Whenever a new beer-themed movie or show comes out we are asked to watch it and see what we think. First and foremost, we are beer guys. We like beer. We like beer people. We like sharing our beer knowledge. We love to promote things that promote beer. Sadly, most of the media we watch, see, or read falls short from our perspective as beer guys and girls. We become cynical when participants are either from big beer or under big beers umbrella, instantly credibility is lost. We are not movie reviewers, we are beer people. Maybe that is why we are let down so often.
This is not the case with Brewmance, a new movie produced and directed by Christo Brock that will be releasing nationwide on 4/13/21 on Apple TV and On Demand. Brock, best known for his documentary Touch the Wall about swimming superstar Missy Franklin, brings us a highly entertaining and informative film about craft beer. It captured my interest from the first shot when brewing legend Jim Koch came on screen talking about his introduction into brewing beer.
The film not only gives you the basics of craft beer told by a who’s who list of beer superstars including Sam Calagione, Fritz Maytag, Vinnie Cilurzo, Ken Grossman, Charlie Papazian, Larry Bell, Randy Mosher, and the aforementioned Jim Koch amongst many more. It also documents the journey of 2 breweries and their quest to open in California. This is the story that is seldom told and the one that is the most compelling of any beer doc that I have watched.
Brock tells the story of Dan and Jesse Sundstrom of Ten Mile Brewing Company and Dan, Eric, and Michael of Liberation Brewing Company. They have very different beginnings. One is a father-son team that was brought together by beer after a rocky relationship. The other is a group of friends led by a musician from the Ska band Reel Big Fish who garnered a love for beer while on the road touring with his band.
Warts and All
What I love about their stories is that we get to see everything, warts and all, while trying to open and get their beer to the public. Without getting in to too much detail, this documentary chronicles that process in the most realistic way that I have seen on film to date. I am not gonna lie, there are a few moments towards the end of the film that made me a little emotional. From my experience in writing about beer and seeing the blood, toil, sweat, and 401k’s that people invest into building a brewery, this movie perfectly captures the moment when the brewery owner can say “I think we are gonna make it”. That feeling resonated within me with real emotion.
Brewmance was a fun and interesting movie for the beer lover and anyone else who loves a good story. As an added bonus, during a scene filmed at the GABF in 2018, Slack Tide Brewing Company is prominently mentioned. That was totally unexpected but fun to see!
I highly recommend this film. A love letter to craft beer and the people who make it may be best encapsulated by this quote from Russian River Brewing’s Vinnie Cilurzo who says, “We are artists and make liquid art”. That, my friends, says it all.
For more information on Brewmance visit https://www.brewmancemovie.com