You know the joke right? So a bartender and a beer sales rep walk into a bar. Well, I’m not a comedian, but Ally Gold and Hayley Karl, the co-founders of Beer, Period sure are.
A little less than a year ago (January 19th. 2018 to be exact. Ally remembers the date because it’s her ex-boyfriend’s birthday), the comedic duo teamed up to make Beer, Period, a comedy show focused on the eccentricities of beer nerds.
Combining humor and role-playing with real-life guests from brewers to bartenders to homebrewers, the show began as a way for Ally and Hayley to combine their passion for beer and comedy. “I just didn’t see anything else like it out there,” said Hayley.
I sat down with Ally and Hayley to learn about what Beer, Period is all about, why we hate glitter beer, and the hidden reason behind why Budweiser loves Clydesdales.
After spending a short amount of time with the two of them in a coffee shop on the Upper East Side, I could easily see why they started a show together. Our first interaction went a little something like this.
Ally pulls out her phone and turns it over to discover something.
Ally Gold: “Oh no. It’s a winery sticker!”
Hayley Karl: “I read it as Goose Watch Witchery”
AG: No it’s Goose Watch Winery. It’s in the Finger Lakes. I just spent a week there drinking wine.
HK: Which, watch, witch.
AG: Which, watch, witch.
HK: That’s what we should do before every show. Which, watch, which.
AG: Sinbad, Sinbad.
AG: Actually, before the show, we walk the streets around Chelsea doing our lines and then we sit down and drink and do more lines.
HK: We just scream our lines at each other. Good!
Grace Weitz: Well, that’s a good warmup. This is my warm up. Everyone has that aha moment when they try their first craft beer. What was the first life-changing craft beer you tried?
HK: I was working at a restaurant called Strong Place, which served craft beer. Honestly, I didn’t understand the concept–beer was beer to me–but I had to learn it for the menu. I had never liked beer before and started to enjoy it. My gateway drug so to speak was Allagash Curieux. It’s a tasty treat.
AG: I feel like we’ve both told our stories so many times. I know your story and you know my story.
GW: You guys should swap and tell each other’s stories.
AG: My best friend is/was/will always be an artist. In high school, we bought beer by Flying Dog because we thought the dog looked cool. I remember thinking, ‘Damn, this is bitter as shit.’
HK: But that’s art.
AG: Liquid art. And then for a long time my favorite beer was Arrogant Bastard bombers. I was living in L.A. with my boyfriend, who was 11 years older than me, and his roommate, who was 12 years older than me. I’m 20-years-old hanging out with 30-year-old men.
HK: This is what the older, distinguished gentleman of Los Angeles drink.
AG: I thought, “This beer was more bitter than these fucking flying dogs.” Stone was when I started realizing that there was such a thing as a brewery you could go to. The beer has to come from somewhere.
HK: Yeah, for me in Wisconsin there was only Miller. It was huge and a factory.
AG: When I was a kid for 6 months my family lived in Wisconsin. One time my dad took me to a fucking beer factory maybe it was Miller. I remember he gave me a little taste of beer. I asked, “What is this?” Because no one in my family drank. My Grandma with a straight face responded, “It’s horse piss.” For the longest time, I thought beer is what horse piss tasted like.
HK: That’s what my dad said too! That beer tastes like horse piss.
GW: Have you guys ever tried the two side by side by. Maybe do a comparison.
HK: We could do that on the show. Maybe get a Cicerone.
GW: What is this off-flavor we taste here?
HK: It is probably really grassy. Isn’t that what horses eat?
AG: Do you think that’s why Budweiser has the Clydesdales?
GW: So back to Flying Dogs and Arrogant Bastard…
AG: Don’t forget Allagash Curieux!
HK: I’m a fancy bitch.
GW: How do you two meet and come up with the idea for the show Beer, Period?
AG: I worked as a beer buyer at Milk and Hops and Hayley was working at 12 Percent as my rep. My Bachelors [Degree] is in film and we both did comedy in NYC. We started emailing about beer and it quickly turned into us fucking with each other. Then, Hayley came into the bar and literally cornered me.
HK: I did! I stormed into Milk and Hops and said, “I have an idea for a show.”
AG: That was the day I was drinking a Westbrook Mexican Cake in the middle of the afternoon.
GW: So we’re in a corner with Ally drinking Mexican Cake and Hayley with an idea for a show. Where did the idea come from?
HK: A lot of our fucking with each other was making fun of stupid stuff in the beer community. Stuff we found humorous. I didn’t really see anything else like it out there. I knew I would appreciate and enjoy a beer comedy show.
AG: We had to get it [i.e. the grievances from constantly dealing with people at our jobs in beer] out of our system somehow.
GW: Why do you say that? You mean dealing with craft beer nerds?
AG: Yes, like this one time this guy runs into [Milk and Hops]. I’m leaning on the bar. He storms in. He’s flushed and red. I’ve never seen this man in my life. He turns to me and says, “Do you have anything special in the back?” I said, “Nah man”. He’s ranting. I tell him, “Man, this is crazy,” He responded, “Why is that crazy? Bars always keep good things in the back for your regulars.” I said, “Yes, but it’s crazy that you asked.”
HK: [Laughs] I need a beer! Where’s your special stuff?
AG: What’s wrong with you!? Where are your parents? You are 40-years-old. Who told you to act like this?
HK: It’s threefold on the buying end and the selling end you run into that kind of personality. It’s a bridge too far in some cases: The concept of waiting in line hours for a beer. We might be desensitized because we work in it and have access to it. But, if you’re that obsessed with beer you should get a job in the industry. Beer wouldn’t be my hobby if I wasn’t in the industry.
