by Spencer Blohm
The massive level of interest in beer and growing popularity of craft beer of all types means that there is a definite need for more shows about craft beer — about the excitement surrounding the craft beer culture, the expansive variety of brews, the local innovative breweries around the nation, and of course the heavenly taste of well-made beer.
In 2012 alone, the U.S. housed 377 more craft breweries than in 2011, according to the Brewers Association, with over 2,400 breweries in total. And, not only is the beer they’re making delicious, it’s also strengthening local communities, with craft breweries providing about 108,440 jobs. It’s actually quite disconcerting that the craft beer industry is booming in America, yet there is no real media attention on it after Discovery Channel’s Brew Masters failed to gain advertising support.
But now, from the men behind UK’s Brewdog brewery, we finally have a new craft beer series, Brew Dogs, airing on DirecTV’s new Esquire Network. The show is hosted by Brewdog’s James Watts and Martin Dickie and captures their travels to American beer towns, where they tour local breweries and then create their own locally-inspired brews, like the solar-powered, cactus-infused, meat pale ale they made while in Denver.
Brew Dogs just wrapped up its first season, with the seventh and final episode featuring Boston’s very own Sam Adams Brewery (by the way, have you seen the new Sam Adams commercial? It doesn’t do anything for the company’s image). In Boston, Dickie and Watts created their very own Boston Clambake beer, featuring Boston’s very own selection of lobsters and clams. They continuously break the barrier of what a craft beer can be, and introduce to new thinking on beer.
And these guys know a thing or two about beer. Brewdog, Scotland’s largest independently-owned brewery, is the creator of what once was the most potent (and uniquely packaged) beer on the market: their “The End of History” beer came in at 55 percent ABV and was bottled inside the skin of a squirrel (you may need to watch the video for an explanation).
What makes this show great is how Dickie and Watts bring beer down to the level of even the most unsophisticated beer lovers, while showcasing great American landmarks for craft beer. Their goal, according to Dickie, is to convert “craft beer virgins” – and convert they have. Take their Seattle episode — we get to watch the men brew the world’s most-caffeinated beer — a chocolate-coffee imperial stout. Now, I love coffee, I love chocolate, and I love beer, so yes, Dickie, you have converted yet another craft beer enthusiast!
But underneath all the eccentric-ism of Dickie and Watts and all their crazy antics is a true lesson on craft beer — a learning experience for beer lovers of all stripes. They teach the intricacies of beer making, propose that we should look at beer in a new light and above all demonstrate that craft beer is no longer just a niche community — it is a growing and flourishing industry which boosts the local and national economy while also charming my taste buds.