I have a new appreciation for Sam Calagione at Dogfish Head Brewing. Even if I can’t say I like most of his beers, I do appreciate his work and what he’s trying to accomplish. Let’s face it, there’s something of the huckster in old Sam. I’ve sampled about half a dozen Dogfish Head beers and have only settled on two that I’d ever buy again with certainty (their Punkin’ Ale and their Chicory Stout) – I poured one of his raisin abominations down the drain and could barely finish something that was brewed with peaches. So what? I bought the beers at an inflated price because of their novelty and I’ll probably purchase other Dogfish Head beers in the future – again at a higher than usual price – and that will keep Sam and his folks forging along, so long as thousands of others buy into the same game that I’m buying into.
I was expecting more of a hatchet job on the Coors/Miller/Budweiser cabal, but the conspiracy theory in the movie seems to revolve around something called the “three tier system” and honestly, I drink too much to ever understand the intricacies of this monster, save to say that it props up the big breweries and makes it damned near impossible for smaller brewers to ever gain a foothold in the market.
I do think it’s worth pointing out that the giant brewers started out as microbreweries oh so many years ago. This point was touched upon during the panel discussion (that might just as well have been left off the schedule as far as I’m concerned) by author Maureen Ogle.
Here’s a real review of Beer Wars, which was posted by Chipper Dave over at Fermentedly Challenged.
My primary criticism is probably aimed at the local venue – perhaps it’s telling that I don’t even know whom to blame (maybe it’s that three tier system keeping the little man down). Marketing for this film seemed nearly nonexistent in the Phoenix area. I made a point of attending the Desert Ridge screening because I know that there are at least three brewpubs within walking distance of the theater. We stopped at Rock Bottom Brewery for dinner and I mentioned to our server that we were headed to see Beer Wars; he hadn’t heard of it and was shocked to hear that it was a one-night showing. Having finished our dinner and a beer, we walked over to Yardhouse which is literally within a stone’s throw of the theater’s front door (we could see the ticket window from our seats on the patio) and again, our server knew nothing about the screening of Beer Wars.
Just as I was about to give up on my local beer purveyors and their ability to get the word out about a decent enough beer movie, my hopes were raised as we walked out of the theatre. There, handing out business cards was Patrick Fields of the newly hatched Old World Brewery located just north of Beer Rant Headquarters. Recognizing him, I shouted “Old World Brewery” even before taking the card from his outstretched hand. He replied, “I remember you.”
I’ve posted something here about Old World Brewery recently (Click here to see it.) and you have my solemn vow, I won’t post another thing until I’ve visited Old World Brewery. He seems to be the only person hereabouts who managed to work in a local beer connection to coincide with the screening of the movie. The least I can do is go buy a couple pints at his establishment.
For the record, here’s a list of what I tried that was new last Thursday:
Desert Trail Pale Ale (Rock Bottom Brewery)
Orange-amber in color, this one smells as hoppy as some IPA’s. It has a slightly roasted taste with a hint of citrus like an IPA but more orange than grapefruit and not as dry as an IPA.
Anderson Valley Hop Ottin IPA
Arrived with a weak head and smelling of candy and definitely hoppy in the glass. This one tastes like a sweet breakfast cereal. Worth a second try when things are a little less hectic.
Avery White Rascal
Light yellow color with a fishy, smoky smell, this one reminds me too much of Hoegaarden – tasted like sausage. Why do I even bother with these white beers?
I sampled this one at the Yardhouse after the movie because the movie included segments with the chief cook and bottle washer at Stone. Frankly I’ve always been put off by their “better than you deserve, too good for you” marketing jive, but I have liked what they produce and this IPA is no exception (I recall that I’ve had it before in bottles). It smelled like grapefruit and sawdust and tasted just fine to me. I’ll buy another some time.
Okay, that's it. Suppose I'd better get myself up to Old World Brewery for a taste now that they're up and running.