Truly a Jake of all trades. We caught up with Jake Alexander as he was in London working on his feature length film. Jake was recommended to us by a mutual friend for the work he does with Cellarmaker Brewing Company in San Francisco. Jake has a warm and calm spirit, which it made it very easy for us to talk with him despite the distance. He is a hard worker who is involved in several great projects and jobs. Take a little time to learn more about Jake the artist and I'm sure you'll be impressed with his story and path.
AJ: Hello everybody and welcome to another edition of the 16oz Canvass. The Art of Craft Beer Podcast. I’m really excited to have with us Jake Alexander. Thanks so much for joining us Jake.
Jake: Thank you. Thanks, I’m excited to be here.
AJ: Awesome, so we just had our first Canadian artist and while Jake is normally based out in Cali, he comes just checking in with us via London. So, you’re kind of our -- you’re definitely our first Londoner. So we’re really excited about that, but it’s exciting to just kind of technology allows to talk to folks all over the world.
Jake: Yeah excellent, I’m glad it worked out.
AJ: Yeah, technology is a wonderful thing and normally we use a phone. So, we are doing this one over Skype and it’s sounding great. So, just really -- like I said, we’ve learned of Jake through his work with Cellarmaker Brewing Company in California and we have mutual friends who saw the project and reached out through the work you do with JamBase.
So, that’s really exciting and as folks who have listened before in my previous life, I was a -- I guess a DJ, disk jockey and did a college radio show called "Sharin' in the Groove" for about a little over a decade. So, the JamBase was -- is very important to me. So, it’s nice to kind of bring full circle with you.
Jake: Yeah, so we got connected through David Onigman. So, you must have known David from that world before is what’s JamBase I would guess, right?
AJ: Yeah, exactly. So it was really cool to see him and Scotty, you know, those guys kind of grinding along and just being, you know, really engaging and kind of super fans of the scene and really supportive and just even with Twitter and social media world. So, the fact that they are now, really kind of the life line of JamBase is kind of -- it’s kind of mind blowing actually.
Jake: Yeah, it’s a good crew; fun to know them.
AJ: Excellent, now if you are researching into website you can check Jake’s website CreativeSF.com. It’s really cool, you go there and you would see works he’s done with Cellarmaker. You’d see some of the great video and production he’s done with JamBase. One of my favorite was, for folks out there who are not familiar with the Grateful Dead - they came back and their Fare Thee Well tour until there was a video music series "Songs of the Their Own".
So I was really -- I mean I loved that before I knew it was you but then when I saw that it was just kind of really nice. So, I just want to personally, you know, thank you for that and it was definitely really unique in a smart take on something that we’ve all seen so many bands cover the Dead, but it was just really in a unique way and had some great tunes on there.
Jake: Yeah, thank you. It was fun project. It was really crazy, we got it. It was about50 videos that we did over about three months. So, it was really back to back to back and definitely a stressful time but the end product is pretty cool.
AJ: We talked a little bit about, you know, just I mean I do this myself when I am doing the recording, the production, all the editing. So, I can’ imagine when I read that there is 50 videos over that period of time. I was kind of -- I cringed a little bit like I’m just kind of imagining kind of going through all that. So, it was great to see that.
Jake: Yeah, I learned a lot about video production in three months.
AJ: Yeah, how did that go because right I would -- I mean know for this personally when I first started it was very, you know, I didn’t have a lot of short cuts or ways to template things and so I probably spent even more time than I do now and so I kind of -- I’m hoping that as you went you kind of become a master of your domain, so to speak.
Jake: Yeah, I think the first video took me two days to make and then by the 50th video I was turned them out in a few hours. So, it definitely streamlined the experience after I worked on it for a while.
AJ: Yeah and at first you’re like I’ll tweak this and tweak that and you kind of -- like I read a quote the other day about how does an artist know what he has done and it just kind of like, when you walk away. Like it’s kind of like your voice like, “Oh this should be a little louder, this pan or this the, you know, this setting.” You know, it’s like --.
Jake: When you have to be done.
AJ: Yeah, right or sounds like knock on your down like you got to upload that video man.
Jake: Yeah, I learned a lot about quality over quantity on that where quantity and quality on that whole gig and actually kind of transferred to this beer labels because a lot of them have these kind of short turnarounds and I could tweak them for days and days if I wanted to but it’s nice to have a deadline sometimes.
AJ: Yeah, I do agree. And so as an artist, how would you know -- what’s kind of like your elevator pitch or your story? Like how did you get into, you know, kind of the creative things, you definitely know I mean, you’re a -- I’d say you’re a multimedia artist definitely with the audio and, you know, Jake is checking in with London, he’s working on his first full length feature movie which is really exciting. So how is that -- what was your path there or how did you come to get into that?
