Joel Shelton has managed to transform three of his life’s main interests — music, beer, and travel – into overlapping occupations. He launched his beer-drinking and music careers concurrently in 1977, aged 16. Later earning a master’s degree in music, he became a freelancer in New York, and by the early 90’s was traveling Europe as a Broadway pit musician when not homebrewing and organizing beer tastings. In Brussels he became enamored with a funky ale called Cantillon, hauling bottles back to his siblings in the U.S. and inspiring the 1996 creation of Shelton Brothers, which became the most cutting-edge and influential beer importing company in the world.
In the early 2000’s, Joel produced several albums, had a #1 hit on Sirius and composed music for TV and film. But in 2010 he finally joined Shelton Brothers full-time, putting his travel experience to use as their German, Czech, and Spanish specialist, and his recording savvy to work as producer for the brothers’ High & Mighty radio show.
2019 saw the launch, under his guidance, of Shelton Brothers’ Insider Tours. These garnered acclaim from industry travelers, but the Covid pandemic put further versions on hold. With the dissolution of Shelton Brothers in 2021, Joel created Inner Circle Beer Tours.
Joel creates all music for ICBT’s website and promotion while partnering with former and current colleagues (see below) on tour-guiding, itinerary planning, and media production.
Other fun facts: Joel has trained in Wu Mei Kung Fu for over 25 years and is a major soccer fanatic.
ABOUT US: THE REST OF THE INNER CIRCLE GANG
The quintessential European, Ana Ozarinskaia was born to a Russian family in Franconia, where she attended her first beer festival – Forcheim’s Annafest — at the age of two. Having been raised on the Canary Islands, she worked as a tour guide in mainland Spain before moving to the UK, where she developed a keen interest in craft beer. Immersing herself in the industry across Europe, she went on to help set up the NaparBCN brewpub in Barcelona before becoming the global sales ambassador for Moor Beer back in England. Ana’s unique beer, language and travel resume then led to her being recruited to join the Inner Circle team.
Other fun facts: A green-thumb and nature-lover, Ana runs her own house plant business in Bristol, England, and goes wild swimming, hiking and diving whenever possible
Other fun facts: A music and hockey enthusiast, BR worked for many years in record distribution, and plays co-ed street hockey in NYC. She is also a lifelong equestrian, and will correct anyone using “horseblanket” as a beer descriptor.
Bob Weyersberg could not have guessed that the homebrew kit he gave his girlfriend for Christmas in the 90’s would set him on course to becoming a beer judge, a Shelton Brothers rep, Director of Sales for Brooklyn’s Transmitter Brewing, and now – the ultimate prize –a guide for Inner Circle. Bob has led beer tastings, run homebrew contests at Brooklyn Brewery and produced the “Beer Hear” podcast and blog on WFMU radio. He had a previous career as a music promoter, importer, distributor and label owner, and has coached youth hockey in NYC for over fifteen years.
Other fun facts: Bob is a devotee of witty and absurdist wordplay, and he enjoys tormenting phone-scammers in his free time.
Kevin Brooks has beer in his blood, literally and figuratively: an ancestor received a dedication in the first English treatise on hops in 1574; his mother’s forebears owned a 19th-century German brewery, and his grandmother grew up in a New York tavern, circa 1900. While his own thirst for beer blossomed on a teenaged visit to England, he first pursued his other passions, film and TV – eventually working on projects for NBC, CNN, Discovery, History, VH-1, PBS, A&E, and MTV.
Other fun facts: Kevin is possibly the only person to have worked on film projects with both Michael Jacksons – the king of beer journalism, and the King of Pop.