Between breaking the land speed record on floating a firkin at Petrol Station (the poor man's Hay Merchant) and wrestling pigs in Katy, Zane Lamprey and his sidekick Steve McKenna had quite a time filming the Houston episode of their AXS TV show Drinking Made Easy.
The third season of the show premieres on Wednesday, with the Houston fun up first.
I talked to Lamprey about being shut out by Anvil and why Houston is the only city to shut them down.
CultureMap: Since Houston is the premiere episode in the third season, does that mean it's the best?
Zane Lamprey: What happened was it was not originally the premiere episode, but the Houston episode turned out so much better that we decided to make it the premiere. So you were being funny, but you're actually right.
CM: What surprised you most about your visit to Houston?
ZL: It's funny, the six-pack challenge — we do a challenge in every episode, in which Steve almost always loses but never actually buys me a six-pack — it was [chasing] pigs, so that was a surprise to me. It was proposed to me in our offices in LA. We've done baseball, basketball, football, so we didn't really have the option of doing a professional sports thing and we were looking for something that would be interesting and fun.
"We only can shoot at a certain number of locations and we felt like we nailed it. We talked to Anvil and they didn't want to make time for us, it's super rare that that happens."
I'm not sure how much of a reflection of Houston that was but we had a really good time.
CM: What do you look for in your mix of bars to feature? What do you think makes a great bar?
ZL: It's not that we're necessarily looking for a great bars, per se. We're looking for something that paints a picture of Houston, and a broad picture at that, so we want to hit all the different things: Mixology, the cocktail scene, beer, breweries, stuff like that, to show people something that's unique to Houston and that you wouldn't find in other places.
The best bars, the craziest, those don't work out for us because they could be in any city. I will say Houston is a bit of a melting pot, it's not like New Orleans with just hand grenades and hurricanes and Purple Haze, or even like Key West or Seattle or Portland, Maine, so its not like there's one thing that's very Houston. It's more American in that regard.
CM: Do you have a favorite drink from the episode?
ZL: Was that the one with Shot Bar? That place was crazy. You know, Under the Volcano, that was pretty fun, Saint Arnold's was incredible, all the places we went to were great and we were received so much hospitably and were shown a really good time.
CM: You are drinking everything from beer to an old-fashioned fizz to electric blue shots. What's your favorite thing to drink?
ZL: I like things that are not as crazy of those things. If I'm going to have a cocktail I'll have a mojito or if I'm going to have a beer I have plenty of options. At home I have a few bottles of rum — I own a rum company — and I'll say that my fridge is full of different kinds of beer and (Saint Arnold events and marketing director) Lennie (Amrbose) is keeping me stocked with Saint Arnold's.
CM: The NASA-themed drink at Pub Fiction was made entirely from Texas ingredients. Is that local focus something you find a lot during your travels?
ZL: There's a few advantages of being in the largest state. When were in Rhode Island it was difficult to find more than a few distillers and breweries, whereas Texas has so much. Texas does have a certain amount of pride, it's there with Georgia, maybe . . . I think Texas is probably the top as far as state pride.
At Pub Fiction we went in there and we kinda made that drink up. It was a pretty involved — I think one of the ingredients was Ranger Creek whiskey, which is pretty expensive, so they may have to substitute that, but I'm sure after the episode airs they'll be getting requests for it if it isn't on the menu.
ZL: They were great . . . we only can shoot at a certain number of locations and we felt like we nailed it. We talked to Anvil and they didn't want to make time for us, it's super rare that that happens.
CM: After your trip you tweeted "Houston, you did what 50 other cities could not do. You shut down @stevemckennad." Please elaborate.
ZL: That was after Underbelly. We went and wrestled pigs and the guy who had the pigs sells his pigs to Underbelly and kept telling us that it was the freshest so we went there and the chef kept sending us out drinks. We ended up going out back with the chef to shotgun a beer. On the way home Steve was hanging out the window with his shirt off and yelling . . . he was yelling "Teen wolf!" I think.