Peanut Butter and Jelly. Corned Beef and Cabbage. Guinness and Nick Offerman. These beautiful partnerships don’t need to be explained because they intrinsically make sense. For St. Patrick’s Day 2020, Guinness has partnered with Nick Offerman on their @GuinnessUS Instagram for a month of St. Patrick’s Day tips and toasts and thanks to that partnership I was given the chance to speak with one of the most interesting people on the planet.
If I were to create an Mt. Rushmore of people I’d love to share a pint of Guinness with the first person carved into that mountainside would be Nick Offerman. And I cannot recall a time in life that I’ve been starstruck or nervous to speak with a celebrity up until about five minutes before my phone rang with Nick Offerman on the other end. What do I talk about with the seemingly manliest guy on the planet? The answer to that question is: ABC’s The Bachelor. About halfway through the interview, I thought I’d ask Nick who he thought would win this season and what’s up with all of the meddling from the producers.
It wasn’t all about Reality TV. We also discussed whether it’s ever okay to dye beer green for St. Patrick’s Day or drop a shot of whiskey into a pint and chug it. He talked about the best uses of an old wooden beer barrel and how to deliver the perfect St. Patrick’s Day toast. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have to go back and Google some of the words he used because the man speaks like a Classical Literature professor.
What brought Nick together with Guinness.
Cass – I was really excited to hear that you’re coming together with Guinness because it’s one of my all-time favorite beers, and you’ll be offering tips on St. Patrick’s Day which I spend way too much time thinking about and planning for. So I’m curious what drew you to this partnership with Guinness?
Nick Offerman – Well, you know, being in the strangely fortunate position to get to do work like this, Guinness is one of those worldwide products that just always struck me as the most charismatic. If you asked a young Nick Offerman, “one day, you’ll be able to endorse a beverage, what would you choose?” I’d say “well, my superhero is Wolverine and my pint is Guinness, please and thank you.”
What Nick’s Perfect St. Patrick’s Day might look like.
Cass – So as we gear up towards St. Patrick’s Day 2020, what would your absolutely perfect St. Patrick’s Day look like from the time you wake up until the time you go to bed? Are there traditions you do each year?
Nick Offerman – Well, it depends. My life is pretty itinerant because of the nature of my job and my wife’s job, we might be in Los Angeles shooting a TV show or we might be on tour performing Comedy around the world.
But when I can, like some of the other holidays, when I hear your question I think of my family. My dad actually runs the huge corned beef and cabbage dinner our Catholic Church puts on in Minooka, Illinois.
Cass – What did St. Patrick’s Day look like in Minooka growing up? (At this point I’d cut Nick off like a jerk but he still goes on to answer my question about the perfect St. Patrick’s Day)
Nick Offerman – Well, it’s pretty simple. It’s probably not dissimilar from what Laura Ingalls Wilder (author of ‘Little House on the Prairie’) wrote about St. Patrick’s Day to be like except that we’re on the receiving end of a little better beer than they had in her day.
I like to get up and have an indulgent breakfast and spend some holiday and sort of prepare myself. Ideally, the weather is good so maybe there’s some sports taking place outside. For me, in March, it would probably still be throwing around the football. Or maybe we’ll get the baseball mitts out if the grass is dry enough.
But I’m not one to…I’m not going to start indulging in my delicious pints until later in the day. I don’t want to miss any of the day. Like on Thanksgiving, you have one of those early repasts where you’ve built up the anticipation and then maybe at 4 or 5 in the afternoon the corned beef comes out and the family sits down to a massive dinner. And then if the evening ends up in a pub for a bonus pint that won’t hurt my feelings.
What IS the best way to eat corned beef??
Cass – I wanted to go back to your mention about an indulgent breakfast because I wanted to ask you: if you could only have one for the rest of your life, would it be corned beef has for breakfast, a corned beef sandwich for lunch, or sliced corned beef and cabbage with the potatoes and carrots for dinner? You have to cut out two of the three.
Nick Offerman – That’s a mean thing to ask someone.
Cass – I know. I apologize. It started (in my head) as me originally wanting to have you rank those three types of corned beef because they’re such staples in my diet but I thought it would be tougher to try and have you choose just one type of corned beef forever.
Nick Offerman – If I had to pick one of those I’d go with the corned beef sandwich. I think, for me, that’s the best bang for your buck in terms of the corned beef.
Cass – I get a lot of mixed looks when I tell people I prefer to smoke my corned beef over a wood-fire smoker and treat it almost like a proper brisket versus in the slow cooker or in the oven. I was curious if you had any insight on the types of wood that I should be using because I typically go with a ‘competition blend’ of woods and just defer to the experts most of the time?
Nick Offerman – Well, I should call you for advice then. I have a general knowledge of good smoking woods. In Illinois where my dad does some smoking, they use a lot of Apple and hickory as well, but if you’re doing your corned beef over a wood-fire you’re several steps ahead of me.
Is it ever acceptable to drink green beer or drop a shot of whiskey into a pint?
