“We chose beers that we anticipated a hot summer and we wanted the Miller Lite drinker to be happy. And also the hop head and the sour guy and the seltzer person and everybody’s covered. So there’s something for everyone.”
Curious about the beer selection here at T-Town? Join us this week as Joan sits down with Nima Hadian, owner and president of Shangy’s Beer Authority. They discuss how our beer selection was curated, supporting local breweries, and why you should come out and taste the beers.
Joan Hanscom: Welcome to the Talk Of The T-Town Podcast, where we discuss all things track cycling. Broadcasting from the Valley Preferred Cycling Center, I’m your host and Executive Director, Joan Hanscom, along with my cohost, athletic director, Andy Lakatosh.
Welcome to the Talk Of The T-Town Podcast. I’m your host, Joan Hanscom Executive Director here at the Valley Preferred Cycling Center. And this week, we are going off cycling talk and on to beer talk with our sponsor from Shangy’s: The Beer Authority, Nima Hadian, who is here to talk about our amazing beer selection, how he picked the beers, why we pick the beers and why you should come out here and taste all the beers. So Nima, welcome to the pod. We’re excited. I am a huge fan of the tasty beers and so our partnership is a delight for me. And yeah, tell us a little bit about yourself, about Shangy’s and why you’re here.
Nima Hadian: Thanks, Joan. We’re excited to be here. We’re excited to have our beers here. Shangy’s is a family-owned and operated beer store in the Lehigh Valley. We’re also a beer wholesaler. We’re just super excited to be the beer purveyor for the velodrome. And we’re super excited to have a venue in the Lehigh Valley that’s strictly focused on craft and imported beers. Not your regular Bud, Coors and Miller kind of venue. Rather serving some of the best beers in the world. So for us, it’s really exciting to put cycling and craft beer together and offer Lehigh Valley residents some of the best beers out there.
Joan Hanscom: I have to say. So even before we started working together here, I was a huge Shangy’s fan and I’m going to say something that’s inappropriate because we don’t sell them here. But I lived in Chicago for a long time and I lived in Kentucky for a long time. And my absolute favorite beer on earth is from Three Floyds Brewing, which is gumball head and or zombie dust.
Nima Hadian: You have good taste.
Joan Hanscom: And one day last summer, when we were in the middle of all the COVID thing, I went paddle boarding by myself on an insanely hot day. And I just wanted a cold beer when I was done. And I go rocket into Shangy’s. I saw the gumball head in your store. And I was like, “This is the place for me,” because I found the gumball head. And then I saw zombie dust and I was like, “Which do I get?”
Nima Hadian: Three Floyds is one of the best breweries in the US. It’s actually rated top-10 best breweries in the world. Gumball head is a tremendous summer beer and Alpha King is one of the first pale ales in America. You have very good taste.
But in terms of selection here, what I like about it is you’ve covered your bases and you’ve got a lot of styles covered. So most consumers are going to be very happy that we go anywhere from double IPAs, triple IPAs to white beers, German hefeweizens’, lagers, seltzers. So really, there’s enough here to keep everybody that’s a beer fanatic extremely happy.
Joan Hanscom: Well, you’re joining us right after our first Friday night. And we had the [inaudible] beer garden open for the first time in a long time. The deck sold out, so the beer garden was completely sold out. And the feedback on the selection of beers … because we sell beer in cans up on the deck. And the feedback on the selection after the first Friday night was bonkers. People loved what you put together for us. So I want to give Nima full credit here.
He said, “Yeah, we’re going to sponsor the venue. We’re going to become a partner in your beer selections.” And man, you knocked it out of the park when you made your assortment for us. And we sort of sat back and said, “Yes, you tell us what’s good and we’ll take your advice.” And man, was the feedback positive after the first night of people seeing your new menus.
Nima Hadian: No, it’s great. And you guys have given us the opportunity to put together the [inaudible], which is the first [inaudible] in Pennsylvania. The brewery, which is the oldest brewery in the world, it dates back to the year 1040. And it’s actually owned by the German government. And it’s a historic site. It’s also the leading brewing school in the world. So some of the top brewers in the US all went to school there. It’s a very highly-accredited brewery and they’re excited to be partners with you guys at the velodrome. And they’re also very interested in cycling and honored to have their [inaudible], which is a German wheat beer with yeast, which is extremely refreshing on a hot day. And their lager, which is their [inaudible], which is the oldest-reciped lager in the world, which dates back to 1040, available here in [inaudible]. And the [inaudible], I believe in cans and undraft.
