Pin It
Favorite

DVD Review 

by Joel Smith & r & American Beer & r & The premise has been done before. Five thirtysomething guys go on a road trip across America searching for ... something. The meaning of life? The roots of rock 'n' roll? The downtrodden underclass? Nothing so lofty, this time. They're looking for beer.


Armed with a video camera and some rudimentary sound and lighting equipment, director Paul Kermizian steers his buddies to 38 micro-breweries in 40 days, ranging from Brooklyn to Yakima, from Santa Cruz to Milwaukee. They never really explain why they're doing it. High jinks naturally ensue. Their roof rack blows off a half hour from home. They live in a perpetual state of beer-drunkenness and road-drunkenness, both resulting in myriad morning-after motel-room hangover scenes.


This could all be a terrible bore. Though the travelers seem likeable enough, viewers are told little about their backgrounds, their motivations. There's little insight into their characters, so they become one-dimensional travel guides.


But as the film progresses, it becomes clear that the story is not about these unshaven, perma-drunk louts. It's about this class of iconoclastic American brewers who, in the late 1970s (when there were fewer than 50 breweries nationwide), organized a quiet revolt against mass-produced establishment swill, throwing all their energy, capital and sweat into handcrafting bold, traditional, experimental and delicious microbrewed beers. (There are now more than 1,400 breweries in the country.)


Consider Larry Bell of Kalamazoo Brewing in Michigan. He fought against bankruptcy to open his brewery and, in the middle of a drought year, was saved when a railcar full of malted barley practically fell into his lap. Or Sam Calagione, whose Dogfish Head brewery in Delaware started as the country's smallest commercial beer operation and is now one of the most innovative and well respected on the Eastern seaboard.


These are computer geeks, chiropractors, cellists, who were so intoxicated by the idea of what beer could be -- and so frustrated with the way in which the corporate American beer industry slumped into a formula of watery, corn-fed, tasteless brews -- that they gave up their old lives to pursue their dreams. It's a real blue-collar, bootstraps story about the relationship between a country and its favorite beverage. And that's a story even hop-phobes can find palatable.

  • Pin It

Latest in News

  • 'Why Aren't They Digging?'
  • 'Why Aren't They Digging?'

    The family of a man killed by Spokane Police in 2011 is still searching for answers
    • Jan 12, 2017
  • 'Hookerville' Revisited
  • 'Hookerville' Revisited

    Pedestrian bridge's price tag draws fire before city council vote; plus, Washington, Idaho fall short in closing the achievement gap
    • Jan 12, 2017
  • Taking a Hike
  • Taking a Hike

    Whether or not they supported the minimum wage hike, local businesses and nonprofits are scrambling to pay for it
    • Jan 12, 2017
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue
Lego Club

Lego Club @ Deer Park Library

Thursdays, 3:30-4:30 p.m. Continues through May 25

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by n/a

  • Iron Upgrade
  • Iron Upgrade

    The new one is smart and funny and action-packed, and it’s bigger and better and sleeker. And Downey does it again, this time ramping up Stark’s arrogant wisecracking, telling anyone who’ll listen (mostly women) that, via the creation of his powerful Iron Man suit, he’s brought years of uninterrupted peace to the world.
    • May 12, 2010
  • Seeing Gay
  • Seeing Gay

    A festival showing GLBT from all angles
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • Get Out the Vote
  • Get Out the Vote

    With all the uncertainty in the world these days, hot wings and cold beer are two things we can get behind
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Thanks, Obama

    The legacy of the 44th President goes far beyond the election of the 45th
    • Dec 29, 2016
  • One Free Shave

    Donald Trump might have merited a honeymoon with voters had he managed his transition better
    • Dec 29, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

scandal


Comment


scandals


Briefs


green zone


Readers also liked…

  • The <i>Real</i> Rachel Dolezal
  • The Real Rachel Dolezal

    The story goes far beyond just a white woman portraying herself as black
    • Jun 17, 2015
  • Patrolling While Black
  • Patrolling While Black

    Gordon Grant's nearly 30 years as a Spokane cop have been affected by race, but that's not the whole story
    • Jul 8, 2015

© 2017 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation