‘Brews Brothers’ Mike Castle on Playing a ‘Complete A**hole’ & Possible Season 2
[Spoiler Alert: Don’t continue if you haven’t seen the Season 1 finale of Brews Brothers on Netflix.]
Over just eight episodes, Netflix’s new comedy series Brews Brothers, from executive producers/real-life brothers Jeff and Greg Schaffer (The League), has run the gamut of craft beer-related jokes. They’ve pissed in beer (which improved upon the taste of a particular IPA!), dealt with finicky distributors and sex-crazed food truck operators, faced disastrous business decisions, and been bested at a beer fest.
By the end of it all, the disagreeing brothers at the helm of Rodman’s Brewing Company, Wilhelm (Alan Aisenberg) and Adam Rodman (Mike Castle) had lost their business and left to join the fraternity-like Trappist Monks from Will’s past.
For Castle, playing overly-pretentious and competitive older brother Adam was a dream. “Mainly I play awkward, nervous guys,” the actor admits, “so getting to be just a complete a–hole was so much fun. [The EPs] would just say, ‘do whatever you want to make [Will] feel bad.’”
Now, with Season 1 under its belt (a Season 2 renewal has yet to be announced), Castle discusses the wildest moments of shooting the foul-mouthed series, and where he sees the Rodmans going from here.
You shot the show in an actual Los Angeles brewery. How was that?
Mike Castle: It was awesome because it was all operational and the guy who ran the place was on set the whole time. So, it felt extremely real. There was a lot that you didn’t have to manufacture in your head like when you’re shooting on a soundstage. We actually are using this equipment, and so it was very, very fun.
Very early on, I realized beer was an actual passion of Greg Schaffers’—he really likes the whole process of it, and he was so specific. He was obsessed with making sure we didn’t say anything that wasn’t factually inaccurate. It was pretty awesome having someone like that [leading] it.
Craft beer nerds are especially hardcore.
Exactly. And I felt that very much. Like, I cannot let these beer nerds, tough guys, think that we’re just idiots who didn’t do the research. We did beer school, and the brewmaster gave us this history of beer book, which I very nervously read before we started filming.
Did the show give you the brewing bug at all?
It 100 percent did, yes. I actually just got this brewing kit, but I haven’t used it yet. Once you hear someone passionately talking about [brewing], you really can see how much it is an art, which is very cool.
What’s one of your favorite ridiculous things you got to do this season?
All the stuff with the bro-ish Monks. I found John Ennis [who played Brother Thomas] to be so funny and I really loved working with Flula Borg [Truffle]. And also, because I was basically abused in that episode, I found it all very fun. I’m naked, dripping beer and grabbing my clothes like Gollum, and I enjoyed that. And of course, the butt-funnel beer thing. I will say, when we were actually doing the beer funnel thing, I felt I finally understood what waterboarding is and how it’s so bad.
Yeah, that looked very un-fun.
I was very sure I was going to be able to be like, actually funny in it. And then when it happened, I was like, ‘Oh, this is very difficult right now.’
At the end of the season, they’ve lost their brewery, but they’re together. And we get to see them walk into the monastery in the final moments. What do you see happening next?
Well, I would picture Adam becoming That Guy that studies abroad for one semester and comes back with an accent. He would really get into the lifestyle there, and suddenly have a little ponytail and a Belgian accent. But it seemed like the way it was going was that we would be set up there in Europe and experience the European beer lifestyle, with its different pretentions and process.
Have the Schaffers given you any indication on where they wanted to go with it?
Yeah, Greg had been saying that he had really wanted us to do [a second season] in Europe, but that was before the Coronavirus. He and I had talked about an episode where [Adam] only speaks German. I can do some grade school-ish conversational German, and Flula is very down for helping me learn more.
Do you ever see these two brothers getting along, or does that ruin the whole point of the show?
The thing that I feel about it, and I have older brothers, is that, Adam, in his own extremely stubborn and annoying way, is saying that he does like his brother by the end. He wants to go with him and do this whole thing. But also, even in the ways that they were fighting, it always feels like this very particular type of brotherly in-fighting where you’re almost just trying to show that you’re a separate entity from them. So, to me, it kind of feels like they do get along, but Adam would never say it. Or if he did say it, he would need to immediately undercut it.
Was there a lot of ad-libbing on set?
It was pretty ad-libby. They seemed to like that, and cast a lot of improvisers. There was a day on set where I was staring at my script and trying to focus, and Greg Schaffer came up to me and was like, ‘What are you doing?’ And I was like, ‘Oh, I’m just memorizing my lines for the next scene.’ And he’s like, ‘Come on man, you don’t have to memorize it.’ And that was just like, uh, the best. It really instills you with confidence. It’s like, he really wants me to do what I’m doing to naturally do. It’s the best thing anyone could say to you.
Since we’re all at home right now, what are you watching to bring you comfort in these times?
As with everyone else, I watched Tiger King, and was deeply moved by it. [Laughs]. I also started watching this show, Bosch, because I heard it has a lot of really identifiable locations in L.A., so it kind of felt like being out in the world a little bit. I like to watch a lot of live professional chess games as well. It’s oddly zen-like to me. I find it relaxing, but also stressful. Basically, when my wife [Lauren Lapkus] goes to bed I put on these like four-hour-long professional chess games.
Brews Brothers, Season 1, Streaming Now, Netflix