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.