IT’S ABOUT A COUPLE OF GUYS WITH A LOVE FOR CRAFT BEER
Longtime friends and former roommates, Jonathan Andrade and Derek Lee Ramsey, are the co-creators of Brews with Masters, a YouTube channel featuring local breweries in and around the San Fernando Valley. While writing as a sports journalist for The Acorn Newspapers, a weekly newspaper in Ventura County, the idea of creating a craft beer channel was already brewing in the back of Jonathan’s mind. He wanted to find more creative outlets for storytelling, primarily through video.
“The first time I considered creating a channel about craft beer was when my wife, Aileen, and I were sitting at Pacific Plate Brewing in Monrovia in 2019. They had an IPA that used Ecuadorian guava. My family’s from Ecuador so I was curious if the owner or brewer were also from Ecuador. The more we sat there sipping the beers, the more questions I had. I thought most beer drinkers would also be interested in the answers. I knew I could conduct a simple interview, but a YouTube channel about breweries would need a craft beer aficionado with a deeper knowledge of craft beer,” shares Jonathan of how the concept of Brews with Masters started.
And of course, Derek, being a seasoned bartender and former bar manager, had the expertise Jonathan was looking for.
“Back when I was still a struggling CSUN student who opted for cheap 30 packs, Derek was always introducing me to new kinds of beers from a wide variety of breweries. He curated the tap list at the bar he managed, and he knew way more than I even know now. I also knew he’d be willing to use his days off to travel to craft breweries to film hours of footage without being monetarily compensated. He is a knowledgeable guy with that hustler’s mentality. I called him one day with the idea on my way home from The Acorn office. I remember two things from that conversation clearly: I was sitting in afternoon traffic on the 101 and the genuine interest I heard in his voice meant he was all in. It didn’t have a name then, but Brews With Masters was born,” Jonathan commented on how he recruited Derek.
Jonathan and Derek created Brews with Masters, not just to support local, small businesses but because of an interest in the craftsmanship, the process, the variety of beers coming from these tiny spots and the stories behind the local breweries. They wanted to know everything, and anything involved in the brewing experience: from the process of opening a brewery to the ingredient choices to the final product.
“Some beer fans were already online posting beer reviews with their opinions, but I wanted to put the spotlight on the faces behind the beers, and I know the craft beer nerds appreciate the in-depth reporting we do. Derek’s our host, but we let the brewers do the talking.”
In the past year or so, they have featured some of the valley’s prominent breweries: MacLeod Ale Brewing Co. in Van Nuys, Hand-Brewed Beer in Chatsworth, and 8one8 Brewery in Canoga Park.
With things slowly but surely opening, this power duo hopes to pick up where they left off, interviewing breweries, and creating their next episodes. During the pandemic, they have kept busy interviewing craft beer figures on IG Live such as award-winning homebrewer Tyler Sadler of the Brew’d Up Podcast, craft beer superstar Edgar Preciado of BeerThugLife and talented commercial brewer Brittany Brouhard, owner of Naught Pine Brewing.
This Saturday, June 26th 8am at Balboa Park, they invite their followers on their newest endeavor: an inaugural #EarnYourBrew5k, promoting the importance of physical and mental health based on their mantra “Earn Your Brew.” It’s a FREE event with prizes for all finishers. All participants will be entered to into a raffle to win AMAZING prizes from 8one8, Hand-Brewed, MacLeod, and San Fernando Brewery. Although a free event, all participants are encouraged to donate to Los Angeles County Brewers Guild and Pink Boots Society of LA before going to the starting line. Both organizations are an integral resource for the craft beer community and work to support our local breweries.
Follow Jonathan and Derek on Instagram @brewswithmasters and subscribe to their YouTube channel to see the mastery and skill behind your favorite local breweries.