For reasons beyond my feeble intellectual capacity to understand, we seem to only be successfully posting LiveChats for every other episode of BrewMasters. While we did conduct a LiveChat for Episode 2, Magnus was slated to be the editor for that one and with his departure, we simply haven’t tackled it yet. As for Episode 4…it premiered while most of us were in New York for Magnus’s memorial service. So essentially we missed a show about one of the worst people on Earth while we were celebrating the life of one of the best.
We decided it would dishonor our friend’s memory not to continue traditions that he loved so dearly. And there were few things he enjoyed more in the past few months than mocking that douchiest of douchebags…Mr. Sam Calagione.*
*Editor’s Note: After our first LiveChat, we received a letter from a former Dogfish Head brewer that was absolutely awesome. It essentially confirmed all of the ridiculous insults we’ve been hurling at Calagione over the past few months. Now, I’ll grant you that a disgruntled ex-employee probably isn’t the most accurate source of news about a former boss. But we’re a beer blog…which means we specialize in innuendo, unconfirmed reports, and flat-out fabrication. Man, I loves me some interwebs.
Thus, Slouch, the Commander, Lord Copperpot and I decided to take on Episode 5 of Brew Masters…entitled, “Ancient Ale”. The results are…umm…a bit, “sloppy”. But considering our collective emotional state (and our collective state of inebriation) during the episode’s airing, the fact that we managed to pair nouns with verbs is something of a minor miracle. Enjoy!
Welcome to Episode 5 of Brew Masters: Ancient Ale! This week, Sam travels far away and Dogfish Head has production problems. What a fucking shock.
COMMANDER: This week, we’re heading all the way to Cairo, Egypt. Yawn.
SLOUCH: To revive a 4,000-year-old beer. Why? Were the Egyptians renowned for their beer-making abilities? No, they were renowned for stacking giant piles of rocks.
BARLEY: The preview just showed an Egyptian cab driver talking about how he gets into major accidents at least once a week. Sound like any breweries you know of?
BARLEY: So this is basically the exact same damn show every week. Sam travels to brew something ridiculous and his brewery “almost” loses a batch.
SLOUCH: This is also the same damn chat every week. But we keep doing it. Because we never have anything better to do.
The usual recap of Dogfish Head…off-centered beer…off-centered people…blah blah blah, who gives a fuck anymore.
COMMANDER: Sam’s mission: to put weird shit in beer.
SLOUCH: Again, I’d like to note that off-centered = not straight.
BARLEY: Yes, Slouch. Duly noted.
Sam talks about the “crazy” beers Dogfish Head brews in homage to ancient beers that are no longer produced. He discusses the Chateau Jiahu, a rice-beer made with Muscat grapes.
BARLEY: Because clearly the best beers on Earth were made thousands of years ago. Nothing has improved since then ever.
COMMANDER: Look at the nasty wort they’re using for that beer. It’s probably the best regurgitated spinach artichoke dip I’ve ever seen.
BARLEY: The recipe for the Jiahu is based on pottery shards?
COMMANDER: Like kabbalah.
SLOUCH: Not shards. Sharts.
COMMANDER: Sharts are what my wife has to clean out of my boxers every morning when she wakes me up.
The Dogfish Head crew talks about all of the issues with brewing Jiahu. Apparently the beer is impossible to brew correctly and simply won’t ferment.
BARLEY: Thanks for making us brew a beer our equipment can’t handle, Sam!
MASHTUN: The Jiahu won’t ferment. So they’re adding more grapes? That doesn’t seem very scientific.
BARLEY: I like that they only have “10 minutes to get the Muscat Pump into the fermenter!” Fabricated drama.
BARLEY: And somehow a camera crew was there to capture the 10 minute run. How fortunate.
SLOUCH: Muscat Pump was the name of my polka band in high school
Sam discusses the advanced Egyptian civilization and how it is inspiring him to make beer.