Jake: I guess it was pretty random. I actually went to school for music. I got a degree in LA, that was kind of a performance degree. I played drums and then I came back to San Francisco where I’m from and got a degree in Jazz studies. So, that’s kind of actually how I met David. I was looking for just a gig in the music industry. Excuse me, and I had been playing for two years trying to support myself and it was fun, but it kind of got stressful and I was looking for a little something more stable and I ended up interning with JamBase.
I was lucky they actually had a lot of turnover when I first joined and I got hired full time within about six weeks I think. Then I was really just kind of entering data and stuff at a computer and as you know JamBase is kind of a marketing website for Music and Bands and local shows. So, I kind of randomly started every once a while they needed graphic and I had a little bit of interest in that. So, I started doing that whenever they needed it and it kind of snowballed into this role of head of marketing -- not head of marketing, kind of production manager over there. Then that kind moved to the video stuff and at the same time I was helping my friends open Cellarmaker. I started doing some illustration over there for just stupid sandwich boards out front and stuff like that. They eventually started making t-shirts and bottling beers and -- so just gone over three years or so I stumbled into this totally field than I was expecting to be in.
AJ: Yeah, that’s definitely a roundabout way to get to -- yeah it’s an interesting path. I mean, who knows -- with the internship in to a -- most internships don’t turn in to a full time job in six weeks they’ve --t here’s much more of a -- much more of a grind for that. That’s exciting and I think that the folks don’t know one of the great things about JamBase, you know, JamBase.com is -- it was one of the earlier adapters of kind of local where are you and what’s going on type of a thing. Then now it’s a little more common placed but I mean I know, you know, there’s many a day where I’ll be either on the road or something and just say, okay I’m in this town, who’s playing here and you put in the city and the data or you’re planning on going on a trip and it’s like all right, there’re coming to this town so there’s definitely a kind of a heather gain there which is pretty obvious.
Jake: Yeah, I mean they started in 1999 which is crazy to think about where the internet was those days.
AJ: Yeah, it was -- we, now it’s like in the -- it recognizes where you are. It’s like okay you’re in this town, he or she is plan there and you’re like holy shit, like that’s crazy.
Now, so do you still play? Like do you get the chance to still play?
Jake: Yeah, I’m actually working on an album now. I’ve been in a band for about five years. It’s just me on drums and my friend Corby Hemold who plays piano. We play blues duo, we kind of focus on New Orleans style blues and we actually -- when I was supporting myself we would drag around an upright piano and go busking and stuff down in the streets of San Francisco. So I still do that, I don’t busk anymore but we play out every once in a while. We’re working on a new album right now.
AJ: Okay, all right. Now, do you guys have a -- do you have a name for the Honky Tonk Duo?
Jake: Yeah, we’re called Clanging and Banging.
AJ: Nice. All right, cool. So yeah we’ll definitely look for that record when it comes out and that’s again the beauty of, I think where we are in this day and age to -- before you put out a record you have to kind of, you know, sell your soul and all the technology makes a lot more accessible in our days which is really great.
Jake: Yeah, for sure. We’re probably going to do most of our recording around here. So, obviously a lot cheaper. It kind of lets you, you know, do it how you’d want it rather than be on a kind of timeline like we were talking about before.
AJ: Yeah. Right? You have to buy your hours, right? You have -- okay I have 10 hours and it’s like, this is the one time you can go back and forth and be like, “All right we’ll let that sit and listen to it and see how it goes.” So, it’s -- that’s exciting, I think. Never been a better time to be making music and getting it out to the people.
Jake: Yeah, for sure.
AJ: Now how did you you started doing the labels? How early on did you start doing that for a Cellarmaker?
Jake: Let’s see, I think for the labels our first -- they didn’t -- so they’ve been around for coming up on four years.
I don’t think they started bottling until about a year and a half ago because they’re a relatively small brewery and as you may or may not know bottling is kind of the least profitable for a small brewery, the best is just to sell it out at the door and kegs. We were fortunate enough to be very popular from the start so we could sell most of our products right out the door and then I think about two years in they wanted to bottle and I had done a few t-shirts designs for them and stuff like that.
So, we kind of started just transferring those onto the bottles and then the idea was to realize one bottle a month for about a year what we did. Then just recently they started canning sixteen ounce cans and we’ve doing two of those a month so at six months or so.
AJ: Awesome, and I love that when you’re talking about them, you say we. So, I do -- I love when -- yeah it’s a family affair and obviously you say you’re friends with them. So, that just kind of resonates that where just -- your choice of words so it doesn’t go unnoticed.
Jake: Yeah, we’ve actually all been in the beer industry for a while together. We all started at a tiny brewery at in Larkspur California called Marin Brewing Company. I used to bartend there. Connor who’s the owner used to serve tables and bartend. Tim who’s the head brewer used to be a cellarman there and Kelly who’s the front of house manager was also a bartender. So, that’s how Cellarmaker kind of started with just the four of us and a couple of other people all got together and started something in the city. I was -- so I started there as a bartender kind of front of house manager. That’s how I know them.
