If we here at the Aleheads have said it once, we’ve said it a million times. We are, of course, champions of the craft brewing movement. And anything that shines the spotlight on the industry is OK by us. But can a television show about a small brewery really maintain dramatic tension and interest for an entire hour? Last week, after the pilot episode of the Discovery Channel’s Brew Masters, we had our answer. No. It really, really can’t.
Did that stop the Discovery Channel from making a full season of fake drama and the travels of Sam Calagione to faraway places? Of course not. After the success of last week’s Episode 1 liveblog, some of the Aleheads decided to run it back with Episode 3 of Brew Masters.* Brother Barley, Dr. Ripped, the Commander and the Professor joined me, Sir Magnus Skullsplitter, as we finally had a chance to see if Sam could win a beer competition. In New Zealand. With a beer brewed from, as near as we could tell, Tomacco. We’ve posted our transcript after the jump for your viewing pleasure.
*Due to scheduling conflicts, Episode 2 will be recapped and posted later in the week. Got a problem with that? It’s a free blog written by a bunch of jackasses about beer. Get over it. It’s not like Brew Masters has any sort of continuity issues. In fact, that’s one of the few types of issues it DOESN’T have.
The show opens with our hero, Sam Calagione, explaining that he’s making a beer out of tree tomatoes from New Zealand to bring to Beervana, a local beer competition.
Barley: Tomato beer. Awesome. Who wouldn’t want that?
Ripped: Tomatoes, I’ve heard of those. They’re those delicious red things that I enjoy in things other than beer.
Magnus: Beervana? That’s not even a pun. Maybe it makes sense in New Zealandish.
Barley: It’s New Zealand’s largest beer festival? How many people show up to that? 6?
Magnus: Don’t forget the 10 sheep.
Sam takes us inside the brewery and discusses how beer is important to world culture. Apparently, this leads him to make a Pumpkin beer.
Barley: Sam is getting deep. Beer is our past, present and future. I think he’s high.
Magnus: Really? Cicero drank beer? Genghis Khan? I thought Genghis Kahn drank people.
Commander: Does Calagione always bring a purse to work?
Sam explains that his first award winning beer was a pumpkin beer that he made when he was 24. This led him to open up his own brewery.
Barley: He looks the same in that picture from 1994. I wonder if he has a painting of himself in his attic.
Magnus: That’s beer. It’s anti-aging.
Barley: That must have been hard opening a restaurant and a brewery at 24.
Ripped: See, all you have to do is stick to it and you too can charge $12 a 4 pack.
Apparently they’re doing some major renovations in the brewery and will have to remove the esteemed Emerson quote.
Barley: Oh no…NOT the fucking Emerson quote!
Magnus: He’s quoting Emerson?!
Ripped: DEstruction instead of CONstruction? Oh, I get it. Thanks dude.
Magnus: Hah. Let’s get a bunch of dirt in our beer. Awesome.
Barley: So any DFH beers you drink this year will be mostly insulation and drywall.
Magnus: Asbestos. Now there’s an ingredient you don’t hear very much.
Ripped: I love their Asbestos Porter. Real chalky.
Commander: Funny — I think Asbestos Porter would be something Stone would make.
Commander: I still think it’s fucked up that you carry a purse to work every day.
Sam introduces us to Luke from Epic Brewing in New Zealand. We learn that the tomato beer will be a collaboration between the two. Sam and Luke decide to take a boat out on the water.
Magnus: Tree tomatoes?
Barley: It’s a fringe fruit.
Commander: Luke hates this guy.
Magnus: Hah. The SS Dogfish is a dinghy.
Barley: I like the New Zealand guy.
Commander: Because he doesn’t fucking talk?
Barley: Sam keeps showing off his crappy vehicles to make sure you know he’s a regular guy. I drive a piece of shit boat! Look at me!
Commander: Or to make up for his total lack of testes.
At this point, before the commercial break, there is a, “Next on Brewmasters…” where we get our first glimpse of the national disaster that is Punkin Bottling Crisis 2010.
Magnus: NOOOOOOOOO!!!!! BOTTLING!!!!
Barley: Crisis! Sound the alarm!
Ripped: Really, an alarm? Why not just a “Stop” button?
Commander: I thought the red emergency button was for when the beer tasted like shit, not for when the bottling line broke down.
Magnus: If that were the case nothing would ever get done.
Commander: In this case, it looks like six of one, half a dozen of the other…
Barley: Hey Sam, maybe you should stay and take care of the giant bottling crisis instead of flying to New Zealand to brew a tomato beer, fucker.
Professor: Actually, I kind of like the big red button. I could have used a “man down” button once or twice in my life.
The Aleheads amuse themselves during the commercial break.
