Quick question for you: what is responsible for the adoption of agriculture, the pyramids, antibiotics, the Sistene Chapel, antiseptic medicine, modern commerce, American colonization and independence, modern manufacturing, the end of child labor, and little girls being able to eat ice cream?
If you guessed beer, you’re right. You’re pretty smart. Wow. I’m impressed. Or you’ve seen “How Beer Saved the World,” brought to you by America’s favorite source of shark-related infotainment, the Discovery Channel.
Das Herr and I recently took in this gem, which is one of a glut of beer-based documentaries currently available on Netflix. It’s also available for free via the “Top Documentary Films” website. If you’re looking for forty three minutes of bleeding-edge, impartial scientific research with rock-solid, evidence-based conclusions and slick computer renderings of what life was like in ancient Egypt, this offering is not for you. If you prefer thinly-stretched premises and suspect just-so stories presented using cartoons, look no further. There’s a lot of pure comedy gold here. There’s a food scientist who suggests beer invented the wheel. Innocent bar patrons drink beer brewed with duck crap. There’s even a twist at the end (hint: this production was probably not produced by a party wholly uninterested in selling the beverage that has saved so many lives and pushed mankind to the dizzying heights of sophistication we enjoy today).
So if you have an hour to kill, crack open a cold one, and bask in the glory of all beer has brought mankind. Just make sure to take it with a grain of salt. Or barley.