“Brew Masters” is Hitting its Stride


You gotta love a logo made of toast.

Last week, I wondered if “Brew Masters,” the new Discovery show starring Dogfish Head’s Sam Calagione, would last. The first show was more infomercial than excitement, and the whole premise felt stale.  Still, I held out hope that the show would be much better once Sam started traveling around the world.  I am happy to report that this indeed seems to be the case.  

Discovery served up two new episodes of the show, one on Sunday night and one on Monday night.  Sunday night’s show featured Sam traveling to Peru to find a recipe he liked for Chicha beer, which is made with fermented corn that has been chewed up and spit into a bucket by the locals.  Nice!  The highlight of the episode was Peru itself, and the authenticity of their Chicha culture.  And of course Sam is great with people, so it was a treat to see him mixing it up with the locals.  This was the best episode of the show so far and I hope they make more special trips like this one in the future.

Monday night’s episode told two stories.  One thread focused on making Punkin, Dogfish Head’s excellent pumpkin beer.  This was pretty mundane stuff that revolved around construction at the brewery and a mishap on the bottling line.  But it was watchable for sure, and the producers wisely realized it wasn’t enough to carry a whole show.

The other thread showed Sam creating a beer with Luke Nicholas from New Zealand’s Epic Beer made with tamarillo, a native New Zealand tomato.  We got to watch Sam and Luke create the beer and take it halfway around the world to compete in New Zealand’s Beervana beer festival.  Along the way, we learn about brewing, New Zealand Christmas trees and we meet Sam’s charming family.  Between the two threads, the show moved along nicely and showed the potential of the show to entertain and inform.

So things are looking up for Brew Masters.  The scenery has begun to move and the show has found a pace that doesn’t rush Sam’s laid back attitude but still manages to move at a nice clip.  I’m looking forward to see what comes next.  This is turning into quality TV.

Is it the show Don and I were hoping to make? No way, even if they did do some Punkin Chunkin – Don and I would’ve been aiming at things that explode when hit.  But it shows that beer (and whiskey) certainly can be as fun to watch as cake or wedding dresses or shows about New Jersey, which is a good sign for fellas like us who hope to get a show of their own one day.

Here’s hoping that “Brew Masters” puts the pedal to the metal and doesn’t look back.

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Categories: Beer


Craft beer nerd, frequent beer blogger and occasional home brewer.

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25 Comments on ““Brew Masters” is Hitting its Stride”

  1. Rob Crozier
    December 1, 2010 at 4:58 pm #

    I definitely like the show. My wife’s comment after watching the last 2 episodes were “It didn’t suck” (she is not a beer person) and she was actually impressed with the way that the show showed Sam’s family and the workers in a way that you liked them and want to work for and with Sam. I thought the spitting/saliva was a bit too much but the rest of the show of the “Chicha” show was excellent and everything I hoped Brew Masters would be.

    • December 1, 2010 at 5:02 pm #

      Agreed on all points, Rob. The spitting was kinda gross, but the stuff in Peru was really nicely done. More of that, please!

  2. Greg K.
    December 1, 2010 at 5:02 pm #

    I think I’ve enjoyed the Punkin episode the most. Good on DFH for not letting a possible inferior product out into the marketplace.

    • December 1, 2010 at 5:03 pm #

      And good for the employees to get them as “payday cases.” The only payday cases I get are the ones I buy myself. Speaking of which, it’s payday tomorrow…

    • Rob Crozier
      December 1, 2010 at 5:07 pm #

      Yeah, how cool is the payday case?

      Would love to try the Portamarillo if it ever makes it way over here.

      • December 1, 2010 at 5:10 pm #

        They said on the show that it was coming. Looks like they finally figured out that the beer on the show should be on the shelves soon after it airs.

        • Rob Crozier
          December 1, 2010 at 5:22 pm #

          Fortunately I was able to grab a bottle of the first batch of Bitches Brew as I haven’t seen any from the second batch.

        • December 1, 2010 at 5:24 pm #

          I still think I have one buried out in the garage someplace…

        • Greg K.
          December 1, 2010 at 5:28 pm #

          Yeah the second batch flew off the shelves QUICKLY. I remember when the first batch came out, I was able to pick it up at my local shops for a good month easily afterwards. I went to one store after the second batch came out and walked out with one of the last two bottles. Apparently all DFH is selling like mad right now because of the show.

