We have hit the road this week and The Brit, Phil Clark, and co-host Ken McMullen have headed down to the home of U of I, Champaign IL. In this university town there is a Blind Pig – not just one but 4 locations! They are a brewery, brewpub and English pub, all the brainchild of ex-pat fellow Brit, Chris Knight. Heading to Illinois from the UK, via Switzerland, Chris confesses that he didn’t know Champaign wasn’t part of Chicago, but he found it was friendly and needed an English pub, so he stayed. And the rest is history as they say.
Chris tells us the history of Blind Pig, and gives us a lesson in how to turn a big space into a cosy, representation of an English pub, this one modeled on the Axe and Compass in Hemmingford Abbotts, UK.
As usual the conversation takes twists and turns, including Chris and Phil providing their best (or worst) David Attenborough impressions! Thankfully, brewpub brewer Brett Updyke, stops by and tells us about his role in the Blind Pig empire. He must be the only person to move FROM Hawaii TO Illinois, where he was studying oceanography, but we are the benefactors of his career change with his brewing skills. He tells us the story of Hattori Hanzo, one of their signature beers, using sorachi ace hops.
To round out the interview, head brewer Bill Morgan, jet-lagged from just returning from Japan, provides some awesome words of wisdom on his brewing approach, and the Japanese influence some of their offerings provide. Bill has been brewing for over 30 years, both in the USA and Japan, and can be considered one of the pioneers of the craft beer industry. This last segment is 30 minutes plus, so please grab your favorite brew and listen to a fascinating conversation!
Half-Double ESB, Special Bitter,
Soft Landing, Hazy IPA, 6.7%
U of IPA, IPA, 6.5%
Raspberry Wheat, Wheat Ale, 4.7%
Hattori Hanzo, Pale Ale, 5.2%
Columbia St. Coffee Stout, Stout with cold-brewed coffee, 5.4%
Play the show from our player or the PodBean player below…