‘Bills and Brews’ Pours Itself Into Politics of Drinking
Posted at 4:49 p.m. on March 4, 2014
Congressional reporter Matt Laslo may only have one episode of his new Web show, “Bills and Brews,” in the can, but he’s already got designs on exporting the barley-and-hops-fueled gabfest to a brewery near you.
“I want to take this on the campaign trail,” Laslo said of the pet project he’s been nurturing for nearly a decade. He’ll premiere the pilot episode — featuring a freewheeling discussion with Rep. Peter A. DeFazio, D-Ore., at Bluejacket— for media at 6-11 p.m. Tuesday night at The Dunes (1402 Meridian Place NW).
Laslo said inspiration for the show first struck back in 2006 while he was covering the West Coast brewing scene for public radio. “It occurred to me that, hey, this could be a fun show,” he said of the passionate and interesting people he got to know while researching the beer world.
He has since refined the scope and mission of that original vision, carving out room for a show he hopes will work on multiple levels. In DeFazio’s case, that means preparing an 8- to 9-minute segment that’s all about Oregon brews (staff told HOH DeFazio brought along IPAs from Hop Valley Brewing Co., Ninkasi Brewing Co. and Oakshire Brewing to share) and his personal drinking history (something about shoulder-tapping at gas stations); this is designed to reel in the casually interested, “Colbert Report”-viewing crowd.
Beer nerds can plunge into a subordinate 10- to 12-minute clip delving specifically into craft brewing issues. Finally, wonks are invited to drink in another 10- to 15-minute carve-out dealing with beer-related policies (taxes, regulation, etc).
The guest and location of the second show is still being worked out, but Laslo has some solid contenders. He said he’s interested in meeting Rep. Patrick T. McHenry, R-N.C., for a swing through Asheville’s booming craft-brewing community, and would love to sit down with Del. Eleanor Homes Norton, D-D.C., at neighboring DC Brau.
Team DeFazio said the seasoned homebrewer was happy to spend some more time at Bluejacket. “He has taken the behind-the-scenes tour and often dines there with friends,” aides said of the Southeast D.C. beer haven. His allegiance, however, remains with breweries in the greater Northwest.
Per staff, DeFazio dined at Plank Town in Springfield, Ore., this past weekend. And while he’s pleased some home-state brews are making their way eastward, DeFazio would love to see more on local shelves.
“Although the D.C. area has a good and quickly growing craft brew scene, folks are missing out on a lot!” Team DeFazio said.