Barley: Best tomato names for beers?
Magnus: Tomacco Porter.
Magnus: This beer tastes like grandma
Ripped: Lycopene Lupulin?
And we’re back with the DFH employees inexplicably using catapults to shoot rotten fruit at a wall. Yes, I just said that.
Barley: We have fun at DFH! Look! Fun!
Barley: Actually, that does look kind of fun.
Ripped: I love white guy high fives.
Ripped: And white guy fists to the sky.
The audience is introduced to the DFH Waste Product Supervisor and then brought back inside the brewery to check on the Punkin brewing process.
Barley: Waste Product Supervisor. AKA: Mashtun.
Magnus: Easiest job in the world. “No, don’t throw that out. We can use that.”
Ripped: Percentage of DFH workers that carry around satchels? 70%? 90%?
Barley: They always define the “filler” machine. Like we can’t figure out what it does.
Professor: So you’re saying the filler puts the beer in the bottles?
Ripped: Oh, that’s what they call it now.
Commander: I call it a splooger.
Sam and Luke go back to check on Sam’s rap partner Bryan and the tomato beer process. Sam explains that Bryan does the R&D after they discovered that he was better at that than being at the actual brewery.
Barley: Bryan looks like everyone’s stoner college roommate.
Magnus: Mmm. Chocolate and tomato. No, wait. Not mmm.
Barley: I like the tattooed chick in the back. She does all the work while Bryan raps.
Magnus: Hah. Bryan can’t brew.
Barley: I’m sure the rest of the Milton crew was happy when Bryan left. Since he has his tongue up Sam’s ass most of the time.
Commander: Did he just admit they sell everything whether it sucks or not?
Professor: I like the fact that their pilot batches are 500 gallons.
Ripped: Jesus, that weird tomato really does look like Tomacco once it’s opened up.
Magnus: It certainly looks like they’re smoking the ‘maters over tobacco not wood chips.
Ripped: Nothing like smoking tomatos over bark mulch.
Barley: I don’t want this beer. Nothing about this beer sounds appealing. Seriously. Why does Sam feel the need to turn every piece of produce into a beer? I like okra. I don’t want a fucking okra beer.
Barley: Aren’t there about a million places for contamination in this process, Professor?
Professor: Yes. In fact it’s kind of amazing that it works at all, if you ask me.
The show goes to another commercial, and the Aleheads discuss why this show is even on in the first place.
Barley: Sam’s probably the most accessible brewer out there. But he really doesn’t come off good on the show.
Ripped: I’m sure he has to dumb everything down to an acceptable level.
Professor: No, he’s probably the most flamboyant brewer out there.
Barley: And there’s precious little information about the industry.
Ripped: I’d love to hear him talk about real brewing, but who the hell else wants to hear that?
Professor: I think there are a lot of more accessible guys who don’t have as large egos…
Barley: It’s mostly about Sam realizing every wet beer dream he can. Discovery will pay for me to make a turnip beer? Sweet!
Professor: Leek Lager?
And we’re back to check in on the brewing process for both the Punkin and the tomato beer. DFH Quality Control employee Katrinka is introduced. She is investigating a suspicious yeast strain.
Barley: Katrinka’s job sucks.
Professor: Where exactly did she find this suspicious yeast?
Barley: Sorry, that was Beerford’s fault.
Professor: Suspicious yeast contamination. AKA: Mashtun.
Ripped: Amazing how far behind the 8 ball they are.
Barley: The rest of the crew does NOT seem comfortable on camera.
Professor: With all the tanktops I’d be afraid of getting an armpit hair in the beer.
We go to Sam’s house, where he, his wife and his two children are preparing for their trip to New Zealand. Sam is excited for the trip so he can spend time with his family. His family is excited for the trip because they want to see a toilet flush in the opposite direction.
Magnus: He’s a Red Sox fan. Unsurprising.
Professor: He probably has a pink hat to go with his pink polo.
Commander: Daddy gets a backwards swirly.
Ripped: Why doesn’t she just call Australia? They can check with the neighbor to see which way the fixtures go.
Commander: We should get to know each other again…on T.V. Like Kate +8.
Barley: Do I like him more because his kid has an Ellsbury jersey? Nah. Ellsbury is a pussy.
Ripped: Ouch, you just cracked my ribs
Barley: I better sit out the season.
We go back to the brewery to find out that the bottling crisis has begun. Apparently the bottle supplier sent twist-offs and no one checked them before putting them into the bottling machine.
Magnus: CRISIS!!! BOTTLING!!!!
Professor: SOS SOS MAYDAY
Magnus: MY GOD
Barley: I can’t believe that.
Magnus: PEOPLE WILL TRY TO OPEN THEM WITH A BOTTLE OPENER AND STILL BE ABLE TO DO IT.
Ripped: Um, you signed for them dude.
Ripped: Don’t blame the distributor.
Professor: And you didn’t check them. Your fault.
Professor: Guys. I’ll take care of that beer for you.
Commander: Isolate the defective bottles–exactly how Sam got sent to NZ.
At this point, Sam the narrarator begins to imply that they will have to dump the 6,000 bottles of twist-offs. He claims it’s one of the hardest things he’s ever done.
Magnus: I DON’T UNDERSTAND. WHY ARE THEY DUMPING BEER?!?!
Barley: It’s harder than watching a fellow soldier die.
Ripped: Why are they paying for people to stand there and dump it? Every heard of dropping the bottles?
Professor: Just freaking drink it.
Barley: Is Katrinka crying?
Professor: Just because it had a screwcap?
Commander: Squandered dreams, dude.
Barley: Sierra used to use twist-tops on everything. I was actually kind of sad when they switched.
Professor: TWIST TOPS ARE FOR MORTAL BEERS
Magnus: So instead of meeting orders they had promised to customers, they’re dumping beer.
Barley: It’s this week’s made up crisis. Next week…11.8 ounce bottles!
Barley: And the week after that…upside-down bottle-caps!
Magnus: OH THE HUMANITY. Well, beermanity.
Ripped: Yes! Beermanity!
We reach another commercial break and again venture slightly off topic.
Magnus: Can we live blog the gold miner show instead?
Barley: That would be awesome. I’m not mocking those guys though. Have you seen their beards?
Professor: So how many of you guys have actually had the Punkin?
Ripped: It’s awful.
Commander: I have. I hate it.
Magnus: I don’t hate it, but there are better ones out there.
Barley: I’ll risk the mockery and say that it’s actually pretty good for a Pumpkin Ale.
Magnus: It’s no Smashed Pumpkin.
Ripped: Good call – Hail Shipyard!
Professor: I love the Smashed Pumpkin.
Commander: After I had the Southern Tier Pumking, I had no interest in the Punkin.
Professor: The real question is: would you throw it away if it came with a twist top?
Ripped: No, no I wouldn’t.
Commander: Yes. But i would also throw it away with a normal cap.
We’re back with Sam in New Zealand, enjoying himself before the upcoming beerfest. Sam and Luke try the tomato beer. They also see the setup for the festival, including a man who designed the beer’s logo on pieces of of toast. Yes, toast.
Barley: I’ll bet the Tomato Porter is just fucking terrible.
Professor: “Wow” does not always mean “Wow, great.”
Professor: This artist’s sole medium is toast.
Commander: Dude, your sole medium is shitty beer. Are you really going to criticize a toast artist?
Professor: Toast is an unconventional medium like beer. You heard it here first.
Professor: The actual label looks nothing like the toast.
Magnus: Toast art? That guy is a toast artist?! I want to do that. How do I apply?
Ripped: Let’s ask the artist what he thinks of our brewing prowess. Seems about right.
Barley: Yes, the toast artist is the only rational person on the show. He recognizes that tree tomatoes and hops won’t work.
We go back to check in on the great Punkin Bottling Crisis of 2010. It seems they’ve decided to put the twist offs in isolation while they determine if the twist off has effected the quality of the beer.
Barley: Wow. Crisis averted. Amazing.
Commander: “Put in isolation” – another euphemism for Sam in NZ.
Magnus: If they’re going to dump that beer, I’m going to be angry.
Barley: Just give it to a bunch of high school kids. It’ll be gone in minutes.
Back to NZ, where Sam’s family is exploring the countryside and flushing toilets. Clearly the best part about NZ is the plumbing.
Barley: Where are Bret and Jemaine? And Moo-ray. I mean, Murray.
Magnus: Hey kids, your parents are off getting drunk, what do you want to do?
Ripped: Best Part!! Best Part!!! Toilets flushing the other way!
Barley: Simpsons did it.
Barley: Wasn’t Sam supposed to be hanging out with his family?
Professor: Yeah, he took his family to this thing so he could ignore them in a different hemisphere.
Barley: I hope they punish him with a booting.
Magnus: I feel bad I sold my family out, but I might get a crappy beer medal for my tomato beer!
Barley: Who the fuck cares about a Beervana medal? Which I’m sure Sam won’t even win considering he put a TOMATO IN HIS GODDAMN BEER.
Professor: And the award goes to… someone else.
And we go to commercial. God this show is long. We come back with Sam running up the steps of a random building, shadow boxing. For about 3 minutes.
Barley: Rocky! This is like his rap video. He needs at least one indefensibly embarrassing moment per episode.
Magnus: “Where’s Sam?” “Oh, he’s avoiding doing any work.”
Commander: Except Rocky had to fight Apollo Creed after his run. This guy just has to talk four times at a beer convention.
Finally, the moment of truth: Beervana 2010.
Barley: Luke looks like he should be in a Simon Pegg movie.
Barley: Competing against 8 whole beers!
Commander: I compete against 8 beers a few times a week!
Ripped: Wait for it…
Barley: Where is my keg? It’s missing?!
Ripped: Wait for it…
Barley: MY KEG!!! I CAN’T COMPETE WITHOUT MY KEG!!!
Ripped: Oh, they found it !!!!!!!
Commander: He only brought 10 gallons to new zealand?
Professor: Sam’s worst nightmare is losing a keg? My family is killed in a terrible car crash! No, wait, my worst nightmare is that I can’t find my kegs.
Professor: “Tell us what you think about our beer” (on camera, for a recording going on TV about our brewery).
The judges retire to discuss the merits of Sam’s tomato brew.
Barley: That’s the head judge? Where’s he from? New Jersey?
Magnus: Sounds like Trenton to me.
Professor: Trenton sounds right.
Magnus: I TASTE NO TOMACCO IN THIS. WHERE’S THE TOMACCO?
Magnus: Psst… you guys know that the people we’re talking about are the ones with the cameras on us, right?
Barley: I like the dick judge. He’s complaining about not tasting any of the fruit that he’s never tasted before.
Ripped: Oh man, I can’t believe it. Sam’s shitty beer didn’t win.
Professor: What we have here is… not a medal contender.
Barley: So, of course the beer fails to medal against 7 other beers in a tiny New Zealand beer competition and Sam decides to make a full production batch anyway. Because that’s what he does. He comes up with shitty beers, and then upscales them to production batches without any testing.
Commander: He won the Pumpkin ale category. Congrats. Do they even have pumpkins in New Zealand?
One more commercial. For the love of God, make this end. Sam claims he has the greatest job in the world.
Professor: To be fair, he probably does have the greatest job in the world.
Barley: I think the Founders brewmaster’s job is better. In that he makes better beer.
Ripped: But the Founders guys have to live in Michigan.
Barley: As opposed to Delaware?
Professor: As opposed to Delaware?
Commander: As opposed to Delaware?
Magnus: Yes. As opposed to Delaware.
Barley: Vinnie at Russian River has a pretty good gig. Sonoma Valley. And Pliny every day.
Magnus: Vinnie wins.
Barley: Oh also, George Clooney. His life seems OK.
Magnus: Does he get Pliny every day?
Barley: I think he gets Pliny served to him between the boobs of a supermodel every morning.
Professor: I take my Pliny no other way.
We go back to the brewery one last time to see Sam hanging with his kids, worrying about taking the Emerson quote off the wall during renovations.
Ripped: Dude, let the quote go. I’m pretty sure Emerson didn’t put that quote there himself.
Ripped: I can lend you my quote book that I used for my high school yearbook if it helps.
Magnus: You didn’t know Emerson could time travel?
Commander: Was it really cheaper to “save” the quote rather than reprint it?
The DFH employess discover that the twist-off caps work just fine, but Sam ignores this and decides to solve the Great Punkin Bottling Crisis of 2010 by giving the twist-off bottles to his employees on payday.
Magnus: MY GOD! TWIST OFFS WORK!
Barley: It’s a Festivus miracle!
Professor: No, wait. You’re telling me we blew this out of proportion?
Magnus: So he’s telling his employees, instead of money, you get beer. Congrats.
Barley: Thanks for the great bottle testing! But we’re still not selling it. So basically, everything you did this month was a waste of time.
Commander: Tens of thousands of dollars worth of beer? How many will each employee get?
Magnus: The quality sucks, but hey, we’ll just give it to our employees. They earned it.
Ripped: Hey, anyone want a case of poison? It’s free! Sold!
Professor: Thanks for the beer, Sam. But it kind of tastes like shitty pumpkins…
The show ends with Sam taking his daughter to the Pumpkin Chunkin festival where people use catapults to throw pumpkins out into a field.
Barley: All is well now that I’ve spent twenty minutes with my kids and this reality television crew.
Magnus: Well, one of his kids. The other one seems to have died.
Commander: I hope he brings tree tomatoes to the chunkin event and they kill him.
Ripped: I have been grossly misinformed about the merits of Delaware. Wayne and Garth were fucking liars.
Sam’s daughter, about a cartoon cutout of a very busty woman: “She has pretty boots.” Sam, cracking up, “Wait, did you say boots?!”
Ripped: That was awesome. I now love Sam again.
Professor: Big, pretty boots.
Magnus: In the end, his derisive laughing at his child has won me over.