 – Stephen Hale of Schlafly Brewing Company


Groucho sits down with Kevin (Harvest Cafe), Kyle (RJ Distributing Cicerone) and Stephen Hale (Schlafly Brewing Company Brewer) at the Harvest Cafe before their beer dinner with Schlafly Brewing.

This one starts off a bit slow…  I think that comes with Groucho not having warmed up with several beers and doing the show at the end of the night as we normally do.  Stephen Hale from Schlafly is probably one of the best guests we have ever had on the show, and its a shame we only had 39 minutes of interview time.  Next time we are gunning for that 4 hour show about all things happening in the brewing world.

Heres the biggest shame in this episode…  Its recorded before dinner.  You cant even imagine how good Chef Terry’s dinner was.  It was one of the best “beer” dinners I have done with any brewery or restaurant.  That is saying a lot.  Kudo’s to Harvest Cafe’s Kevin for putting on an excellent event and bringing together The Beer Report, Kyle and Stephen for this show.

On the show:

  1. The Kilt!
  2. Owning the St. Louis market.
  3. Lawn mower beer.
  4. Kolsch Education.
  5. Glassware talk.
  6. Groucho slams Watermelon Dorado by Ballast Point.  See, I didn’t edit this out Kyle!
  7. Beer Bubble!
  8. Distribution Philosophy.

You can get Schlafly beers at most decent liquor stores in Illinois and parts of the Midwest.  Yeah, Stephen spelled it out… We are special here…  And some of you cant get their stuff!

Theme song as always by Too Much Joy.  “Drunk and In Love”.  Better than any top 40 song of the same name.  Word is… Tim Quirk and the boys were recording a few weeks ago.  This could be a glorious year if we hear something new from them.

TBR 80 – The Harvest Cafe Show

TBR 80

Groucho gets the invite to hang in Delavan at Harvest Cafe and taste a couple of great Point Brewing beers to get us ready for Summer…  Then Kevin rolls out some secret beers and a massive BBQ plate to round everything out!

CHUD is home with the Chudlette and could not make the recording!  Hopefully, this is one of very few shows ever recorded without him!

Also on the show is Kyle from RJ Distributing.  He is the second Cicerone in the Peoria area.  We enjoy some banter between Kyle and Kevin later in the show as they discuss tap politics.

The show is over an hour!  Sorry.  You do need to stick around and hear about selfies with Auggie Busches exhumed body.  Just saying.

Beers on the show:  Point Brewing Session pale Ale, Point Brewing Siesta Key Pale Ale, Goose Island Sophie, Deschutes Disadent 2015 Reserve,  New Holland Vinilla Chia Dragons Milk.

On the show:

  1. Cicerone program.
  2. Fresh beer!
  3. Julian (Spell?) dates.
  4. Two week old beer!
  5. Porch Pounder???  Who coined that one?
  6. Cuban party with these Point beers?
  7. Kevin is the king of hugs!
  8. Groucho’s history lesson on his first visit to Harvest Cafe.
  9. Bourbon Barrel GI mistakenly priced.
  10. Shoutouts to local small bars…   Haynes on Main, Maquets and Kemps.
  11. No CHUD tonight!
  12. Kevin’s BBQ life lessons.  Make your kid the “Mop Boss”.
  13. Harvest Cafe fresh spring produce.
  14. The farm to table.  The real deal!
  15. The middle of everywhere…  Delavan IL.
  16. Bacteria!  The endless battle!
  17. Drink with your nose!
  18. Cheers Amy.
  19. Groucho gets to Soapbox.
  20. Fat Tire 25th Anniversary Beer Dinner at Harvest Cafe.  Mark your calender’s.  JUNE 21ST!!!! (Groucho, take your foot out of your mouth!)
  21. Sentimental Beer.
  22. Coor’s Banquet Beer gets a shout out!
  23. Kevin will not let the show end!!!!   More beer!
  24. BBQ Night at the Harvest Cafe!
  25. Halibut served with smashed Potatoes and local Ramps garnished with edible flowers.
  26. Kevin is becoming a foodie.
  27. Pork “Three times”.
  28. We all miss Grandpa Johns in Peoria.
  29. Kemp’s in Lexington talk edited out to protect ourselves from litigation!
  30. Kevin’s love for Notre Dame.
  31. Breakfast at Harvest.
  32. Jess, one of our “Number Ones”.
  33. Have you ever had a bad beer event…  Kevin answers all.
  34. Beer-tap wars.
  35. August Busches dead body would move some Budweiser at Harvest Cafe.
  36. Re-Grand Opening of the Exchange on April 9th!  Come down and check it out!
  38. THANK YOU KYLE from RJ Distributing.

Beers on the show are mostly Kevin’s private selections saved up for this dinner.

See you at the 2016 Peoria Jaycee’s Beerfest!

TBR Interview – Jennifer Ritter

Peoria Beerfest Organizer Jennifer Ritter spends a few minutes at the Beer Report Table to talk about the fest and all the things going on.

2015 was a great showing for craftbeer in Peoria IL… 2016 promises to be better! Get to the Jaycee’s VIP tent for all the fun next year!

Theme Song from Too Much Joy, Drunk and in Love.

Peoria Brewing Company Show


Todd and Christian host us again!  The brewery is revisited after getting up and going!  Groucho and CHUD visited with Todd and Christian 9 months ago when the old paint store building was just a cold warehouse covered in dust.  Today, we go back on a “Mug Club” day to find a production brewery filled with people, music and food on the patio.  What a transformation!  The show is long, I realize that, but we do get into a lot of brewery business items at all times during the show, and I felt like it was not easily cut.  Remind me to do 2 shows next time!

