Diversion and Distraction of the Beer Kind: Brew Masters
I recently added a new entry to my “Television Worth Watching” queue; Brew Masters, an infotainment offering from the Discovery Channel featuring adventures in the craft brewing industry. I honestly like infotainment programs and I don’t much care if they are hard-core factual explorations of events on the History channel, science-geekery / invention programs on Science, or travel / food-porn on Food Network. Brew Masters kind of bridges the gaps between all of those subgenres to connect the history of an endlessly interesting industry with the nuts-and-bolts of the brewing process and the people in it, and the beer itself.
Brew Masters features Sam Calagione the founder of the Dogfish Head Craft Brewery of Delaware. He is both the host of the program and the main character of the reality-television show that encompasses all of the non-brewing or historical aspects of Brew Masters. He seems to be a really nice guy who is a little more than slightly odd and unique in the same kind of interesting way that he envisions his beers being (The Dogfish Head motto is: Off-centered ales for off-centered people). He is, quite literally, the kind of guy who would be a lot of fun to have a beer with, and that makes the show interesting and engaging, though the first episode contains bits featuring his craft brewing hip-hop group that was almost painful. It wasn’t the music so much (it wasn’t to my taste but the music videos were amusing), but rather that he thought it would be a good idea to use the premise / theme of the first show, the brewery’s collaboration with Sony Music to produce a beer accompaniment to the re-release of Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew album, to pitch a record deal of his own. It could have gone better I suppose.
I’m looking forward to more episodes of Brew Masters. Even more, I’m looking forward to the possibility that future seasons of Brew Masters will feature other craft breweries like Sam Adams, Stone, Founders, New Belgium, Magic Hat, Three Floyds or Avery who are known for making fantastic, excellent and unconventional beers. There are too many interesting characters and stories to tell to keep the show confined to one brewery, even one as colorful as Dogfish Head. Maybe they will even spin it off to distilleries and wineries. I’d probably watch those too.