AJ: Yeah, you wear a lot of different hats man.
Jake: I guess so. I kind of jump around a lot.
AJ: Yeah, I was going to say you’re -- your planner must be crazy. It’s like how do you keep track of that in the Google calendar.
Jake: Yeah, it sounds more crazy when I’m talking about it and it -- I feel like it was, while it was happening.
AJ: Yeah, I was looking at your labels and I was thinking like, there’s the one 300 hundred steps and it’s just all these steps like going around each other and over top. That’s kind of -- that’s how I envisioned your day to day, kind of just like all over the place and 16 different hats so good on you.
Jake: Yeah, yeah.
AJ: That’s awesome. So, what’s the -- what’s the process like over there when you’re, when there is a new beer coming out? Do you have advance -- you said before about it’s kind of good when there’s a time constraint. But how much time are you normally given or, you know, how --?
Jake: Yeah, so right now we are kind of doing this run off cans. So, Connor who’s the owner had a general idea of what he’s going to be releasing over next year. So, we made a little bit of list at the start of the year. So, I kind of know what’s coming up.
Then we have these collaborations. Like we just had a collaboration come out with Monkish Brewing Company, who’s a great California Brewery and that was just a really quick turnaround. They made the beer and since it’s an IPA it was -- came out about three or four weeks after they brewed it. So, I -- for one I had about three weeks to put it together.
My way is usually to put it off to the last minute so, I usually try to pump these out in three or four days.
AJ: Excellent. Now because it was brewed at Cellarmaker then you did the artwork for it? Is that -- I always find the collaboration artwork interesting.
Jake: Yeah, so whenever we do a collaboration at Cellarmaker and it’s going to be canned then I’ll do the art work. Then they do a bunch of collaborations at a different brewery and that they’ll usually bring in their own artist or something like that.
AJ: Okay. Yeah, I always find that interesting. We've yet to have the artist collaboration. So that’s always the one I’m hoping for. So, I always ask that question with the hope of like, you know, I mean so and so sketched that which is much more difficult --
Jake: Yeah, that will be fun. I’m not aware of anybody that’s done that but I’m sure someone has.
AJ: I’ve seen ones where you -- it looks like there’s the one with Jester King and Wicked Weed and it looked -- I think it was like Red Atrial and it looked like it was a collaboration but there’s -- then we interviewed the guy from Wicked Weed. And so we found out that someone just kind of took both of their arts and kind of just like, I don’t want to say hacked it up, but that’s for lack of a better term, so --
Jake: Yeah. Got it.
AJ: He didn’t -- you could tell he didn’t really -- like it was a sore subject so we kind of like skirted over that one, but I was like; oh it’s so great, it looks sick. You can see how it’s yours and his and he’s like urgh. I’m okay, next question you know.
Jake: Well yeah, I mean as you I’m sure have seen like you kind of get a style for the brewery. So when someone else is -- you know, you develop it over however long and it’s kind of your style and you kind of own it. So, it could definitely feel weird if someone else is do in you art on not you can on something like that, I could see that.
AJ: Yeah, I would definitely. I was like and then the next thing I was excited just to like -- because I was trying do my homework and so I was kind of like I see how I missed that one. So, now do you do all the labels? Is that -- are you or is there somebody doing some?
Jake: I do now. When we started me and another artist named Nick Fullmer. We’re both doing them and he is in LA now and he does a lot of stuff for Noble Brewing among other people. But if you saw his work you would definitely recognize it. It’s very distinct but great.
AJ: Okay. Yeah, we’ve actually reached out to Nick so I think Nick will be on our fourth 12-pack. Yeah, he does work with Noble and I think it’s graphic phantom or somethings like that is his website if I remember correctly, yeah.
Jake: Yeah that’s I think that’s right.
AJ: Yeah so that’s like -- he’s definitely set his hands in a more bunch different staffs that’s cool yeah. Because there were a couple of them that didn’t like your style. So, I was just kind of curious how, you know, where that went but there's some great ones and when you design them, how’s the -- what the -- the process with the name? Are you giving the name? Are you involved in that because you’re kind of so?
Jake: Yeah, I don’t -- I really don't come up with the name at all which is kind of the fun part I --
AJ: You interpret?
Jake: Yeah, a lot of times they have a pretty precise thing they want which I actually prefer. It's harder for me to come up with something creative. I like when they come up with really crazy stuff for me to draw and that it's just a challenge and I at least know what I'm aiming for. So, generally how it works is they have a beer, they already have a name for it and that Connor or Tim or Kelly will have some sort of idea for the photo and it can be something super vague or it can be very precise.
