Wakefield CAMRA Homepage Ale on DVD Index Bob Wallis (reviewer)
Beer on DVD no.65
Beers of Joy
A rollercoaster ride through the lives and loves of a bunch of American beer creators, not only in the present day but also from the times of the earliest European settlers. One of the main threads follows candidates, professional brewers, wanting to become Master Cicerones. I think these are like Beer Somelliers. This exam is said to be almost as tough as “The Knowledge” which London cabbies have to undergo. From William Bradford on the Mayflower in 1620 comes this: We could not now take time for further search or consideration, our vittles' being much spent, especially our beer. This beautifully photographed documentary weaves together the assessment of those candidates with a brewster’s search of great breweries in Germany, first Bavaria Germany, then Berlin Germany. You’ll visit the Weltenbürger Klosterbrauerei from 1050, die älteste Klosterbrauerei der Welt surviving destruction from fires and floods 9 times, and allegedly the very oldest surviving brewery Weihenstephaner from 1040. The proprietor instructs us in pouring our glass then swirling all the flavoursome sediment around and tipping that back into our drink. Andechs in Upper Bavaria is still run by Benedictine monks. It only uses aroma hops in the brewing, adding some at the beginning, some mid-way and some at the end. There are all sorts of nuggets of info in this film: there were already hops growing wild in America. English brewers described these hops as “catty”. An 18th Century American going out for a night on the sauce would say “I’m off to bung my eye” and coming back from such a session would say “I’ve been to Jericho”. We also learn about Spruce Beer– sounds a bit medicinal to me.
Our Brewster moves North to Bamberg and is taken round the iconic Weyermann maltings (Wednesday afternoons only and 15€ unless you’re a professional brewer). Finally she reaches her goal of Brauerei Meierei at Potsdam outside Berlin bringing the some of her own Berliner Weiße for the Braumeister to taste, and yes, it gets a thumbs up! Then we’re on to Italy, a blank canvas for brewing where Birra del Borgo brings wine ways to the beer world, using the method champenoise! Look it up on t’interweb! Obviously this American dvd is NTSC system, but it played on my cheapo Blu-ray player with an old-ish monitor and on my Sony Blu-ray player. My Panasonic machine didn’t like it.
to be printed in O-to-K , 2019 main text ©RKW