The first season of ‘Brews Brothers’ is now streaming on Netflix. Mike Castle spoke EXCLUSIVELY with HL about learning the art of beer, Adam and Wil’s relationship, and the freedom of an improv-heavy show.
Looking for a new comedy series to watch? Netflix has you covered. Brews Brothers, from Jeff and Greg Schaffer, was released on April 10. The series follows two brothers, Wilhelm (Alan Aisenberg) and Adam Rodman (Mike Castle), who run a brewery together. They both think they’re a beer genius and don’t see eye-to-eye in their beer-making techniques whatsoever.
Mike Castle talked with HollywoodLife about taking on the role of Adam Rodman. Even though the brothers couldn’t be more different, they both “really care” about beer and making the brewery a success. The “strained relationship” between Adam and Wilhelm will be a main focus of the season, which will provide an “interesting dynamic.” He also discussed his “instantaneous” brotherly bond with co-star Alan. Read our full Q&A below.
I’ve always been fascinated by the beer world, so Brews Brothers is my education a little bit. Why did the role of Adam stand out to you?
Mike Castle: I also have always been a fan of beer. I think the whole production of it is amazing. But it’s not something I’ve ever really investigated much before this. The initial draw for me was Greg and Jeff Schaffer, the brothers who created it. I just think they’re both so hilarious. Right when I saw that the audition was to do a scene basically with my brother, and it’ll be in front of the writer-directors who are brothers, I was just immediately like, “Well, that will be a cool dynamic.” And it really did prove to be that the whole time on set just in terms of listening to them make fun of each other or jab each other like brothers naturally do. They made it very easy to then do the same thing to my brother character.
How would you compare Adam and Wilhelm? Would you say they’re similar at all or different?
Mike Castle: I mean, obviously Adam is better, but they both really care. When you see that someone just genuinely cares about the thing that they’re doing, it immediately makes it more interesting. I remember when I first met someone who really cared about beer. I come from that experience of being a teenager and you drink Natural Light and silver bullet Coors. The object was to just see how many you could drink and then you throw up or something. When I got to that age where people really cared about it and we’re talking about flavor palate, the balance, IPA, and all that stuff I was like, “Wait, what?” When someone really cares about it, then it makes you kind of go like, “You can feel the way I feel about comedy about beer.” I think that’s the key thing that the brothers have in common is they just care. Even though they’re both always in the wrong or Adam always cares for the wrong reason, Adam is trying to do what he thinks is right for his own arrogant worldview and I think Will is an actually good altruistic person. When he says that quote, “Beer makes you feel the way you ought to feel without beer,” I feel like he really genuinely believes that.
What would you say their relationship is like?
Mike Castle: We will definitely explore their strained relationship. I would say that this season is, in my perspective, all about getting Wilhelm to realize that Adam is the best. But also it’s an interesting dynamic with brothers because I actually think that Wilhelm kind of does think that. He hates him, but he also sort of builds his identity around basically respecting his brother but being like, “No, I do it differently.” I feel like the best way for brothers to get along is by hating each other, but like, secretly it’s because they’re competitive.
You have a lot of comedy experience. Was there any improv going on?
Mike Castle: It was really improv-heavy. They very much encouraged us. Sometimes you have a job where you have to say some sort of convoluted line. When you mess up one word or something they’re like, “I’m sorry, but you’ve got to hit this word.” There was not a lot of that on the show. It was very much you have to be right with what you’re saying about the beer but, other than that, just get to the basic ideas of this line. Greg would make fun of me when I would be holding my side. He’d be like, “What are you doing with those?” I’d say, “I’m just making sure I’m memorizing them.” He’d say to not memorize them. I think that was kind of the main thing. Everyone could get very loose with it. It was also an interesting thing, you improvise a lot in things when you do comedy and most of the time you think your joke’s going to get in there. And then when you actually see the edited version, it’s almost exactly the script. When I saw the first edit of the first episode, I kept saying to one of the producers, “I can’t believe that you guys got that.” It felt like these were these throwaway improvised lines that my coverage wasn’t going to pick up or something. It’s all in there and it’s great. Jeff is big in the Curb Your Enthusiasm world and he definitely likes to have that sense of improvisational play, so he gets people who are really quick improvisers like Flula Borg, Zach Reino, and Marques Ray. Each of the people that they get for each part, everyone is so quick.
This show centers around brothers Mike and Wilhelm. What was your first impression of meeting Alan and what was it like trying to establish that brotherly bond?
Mike Castle: I’ve got to tell you, it was instantaneous. We didn’t do a chem read together or anything. We were independently cast. We got dinner together the night before the first table read, and it was just straight away. We have a very similar sensibility. We have a lot of mutual friends even though we had never met each other. Right away, he was very nice and very open. He’s a very affable dude. He seemed to really like me, and we really communicated. I was just thinking yesterday about him. I was just thinking, “I really love Al. He’s such a good dude.” I’ve had the jobs where you hope to feel that way, so I was very lucky with this one. It is this kind of brotherly thing where part of the liking him is that I really love to make fun of him. Any little way I can make fun of him or he can make fun of me is delightful.
Did you guys actually film in a brewery?
Mike Castle: Yes, it was called the Iron Triangle Brewery Company in downtown LA. That also really enhanced the experience. The guy who owned that place — his name was Kale — he gave us beer classes and he walked us through all that machinery and explained what each thing does. Any question I would have about anything, he would be hyper explanatory. He really loved to talk about beer. He has a cameo on the show actually. When they go to a beer tasting competition, he plays one of the rival beer tasters.