For instance, this monkish label I just did, Tim came to me and said, “Oh I have this really easy label for you.” You know, no problem and he wrote me this email and it was like two paragraphs and it was so precise. It was something like there's this lady and she's dragging a donkey and the donkey looks upset and on the back, there's a baby and the baby has a mustache and behind that is a guy with a beard and the donkey is a mule, it can't be a donkey, you know, it's just like paragraphs and paragraphs of all this crazy stuff and I thought I was messing with me for a while. So, I had to call him and make sure that’s what he wanted but sure enough, but it actually kind of made it easier because you just know exactly what your -- what you need to draw it at to get the picture done.
AJ: Right yeah, you have the checklist like okay. Donkey oh wait, not a mule, mustache baby check looking confused, check.
Jake: Yeah-yeah exactly.
AJ: I got it.
Jake: But then we have other ones. Another recent one was this one called Permanent Daylight. Which is a great beer and there wasn't whole lot of direction. Connor was behind that one and I knew he wanted kind of a sunset type thing but other than that, he kind of just let me do what I wanted and he was -- we both were really happy with the result. So, can kind of be either side of the spectrum.
AJ: That's great yeah and there's a lot of puns.
Jake: There are lots of puns.
AJ: Yeah, we definitely have used the puns here. So, it's good to be in similar company. Now what is Dobis? What is that?
Jake: Dobis is a pale ale. The original is a pale ale and it was one of the original four beers that we brewed when we opened and it is a reference to -- there’s this comedy duo Tim and Eric. I believe that stuff on Comedy Central, super weird kind of sketch comedy and Tim search for the breweries very into them.
So, he named a beer Dobis which is a name after one of their sketches and they are kind of these weird business guys and they're coming up with a business idea and they're talking about what they should name their company and they say, what do we do? I guess we do biz, so we’re Dobis. So, as Dobis PR is the Tim and Eric sketch, so they named it Dobis PA for Dobis Pale Ale.
AJ: All right. Cool yeah because I was like, I don’t get that what is. I'm like yeah there’s a Double Dobis.
Jake: Well yes, so the original bottle, we kind of created to look like Dole Pineapple juice label and it got these two faces on it and that's Tim and Eric are the faces and it's a very pineapple beer, that’s why there's pineapples everywhere.
AJ: Okay. Yeah I -- it’s funny. Yeah, the Tim and Eric, I have good friends who are musicians and that's when they first started as Tim and Eric. I was like, do they -- no, I’m like, there's no way that's what it is. Yeah, little plug for The Alternate Routes but yeah they definitely -- that's funny. Yeah I love -- but stuff like that, resonates with me. You can tell like everyone's having a good time and you know, the names are puny especially being, you know, in Cali with, you know, Dank Williams is in the music and Highway to the Dankerzone for Top Gun, you know, Nod and --
Jake: Yeah, I got quite yeah a lot of Danks.
AJ: Yeah right. Well, I mean you're in Cali. Well, you're kind of the original -- the regional dank state. So, it's all good with me but, you know and then the Tiny Dankster. I mean I love that one just because I'm a, you know, if you haven't watched Almost Famous and sang along with Tiny Dancer on the bus scene, then you're not doing something right but yeah.
Jake: Yeah I think we just recently started running out a dank names. So, now they're -- the original idea was to name every double IPA something dank.
AJ: Tony Dankna, there we go.
Jake: There we go. That will be the next one out.
AJ: Yeah, I would flip my head and fly out there for that releases and stuff if that happen. Now what is your methodology like your mechanics? Are you an illustrator guy? Are you -- do you draw it first and send it? What is your kind of technique --?
Jake: Yeah I guess when I first started, I was doing kind of paper and ink and then I would scan it and trace it on Illustrator and now I have a tablet that I draw on. So, so I just kind of do straight illustrator but mostly, illustrator and I'll sometimes sketch it out. I really have no training whatsoever. So, I don't really know what I'm doing. So, I just kind of do whatever.
AJ: You’re very honest. Well I mean yeah, reform. You’re a jazz guy right? I mean it's kind of --
Jake: Yeah very free form.
AJ: Very free form. Just kind of see what happens.
Jake: Right so I feel like every label I do is actually kind of a little bit a lesson in something. I'll usually have some technique that I’m trying to learn whether be it, you know, some sort of shading idea or maybe try to be better at drawing and 3D or something like that. I'll kind of try to focus on that specific thing for the label and that's kind of a way to get an art lesson and also get paid at the same time.
AJ: Yeah that's pretty -- like yeah teach someone music lessons and you're like oh, I just learned how -- I learned this new way to play the drums this time, yeah. Awesome.
Jake: Yeah, exactly.
AJ: And I would not be doing my job if I didn't thank you. You did send me a couple cans of beer, I think that's amazing. So, I -- when I started doing radio --
Jake: Oh yeah.