COMMANDER: I can see how Egypt is inspiring him since working for Sam is like working for the pharaohs.
BARLEY: If Egypt was so advanced, how did the Jews escape?
COMMANDER: Strong winds, motherfucker.
COMMANDER: The Egyptians wasted beer on the dead? Magnus would be incensed. He was personally offended when someone left a half-inch of beer in their glass.
BARLEY: Sam can apparently read hieroglyphics. He’s a true Renaissance douchebag.
MASHTUN: The Egyptians would be horrified if they saw our civilization as represented by this fucker.
BARLEY: It appears that his plan is to steal Egyptian artifacts, bring them back to Dogfish Head, and make beer out of them.
COMMANDER: Isn’t it a crime to pulverize a mummy and turn it into beer?
SLOUCH: Not in Delaware.
We’re introduced to Katrinka…Dogfish Head’s “Resident Yeast Expert”. Yes, they actually call her that.
BARLEY: Resident yeast expert? Really? I don’t even have a joke.
SLOUCH: SHE’S THE RESIDENT YEAST EXPERT!!!
BARLEY: She loves yeast.
SLOUCH: Her love of yeast is infectious
BARLEY: She should drink cranberry juice.
SLOUCH: She just waxed poetic about “doggie yeast”.
BARLEY: This thing practically writes itself.
SLOUCH: Doggie yeast apparently “smells and tastes unique”.
MASHTUN: I find that doggie yeast does indeed have a particular odor
Floris, the Belgian brewmaster, tells Sam how best to capture the “wild yeasts” in Egypt…by holding a petrie dish in the air.
SLOUCH: So Floris’s plan will also capture pollen, yeast, bacteria, smog, particulates…
BARLEY: Sounds like every other Dogfish Head beer.
COMMANDER: I just hope the curse of King Tut kills Sam with a stake through the heart.
BARLEY: “Floris has Gone Wild.” Isn’t that a DVD?
MASHTUN: I have that one. Two words: back hair.
Back to the non-fermenting Chateau Jiahu disaster.
BARLEY: Sam notes that “all good brewers know that yeast is unpredictable.”
BARLEY: So do all bad brewers. And non-brewers.
MASHTUN: Yeast is crazy AND unpredictable. And crazy!
COMMANDER: “It should be producing alcohol but it’s not” — possibly the first real drama in a Brew Masters episode.
SLOUCH: No, they lost a valve in a bottle of IPA once. That was dramatic until they found it.
BARLEY: Worst case scenario, they have to dump the beer. Sooooo, it’s exactly the same as every other episode.
COMMANDER: Back to the “dumping the beer” well. Awesome.
BARLEY: I like that in every episode, the dollar value of the beer they have to dump seems to increase exponentially.
Dumping this batch will set us back 20 million dollars!
Dumping this batch will lead to a global economic disaster that will force us to eat our own children!
COMMANDER: Frankly, that could be a win-win.
Sam meets his tour guide Ramy who drives him through the mean streets of Cairo to get to the pyramids.
BARLEY: Where does he get these guides? I don’t think Ramy is even Egyptian. I think he’s from Queens.
SLOUCH: Wait? They have pyramids in Egypt? I thought they were only in Vegas.
MASHTUN: Ramy is their Egyptology expert? He’s a fucking cab driver.
COMMANDER: Ramy just explained that someone honked at them and it meant “your mother is a prostitute” — can I learn that code in honking?
MASHTUN: But Sam’s mother IS a prostitute!
BARLEY: Ramy claims he’s taking them on a shortcut. I’m fairly certain he’s going to steal Sam’s kidneys.
Ramy takes Sam to the City of the Dead. Hopefully he plans on leaving him there.
BARLEY: Sam wants to create the same beer that the mummies were drinking. I’m gonna go out on a limb here and guess they weren’t drinking anything. Because mummies are super, duper dead.
COMMANDER: “It’s like the city ended and we’re in the middle of nowhere”… yes, Sam…that’s what the ancient world looks like.