Apologies ahead of time…  Todd was on a different Microphone and over-modulated to start the show.  (Groucho forgot the 4th mic)  It gets better a few minutes in.  Its like herding cats when you do a podcast with 4 people!

  1. Groucho and CHUD do some but kissing!
  2. Criticism? How do you deal with that?
  3. Stevie Nicks talk leads into Kim Deal, leads into CB talk!
  4. Craftbeer Week 2015?
  5. Mainstream beer philosophy.  Session ales abound.
  6. Whats popped up that you didn’t expect?
  7. Managing a bar?
  8. CHUD’s pirate management book.  Publishing soon!
  9. Janet Jackson?
  10. The hours worked…. Biggest surprise.
  11. Todd is not trusted to run the “till”.
  12. Adam praise!
  13. Rothgar infamy beer.
  14. Sharing the experience makes the beer better.
  15. Todd is always sick!
  16. Pink Eye Saison.  Scott Bayo Saison?
  17. We control our own destiny!  Everyday you work in a brewery is a good day!
  18. Road show!
  19. Brains and Brawn!
  20. Where does the Rock Island Trail go?
  21. Are you happy you are on Pioneer Park?
  22. Mug Club!
  23. Beer as a business.  Brewers Distributing.
  24. Ran?  Sorry… Thought they were bikers!
  25. Rothgar commentary!
  26. Hefe!  They have a Hefeweizen!
  27. Josh Lanning and the beer dinner at the Fox Pub.  Marrow!!!
  28. THE FUTURE:  What does it hold for PBC?
  29. This summer…  Bands!  Madison Ward and the Momma Bear.  Belly Dancers.  Yoga and a flight!
  30. The Golf Room.
  31. Peoria Brewing smack talk.
  32. Food?  Its in the future for the bar.
  33. There are a few Mug Club spots open right now!  You get:  Shirt, new beers, copper mug, special bi annual events.
  34. “Dale”!  The PBC equivalent of Norm.
  35. What happens at PBC, stays at PBC!

Find Peoria Brewing Company beers at any fine drinking establishment with great beers on tap in the middle of Illinois!  Seek them out!


2015 Craftbeer Week Roundup and Peoria Beerfest Roundup


Groucho is back for the final wrap up on the audio show for this years Peoria Beerfest and commentary on American Craftbeer Week 2015.  We then move on to clips from the festival VIP tent with Groucho & CHUD.

Get to Peoria in late April for this Festival and be prepared to have a blast!

On the show:

  • Intro by Groucho with love for his local Peoria/Bloomington bars and restaurants that stepped it up for this years Craftbeer Week.
  • Groucho & CHUD talk Peoria Beerfest.
  • Belching Beaver Beer.
  • Losing your head?
    Stone Brewing Theodors.
    Audio fail!
    Interview: Jennifer Ritter of the Peoria Jaycees. (at 9:00)
    Explore Peoria Video… Jennifer killed it!
  • Do the VIP Tent!
  • Northcoast Brewing Company J Marie.
  • Interview:  Ken Chiu (Official TBR Photographer) (at 12:48)
  • Breakfast at the Fox Pub before the Beerfest!!!  Lets pack the Fox next year!
  • Fried Toast!
  • Groucho drops an F Bomb!
  • Kudos to Pat Hartzler from Brewers Distributing for all his acquisitions at the VIP tent.
  • More F Bombs.
  • Pat Hartzler is not pulled through on the audio show…  Hoping to pull through to video clips.
  • Interview Luke Heminover (at 18:30)
  • The Champagne Room at the VIP Tent.
  • Who are the Jaycees?
  • Trending, #Heminover
  • Interview Steve King (at 21:45)
  • Steve King verified the “Oldest Beerfest” with All About Beer.
  • VIP Aftermath.
  • Three Floyds Black Heart
  • Interview Matt Rixner (at 24:00)
  • Alchemist Heady Topper.
  • “Wife…  Wife…”.
  • More swearing… We are sorry!  Toast should never have that kind of language associated with it!
  • Ken is back.
  • Wrapup with Chud and Ken enjoying the Topper.

The VIP tent is a great way to start the day the Jaycees Beerfest!  See you there next year!





Craftbeer Week 2015 – Day 4


Whats going on Thursday?

Tartan Inn is giving away a guitar!

Friday Night:

  • Beer Cruise on the Spirit of Peoria
  • Deschutes Tap Takeover at Fox Pub & Cafe
  • Lakefront Tap Takeover at Fieldhouse Peoria


  • Gutbuster 5K and Mini Beerfest at UFS
  • Homebrewer day with Destihl and the Hop Shop
  • North Peoria Beerfest at Fox Pub and Cafe.

Mini rant on contrived articles on Paste Magazine about Craft Beer.

Interview from the Peoria Beerfest with Matt Rixner of the Fox Pub.  Lets pack the house for breakfast Per-Beerfest next year!

Enjoy this upcoming weekend and be safe!  Get a Designated Driver for gods sake if you are hitting multiple places in Peoria.  (Y’know… Since we wont make it legal to UBER!)



Craftbeer Week 2015 – Day 3


Day 3!  More news on beers being poured in Peoria and the surrounding area this week!

  • Kemps Upper Tap.  Get there!  Coolest place you have never been too!
  • Kellehers is serving something new everyday for American Craft Beer Week!
  • Fieldhouse has Sump and some other killer beers this week!
  • George Jacob Gutbuster 5K at UFS.  Run, walk or crawl your way through beer, Hores De Vores and a mini beerfest on Saturday!
  • Spirit of Peoria Beer Cruise Friday night.
  •… Who are these guys?  The Brewers Association.

Take it all in…  This is an epic week of drinking in Central Illinois.

Interview:  Luke Heminover at the Peoria Beerfest.