Welcome to another edition of the Beer of the Week!
As always, the Beer of the Week will be presented on the Arrowhead Pride Tailgate on 610 Sports Radio. This week’s show will happen between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Thursday.
A road game typically means a standard Beer of the Week feature from me. However, I seized the opportunity to contact my friend and fellow Chiefs fan Ryan Call to talk about a Colorado beer he introduced me to this summer. This week’s Beer of the Week is Left Hand White Russian Nitro!
An 8.9% ABV White Stout, this beer pays homage to the movie The Big Lebowski’s signature drink. A smooth beer with notes of coffee, vanilla and chocolate make this an easy-drinking stout — and a very dangerous beer.
Having already covered Left Hand Brewing Company in a previous Beer of the Week post, I decided to dive right in and talk to Ryan — now the National Key Account Manager for Left Hand — about creating this beer, working for Left Hand, antagonizing Broncos fans, and how he almost found himself working for the Chiefs!
CS: What made the brewers decide to make a White Russian beer?
RC: Well, actually, the sales team kind of decided it. On our seasonal program, we try to come up with cool, random stuff we think is going to sell. On the Nitro side, we were trying to come up with something different and interesting, but still on the stout side. We threw out the idea of a White Russian Nitro beer, which everyone loved the idea of — but some of the brewers had never had one. Because of that, I threw a party in my office one day. Our tasting room manager used to be a bartender, so I went and picked up the stuff to make White Russians. We sat around for about two hours and listened to The Big Lebowski soundtrack and the whole brew staff drank while we spitballed ideas.
CS: How did you start working at Left Hand Brewing Company?
RC: I was studying Sports Management at Kansas University, so I needed a job with hours early in the morning, as I was having to do my internships in the afternoon. I got into unloading beer trucks for Miller-Coors, worked at liquor stores — basically coming into the industry out of necessity. After my internship, I started working for a distributor as a merchandiser and worked my way up to where I am now at Left Hand.
CS: You’d mentioned that your internships involved football, and your goal initially was to work for the Chiefs, correct?
RC: Yeah. When I was doing my internships, I got in touch with a local scout who is still with the Chiefs today. I met with him a few times and wanted to get on in an entry-level position in player-personnel and scouting. They gave me a list of requirements that I had to meet — I worked for the Kansas City Brigade for a season, coached football at William Jewell college for a season, and a couple of other things along the way. I accomplished all those things, and then Scott Pioli got hired and changed the requirements I needed to work there. I would’ve had to do it for one more year, but I had already worked three full years with an internship and a full-time job just to pay bills. My wife and I had just bought a house, and I just couldn’t do it another year. That got me switched full-time into the craft beer side of things.
CS: You told me about a bet that you made with a fellow co-worker over a Chiefs/Broncos game last year. What was that bet?
RC: This was the “left-handed pass” game (Craig’s note: how apt). A co-worker had just started working at Left Hand, and didn’t think that I would seriously take the bet. The loser of the bet had to buy tickets to the 2019 Chiefs/Broncos at the home stadium for the winning team plus a jersey for the winning team to wear to the game. So, because the Chiefs won, we will be traveling to Kansas City for December 15th for Chiefs/Broncos and he will be wearing a Chiefs jersey.
CS: How do you see Thursday night’s game playing out?
RC: As much as everyone wants to remind me that the Broncos have won two and the Chiefs have lost their last two, I think it’s going the opposite way. Mahomes and the team are getting slightly healthier, and I think the defense “mans up” just a little bit. I’m going to go with the Mahomes blowout — Chiefs win 35-17.
Many thanks to Ryan Call and Left Hand Brewing Company for taking time out to answer some questions and for making great beer!
Check back here this time next week for the new Beer of the Week!