Beer is back on TV.
It's been almost three years since the airing of a craft beer oriented television program. We're referring to the short-lived Brew Masters series from Discovery Channel, that brought Dogfish Head Brewing's Sam Calagione into our homes every week for a month and a half.
The six episode long, 2010 series episodes focused on the DFH crew searching the world for unique and interesting new beer flavor combinations; from Peruvian chicha to creating a Miles Davis-themed stout. The series, though, was "not renewed", according to Discovery Channel, citing "poor audience reception." Anthony Bourdain, whose production company Zero Point Zero produced Brew Masters, revealed on his side that it was "big beer" threatening to pull ads on the network that ultimately led to the non-renewal. "Brewmasters goes -- or our ads do," he tweeted.
After that seemingly failed attempt at beer-centric television, the people at the newly forming Esquire channel are going to try again. Only instead of a sometimes-goofy-but-ultimately-lovable guy from Delaware headlining the show, it's a pair of Scotsmen: Martin Dickie and James Watt of BrewDog, a craft brewery founded in 2006.
Like Dogfish Head, they are known for their experimental nature. In 2010, the company produced The End of History, a 55% abv beer that was freeze-distilled, and came in 12 bottles made using dead weasels, squirrels and a hare. They've even picked up a sort of rock star reputation among marketers and brand flacks across the world.
Previews of the upcoming series (starting September 24th on Esquire) show the duo traveling the United States attempting to rid Americans of their "craft beer virginity". Driving in a Guy Fieri-esque open top convertible, and taking on almost Top Gear like gimmickry, Brew Dogs is shaping up to be the opposite side of the television coin than Brew Masters.
Take a look at this episode synopsis sheet from a recent press release:
- San Diego -- James and Martin set out to make a quintessential Southern California brew by using ingredients they harvest themselves, including kelp and the world's hottest chili -- brewed while traveling 70mph on a train up the Pacific coast.
- San Francisco -- The BREW DOGS get "foggy" in San Fran by making the world's first vaporized beer. You don't drink this beer, you inhale it!
- Seattle -- James and Martin brew the world's most-caffeinated beer -- a big, bold, chocolate-coffee imperial stout -- on the top deck of the Bainbridge Island Ferry.
- Denver -- The guys brew the ultimate Western beer -- a solar-powered, cactus-infused, meat pale ale -- at 14,000 feet, using only the sun's rays to boil the brew.
- Philadelphia -- James and Martin make The Most American Beer Ever Brewed. It's brewed on a float during a Fourth of July parade -- and the final ingredient is added as fireworks light up the Philadelphia sky. The beer is also DNA digitally encoded with 328 million copies of the Declaration of Independence. (No, we're not kidding.)
- Portland -- The BREW DOGS create a uniquely Oregonian beer -- a fresh-hopped, blackberry-infused Berlinerweisse -- while floating on a beer-keg raft down the Willamette River.
- Boston - Along with Sam Adams' proprietor and legendary craft beer entrepreneur Jim Koch, Martin and James brew a Boston Clambake beer, infused with lobsters and clams and brewed on a tall ship sailing through Boston Harbor.
Is brewing beer on a train, or on a sailing ship, or with a solar oven or with the Declaration of Independence going to be entertaining television? Probably. I don't fancy cars in the same way as my motor-head friends do, but I'll will sit through an entire episode of Top Gear (the UK version, I don't think even the most rabid of car enthusiasts can sit through a full lap of the American one) because of the noted production and entertainment value.
Will beer lovers be able to do the same with Brew Dogs?
The series will probably turn out to showcase some lighthearted fun in the beer world. After all, it's just beer, right? If we can't have fun, then what's the point?
Maybe this series will prove to work on the new Esquire channel. We'll find out in a month, when the channel launches on digital providers September 23rd.
Beer things in your Twitter feed, follow me @DougFairall
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