  3. December 1, 2010 at 6:22 pm #

    Hmmm… how about a B&WB interview with Sam Calagione? Could you guys pull that off? And would you want to? And would your readership dig it?

    • December 1, 2010 at 6:23 pm #

      We’ve thought about reaching out and trying to get him on our podcast, John. It’d be fun to talk about how he killed our dreams. 😉

  4. Mark S.
    December 1, 2010 at 8:54 pm #

    I thought it was pumpkin chucking?


    • December 1, 2010 at 9:12 pm #

      I cannot tell you how awesome it is that you caught that, Mark.

    • Don
      December 1, 2010 at 9:16 pm #

      You know mark, you are correct, and I actually corrected Jim on this last week in some comments somewhere, then I saw that Discovery has an episode of something coming up called Punkin Chunkin, that focuses on the intelligent craft of hurling pumpkins as far as inhumanly possible. So I guess either is technically correct.

      • December 1, 2010 at 9:22 pm #

        No, technically you’re an Idiot, Don.

        The “sport” of hurling pumpkins is called punkin chunkin. It happens in Delaware every year, an it’s where Sam got the name of his beer.

        I was aware of this and wrote it correctly only to be “corrected” by you. I didn’t make a big deal of it, but I know I’m right.

        Mark does, too, and that’s why there’s a smiley face on his comment – he’s slyly pointing out how you wrongly corrected me.

        There’s only one right way to say it, and yours is not it.

        I have been vindicated!

        • Don
          December 1, 2010 at 9:33 pm #

          You are so totally off base I could tag you out. I watched an entire special on some station somewhere last year about the cannons that they build for “Pumpkin Chucking”. That is how it was pronounced for the entirety of the special. Here is a quote directly from Wikipedia: “Pumpkin chunking (also called Punkin’ Chunkin’, Pumpkin Chunkin’, and pumpkin chucking) is the action of hurling a pumpkin in a competition by mechanical means over distances greater than those of other competitors.”

          Seems there is actually a lot of confusion about what the hell it is called, and as usual you pompous ass you think your is “THE” way. But you are wrong, and my very reasoned explanation about the subtleties of the name was correct and actually more correct than your intolerant point of view on the whole thing. You are such a snot! You pretend to be nice and caring, but actually you are mean and vindictive!

        • December 1, 2010 at 10:20 pm #

          I hope your double thick flannel keeps your cold conservative heart warm, Don. If not, you’re flaunt self-righteousness probably will.

          And way to go to the considered researcher’s choice for your information.

        • Don
          December 1, 2010 at 10:36 pm #

          Way to attack the source of the information, rather than the content. That is a typical lib tactic. You get that one from Pelosi? Seems the State of Vermont has a Pumpkin Chuckin association? Are you calling all out friends from Vermont, including Rock Art Brewery stupid? And yes my flannel does keep my heart warm, along with my nuclear family and my 30-06 rifle. And yes, I love Charleton Heston.

        • December 1, 2010 at 10:47 pm #

          Dontcha mean nuculer?

        • Don
          December 1, 2010 at 10:51 pm #

          Hey, me and Dub Ya were tight! But you again deflect the fact that I am actually quite correct, and you are …well, defeated!

  5. December 3, 2010 at 2:02 pm #

    I have yet to watch but the dvr is set this time. Even if the show isn’t exciting as expected its still much better than most other reality shows. Besides it’s about beer. How can you go wrong?

    • December 3, 2010 at 2:10 pm #

      Agreed – beer shows are shows about beer, which are great!

  6. Joseph
    January 21, 2011 at 5:17 pm #

    I relize this post is over 2 months old but after reading it Im having trouble believing that Jim let that “defeated” comment slide. Maybe a internet connect issue but Im hoping he comes back to finish that up. PS Dont dont be a hick you cant correct someone by stating there own comment in a different format. But its not your fault 😉 common sense isnt so common 😉

    • January 21, 2011 at 5:21 pm #

      I let him “win” because he knew he was wrong, Joseph. Just trying to give him a graceful exit. He needs those from time to time! 😉

      • Don
        January 21, 2011 at 5:28 pm #

        I went back through and read all the comments and I was perfectly reasoned and reasonable. I say Pumpkin Chucking and you…well…you are “different.” I’m not going to say wrong, because of all the confusion on the nomenclature, but I will say that you are intolerant and seem to think if you think something is one way, you MUST be correct. BTW what the He!! is going on with the glasswear post? Its off the charts.

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