The Pen Is Mightier

Hide your livers: Philip Smith, Garett Michaels and Curt Kruse outside Reuben’s Brews, Ballard.

Getting the Band Back Together

Barring a few vital missing ingredients like Hansen, Jeremy, Steve, Ken and some fellow beer and broadcast degenerates, we brought back none other than our friend and former Stone Brewing Distribution King Philip Smith for a pair of shows. Along with Stone co-founder Steve Wagner, Phil was part of the original Stone Beer Guys sessions Friday mornings on FM 94/9 in San Diego.

Tommy channels his inner Steve Zissou.

Also on board (on tap?) to join host Tommy Hough for this edition of High Octane Growler is the amazing Curt Kruse, whom Tommy and “returning champion” Garett Michaels used to work with at the former KYPT in Seattle. Garett and Kruse also worked together in a previous lifetime at the former WPLT in Detroit in the late 90s.

And completing this special four-headed edition of High Octane Growler is indeed black widow-battling Garett Michaels, now safely moved with his Vox amplifiers and bigger-than-Hervé Villechaize cooler full of craft beer bombers intact.

Ride the Interurban

For this edition of High Octane Growler, Phil suggested a pair of entries from the Center of the Universe and the Fremont Brewing Company in Seattle. We first try the Interurban IPA, a mild, easygoing IPA clocking in with an ABV of 6.2 percent.

We also sampled a bomber of the Fremont Brewing Company’s special Homefront IPA, a collaboration with Center of the Universe Brewing near Richmond, Virginia. Created in part by former Seattle Mariners pitcher Chris Ray, proceeds from the sale of Homefront IPA benefits Operation Homefront, which provides emergency financial assistance to injured and wounded U.S. service members and their families.

“Forget about the curve ball Ricky, give him the heater.”

As far as conversation goes, things take a predictable turn. Tommy yells, shouts and generally interrupts, while Garett suits up and plays hurt with a voice still beaten up from three days of craziness at the Sasquatch Music Festival.

Phil ably talks beer and discusses the virtues (environmental, taste and otherwise) of using aluminum cans instead of glass. Kruse lands some fine color commentary and often sends Tommy into hysterics, and nails the one-liner of the day: “You can’t take the boy out of Sequim,” with the deliberate mispronunciation. Or is it?

The gang talks John Milius (again), Roadhouse (again), but also chew on how to pronounce Skagit (any self-respecting Washingtonian needs to know), The Big Lebowski, Sam Elliott, Most Extreme Elimination Challenge, Kruse’s refrigerator, and our friend Steve Woods’ injury during the taping of an episode of Wipeout. Also, why does Sean Connery hate Alex Trebek so much?

Beers Enjoyed

Fremont Brewing Co. Interurban IPA
American IPA
6.2% ABV

Fremont Brewing Co. and Center of the Universe Brewing Homefront IPA
American IPA
6.2% ABV

Music Enjoyed

Why does Sean Connery hate Alex Trebek so much?

We open with a blast from one of Phil’s favorite bands, the North Mississippi Allstars, covering the great R.L. Burnside’s “Goin’ Down South,” from their 2004 live at Bonnaroo set Hill Country Revue.

For the middle break, a real power pop blast from one of the innovators of the genre, “So Sad About Us” from none other than The Who. From their 1966 album A Quick One While He’s Away, Pete Townsend gives his D chords a workout on a Rickenbacker he no doubt smashed to bits not long after the song was recorded.

Even in 1966, The Who would’ve been the biggest, best band to see live. Keith Moon is already playing lead drums on this song, Entwistle’s monstrous bass was being sent through early Marshall stack amplification by that time, and Daltrey was making the transition from moody mod pop singer to moody, deep-voiced rock frontman.

Webb Wilder

We close with a genuine rock and roller and one of the great oddities to come out of Nashville in an era when music was being MIDI’ed to death and computer programmed into oblivion. Webb Wilder makes an appearance with the leadoff track from his 1989 Hybrid Vigor album, “Human Cannonball.” Good stuff.

Along with fellow Music City, USA rockers the Royal Court of China, Webb was considered one of the potential saviors of rock and roll to come from the mid-80s Nashville scene. His 1986 album It Came from Nashville is worth a listen too.

And … scene.

Thanks to broadcast brother Mike Hansen for the killer High Octane Growler imaging.

Big thanks to Ken Wright and Steve Wagner for their ongoing support.

Thanks to Phil Smith for helping get the beer-to-radio ball rolling.

Garett, Phil and Kruse waiting on pulled pork sandwiches at Boar’s Nest Barbecue in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood.

Cross the Fremont Bridge and enter the Center of the Universe. On the first day of summer keep an eye out for nude bicyclists.

High Octane Growler is currently under investigation for our alleged involvement in the Skagit River bridge collapse in Mount Vernon.

Wipeout: Friends have been injured on this show.


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