Brewery founder Jim Koch played tour guide to the late night host.
Only 12.7 percent of beer sold by volume in the United States is craft beer. Hell, around one out of every seven beers drank in America is a Bud Light! And yet, if you hang out with beer geeks, it’s almost like those other 87.3 percent of beers don’t exist. To us, beer is about more than just something intoxicating to drink while watching golf: Beer comes with its own history and language; it’s an art and a science. And when normal people grab a beer with a beer geek, a lot of the time, they’d prefer if you would just shut up and drink the damn beer.
Conan O’Brien is a normal guy — at least in the context that he is a comedian, not a beer geek — so when he recently toured the Samuel Adams Brewery in a genuinely funny segment for his late night talk show, the results were pretty inevitable. Leading the tour was brewery founder Jim Koch, one of America’s oldest and best-known craft beer geeks seeing as he was behind what is now one of the country’s oldest and largest craft breweries. Koch loves to talk about beer; Conan, meanwhile, is not so into listening. At one point, after Conan was subjected to an extended beer history lesson, Koch gestures to the brewing equipment and asks, “Want me to tell you what’s going on here?” “I really don’t,” Conan replies, not particularly even intending to crack a joke.
Instead, many people go on brewery tours simply hoping to drink some beer, and Conan finally gets to that step about five minutes into the clip. Presented with 28 different brews on tap, Conan proclaims, “It is my duty as your representative to try every one of these beers.” But again, after two tastes, Conan’s non-beer geek side kicks in, and he decides to speed up the process. “I’m going to make a little blend here,” he says while pouring all of the beers into one big mug. “It’s a mess,” Koch says after trying it.
But Conan disagrees. “The common man wants 26 beers mixed together,” Conan continues. “You guys are overthinking it.” Actually, in an age of mango and passionfruit imperial milkshake IPAs, Conan might be more of a beer geek than he even realizes.