Beer Town: Beer Guys Radio best of 2016

Tim Dennis (left) and Aaron Williams of Beer Guys Radio taping an episode at Brick Store Pub in Decatur. Photo credit: Stephen Averett / Electric Engram Photography.

Tim Dennis (left) and Aaron Williams of Beer Guys Radio taping an episode at Brick Store Pub in Decatur. Photo credit: Stephen Averett / Electric Engram Photography.

Beer Guys Radio has been on the air for a little over a year, broadcasting 1-2 p.m. Saturdays on AM 920 the Answer (WGKA), and on demand as podcasts with iTunes, SoundCloud and other apps.

Produced and hosted by Tim Dennis, an Atlanta-based technical recruiter, and Aaron Williams, program director for Salem Communications in Atlanta, the show focuses on local craft beer and features brewers and other members of the Georgia beer community.

Dennis is a craft beer lover and homebrewer. He started the Reddit Atl Beer website, which has grown to a 5,000-user forum in the past few years.

Beer Guys was the result of a meeting between Dennis and Williams, who was looking for another show for Saturdays on AM 920 — a day when the station takes a break from its usual conservative programming to offer the likes of car repair and real estate talk, along with a show for cigar aficionados.

“The basic premise of our show is to have informative but casual conversations with brewers, bar owners, bottle shop owners, and anyone involved with beer,” Dennis said during a recent chat. “We occasionally have homebrewers on to cover that side, and we also share news about events and new beer releases.”

Asked if the station’s conservative politics ever find a way into Beer Guys Radio, Dennis seemed ready for the question.

“We try our best to avoid that,” he said, laughing. “We’ve made a couple of jokes about it, and we’ve had people wonder about it. But we avoid politics as much as possible, except when it comes to nonpartisan beer law discussions. That’s something we can all come together on.”

In celebration of their first year, and as a goodbye to 2016, the Beer Guys did wade into some controversy, though.

They asked listeners to vote on the best of craft beer in Georgia, including such argument-inducing categories as “Best Georgia IPA of 2016” and “Best Georgia Brewery or Brewpub opened in 2016.”

“It was very educational as to how many people you can make angry with something like that,” Dennis said. “Obviously, we couldn’t put every beer released in 2016 on the survey, and we had breweries mad at us about that. But we would have had 100 multiple-choice answers for each question.

“We tried to take the top 10 or 15 in each category, and not just by ratings, but by discussions, and interest generated, and other factors. So we tried to have a good sampling of all breweries across Georgia, not just metro Atlanta. But, undoubtedly, in our best effort to do that, there were a couple that didn’t get on the list.”

As it turned out, voters made Three Taverns A Night on Ponce the top IPA, followed by Scofflaw Basement, and Creature Comforts Crescendo.

As for the best brewery or brewpub opened in 2016, voters ranked Scofflaw Brewing at No. 1, followed by Arches and Torched Hop.

“Some of it I was pretty surprised at,” Dennis said. “Overall, a lot of it is what I expected. But I was surprised Night on Ponce was No. 1. Not anything against that beer, because it’s absolutely fantastic, it’s just that some of the other newer beers, like Scofflaw, were getting more hype.

“Another thing that surprised me, even though they’re great guys making great beers, is seeing Arches as not only one of the best new, but all-around Georgia breweries. So the results overall were a mix of what I expected and some big surprises.”

To see all of the Beer Guys Radio Best of Georgia Beer 2016: beerguysradio.com/2016/12/31/best-georgia-beer-2016.

To listen to that podcast: soundcloud.com/beer-guys-radio.

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