Joan Hanscom: Yeah, I had the [inaudible]. And oh, it was yummy.
Nima Hadian: It’s not only yummy. One of the things that the Germans don’t like to talk about is [inaudible] actually have less calories. And they don’t want people to know that because they think that’s bad. But for us, we think it’s great.
Joan Hanscom: I wish I knew that. I would have felt less guilty about drinking the second one.
Nima Hadian: Generally, about 115 to 120 calories compared to a hazy IPA, which is 300 calories. And that’s for a 16-ounce glass. So they’re not only great, they’re kind of good for you and there’s live yeast in it and it’s always alive and it’s cloudy and it kind of has a banana clove [crosstalk].
Joan Hanscom: Oh, it’s so good.
Nima Hadian: It’s very refreshing. So I think in the beer garden, it’s really cool. It looks like a little piece of Germany. And on the other menu, we try to focus on getting some local beers in here, but also making sure that our bases were covered to keep everybody happy. So the sections in beer we have offered at the velodrome are local beers, just general craft USA beers from around the United States, imported cans, which are the weihenstephaner beers, seltzers and ciders.
The seltzer that we have is interesting. It’s called Two Robbers. They’re a local Pennsylvania company. The first Pennsylvania craft seltzer company. Their product is made in Philadelphia. It’s owned by two young individuals that graduated from Wharton School of Business at Penn University and put together this amazing seltzer company. We’re on track to sell almost a hundred thousand cases of-
Joan Hanscom: Holy smokes.
Nima Hadian: And they make six different flavors. We have here the most popular, which is the orange mango Seltzer. It’s available in a 19.2 ounce aluminum bottle. So it’s a can, but it’s a bottle. It keeps it extra cold. Very smooth and delicious. The cider that we have here is Doc’s hard cider. It’s a true cidery. Everything is real. It’s brewed in Hudson valley. Rated as one of the top five best cideries in the U.S. They own their own orchard. They pick their own apples. They press their own juice.
Joan Hanscom: Oh, that’s cool.
Nima Hadian: I believe they were featured on something with Martha Stewart.
Joan Hanscom: Oh, right on.
Nima Hadian: That really quality, no preservatives, no adjuncts cider.
Joan Hanscom: Nice.
Nima Hadian: It’s delicious.
Joan Hanscom: That’ll have to be on my list for this week.
Nima Hadian: No. Definitely. It’s very good. And then on top of that, you’ve got four awesome draft beers. Bell’s Two Hearted IPA, which is, was I think four years in a row now, has been rated the best beer in America. Weihenstaphaner hefeweizen which is what we talked about. It’s the oldest brewery in the world. The hefeweizen is a German wheat beer. The Einstok Icelandic White. This is our best-selling white ale. It’s from Iceland. It’s the difference between a White ale and a hefeweizen is. It’s a Belgian interpretation of a wheat beer.
So the wheatness of it is a little bit different. It’s not so much banana clove. It’s more orange peel and coriander, and it’s a bit thinner in texture. So it’s more [inaudible] you can drink more than you would other beers but really tasty. And again, this is a beer you don’t find in any other venue. It’s truly craft. And lastly on tap, we have funk citrus, which is the most popular local IPA. It’s brewed in Emmaus, Pennsylvania, where our store is by Funk Brewing company. Funk has always done extremely well here at the velodrome. And we’re happy to have it on tap here.
Joan Hanscom: Yeah. I think what’s really nice about our selection that we have with you guys is that… And Nima, you’ll find this out this summer, it’s hot here at the track and it’s really nice to sit out on a hot summer night and just enjoy a cold beverage that’s refreshing. And man, the menu you’ve selected for us is that. It’s like, it’s not stouts. It’s all beer that you want to drink on a hot summer day after a bike ride yourself. Right? So if you go for a ride, you come back and you want to have a cold refreshing beer. You come to our beer garden and you have an assortment of things that hit the spot. We know we have a couple of rides coming up this summer that aren’t related to the track and velodrome, but they’re rides for folks on either gravel bikes or on road bikes, but they’re starting and finishing here at the track.
And the goal of that specifically is they’re going to finish their ride here so they can go up on the beer garden and have some cold refreshing beers. And they’re so stoked about what we have on offer here for them, because it is that assortment that’s like, we did the thing. And now we’re going to sit back in the shade of the tent. We’re going to put our feet up. We’re going to watch a little bit of bike racing and we’re going to have a great refreshing adult beverage to cap off the day. And I liked that we went with something really refreshing and all good for the hot summer days that we’ve got coming ahead.
Nima Hadian: No. I appreciate it. It was fun picking the beers after visiting the venue and learning more about it. It’s amazing to me that this place isn’t three times as busy. It’s busy already, but I’m sure as more and more people come here, whether you’re a cycling fan or not. I think when you come and look at the menu and sit in the beer garden and have all these great beers and such a beautiful venue and things to look at and things to learn, I think you guys are going to get busier and busier here. The selection of the beer, it was, we chose beers that we anticipated a hot summer and we wanted the Miller Lite drinker to be happy. And also the hop head and the sour guy and the seltzer person and everybody’s covered. So there’s something for everyone. And that was important to us to do. We think there’s so much opportunity here to expose people to great food, which what you’re doing with the sticky pig paired with these beers and just to watch the venues and see what’s going on. I’m sure this is going to continue growing.
Joan Hanscom: I’m curious to see. So for our listeners, we are open more than just Friday nights. Right? Friday nights, the big show, it’s the pro racing. Pro-Am racing. It’s the big show. But we are also open on Tuesday nights when we have amateur racing. The beer stand is always open. The sticky pig is serving on Tuesdays. We have the beer stand open on Saturdays. Although I think the slushies did really well on Saturdays. And so did, what is it, those things called that I don’t like because they have tomato juice in it? Bloody Mary’s. Yeah. The bloody Mary’s do well on Saturdays. But the moral of the story is we have the handlebars open multiple days a week, and it’s about to be open on Thursdays too, once we have racing across the street. I’m going to be super curious to see what nights attract, what type of beer drinker. You want to see on a Tuesday who’s drinking what versus on a Friday who’s drinking what. And I’m super curious to see how that goes. I like, I’m a nerd. So I like to see those kinds of things.
Nima Hadian: No. It’s great info. It’s great to learn. And I think you have something for everyone.
Joan Hanscom: Yeah.
Nima Hadian: So I do think you’re going to see different things spike on different nights because it doesn’t matter what you’re drinking at home. You’ve got it covered here. Especially with the slushies. And something else with the slushies that you guys are getting into. There’s a Pennsylvania company that makes craft slushies. And the name of that company is Get Slushed and they actually use real fruit. It’s Pennsylvania made. And they have six or seven different flavors. The slushies, their hearts slushies are alcoholic. This company slushies are the best that I’ve ever had. Honestly, it doesn’t taste like there’s any alcohol in them. I think they’re dangerous. They’re eight and a half percent alcohol and just, they don’t have that burn, that alcohol burn. They’re super smooth. I think you guys pick the blue raspberry and another flavor and you’re rotating in and out of flavors, but they’re definitely a huge hit so far. And I think at this venue they’re going to continue being a hit. They sell out fast, and then you have to re-slush the machine.
Joan Hanscom: Right.
Nima Hadian: But I think that’s going to do extremely well for you.
Joan Hanscom: We have the Elite, Junior, and Para National championships coming here in the month of July, which is always hot toasty. And we’ll have, we’ll be open every, we’ll have ticketed racing every day that week in the evenings. And I’m certain the slushies, for the friends and families who are coming to watch athletes racing national championships I’m sure that in the heat of July those slushies are going to be selling out like crazy. Because they are perfect for the hot night in the stands. Yeah. So I think that’s going to be a big seller and something that we’re looking forward to. I just think people are going to have fun here. We are trying to sell fun here. And I think we talked about it before and not a knock on baseball, but this is a bit more of an action packed night. And I think for what we offer here, the greatest assortment plus the sticky pig, I think people are just going to start to feel like this is-
Nima Hadian: Yeah, you could have a food and beer pairing while you’re watching a really cool venue. And you’re not stuck in a little seat. You can walk around and move around. And it’s hard to be… If you’re a little too hot, you can move. You can move around. You can go drink great beer.
Joan Hanscom: And just be social. And you’re up close to the action. You’re not sitting many hundreds of feet away from the racing action. You can feel the breeze on your face when they go by and it’s very loud and colorful. And I think it just makes for a super fun experience here. But I also know, and I want to give you full credit for this. You’re thinking like a true partner for this organization. Right? You’re not just a sponsor that puts up signage and that’s that. And I think for people who follow sports and follow events, it’s important to understand that sponsorship is what keeps us going. Right? It’s what keeps events happening for you. But we’re sponsorship is really magical is when it’s a partnership. And I love that our partnership was Shangy’s, you’re bringing ideas to us. And you have ideas for, which we’re not going to spill to everybody right now because we got to keep something to tell you later. But you’re bringing us ideas about ways to bring this venue to life.
And so I just want our listeners to understand what a valuable partnership that makes this. Right? It’s much more than just, we’re going to a warehouse and picking up beer. We’re collaborating and we’re trying to make something here that’s a true partnership but also that is a thing for the Lehigh valley. I think that’s really exciting to hear that we have a partner that wants to help make the track a destination and sees the vision for what this place can be and where it could go. And so that’s really exciting to me. So I’d love to talk to, to hear you talk a little bit about that. Because I’m drinking your Kool-Aid Nima and I think we’re on the same brainwave. But yeah, talk a little bit about that.
Nima Hadian: I was so excited when I first came here that I literally got in the car with our team and went, we have to do it. I just really, I liked the passion of everyone who works here because I think you’re all doing it for the right reason. And honestly, I just think the venue is so interesting and outside the box and it works perfectly for what are and what we do. We represent family owned breweries from around the world. Not bud Kors, Miller, large ginormous enterprises, they’re mom and pop breweries. Whether they’re local or they’re from Iceland or they’re from Belgium, or they’re from Germany, they’re not big money box entities. And just seeing how there’s just so much potential for growth and knowledge and getting the word out to consumers around Eastern Pennsylvania. That we’re lucky enough to have a venue like this for cycling right in our backyard.
And you’re offering all these other things like fantastic beer and fantastic food and a great setting. It’s exactly what we want to be a part of. And I’m, I think we’re so fortunate that we’re able to be able to have a venue, take on these brands. Rather than look for the large check from the large breweries, which is the same beers that you see every venue that you go to. So really, the mom and pop breweries that you’re allowing this venue to be in this venue. You’re really helping a lot of small businesses. And my excitement is I think beer and biking go together. And I think we want to be a long-term partner and educate the Lehigh valley on what a gem the velodrome really is and making it a bigger and bigger thing every year.
Joan Hanscom: Yeah. And I think there’s ways for us to continue this partnership and make things more fun, even outside the traditional track season. And I think you and I share this vision of making this a driver for the cycling community year round, and then ideally beyond the cycling community. Right? Let’s be relevant to the entirety of the Lehigh valley and let’s tie it into this bigger vision for bringing people from all over to the Lehigh valley. We should get the Germans to come here and spend time with us.
Nima Hadian: I think they will. I think there’s a lot, honestly, there is. I didn’t want to give away too much, but there’s a lot of breweries that have a lot of interests and doing a lot of different things here. Like I said, a lot of craft breweries, whether they’re made in the U.S. or anywhere in the world, they don’t get these opportunities often because these kinds of venues are completely dominated by large beer. Large beer can cut the big check. And that’s why when you go to these baseball, and football, and hockey and you look at, we wonder why they all have the same beer, it’s because they can afford to pay, to write a cheque to do that.
Joan Hanscom: Right.
Nima Hadian: Little breweries can’t afford that. So again, this is outside the box and you’re giving your consumer so many choices they’re not used to. And you’re giving good food, which again, there’s not a lot of venues with good food. I love being a part of it. Our partners, which are the breweries around the world that we’ve been in contact with, all of them are so positive about it and want to learn more about it and want to learn more about being able to be a partner as well and touching the consumer one way or another. So it is really exciting. And I think the company’s Shangy’s and the Velodrome and everything you’re doing here are the, we’re talking about the same customer.
Joan Hanscom: Yeah. 100%. I agree with that.
Nima Hadian: So we’ve got a ton of ideas I’m trying to catch up and learn as much as I can, so we can be a good partner and continue to be a good partner. But I’ve got a lot of tricks up my sleeves that I think we can do some really fun things.
Joan Hanscom: Yeah. I think that to me has been one of those things that’s always been nice about working in cycling, is that because we are a niche because we are a small sport in the U.S. it’s creativity. Right? And it’s the opportunity to play and do things differently than you would if you were the NFL. Granted the NFL, I wouldn’t mind their revenue. Not going to lie. But it is one of the things that makes our sport fun. Right? That you have creativity. That you can do things that are off the beaten path.
Nima Hadian: You have a Weihenstephaner beer garden. Who says that?
Joan Hanscom: Right. I know. Right. You’re not going to get that at Gillette stadium. Right? So that’s really fun. That makes my job interesting. It makes me coming to work more fun. But it allows us to do good stuff. And I love what you were saying about the seltzer you picked is local. And the cider is from the Hudson valley and it’s handmade essentially.
Nima Hadian: We wanted the best representation of every style, but yet make it not offensive to anyone.
Joan Hanscom: Right.
