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

  • OK, Hold Your Nose
  • OK, Hold Your Nose

    Everything you need to know before Election Day
    • Sep 22, 2016
  • Base of Support
  • Base of Support

    Polling local leaders and opinion-makers about presidential politics
    • Sep 22, 2016
  • The Messenger
  • The Messenger

    Local leaders weigh in on how Donald Trump's campaign has impacted racism in America
    • Sep 22, 2016
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri
Spokane Social Sketch

Spokane Social Sketch @ Boots Bakery & Lounge

Last Sunday of every month, 2-5 p.m.

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

  • To Kill the Black Snake

    Historic all-tribes protest at Standing Rock is meant to stop the destruction of the earth for all
    • Sep 8, 2016
  • Murrow's Nightmare

    Debate moderators need to be much more than an onstage prop to make our democracy work
    • Sep 15, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

election 2016


trail mix


BRIEFS


green zone


marijuana


Readers also liked…

  • An Eye for Every Storm
  • An Eye for Every Storm

    After losing out to Idaho Falls, Coeur d'Alene gets its crisis center; now the city has to prove it works
    • Feb 4, 2016
  • Worth a Shot
  • Worth a Shot

    As preventable disease breaks out, concern for public health reaches a fever pitch
    • Feb 18, 2015

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation