Saturday, November 27, 2010

Sam's Infomercial

So I finally got around to watching Brew Masters, the new show on the Discovery Channel that's a show about Sam Calagione masquerading as a show about beer. And unfortunately I have to admit that I didn't hate it as much as I wanted to. However...

It still sucked.

The elements of the show that focused on beer production and recipe formulation were really interesting. As far as beer is concerned, there's really never been anything on TV like it (at least as far as I know of). And they didn't dumb it down too much either. I found myself wondering if the average viewer (i.e. someone who doesn't already know about brewing and the nuances of different ingredients) would really get it.

For example, as different varieties of malts were discussed, there wasn't any background information given on what malt even is. And I don't necessarily think that was a bad thing. Hopefully that element of the show inspires more folks to be inquisitive about their beer and its production.

But that's it for the positive. What really smelled rotten about this show - and what should have been no surprise at all to anyone who has been paying any kind of attention to the craft beer scene for the last few years - was that it's really not about beer. Predictably, it's just a Sam Calagione vehicle.

For the past several years, Sam has been the attention sucking black hole of the craft beer world. He's the subject of movies, he has feature articles written about him in major publications (in which other brewers are thrown under the bus at his expense), his name is dropped a dozen times in every issue of every known beer publication. We all know about his modeling, surfing, rapping, baby saving, and miracle working.

And what it comes down to is that, primarily, this show is just about following Sam and listening to him talk about his philosophies and inspirations. Brew Masters is no more about beer than Ace of Cakes is about baking cakes. It's a soap opera centered around one guy (and don't even get me started on that Duff douchebag - I'd bet that they have the same publicist).

The interesting stuff that you might actually be able to learn from takes a back seat to the Sam-centric reality show. And that's just dime-a-dozen TV these days.