Cass – I was catching up not too long ago on your episode of ‘Here’s The Thing with Alec Baldwin’ where you appeared with your wife and she talked about how Minooka is only 50 miles from Chicago but how when you were growing up it (Chicago) felt like it was Paris to you guys. One of the traditions they have in Chicago is dying the river green as people all over dye beer green. Is there ever an acceptable time to drink green beer? Because I haven’t at any point in my life but I might consider trying it depending on how you answer this question.
Nick Offerman – Eh, I mean, no, I’m not particularly moved by it. I’d say the time to drink green beer would be when there is no other beer to drink.
In general, I think things that are enjoyed for their flavor, whether it’s a beverage, I usually feel like they don’t need any help. There’s nothing….You don’t need to do anything to bacon and the same is true for a beer just put it in a glass so that I can convey it to my face hole.
Cass – I love that answer because I was also thinking about another St. Patrick’s Day tradition of the boilermaker, dropping a shot of whiskey into a pint. Is that acceptable at any point because I’ll never turn it (the boilermaker) down but it’s also not something I ever particularly look forward to drinking?
Nick Offerman – Well, my humble opinion would be that if that is your drinking method you’re not looking for the enjoyment of either of those two beverages, but instead perhaps the physical result that would come from that drinking method…I’d like to order a beer and a shot of whiskey that I could savor rather than mix them all together and waste them both.
Who will win this season of ABC’s ‘The Bachelor’?
Cass – Sorry but this is going to sound completely out of the left field, but also in that ‘Here’s The Thing’ podcast episode, you talked about how you and your wife are avid fans of ABC’s ‘The Bachelor’. Have you been watching this season? Because my wife just turned me onto it and this is the first season I’ve ever watched. If you are watching, I was curious if you have any predictions on who will win?
Nick Offerman – Yes, yes we’ve been watching although we are on episode behind because we are up in the woods of Northern California at the moment. It’s uh, it’s a tough season.
Cass – I feel like I walked into the wrong season for my first time watching (the show).
Nick Offerman – Oh yeah, you absolutely did. Something has atrophied over there where you can see the hands of the producers that are much more thinly concealed. So that whole debacle with ‘one of the Victorias’ and what was that guy’s name, Chase Rice? That whole orchestrated drama.
There are these moments that are just much more heavily produced that you’re like ‘oh, come on!’ Y’know, the show’s ridiculous to begin with but at least make an effort to lead us to believe there are sincere moments happening here.
With that said, as in many things in life, I would refer to my wife’s sensibility in picking a winner. She has a great eye in calling who’s going to win and who’s going to go home.
What does a master woodworker do with old beer barrels?
Cass – I made it to the St. James Gate Guinness Brewery about two years ago and was able to tinker around in their historical archives and just the scope and scale of the barrels back in the day left a lasting impression. I was curious if you’d spent any time thinking about what you would repurpose any of those old wooden Guinness barrels into?
Nick Offerman – I have, I mean, I’ve been asked on occasion to make things out of old barrel staves. I, by and large, I’m a big fan of the art of the Cooper. I’ve read books about it. ‘Cooper’ is the original name of the barrel maker.
Cass – I knew that and I always think it’s funny how it’s now such a popular name for boys when so many people have forgotten the original meaning (of ‘barrel maker’).
Nick Offerman – It is, yeah, it’s cool. I love those names like ‘Fletcher’…But reading about a Cooper goes about his or her work just really impresses me. It takes an incredible amount of commitment and discipline to shape each stave of a barrel by hand.
That weird sort of orange peel shape, and each edge is slightly beveled so that they all fit together tightly. But once you’ve created a barrel it doesn’t leave a lot of options as for what to then do with those pieces of wood.
So, if anything, I would like to repurpose the barrels and keep them as they are as much as possible. Maybe cut them in half and lash them together and float them down a river. Sit on a couple and fill one with ice. I believe Guinness makes a delicious product in a can that you could throw in there.
How do you give the perfect St. Patrick’s Day toast?
Cass – Now that you’re working with Guinness on St. Patrick’s Day tips, have you thought at all about a proper toast for St. Patrick’s Day 2020 or is that something that you usually try and give off the cuff? Because I could be entirely wrong here but you strike me as someone who gives the world’s best toasts and I was wondering if that’s something you ever think about ahead of time?
Nick Offerman – Well, thank you for accusing me of that. Yeah, I do, I love giving a toast or speech of any sort when people are required to listen to me. And one of the fun things about this collaboration with Guinness is on Instagram at @GuinnessUS there’s going to be a month of tips and videos including some toasts. But my advice for toast giving is ‘keep it pithy and keep it brief.’
Make sure to follow @GuinnessUS on Instagram so you can keep up with all of Nick Offerman’s St. Patrick’s Day tips and toasts as we march toward St. Patrick’s Day 2020 (Tuesday, March 17th). You can find me (Cass) on Twitter at @casspa and BroBible on Instagram at @BroBible.