AJ: The first time I got CDs in the mail, I thought that was like the most amazing thing in the world. So, now that it's beer -- yeah used to -- I went to Fairfield University it's a college in Connecticut and you know, we had a radio station. It was pretty banged up but there was an old guy there who did the show called, “The Bluegrass Express” and he was older than the university I felt like, but like every Friday he would come in and his mailbox literally would be filled, like they had like aggressively stuffing in all the padded mailers and I would just remember one day, he was just like, just write a couple letters son he’s like and then you know, it just keeps coming and --
Jake: I mean we got a lot of that at JamBase too and I'm sure when you were in radio, it wasn’t as, you know, they probably wasn’t streaming and stuff. So, CDs are a lot more valuable than I would imagine.
AJ: Right yeah, it was -- I mean I think though, you know, I graduated college in 2000 and so I did it for another six or seven years after that because I lived in the town where I went to school. So, I was like a townie slash like alumni. So, so they let me still do it and yeah it was -- I mean I think the last year maybe or two was like MP3s were a big deal. So, like I remember the like loading up like a data CD and we had -- we finally got a computer in the studio.
So, I can like a load of a bunch of MP3s into like the -- into the media player. Even that, I was like oh, this is so not authentic, you know, this is like there’s no -- there’s like gap playback and it just didn't -- it wasn't my best and so I -- but I remember my roommates and stuff or being like, do you even know who these bands are? I was like no, but they're saying -- I probably listen to probably listen to like 60 or 70% of it. I really tried to like I really especially once I started doing some band stuff. I realized how important that was, you know.
Jake: Yeah, absolutely.
AJ: Yeah JamBase is mostly on a level now. Must be just like -- the mailroom must be crazy.
Jake: Yeah I mean we get a lot of -- when we record bands and we always get CDs and swag and stuff, which is always fun because a lot of them come in the studio or the office and hang out and stuff which is great, but Mail is not as much I think it used to be probably.
AJ: Yeah, right. Just saw here you go, here’s a Dropbox file of our all stuff.
Jake: Yeah, we certainly get a lot of e-mails of releases and stuff, that's for sure.
AJ: Yeah and another cool thing, looking at you’re getting CreativeSF.com, if you go to the JamBase section, there's some really cool -- just you're talking might being like marketing or promotions like that -- Umphrey’s McGee infographic is really killer
Jake: Oh yes. That was one of my favorite things I ever did. It’s this -- I forget what it was for. It was for the 2000 shows or something like that.
Jake: And I think it was just a slow day at work and David kind of had an idea of doing some sort of infographics. So I spent, you know, eight hours making it. But it was pretty fun.
AJ: Yeah, it’s really great. Just, my day job is market research and so data is kind of like our currency and so that is just great. And, well about the jam scene is there’s websites and there’s people like keeping these stats like I mean --
Jake: Oh yeah, I mean --
AJ: Like for example XX, what is it XX-XYZ, whatever that guy’s name is like yeah, with all the Phish stuff.
Jake: Yeah, I mean -- so, Umphrey’s McGee especially, they have just stats about every single aspect of their whole career. So it’s -- it was very fun doing that project.
AJ: And I like it because they’re -- and they’re cognizant of it too, they play with it. You know, some of the bands they couldn’t tell you about it. Just seems like they have fun with it and they’re aware. I think they burst out like a Van Halen cover, like the other night that they had played like three years to the day, you know, so they probably --
Jake: Oh yeah. They are very calculated I've learned. Everything they do is very calculated.
AJ: Oh yeah. They are -- they’re in in a whole other world. So again, if you’re listening to this, you haven’t checked out Umphrey's, please do so. It’s aggressive but it’s perfect. So definitely check it out.
Jake: I would argue if you’re going to do that, go to a live show rather than listen to them because it’s -- that kind of the real experience. I mean as it is with most bands.
AJ: Right, oh yeah.
Jake: They’re way more of a live band than a studio band.
AJ: I would agree. Even -- but even some of their studio work and this stuff they did at Abbey Road. They just really -- like you said, it’s just very calculated, it’s very smart and they’re just really talented musicians. They work their ass off. They had a lot of fun. Which I think again, we were talking about this before with you and the Cellarmaker crew. I think it’s important. And I think it resonates to the experience of any band.
AJ: Like again, not to go on a music tangent, if they were like the pioneers or early adapters of like the mash up for a band to do that, you know, now you even see the whole time like they even did that before like the big --
Jake: Oh for sure.
AJ: Like the big Linkin Park Jay-Z album, everybody went crazy about that but like that had been done -- that had been done but for years by them, you know, especially on Halloween shows.
Jake: Yeah, they have some great stuff. Absolutely.