SLOUCH: I’m guessing the mummies weren’t drinking any… dammit I’m behind.
COMMANDER: Sam, while looking at ancient wall scribblings: “Oh, this tomb is the comic book of Egypt? And I’m the comic book of America!”
Sam and company somehow figure out how Egyptians made beer just from looking at some drawings in a tomb.
BARLEY: OK…we’re looking at drawings of ancient Egyptians “molding a loaf”. That’s a euphemism for dropping anchor, right?
COMMANDER: I wonder when Slouch will get back from molding a loaf
SLOUCH: I’m back. I was just adding the yeast
MASHTUN: This sounds like a terrible way to make beer. Make bread…then leave it out and let it ferment.
BARLEY: Sam decides that he has perfectly interpreted the convoluted drawings on the tomb wall and now knows exactly how ancient Egyptians made beer 4,000 years ago. Because he is the world’s foremost Egyptologist and pre-eminent hieroglyphics translator.
COMMANDER: It appears that both ancient Egypt and Dogfish Head are both run by ruthless dictators who like to do whatever they want no matter the toll on their people.
BARLEY: Sam just decided that a drawing of a woman in the tomb was clearly a brewer because she’s holding grain. That makes sense. Who else would hold grain? It’s not like it was important to human civilization.
SLOUCH: She’s holding Emmer Wheat. That was my gay porn name in college.
BARLEY: Amongst others.
Sam wonders if the pyramid builders were paid in beer like his employees.
COMMANDER: No. We were slaves. They didn’t pay us in 12-packs.
Sam sits on a boat listening to brewers argue with academics about the proper way to revive a 4,000 year old beer.
COMMANDER: I hope in 4000 years nobody brings Sam back to life
SLOUCH: I hope somebody makes shitty beer from him
BARLEY: Academics versus brewers? I’m backing the academics.
COMMANDER: There’s only one way to settle this type of dispute…. take it to the Thunderdome!!
SLOUCH: I’m backing the good craft brewers at home in the States trying to make beer that tastes good.
MASHTUN: Why are they arguing on a boat? What does the boat have to do with ANYTHING?
COMMANDER: Speaking personally, if the Egyptians had enough bread to make beer out of, why didn’t the Israelites pilfer some brew on the way out so we wouldn’t have to eat fucking matzah 8 days a year.
BARLEY: Passover would be a LOT better if it was just a week-long bender.
SLOUCH: I’m on a boat! Look at me! I’m on the Nile!
COMMANDER: Denial is not just part of a 12-step program… it’s also a river where Sam’s underlings want to throw him to his watery death
Katrinka, one of Sam’s employees, is re-introduced with a new title: Dogfish Head’s “Yeast Hunter”.
BARLEY: Yeast-hunting? Call Katrinka.
COMMANDER: Regrettably, standards in adult entertainment have fallen, Dude.
SLOUCH: Yeast Hunters… premiering in February, only on Discovery Channel.
COMMANDER: She’s looking for yeast that’s alcohol tolerant? Isn’t that your whole personality, Barley?
Back in Egypt, Sam is allowing dates to decompose to get his local yeast. The dates seem to be in some back alley surrounded by donkeys.
COMMANDER: Egypt looks like Fort Lauderdale… parts, anyway.
BARLEY: Moldy dates. Now that’s something Sam hasn’t turned into a beer yet.
SLOUCH: Can we dance with your dates? Zing!
COMMANDER: Otis! my man!
SLOUCH: He loves us!
BARLEY: Oh good…donkeys are eating the dates. Because if there’s one thing I absolutely want in my Dogfish Head Moldy Date Brown Ale, it’s donkey shit.
COMMANDER: That donkey knows Sam’s going to fuck him in the ass after this.
Sam refers to a pyramid as a “mountain of awesomeness” during his yeast hunt.
BARLEY: Mountain of awesomeness. I’m sure the folks that built it felt the same way as they died stacking a pile of rocks.
SLOUCH: Mountain of Awesomeness was my ska band in middle school.
The Jiahu just isn’t coming together. Dogfish Head must decide what to do with the problematic beer.
BARLEY: Do you think Discovery sends people to Dogfish Head at night to fuck with the production line? That’s the only explanation…a brewery can’t have a monumental fuck-up every week and survive, can it?
MASHTUN: Dump or package the shit beer?
SLOUCH: DUMP OR PACKAGE?!?!
SLOUCH: Discovery’s new hit gameshow!
COMMANDER: Let’s pick sides…package package package package!
SLOUCH: Dump dump dump dump!
MASHTUN: I’ll give you one guess…
BARLEY: Aaaaand, they’re going to dump it. What a shock.
Floris wanders off to take a call about the Chateau Jiahu failures. Because obviously Sam doesn’t know how to deal with it.
BARLEY: Why does Floris have to walk 100 yards away from Sam to take this call? Is he afraid Sam’s incompetence will somehow makes things worse just by standing next to him? Or is he calling Sam a douchebag in Flemish over the phone and doesn’t want him to hear?
MASHTUN: There’s no way he gets reception out there. He’s standing in front of a pyramid. That has to block the signal. And this show is sponsored by AT&T.
COMMANDER: While Sam is looking for yeast in Egypt, they can’t get beer to ferment in Delaware. The irony is killing me.
BARLEY: Why does Floris have to take the yeast to Belgium to isolate it? Do we not have that technology in the US? He’s a fucking spy…
COMMANDER: Sam said, “We only sleep if we make world class beer”.
BARLEY: He must be REALLY fucking tired.
COMMANDER: Hey, I only sleep if I drink world class beer! We’re two peas in a pod!
Dogfish Head starts dumping the failed Jiahu.
SLOUCH: When they say the beer is “going down the drain”, they mean they’re drinking it right?
COMMANDER: No, by going down the drain, they mean Katrinka is fellating the guy called “Drain”.
BARLEY: Who gives a shit? The Jiahu is a TERRIBLE BEER.
SLOUCH: No STOP!!! That yeast is still alive! You’re murderers!
BARLEY: I repeat, TERRIBLE BEER!!!
Katrinka takes the blame because she’s the one who was “producing the yeast for it”.
SLOUCH: Katrinka was producing the yeast for it?
BARLEY: From her vagina?
SLOUCH: I wasn’t going in that direction with that joke, Barley.
SLOUCH: OK, Yeah, I was.
MASHTUN: Katrinka’s yeast is being dumped directly into the Delaware river, right? Enjoy your water supply DC!
Sam walks through a Cairo bazaar claiming that “this is the part he’s good at”.
BARLEY: The part of brewing that Sam is good at is picking random shit to make beer out of and then forcing his employees to figure it out. He’s starting to remind me of Norville Barnes…
MASHTUN: Only you could drop a Norville Barnes reference on the fly.
COMMANDER: Soooo….the part of recipe building that he’s good at involves going to an open market and buying handfuls of dried iguanas and other “things that are very good for your sexual organs”?
BARLEY: And then shipping them back to Delaware to fuck with his employees. What an ass.
BARLEY: They should give sexual organ enhancers to Katrinka. So she can produce more yeast.
SLOUCH: What is that ingredient he’s smelling? That’s pot, you can never convince me otherwise.
BARLEY: No, no…it’s “appley chewing tobacco”. Not pot.
SLOUCH: It’s pot.
“Dr.” Pat explains the traditional Egyptian ingredients (like chamomile and doum grain) that they’re buying at the open market and then Sam dumps them directly into some Egyptian beer to help inspire him.
COMMANDER: Chamomile? I know it’s 16,000 years old, but I’m pretty sure the Egyptian beer purity law prohibited them from putting it in beer…
BARLEY: Am I the only one that thinks Dr. Pat has no fucking idea what he’s talking about?
SLOUCH: Dr. Pat is no more a doctor than Ramy is a cabbie.
MASHTUN: Wait, did Dr. Pat just say you can put chamomile in tea? Who would have thought? This guy is a fucking genius.
BARLEY: So Sam is just dumping raw ingredients into a glass of shitty beer. That should perfectly mimic what the beer will taste like. Why bother brewing when you can just directly add crap to your beer?
COMMANDER: Wait…you guys realize that a glass of beer in Egypt is like $20 because alcohol is generally not allowed. Sam’s running up a $500 bar tab with this disgusting “experiment”.
BARLEY: YOU’RE JUST DUMPING SHIT IN BEER! Why? This makes no sense. You’re ruining the beer AND the ingredients.
SLOUCH: I reiterate the fact that I will never, ever buy Dogfish Head again
BARLEY: I have a bottle of 120 Minute IPA in my beer closet. What do I do with it?
Ramy the cabbie samples Sam’s experimental beer. He…does not like it.
COMMANDER: Ramy hates Sam’s beer…. me too.
MASHTUN: I love it. Ramy hates it, so Sam thinks it’s great and will brew it. The Calagione approach: This beer is terrible…let’s make a lot of it!
Meanwhile, at the Hall of Super Best Friends…
MASHTUN: Floris needs a wardrobe consultant. He looks homeless.
SLOUCH: He needs to be less Belgian
BARLEY: They’ve isolated the Egyptian yeast and are now talking about “sexy yeast fornication”. Their words…not mine.
MASHTUN: Mmm…yeast porn
SLOUCH: It’s like tentacle porn, but boring
BARLEY: Floris, “Katrinka. Come here. I have a beer boner.”
MASHTUN: Actually, I think Floris is embarrassed. He REALLY likes yeast porn
COMMANDER: Floris isn’t embarrassed by shit.
Sam can’t WAIT to drink “what the pyramid builders drank”.
BARLEY: Look…NO ONE wants to drink what the “pyramid builders” drank. They were slaves! It’s not like they got the ancient equivalent of Chimay. More like Osiris Blue Ribbon.
COMMANDER: Remind me why we drink Manischewitz?
MASHTUN: Sam: “I don’t know of a commercial brewery that’s done something like this before.”
They have three weeks to finish the beer for some reason. And they’re making it by dumping loaves of bread into the wort.
MASHTUN: 3 weeks?
BARLEY: Why? Wait? What?
BARLEY: My homebrew takes twice that long to condition properly. And I STILL usually drink it weeks before it’s finished.
COMMANDER: If Sam’s beer tastes like your homebrew, I’m switching my allegiance to DUMP.
SLOUCH: Watching them throw the bread in the fermenter is making me have to go mold a loaf.
BARLEY: Well…the bread looks pretty good at least. Perhaps Sam should become a baker instead. Loaf Masters!
MASHTUN: This is the brewing equivalent of throwing shit against the wall to see what sticks.
BARLEY: Wait…did Sam actually just show up for work? What a fucking miracle. Do those people even recognize him?
MASHTUN: This show is just bad for the craft brewing industry. Who wants to drink beer from a brewery that just throws stale bread into the vats?
SLOUCH: Not another penny to Dogfish Head…never again.
BARLEY: Do you think other brewers laugh when they watch this? Cry? Vomit in terror?
COMMANDER: I think they’re probably too busy brewing beer.
SLOUCH: No, they probably just read our delightful chat sessions.
BARLEY: Actually, it was a trick question. No one else is watching this.
The beer and bread starts coming together in the mash tun.
BARLEY: Soaking the bread in the mash tun. I wish the Professor was chatting. He could explain why this couldn’t possibly work.
SLOUCH: The mash tun! Mashtun…chug!
BARLEY: Sam just called the disgusting mix of mash and stale sliced bread like an “awesome pizza”.
SLOUCH: I booted that “awesome pizza” last weekend
COMMANDER: That’s the worst thing since sliced bread
Now we taste the unfermented wort to get a sense of what the final product is like.
BARLEY: Hey look, Sam’s weaselly toadie Bryan just showed up after all of the hard work was done. This is where he excels.
SLOUCH: Don’t forget he’s also a hell of a rapper.
BARLEY: Holy shit…that wort looks TERRIBLE. I think I pissed that like five minutes ago.
COMMANDER: Oh, I’ve definitely pissed that color
BARLEY: Dr. Pat can “taste the doum grain.” No you can’t, Dr. Pat. Shut the fuck up. All you can taste is the Commander’s urine.
Sam again notes that they only have three weeks to get this done and won’t even have time to try the beer before publicly serving it.
BARLEY: WHY ARE YOU GIVING YOURSELF ARBITRARY DEADLINES!
BARLEY: THIS IS A HORRIBLE BUSINESS STRATEGY!!!
COMMANDER: This approach really sums up Dogfish Head though. They try their beer for the first time AFTER they’ve sold it.
SLOUCH: And just think of the repercussions. If they screw up this beer, it’ll be on the front page of the Delaware Who Gives A Fuck Journal.
We’re in New York now…but for some reason, they’re showing the pyramids again.
SLOUCH: Everywhere I look, it reminds me of her
SLOUCH: RIP Leslie Nielsen
OK…NOW we’re in New York. He’s explaining to a room full of beer lovers how important being “authentic” is to him so he’s presenting them with a historically accurate Egyptian beer which he’s calling Ta Henket.
COMMANDER: Not that hard to find a room full of beer lovers, is it? Do you think they just walked the keg down the street and waited for people to follow it?
MASHTUN: When I think of Sam, I think “authentic”. Definitely the first word that comes to mind.
COMMANDER: Right. Before Sam, people tried WAY too hard to brew beer made of weird shit. But he does it authentically.
BARLEY: Why does he look like it’s his first time ever in New York? He brews like two hours from there.
BARLEY: He just claimed that Ta Henket is “the OG term for beer.” Please don’t use street slang, Sam.
MASHTUN: I still don’t understand why he hasn’t tried it yet?
SLOUCH: Because he doesn’t want to drink it.
SLOUCH: The first pour…and Sam and Floris are celebrating the fact that it’s carbonated.
BARLEY: Low expectations.
MASHTUN: They’re just happy it resembles beer.
SLOUCH: Somewhere, a microbrewer just shot himself in the head
BARLEY: Sam’s complaining that they just didn’t have enough time to really predict how it would turn out. You didn’t have enough time because you DIDN’T GIVE YOURSELF ENOUGH TIME!
COMMANDER: So this episode’s drama comes entirely from not having tried the beer?
BARLEY: There’s plenty of drama there. If they screw this beer up, those assholes at Aleheads might mock Sam.
Sam pours a beer for everyone in the room but wants them all to sip it at the same time.
SLOUCH: We want everyone to get dysentery at the same time.
COMMANDER: At least 80% of the people in the room don’t even want to try it.
BARLEY: And…it’s…awful. “It’s like tasting Cairo!” The dirtiest city on Earth.
MASHTUN: Tastes like sand, oppression, and terrorists. Yum.
COMMANDER: “It’s like shuttin’ your eyes and tasting your own asshole.”
COMMANDER: Actual quote, “The first thing I thought of when I drank it was yeast.”
BARLEY: One guy just said that unlike other Dogfish Head beers, this one “doesn’t taste like your doom is coming with each successive sip.” I know he was referring to the high alcohol content in Dogfish Head beers, but I’m just going to assume he meant that consuming Dogfish Head’s beers will slowly kill you.
COMMANDER: According to Floris, the beer is “drinkable”! Hooray!
BARLEY: High praise. Bud Light with Lime is also extremely drinkable.
SLOUCH: I need to take a shower after this episode.