Friday, June 1, 2018

Jason goes to Docfest--Opening Night

This was my important conflict that kept me away from the Silent Film Festival for one night. But I just can't resist a film called BREWMASTER. It's a wide-ranging exploration of serious brewing, from the established professionals to those looking to break into the business. The "beer famous" celebrities include Jim Koch of Samuel Adams and Vaclav Berka of Pilsner Urquell. On the "trying to be beer famous" side are Drew, a lawyer who really wants to be a brewer, his plan for "Drew's Brews" "Droo's Broos" ([sigh] can we knock it off with the "clever" spellings already?) Drew is an accomplished and passionate homebrewer, who is a fan of home brew cocktails, putting melon, cardamom spice, cucumber & mint, or jalapenos in his brew. ([sigh] can we knock it off with the fancy crap in beer already?) And then there is Brian, who is dedicating himself to passing the "Master Cicerone" test, which he narrowly missed the previous year. Oh yeah, the cicerone program is probably the most interesting part of the movie. You know how wine has sommeliers (a fancy word for wine stewards?) Well, there's a fledgling program to do the same for beer, and they are called Cicerones. And Master Cicerone is the highest level. In fact, at the start of the film there are only 11 Master Cicerones in the world (spoiler alert...there are more now.) That part was fascinating. There could be another documentary just on the Cicerone program.
Brian, studying at home for his Master Cicerone test
And actually, there was another part of the movie that was hilarious but brief--a montage of brewers and beer enthusiasts talking about their first taste of beer. Absolutely nobody likes their first taste, even future brewmasters. But a lot of people learn to like it, and I'm one of them.

Other than that, while the movie had a lot of fun scenes and interesting people, by casting such a wide net (and exclusively male net, to the point of making a joke about how a beard is a prerequisite for being a craft brewer) the movie becomes a little stretched and unfocused. But it was still pretty fun.

And then there was a mini beerfest afterwards in the lobby, with brews from several local breweries. Unfortunately, much of it was IPA, and while I used to love IPAs I've grown tired of them. A few years ago I would've said that American craft brewing needs to learn there are other flavors than hops. But it looks like that's turned the corner, too.

Running Time: 93 minutes
My Total Minutes: 480,616
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