The American Brew
the rich and surpising history of beer in America
Did you know the Pilgrims were not supposed to land at Plymouth rock? Learn how Germans changed America’s taste for beer in the 19th Century and why they became the scapegoats that begin Prohibition.Who were the first innovators? See craft brewers like Dick Cantwell at Elysian in Seattle make a small-batch jasmine IPA. Hear Fritz Maytag talk about taking over the failing Anchor Steam Brewery in San Francisco. Trying to sell that beer he tells us, “I went to a German beer garden and the owner said, ‘Yes, I know that beer. It’s terrible beer.'” Fritz laughs as he remembers, “It was about that time I realized it’s really hard to sell bad beer.” But it wasn’t bad for long. Even though his friends in the beer business at the time thought he was “crazy” for making what would become among the first craft beers. And, Ken Grossman recounts buying used dairy machinery to get going as a home brewer that became Sierra Nevada. “We dumped a dozen commercial sized batches before we got it right. Vinnie Cirluzo evaluates his oaky, wine barrels that are acquired from chardonnay vintners at Russian River: “It tastes more like chardonnay than beer right now. We may have to blend some other brew back in.” Brewmaster Garett Oliver takes viewers on a tour of his Brooklyn Brewery. Legendary journalist Michael Jordan pontificates about all aspects of beer brewing, critiquing – “it’s okay for wine tasters to talk about characteristics, why isn’t it okay for beer drinkers?” Our cameras are even allowed to witness the judging of the annual Craft Brewers Conference. It’s an action packed, informative, and entertaining hour.
“To understand America, one must know beer not baseball
The American Brew explains with wit and insight our infatuation with beer in it’s infinite variety.”
Dick Krek, The Denver Post
In the DVD extras is a scene we call “Cheese Wars.” Two sommeliers one choosing beer, the other wine match particular cheeses with beer and wine. A group of enthusiastic drinkers sip, taste and vote. In this session, beer won handily and we didn’t pay off the audience. It seems the bubbles of beer cleanse the palate so that the flavor of cheese can be enjoyed more than when eating it while drinking wine.