Aisha Tyler is a very busy woman. She plays bad-ass femme fatale Lana Kane on Archer, FX’s hilarious animated spy series. She’s also the host of Whose Line is it Anyway? on the CW network, and one of the co-hosts of the CBS daytime talk show, The Talk. In case she wasn’t busy enough, she also hosts a podcast called Girl on Guy, tours as a stand-up comedian, and wrote two books, the latest called Self Inflicted Wounds: Heartwarming Tales of Epic Humiliation.
When she’s not working towards total multimedia domination, Aisha Tyler likes to kick back and enjoy a good beer. Growing up in San Francisco, she had the opportunity to come of age in the incubator for America’s current craft beer craze. Both she and her husband are huge craft beer fans, and they even brew their own beer.
For Stone Brewing’s Farking Wheaton W00tstout, Stone Co-Founder Greg Koch teamed up with Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Wil Wheaton and Fark.com’s Drew Curtis to create an ultimate nerd beer in time for Comic Con 2013. This year, Stone decided to reassemble the geeky triumvirate for W00tstout 2.0, but with Koch in the middle of a four-month sabbatical, they found themselves a man down. Exit man, and enter woman, as Aisha Tyler’s geek pedigree and passion for beer made her the perfect fit for the W00tstout 2.0 team.
Before W00tstout 2.0 hits shelves on July 14, Aisha Tyler spent a few minutes chatting with us about her favorite beers, women in the craft beer movement, and which of her cast mates gets crazy when they have a few too many.
Paste: Both you and your husband are home brewers, what got you into brewing your own beer?
Aisha Tyler: My husband and I moved back to San Francisco after graduation, and California was a place where the craft beer movement was strong. In the Bay Area, you have Anchor and lots of little brewpubs, so we of course started out as fans. We were in our 20’s, and we didn’t have any money, so homebrewing was a way to make a large quantity of high quality beer for $25-$30. We had friends who did a lot of brewing, and we even brewed the beer for our wedding, but quite honestly I’ve been so busy that I haven’t homebrewed in a while. That’s what made this project so exciting.
Paste: What kind of beer did you brew for your wedding?
AT: We brewed two kinds of beer. We got married in May, so we tried to make a summer-style beer. We did a peach Lambic-style wheat, but it wasn’t really sour. I think we were calling it a Lambic because we wanted to be fancy, but it was just a peach wheat beer. We also did a honey beer that we sent everybody home with.
Paste: What are your favorite beers out there right now?
AT: My favorite beer is Anchor Liberty Ale. It’s a beautifully-made pale ale, and I love really hoppy, aromatic beers. Liberty is my favorite, so I try to grab it whenever I see it in the store.
Paste: How did you get involved in this project with Wil Wheaton and Drew Curtis?
AT: I knew Wil through a bunch of friends like Chris Hardwick, and they were looking for someone who fell into the center of the Venn diagram between nerds and beer. I had a little credibility since they knew I was a homebrewer, and they knew I went to Comic Con every year, so it just kind of made sense. Actually, I think the person who contacted me on behalf of Wil first was Adam Savage.
Paste: Greg Koch is a one of the biggest names in craft beer, was there any trepidation filling in for him on the Wootstout team?
AT: I can’t fill his shoes at all. Whatever I lacked in knowledge, talent or skill, I definitely made up for it in enthusiasm. I was really excited and hopping around like a puppy the whole time. It was really exciting to come back into this world after I’ve been away for so long.
Paste: For last year’s brew, Drew Curtis brought pecans and rye from Kentucky and Wil Wheaton brought wheat. What did you bring to the W00tstout team?
AT: Clearly it was chocolate. That was kind of a layup, wasn’t it? We drank some a few weeks ago, and it’s really delicious. It’ll be even better after sitting in the bottle for a while. I’m super-excited to see how it tastes when we get to Comic Con.
Paste: What was it like going from homebrewing equipment to the professional-grade stuff at Stone?
AT: It was amazing. For me, it was always stressful when I homebrewed because I was always worried that something wouldn’t be properly disinfected, so I’d wash my hands hundreds of times so I wouldn’t ruin the whole batch. Just to be with these pros, and see them work with all of these amazing tools in the beautiful plant was amazing. It was kind of like being in Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, wasn’t it?
For all three of us, and Wil and I were especially geeking out, the fact that Dave Gibbons drew the artwork for the bottle was incredibly amazing. It was like a dream come true. Probably the first graphic novels that I bought were The Watchmen, so it was a pretty amazing thing. He’s such a legend in the comic world, and to have him draw your likeness and put it on a bottle is pretty spectacular. Every time we think about it, we all kind of plotz.
Paste: If there was a beer inspired by Lana Kane, what kind of beer would it be?
AT: It would probably be some kind of cherry Lambic. Something sweet, sour, slightly bitter that would function well at high altitudes. It would also have to be inoculated with wild yeast.
Paste: You’re involved with so many projects. Between your cast mates on Archer, Whose Line Is It Anyway and The Talk, who’s the best person to grab a beer with?
AT: We always have a lot of fun drinking when the Archer cast gets together since we get together so rarely. We kind of default to the dynamics of our characters on the show, and there’s a lot of drunken tomfoolery.
Sharon Osbourne is definitely the most fun to have a single drink with because it only takes her one drink, and then all bets are off. She’s the most fun, and she always says something really spectacular whenever she has a drink, she’s admitted that herself. She’s amazing. A half-glass of champagne and she’s flashing somebody through a plate glass window, she’s a blast!
Paste: Aside from your cast mates, who is your ideal celebrity drinking buddy?
AT: I will say that I got to drink with Anthony Bourdain, and that was just as spectacular as one would have hoped. We drank while we recorded my podcast together, and proceeded to talk about obscure Korean action films for 90 minutes. That was pretty much a dream come true.
I also drank with Sam Ross, who is a craft bartender who used to work at Milk and Honey, and now he owns his own bar in New York called Attaboy. He’s the most knowledgeable person I’ve spent time with. He knows all about every kind of cocktail. It was pretty fun to have a drink with someone who knows so much about cocktails. He’s not a celebrity, but he’s a celebrity in the drinking world.
It was also really fun on the brew day because Drew, Wil and I got to first taste our beer, and then taste a lot of other beers at Stone, including some that weren’t for public consumption. We had a bottle share afterwards, and that was a blast.
Paste: More and more women are getting into craft beer. We’re seeing more female-owned breweries popping up, and female-centric craft beer fan clubs are forming all over the world. Is beer no longer a drink for men? Do you see it continuing?
AT: Absolutely. I don’t think that beer ever was just a drink for men. I think the beer world is nuanced and complex, and there’s really something out there for everyone. I think craft beers require a more refined palette. At the risk of sounding a little bit sexist, guys are much more likely to want to pound 12 light beers. I think that if women are going to drink a beer, they want it to be something delicious.
At Stone, we worked with a brewer named Hollie Stephenson. She was amazing. She’s super knowledgeable, an amazing scientist and had a great palette. I think that it’s just like female chefs. They’re out there, and they’re collaborating. The more people seek them out, you’ll see that they’re making beers that are just as good as the beers that guys are making, and they’ll have a different perspective. It makes the world of brewing more interesting.
Paste: Could we see more Aisha Tyler beer collaborations in the future?
AT: I would definitely do another collaboration, for sure. I don’t know that I’ll be homebrewing anytime soon, just because I don’t have the time. I do so much travelling, I wouldn’t be able to keep an eye on things, but I’d definitely do another collaboration, it was so much fun.