Preston Brown and Jon Denman know a lot about good beer and good music. From their perspectives, Houston has plenty of both, and it all keeps getting better.
Brown and Denman co-host the Drink of Ages Radio Show, 7 p.m. Saturdays on News 92.1 FM. They'll be presenting Best Producer, Cover/Tribute Act, Zydeco and Keyboards at tonight's Houston Press Music Awards ceremony at Warehouse Live. (Free admission, but RSVP here.)
"Houston is growing into a great town for both (beer and music)," says Denman. "We are still behind other cities in being a beer town, but with the laws changing for craft breweries, we should start catching up real fast. Houston-area breweries are producing fantastic beer.
"It is the same for music," he continues. "Houston is producing fantastic music. There is a wealth of talent getting national attention, deservingly so."
Since the show's format focuses heavily on craft beers and always features a music act, they're qualified to discuss both, Since the show began in February, it's hosted two dozen bands, including HPMA nominees like Chase Hamblin and the Roustabouts and Josh Fuller. All the shows are also podcast and available at drinkofages.com.
Denman conceived the idea for the show while discussing with radio stations advertising for his Humble-based business, Backyard Home Brewers and Education Center.
"I thought it would be fun to talk about craft beer and home brewing for an hour," he says. "Plus I have really enjoyed many local bands lately and wanted to help promote their music on the show as well. So the idea of a show about beer and music sparked the interest of several radio stations and the show was born."
"Jon is my wife's cousin, and we had met a couple times at family events over the years," Brown says. "Two years ago, he tells me he was opening a home brew supply store in Humble. Out of totally selfish reasons, I told him I wanted to help him become successful. This would keep me from having to drive across town for ingredients and supplies.
"I help with classes at the Home Brew store and have donated way too much home brewed beer to the shop," he adds.
The duo has a familiar and easy way on the air, which helps since neither has a journalism or communications background. It helps that they know and research their subjects so well. They've had a Who's Who of guests from breweries and brewpubs on to discuss not just beers, but also ciders, spirits, mead and wine.
As for the music, the show kicked things off with Celtic punk rockers Flogging Molly.
"It actually just took an email with a request [to book them]. I think because it is a beer show, that might have helped," says Denman " Flogging Molly is one of my all-time favorites. I have not missed a show in many years. To have them be part of the very first show was amazing. Then drinking some pints with them after the show was definitely an experience to remember."
"I have to admit I was a little starstruck. It went by way too quick for me and I don't remember much of the interview," says Brown. "We are our worst critics, and sometimes I wish we had them on later in the show when we had more experience, but they were our first interview, and I think that set a great opening tone for the show."
Since then, the show has spotlighted local and regional acts of every sort.
"When we were crafting the idea behind the show, it only made sense to include music," Brown says. "For me personally, I want to convey the fact that the musicians on the show are just as passionate about their music as we are about beer, wine and spirits."
"One of the best things is meeting the band members," Denman agrees. "The passion that they all have for their music rivals that of a brewer and their beer. The time and effort put in to their music is inspiring. Every personality has been different but the drive is the one awesome, common factor."
Denman says the show chooses its musical guests the old-fashioned way.
"We have to like it," he affirms. "Preston and I share some similar taste in music and can appreciate good music even if it is not our style. We have had a great response from bands sending us their music and I spend hours listening to bands from the area.
"When we hear about a band, we research them by looking at their social-media pages and what kind of following they have," Brown adds. "We listen to them on the Internet, try to get a feel about them from that, try to find a good story embedded in the group. We then contact them and try to get them on the show."
Occasionally, they'll find guests whose catalogues lend well to the idea of quaffing a few brews, like the Blaggards or the Dead Rabbits.
"Drinking and music goes back to the beginning of time," says Denman. "We want artists that compliment the show and make people want to throw back a couple pints."
Brown says his favorite live show ever was either a mid-1980s Yngwie Malmsteen-AC/DC bill or Black Flack in 1985 "before they broke up."
"Black Flag probably was memorable because that was my first pit fight," he adds. "Hope my kids don't read this."
"I cannot think what my all-time favorite show is. It is the same with beer," Denman says. "When I think about my 'favorite' it usually reminds me of the situation I was in and who I was with. My favorite things are a combination of all elements that are happening. The beer I am drinking, the music I am listening to and the friends I am with. Does that make sense? There are a lot of great memories."
Denman says he's happy to see more breweries and brewpubs including local music on their agendas. He and Brown advocate for beer aficionados to demand higher quality from breweries and the same applies to local music.
"I love music, all kinds. There is always music playing at my house and in my car," offers Denman. "For a while I fell out of the local music scene and was not following it. There really was not any standout new music that I'd heard.
"I think now that has changed," he adds. "There's a ton of great artists coming out of Houston. We wanted to make music a part of the show because of our own passion for it and to give another platform for artists to promote their music."
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