Beer Wars: What I Thought

Posted by TwoPints | Thursday, April 16, 2009

Well we finally got home from watching Beer Wars and the panel interview afterward. Of course the first thing we had to do is pour a craft brew. Some thoughts I want to mention before I forget are as follows:

Is Sam the Golden Boy of craft beers or what?!? I've always thought Sam to be adorable, and tonight was a feast for the eyes. He was a major part of this movie and it was great to see that his ever growing business has not changed the man. He allowed the film crew access to the brewery AND his home. He was kind enough to share his thoughts, at length, on what looked like several occasions. I particularly loved that he answered the phone to talk to a random consumer who dialed the 1-800 number. As I was discussing with SirRon in the car on the way home, whether Sam wants to be or not he is becoming the face of the craft brewing industry. I think his fellow colleagues should embrace this because when Sam speaks, he is not only speaking about his product, he is endorsing craft brewing as a whole. One thing I heard him say during one of his brew dinners in the film was that the members of the audience should take any beer they like and drink it at room temp. He mentioned that at room temp you really get all the flavors of each ingredient that has gone into the beer. His point being, that craft beers have much better quality of ingredients than the larger brewing companies.

One of my new favorites that I was introduced to tonight was Greg Koch of Stone. I've always enjoyed a good Arrogant Bastard but never really knew the face behind the company. I found him to be very pleasing to the eye and passionate about his product (aren't all craft brewers?). He was a new character to me as I've not spent much time with west coast breweries. I will say I'm a fan, and will look for those large Stone bottles once again to add to our collection.

Charlie, well what can you say about Charlie, he's awesome! I love to hear Charlie speak about the art of craft brewing and hear his stories about his own homebrews. Craft breweries are lucky to have Charlie in their corner.

Now this Moonshot business. I felt, and so did SirRon, that the filmmaker choose this beer not because it was a craft brewed beer (which it wasn't!!!! Well said Beer Advocate dude, "crap brew"), but because it was a women peddling the beer. Since our filmmaker likes to make us think that she's all about craft beers and she too is part of the business (you know having run Mike's Hard Lemonade for THREE years (Again NOT a craft beer)) I think she was, to quote Simon Cowell, "a bit over indulgent" following this lady around. I'm sorry I can't remember the lady's name, and there were times I felt bad for the poor girl. I mean she couldn't even get Busch to buy her stuff. But seriously, her storyline had little to do with the craft brewing industry. She has a product and she wants to market it, she doesn't make the product, she doesn't produce the product (from what I could tell) so what's the point? Oh right, she's a woman! Now I don't like to be cruel to my own kind, but this lady and her story really didn't have any business here. I was under the impression that this movie was about craft beers and their struggles with distributors. This lady took up way too much time of the movie. A movie that was promoted in the newspapers and on the internet as a story about the three tiered system.

So now I've covered some of the major players, let us talk about this panel situation. I don't know how many of you saw this but there were several frustrating parts to this for me. It really irritated me that Sam and Greg did not fight for the quality of their beers. Ben Stein (we'll get to him later) would ask questions about the concern they might have about BIG breweries looking like craft breweries with their new beers. Sam and Greg argued it well, but they left out the biggest point. Sam and Greg brew beers with quality ingredients. They don't mass produce and skimp on the ingredients. Ben also jabbed at Sam and Greg mentioning how much they have grown, and won't they be just like the big breweries only wanting to get bigger and wanting the money. I felt that this type of comment was rude to Dogfish Head and Stone. They are only growing in controlled amounts and they are not giving up the quality of their ingredients. Also during panel time I discovered that the lady that seemed so smart in the movie spouting off facts about percentages of craft beers and big beers being sold is actually stupid or has no real knowledge of craft breweries. When she was allowed to speak during panel time I wanted her to just shut up. She didn't know what she was saying and how rude it was to say those things about Sam and Greg. Again saying that they were just going to turn in to Anheuser-Busch because that's what EVERYONE wanted. She obviously didn't know a darn thing about Sam and Greg's philosophy. As they said in the movie, had she been paying any attention, Greg and Sam will not grow beyond what they feel they can do to keep quality high. I very much disliked this lady.

Ben Stein, oh Benny Benny Benny! How about do a little research before you are supposed to moderate a craft beer panel? How about watch the movie that preceded the panel discussion so that you don't ask questions that were already asked and answered in the movie? How about remember it is not about you, but about the panel and we don't care if you live in California? How about ask a clear question instead of just muttering the same words over and over? How about let the Beer Advocate guy speak since he is a freaken expert on the topic and you, BEN, have made it very clear are NOT?!? I hate to hate on Ben but there it is. He did a p-poor job (I must edit my cursing because after all I am a mother of two littles) tonight. I'm sure it's difficult to do a live show but, you know, prepare for it a bit. Act like you care.

One thing I noticed during panel time is that as often as possible the person filming tried to include Sam on screen. God Bless the film person!

Overall movie review from little ole me, informative in part and brought on a great discussion in the car on the way home. I wish that they would have had this playing more often so that others could see it. I'm afraid I won't have anyone to talk to about this movie except SirRon and I think we sort of talked this out.

Later Gang! Looking forward to the Mock Draught!

  1. Anonymous September 4, 2009 at 12:32 AM  

    Nice Beer Wars review
    Two Pints breaks it down for real
    Craft brewers unite!