AJ: I can do this all day. Now is it -- now you said when you first started is it with the bottles, was it difficult from going from the bottle to the can in terms of the printing and the color limitations or any of that?
Jake: I’m learning about printing which for graphic nerds, you know, there’s a difference between colors when it’s digital and color when it’s printed. So, that was a big hurdle for me that I’m still trying to learn. I really just need to get these kind of color books that you can get that will tell you exactly what colors look like and stuff like that when they’re printed because it’s not going to look the same on your screen.
And then when we did change to cans there’s kind of this foil aspect of it that was added. So, I’ve being playing around with that now. So, I have like a foreground of an image will be kind of matte and then the background will be shiny. So, that’s -- it’s fun to kind of be able to get more options, stuff with your illustrations and kind of have that in mind as you’re drawing it.
AJ: Yeah. Those books, yeah. I think it’s all -- it’s very interesting. I never thought about the color limitations or how they’re printed out so, it’s just when folks are talking about it it’s -- like I say to folks, when you’re holding that beer in your hand it kind of -- you’ve got to realize all the extra work went it - not just the making of the beer but just even the labels and stuff. So, it definitely makes me enjoy my pint a little bit more. So I appreciate it.
Jake: Yeah, I mean I really love the finished product because -- not only the picture but the beer. There’s -- like you said there’s so much time and effort that went into every aspect of it. And at least with Cellarmaker most of our cans are kind of one offs. So, you know, that picture was pretty much made for 5000 cans and it won't ever be used again.
And that’s actually been kind of Cellarmaker’s business model. I think at this point they’ve probably -- they’re coming up on their four year anniversary and they have probably brewed 300 different beers because they never, you know, they don’t want to try to do this flagship brewery where they’re doing the same you know IPA every week. There is nothing wrong with that but that’s just what they decided to do is every beer is kind of a personal, almost like how home brewers approach making beer.
AJ: Yeah. I like that. I know that Tired Hands out of -- yeah, outside of Philadelphia, they did that for a very long time. And even now they have like -- they had like two which were their staples and then for a while they would repeat a beer and you know --
Jake: Yeah, they’re awesome. They’re good friends of ours. We do a collaboration every year with them called Taco Hands, and it’s my favorite IPA.
AJ: Yeah and that was the thing. Like you would go and like -- I wouldn’t get to go as often but I would go back home to visit and I would go there and you tell -- like you couldn’t recommend something to somebody because most of the time it was something -- you were the first person in your crew to have it. Now they repeat a few of them. But even that it’s, you know, it’s few and far between which is great.
Jake: Yeah. And I think that kind of idea definitely started on the East Coast with like the New England breweries that are out there. I think they were the kind of the first ones to approach brewing like that which is pretty cool.
AJ: Yeah. I think it’s probably also real-estate wise too. You know it’s kind of you want to have so much, when you have small barrels you can’t -- it not way much fun to have -- if you only have a few of them, a few 10 barrels, to have them all it would be the same thing all the time it’s kind of like oh okay. Yeah.
Jake: Yeah. I think having the small 10 barrel system allows you to experiment a lot more. For me breweries that are that size are kind of perfect because it’s -- if they have a bad batch or something, they’re not losing as much money as 20 barrel or a 40 barrel system. And they can also kind of afford higher quality ingredients. So, I really like that kind of size of brewery. That’s how big Cellarmaker is and that’s how big Marin Brewing Company is too.
AJ: That’s great. I never actually thought of it that way but yeah, the ingredients wise too. Yeah it’s really -- it’s important. It’s interesting, I think that people make choices and I think it’s been a -- never a better time of year to be a beer drinker in the country so --
AJ: Yeah, cheers to that. So, let’s see. So, what’s your -- I mean you’ve been working with beers and you work in music. What’s your favorite beer, like what’s your favorite styles? I mean I know that they do a lot of IPAs and Pale Ales and stuff but --
Jake: Yeah. I was a Big Hop head for many years.
AJ: Hops to the dome?
Jake: Hops to the dome. And Tim and Connor were the ones that kind of introduced me to the New England style IPA which is really juicy and hazy, which I appreciate too. I like -- I love sour beers.
I’ve recently been on a pale ale kick. I really like pale ales just because they’re kind of this nicely balanced beer. I feel like it’s harder to make a pale ale than it is to make an IPA just because you have limits and need direction, you know, for like an IPA you can just hop it keep, you know, adding hops and still be an IPA but for a pale ale we kind of have to balance it. So, I kind of like -- that’s kind of how I judge breweries now is how good their pale ale is.
AJ: All right. Yeah, especially with your insider knowledge, you know, I think you definitely see that. I think that’s true. I think with the ability to -- if you could make a good IPA it’s easier in terms of the fact that it’s got a shorter amount of time from brewery to release.
And so I think it allows folks to try it more but some if these other styles are -- especially barrel aged and what have you or big time commitments. So, I always find that, you know, I find it especially sours. So, that’s probably my new frontier. I would definitely say I’m feeling nervous level on that but I’ve been trying to delve a little more, get a little street knowledge there.
Jake: Oh yeah. I mean sours are great. I’m lucky in San Francisco because I have Russian River close by and then there's this brewery Rare Barrel which is really awesome.
AJ: So good. Yeah I looked out with that. I have friends in Cali and then another friend of ours is a member of the Rare Barrel, whatever their special --.
Jake: Yeah their little bottle system.
AJ: Oh yeah. And so I’ve gotten a few of those and those are excellent. I really dig their artwork too. So, I wanted to definitely find that person and talk to them.
Jake: Yeah, and they’re the same where they kind of seem to create a new label for every release. I don’t think they do a whole -- I mean they do a little bit of repeats but I think generally they’re making a new label every time they release a beer.
AJ: Yeah, was that your idea? You're probably like as the label artist, like I think we should have a brand new piece of art work every time.
Jake: Yeah, I think actually is Connor pushed that one which it is totally okay with me.
AJ: Yeah right, that’s the best. I think that should be the standard. We shouldn’t repeat any labels, it’s all good. New ones every time. Now there’s -- if I'm looking at the website, there's two double doses but when's the Lost Wisdom bottle? Is that another part of the joke extension?
Jake: No, Lost Wisdom is a completely separate beer. It may have been released at the same time. So, what they do --
AJ: Oh okay. It looks like -- okay. That’s stars not collating to the double, okay.
Jake: Right yes. That’s a slightly Tart Saison which is really good and that beer is cool. They have one fermented egg kind of designated to that beer or the yeast for it rather. So, it's a generational beer or they’ll brew a batch and then they’ll recycle the yeast and then brew another batch and recycle yeast. So, I think they’re on their fourth or fifth version of it now, but it keeps getting more and more interesting as it goes.
AJ: I like that story, yeah think that just there’s a lot of smart -- I don’t know, just smarts and just little subtleties that I think sometimes folks don't notice that's why. I think that’s what we're trying to do. Is just kind of enlighten the folks.
Jake: Yeah, absolutely.
AJ: Now what other kind of artists are, you know, breweries are working with? We talked about Rare Barrel and stuff, do you admire, do you kind of dig.
Jake: Yeah I was kind of anticipating this question. There's a ton of really cool art out there.
AJ: This also yeah -- this also an easy way for me to get some references for our future episodes. So, you're kind of helping me out here, so I appreciate it.
Jake: Yeah, there is a local brewery who I think distributes fairly far. They have 21st Amendment and I really dig their art. I don't know who does it but it's definitely the same guy and they've been around for a little while. Other than that --
AJ: Yeah, they have like almost cool a blinking or something right and they have the a --
Jake: Yeah, I just kind of like the style. I've always kind of liked comic book style drawing and that kind. That's what it reminds me of or almost the whole time he cross-hatching stuff and I actually looked up his name the other day and I found out but then I totally forgot it, but as far as other maybe not beer artist but kind of people I like. There’s a local guy named Sean Logan who does a lot of music poster art and stuff or you’ll see him for -- he does like Iration posters or 311 or kind of those dub band posters and then -- I'm blanking on his name. There's this other guy. Dan Mumford who does kind of all sorts of things. He does a lot of movie posters. They're kind of -- they're almost kind of fan posters but he's a very famous artist so I can't -- I guess he's not a fan but his style is something I really love too. He does -- he does a lot of music art too. I guess I kind of gravitate more towards the music poster type people.
Yeah, he's such a distinct style and he's been all over the place and he does -- some of the art keep he does is kind of like my nerd movie loving side of me like he does Ghostbusters and Aliens and Terminator and Die Hard and Lord Of The Rings and all these posters that are -- were really cool.
AJ: Yeah, it’s really cool. Harry Potter ones and some -- yeah, it's pretty. Yeah it's defiantly a distinct style too which I really dig. I probably have seen this guy's work and didn’t even realize it if there's a cool Phish one there from a -- he did the cover art
Jake: Yeah, he’s done -- yeah, he’s done some defiantly jam band. He's been in the jam band. He's kind of all over the place, he's been everywhere.
AJ: Yeah, it’s cool.
Jake: Except I don't think he’s been on a beer bottle yet.
AJ: There you go. Little collaboration, there we go. Jake and Dan go to town. Yeah, he did the Phish 93 in St Louis Art work, that's pretty sick. Now yeah, now like I said before, you know, my former life I was a radio guy. So, what type of, you know, what's the environment like when you're creating? Is it -- you’re -- you mean obviously you see like a music guy, but I mean, you listening to tunes while creating or you need, you know, silence? I mean what's going on then?