Nima Hadian: Again, whether you drink crazy hoppy beers or light beers, or you hate beer and you want a slushie, or you want to cider, or you want a seltzer, you’re covered. And again, I love that about here, that somebody can be happy. A lot of venues, people complain about two things, price. I got a $12 beer and it was a light beer that was not so great.
Joan Hanscom: Right.
Nima Hadian: Here you’re giving everyone really, the best of class, at a really affordable venue price.
Joan Hanscom: Right.
Nima Hadian: And you can’t beat that. So it’s a lot of fun. We’re going to see if we can change up the draft beers. Maybe bring in some new stuff all the time. And just constantly try to grow on learning more about, who’s coming here, what’s working, what’s not working? Let’s fix it and keep making it better.
Joan Hanscom: Well, and I like the idea too, of just giving people like, hey, maybe you’ve never tried this one before. So let’s, it’s almost like have the experimental tap. Right? Where you’re like, okay, yes, we’ve got the three ones that we know everybody loves. But this fourth one, maybe when you come on a Friday night there’s something different to try that. And if you are into that, right? If you part of what you enjoy in life is trying new stuff. How cool is that? You can do that here. I mean, it’s super easy in the cans. Right? Like the cans are easy and we can do that. But I love this idea of, you can come here and know it’s going to be reliably good. And there’s going to be something for you. But also that there may be like, I wonder what they’ve got this week.
Nima Hadian: You know it’s worth it. And some of the things that I’m thinking about down the road is getting some of the suppliers to come here and meet people. Talking to people about their beers. Maybe it’s a sampling as they walk in. Maybe it’s a giveaway night. Maybe it’s… I can tell you one thing that we’re going to start on our own social media for Shangy’s is to do ticket giveaways. To do other kinds of giveaways, to bring more people here. Because we believe if somebody comes to the Velodrome they’re going to come again. So I think we just set just like you got me. I think you can get the consumer. They just need to walk in the door.
Joan Hanscom: Yeah. 100%.
Nima Hadian: And I think you’re well on your way. You had a record first week and I’m sure it’s going to keep going, because this is such a neat venue.
Joan Hanscom: Yeah. I’m excited. I’m excited to see what we do next. And I can’t thank you enough for just having some vision. Because it’s, for us, like when you’re a little niche sport, people don’t always see it. Right? People are just like… I’ve worked in cycling for a long time and I’ve talked to those big beer brands that you’ve referenced. And all they want to know is how many kegs you are going to move and they don’t see the opportunity to get creative with it. Whereas what I love about what we’re doing together is, I think you understand inherently that cyclists don’t want to drink Michelob Light or no, it’s not Michelob Light, Michelob Ultra. And I can’t tell you the number of times in my professional career where people are like, oh, you must want MC ultra because you’re cyclist.
I’m like, that is the last beer that the cyclists want. A, cyclists aren’t afraid of carbs. So a low carb beer option is typically not what we’re going for. But cycling has such a rich history in Belgium and in Germany and in the European nations, that those European beer brands are such a nice fit for our sport. And I love that you didn’t push Mic Ultra down my throat when we met, because I will tell you honestly, that’s the first time. It’s great that you get who our consumer is and you have an appreciation for it. And I think that, that goes a long way towards making a great partnership.
Nima Hadian: Were thankful to be allowed to do this. Like I said, little small local beer companies generally, don’t get on venues like this. It says a lot about the venue that you’re willing to give locally owned and small family breweries, the opportunity to be highlighted at a venue like this. So for all parties involved, for the consumer, it’s fantastic. It’s an experience. You get great food, you get great beer and a great setting. And for these breweries, just getting the opportunity to be in front of all of you is an opportunity they don’t get a lot of. So it’s fun. We want to be, continue to be great partners and help educate consumers and get more and more people here.
Joan Hanscom: Yeah. Right on. Well, I’m going to say thank you for coming on the pod Nima. And I’m also going to tell all of our listeners that the Weihenstephaner hefewizen is the way to go. If you haven’t had it yet, it is yummy delicious. So with that, this has been the Talk of the T-Town podcast, very special episode focused on our delicious beer list. We hope you tune in again next week when we will return to the topic of cycling. But this one was a good one because we really want you to come out and see what we’re talking about and experience a great night out at the track. Signing off, for the Talk of the T-Town pod. Thanks for listening.
It’s been the Talk of the T-Town podcast with host Joan Hanscom and Andy Lakatosh. Thanks for joining us for this week’s episode, brought to you by B.Braun medical Inc. Head on over to our website, the velodrome.com, where you can check out the show notes and subscribe. So you’ll never miss an episode.