AG: I just hate that you’re fucking collecting something that has an expiration date. Now, we’re just bitching, but this is why we made this show, so we could air our grievances rather than snapping at lunatic men.
GW: Cool, so give me a rundown of the flow of the show. How does it work?
AG: We start off chugging a beer on stage.
AG: We play characters. We’re not ourselves.
GW: Oh, I didn’t realize that. So who are your characters?
AG: We’re playing that lunatic guy that I dealt with. We’re playing beer nerd fanatics that only care about beer, but don’t know about it. So when we’re interviewing people we talk about beer, but we’re interacting with them as hardcore beer nerds.
HK: Like that guy who sees himself as an expert. He thinks something like, “I love this and I worked really hard to get this exclusive thing, therefore I know everything about beer.”
AG: We’re making fun of that world. I dress in an Other Half flat-billed hat and a flannel shirt.
HK: I wear a Helix, a rolled up stocking hat–we had to look up the actual term for that–and a buttoned-up pink flannel.
GW: Got it. Do the guests know that you’re playing a character?
HK: Yes, we give them a breakdown before the show. And say, just so you know we’re going to be dumb. We’re playing professional idiots, so feel free to call us out. Just basically be yourself. Don’t feel like you have to be funny. Pretend like it’s just another beer podcast.
GW: How have your guests responded? Do they like that you’re making fun of craft beer?
AG: Everyone’s really liked it. Everyone has had a great time. The feedback I always hear is I’m so glad someone did this and is making fun of this world. It’s crazy. There are brewers who’ve told me they started brewing because they just love making beer, but now they are looked at as a god. Dude, it’s just a product.
GW: Right, with an expiration date.
GW: You guys made a couple rules for Beer, Period. Rule number one: It’s a show about beer…period. Rule number two: There is no such thing as a bad craft beer.
HK: There’s not.
AG: Every beer is craft beer because its beer. It’s crafted for your mouth.
HK: It’s made for your body to enjoy.
AG: Your body, your mind, your soul.
GW: I agree. I know someone who might not agree. Did you see that clip of Jim Gaffigan on the CBS Morning show? He said that all craft beer is bad. He just wants a beer that tastes like beer. Not a glitter beer. Not a beer with avocado.
AG: Fucking glitter beers. I forgot that those existed.
HK: I love that straight out of the gate they tell you it’s not bad for you don’t worry it’s edible glitter.
GW: Because that is what we were all worried about.
HK: It still looks like you shouldn’t drink it.
GW: Okay, so maybe Jim has a point about glitter beer, but how would you respond to him saying that all craft beer is bad?
HK: Welp, Jim you’re wrong.
AG: I can’t hear it.
HK: It’s kind of like saying an orange is a baseball bat. It just doesn’t make sense to me.
AG: Wake up Jim.
HK: You know what? That’s more beer for us anyway.
AG: That was a shock value statement from him. Let’s kill him.
GW: Oh no, what have I started? Let’s talk about the positive link between comedy and beer. There are a lot of similarities – both comedians and brewers are artistic and entrepreneurial. How can craft beer augment comedy and vice versa?
AG: The show is a social hobnob. We’re all hanging out together riffing and beings social. Beer like comedy is all about finding your beach with a Corona can.
HK: It’s about letting your guard down a little bit. Both comedy and beer connect people.
AG: We just love getting to meet people through comedy and beer bringing people together.
HK: Making friends and pals.
GW: True Story. So right now what is your favorite beer?
AG: A glitter beer. Just kidding. Die Die Die. Black IPAs and Schwarzbiers are my favorite right now. If I see a Black Lager on a board I’m drinking that beer.
HK: Pilsners. It’s a taste and ABV thing. I don’t want to sit down with anything over 5 percent.
GW: And, if you had to pick one beer that represents you what would it be and why?
AG: Raging Bitch. I don’t know. I’m a half-drunk PBR that’s dirty and used.
GW: With a half-smoked cigarette butt inside of it…
HK: And I’m a Miller stubby–really gassy and short.
GW: I’m not really sure how to transition here. [Laughs] So, I’ll just ask my next question. What have been some of your favorite moments from the show?
HK: We had a bit in the last show where we asked an audience member to participate, which we do in every show. We wanted to test out some movie scenes like they do in Mythbusters. But we called in Beerbusters. We used a scene from Teen Wolf where he bites through a can and drinks a beer. We had someone from the audience put on a Werewolf mask and he actually bit the can through his wolf mask. We didn’t think he’d actually do it.
AG: [For me it was this bit where] we blindfolded 2 people and had them do a taste test like the Pepsi/Coke challenge. We had them taste craft beer vs water, craft beer vs PBR and for the last one, we made dirt cups with gummy worms, chocolate pudding, and Oreo crumbs. We blindfolded Katherine from Blind Tiger and her husband. Watching them try to drink the dirt n’ worms was hilarious.
GW: What’s the future for Beer, Period?
HK: We’re still evolving. We’re still new. I’d like to take the show national maybe to Chicago or do it at festivals, but we both have full-time jobs.
AG: And we drink full-time.
HK: Beer, Period is something we can put together easily and it’s an escape from the stress of working in beer. I love our characters. We’re playing archetypes of personalities, but we’re always very positive. Just like we say there is no bad beer. We put a positive spin on everything. We just love beer and we will always want to drink it.
AG: Exactly. We’re doing this show out of love.
You can watch episodes of Ally and Hayley’s old show on the Beer, Period YouTube channel.
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