Jake: I usually actually -- I feel like I'm way more -- I get way more done when I'm listening to music but for whatever reason, I usually watch TV. I think I just need sound on in the background for some reason. So, I usually go to my living room set up a little table and just start working away like I said, most of my labels kind of have an idea of what they're going to be like before I start drawing. So, it’s just kind of a composition thing. So, I -- I’ll kind of hunt on Google for references and stuff like that. If I'm drawing up people, I'll look up stock photos of people in different positions to try to copy that or I like Pinterest a lot for just an inspiration. If you're an artist and you need inspiration, that's a great website to kind of get ideas from but yeah, mostly I'll just kind of sit. Either put on some tunes or watch some TV and then work away on my laptop or my tablet.
AJ: Awesome, now what kind of tune you listen when you’re not -- when you’re not creating and I guess when you’re not playing, what are you going to do?
Jake: I really like blues and soul and jazz. So, Motown, Booker T, New Orleans stuff, Professor Longhair, Dr. John like that kind of instrumental stuff that swings. A lot of jazz, Cannonball Adderley.
AJ: That’s funny you say. Yeah one of the -- we interviewed the artist from Liquid Riot, Warren Cathro. He was actually on our last episode and one of their brewery is a huge Cannonball fan. So, they have a beer with, you know, Cannonball. I think he’s called Kyle, yeah.
Jake: Oh yeah, I’d love to do some sort of Cannonball tribute.
AJ: Yeah, got to figure a way to get dank in there right? Dank and ball. There you go. Sorry, could do that all day.
Jake: So that -- there’s got to be -- there's got to be a jazz musician that would work for the dank name.
AJ: Yeah right, yeah. We’ll work on that right. You got to just take some swings then you’d always hit home runs. So, I’d tell you --
Jake: Yeah, there's a lot of swing. Yes.
AJ: Yeah right, that’s what I like about baseball. I mean I don't watch baseball as much as I used to but, you know, when the hitters are good, if they hit 300, it means they’ve -- did not do well 70% of the time and they’re still considered to be a good incredible.
Jake: That’s a good hitter.
AJ: Wish my boss would appreciate that, you know, I'd be a top performer at this point. So, I’d be doing great.
AJ: What are you currently working on and you know, just kind of any that’s, you know, we’re kind of wrapping up here but I just really appreciate you taking the time but what’s the -- is there any current products you’re working on? You mentioned the monkish one but --
Jake: Oh, yeah that actually just came out. So, we got some more cans coming up that I'm about to work on. We also have the Fourth Anniversary coming up. So, I do a t-shirt every year for that and then I'm working on a bandana too which I’m really excited about. I spent all this time researching what had a truly drop Paisley. So, I have a Paisley style beer inspired bandana that will hopefully be coming out --
AJ: Little teaser yeah.
Jake: Yeah, soon but besides that, it's got a few video projects coming out with JamBase like we said earlier, that's kind of my other gig is video stuff but yeah, I think that's all, that's about it.
AJ: That’s just it, he like oh yeah, this and this yeah if you go to his website CreativeSF.com San Francisco, there's really another cool video project 20 years later which, you know, he’s as if I'm not mistaken, that's a play off the Phish the song, you know, the -- is that kind of how -- I mean, the project is songs from the past kind of redone by other artists, but just the 20’s later makes me think of a --
Jake: Yeah, I mean I assume it’s Phish reference. Almost everything is out of JamBase. I like Phish, I’m not a diehard fan like the rest of the crew, so whenever they’re references they go right over my head and they make me aware of them after the fact.
AJ: Which I think it’s good. Yeah I think it’s just from a song, it’s basically just like, you know, I think they’re around their 20th Anniversary. But if to say, it’s a retrospectives it’s songs from Ani DiFranco and another artist, you know, but yeah it’s really well done. So, I just -- I’m a sucker for -- when I got good cover, I mean I think covers can be pretty important too but, I mean I think that just a lot of the old, you know, styles of music, a lot of everyone is covering each other or just the classics and so I think if it’s done right, it’s pretty powerful especially when it’s interpreted really differently.
Jake: Oh yeah, I love a good cover. My favorite one from that group was G. Love covering Fiona Apple and because I grew up in huge G. Love fan. So meeting him and hanging with him in person was amazing and then to see him cover up in n I’ve Been A Bad Girl.
AJ: Yeah, he’s from -- yeah, from -- yeah he’s from the Philadelphia area.
Jake: Oh, I guess I’ll plug my Instagram real quick because that’s kind of where I keep most of my art. It’s @TheStumblefoot.
AJ: The one and only, The Stumblefoot.
Jake: That’s right.
AJ: Awesome Jake, well thank you so much and I look forward to catch you up soon.
Jake: Okay, yeah sounds good. Great meeting you.
AJ: All right. Cheers, thanks so much.