Beer on TV: an Anti-Wishlist

Old TV
Old TV by Steve Stein on Flickr, under Creative Commons.

Every now and then the question surfaces: why isn’t there a programme about beer on TV? We haven’t hit on a winning format yet, but we do know what we wouldn’t want to watch.

1. The Great British Brew Off: A very slow-paced race against time hosted by Oz Clarke, with someone like Alastair Hook as the bad-tempered expert judge. Most weeks, Hook makes someone cry by telling them that their IPA ‘hardly has any notes of mango at all’. Music: something by Daniel Pemberton with the sound of clinking glasses for percussion.

2. Top Beer: three obnoxious blokes with longish hair sit around making laddish jokes. They go to Oktoberfest and leer at waitresses. They take baths in beer, snort it, inject it, take it in suppository form, and fire it out of cannons. They attempt to operate heavy machinery while under the influence of alcohol and get loads of complaints. Music: Status Quo.

3. The Twinkly Beer Chef: from the spotless, charmingly decorated kitchen of her West London flat, the twinkly beer chef prepares twee dishes to go with specific beers, before meeting actors pretending to be her friends on the beach at Brighton for an ‘impromptu’ (awkward) beer-and-food tasting party. Music: xylophone, celeste, breathy cover versions of Joy Division.

4. Big Baz’s Beer Road Trip: a red-faced man who looks as if he needs urgent medical attention drives around in a vintage Jaguar touring breweries, occasionally slurping beer very close to the camera before shouting: ‘Oh, that is AWESOME!’ He never lets anyone else get a word in edgeways. Music: synthesised heavy rock from the De Wolf music library.

5. The Twinkly Meadow Dream Brewery: the Twinklys have given up their humdrum jobs in the City (she was a journalist, he worked at an ad agency) to chase their dream and open a brewery in the rural West Country. Every week, they face a rather contrived challenge, knowing that they’ve invited the local womens’ institute round to taste their new stout to thank for them knitting a new fermenting vessel. Music: acoustic guitars and fiddles.

6. The Very Dry History of Beer: an academic with a slightly unnerving habit of looking off to one side of the camera, a lisp, and a peculiar gait tells the story of beer with just enough detail to bore most people to death, but far too superficially to satisfy anyone who has read a couple of books. At one point, things are livened up by an interview with an even more uncomfortable looking academic during which they keep talking over one another. Music: Philip Glass, Façades.

17 thoughts on “Beer on TV: an Anti-Wishlist”

  1. I think I would watch the Top Beer show…

    How about “Hell’s Brewhouse”?: A celebrity brewer turned into a swearing monster shouting at a group of wanna-be brewers for weeks, until their beers are ready. Music: Trash Metal perhaps?

    “Big Brewer”: A group of homebrewers are locked into a brewery and they have to make beer and drink it while planning how to back stab each other. Music: Whatever crappy pop is trendy today.

  2. I think you’re under-rating the ratings potential of seeing Jeremy Clarkson getting a can of beer (Stella, I assume) shoved up his jacksie…

  3. Celebrity The Great British Brew Off/Celebrity MasterBrewer – As above but with celebrities. Wring every last dollar out of the franchise. Make celebrities cry by telling them that their IPA ‘hardly has any notes of mango at all’. I would totally not watch that at all.

  4. I would watch several of them. The Great British Brew Off sounds great. Also James from Brewdog touring traditional regional UK breweries and telling them where they’re going wrong.

    Pub Apprentice with Lord Tim Martin?

  5. I think Hell’s Brewhouse would work better if the host visited a failing brewery, camply criticised the beer and contrivedly shut the place down for a good scrub and some fresh ingredients. Each week he will be resisted by a brewery owner/manager who has been meticulously researched, goaded and then edited to appear to be a contrary arsehole. The shiny, revamped brewery with its modern Word-art-free pumpclips will be out of business before the show airs.

  6. Breaking Wind – the story of Brian Beard, a struggling sociology lecturer and CAMRA member who is diagnosed with severe gout.He turns to a life of home-brewing in order to support his family.Nothing much else happens but it becomes a cult TV series.

  7. American Brewer – A father and son run a craft brewery in central Oregon where they mainly have massive shouting arguments about which hops to put in their IPA. Meanwhile, the brewery workers just shake their heads and brew the same stuff they always do. Soundtrack : Stuff by the Ramones

    BeerBusters – A couple of aging beer geeks try to settle the major issues of beer making. ie – When does a stout become a Black IPA? And does a formerly “craft” beer become MegaSwill when the brewery goes over the 15,000 barrel “limit”? And occasionally they blow up a keg with excessive CO2 pressure. Soundtrack : Post rock

    I’m A Craft Brewer….Get Me Out Of Here! – The head brewers of Kernel, Partizan, Meantime, Camden and Redemption are transported from London to a secret location on Saddleworth Moor where they are filmed engaging in spurious contests such as drinking pint after pint of regional brewery standard bitter to earn today’s food, and sticking their hands in a box of live Fuggles and Goldingd to earn a tent after the last one blew away. After every week, there will be a phone vote to evict the one whose facial hair has become the most displeasing. Soundtrack : Trevor Duncan’s library music.

  8. Brilliant.
    Pub Brother — five unknown beer writers are locked in a well-stocked pub for a week and filmed all day long. Watch the arguments unfold. The last one sober comes out to be greeted by Timmy Mallet (Davina couldn’t make it) and some of their mates. Sponsored by SIBA (perhaps). Soundtrack chas & Dave and Tangerine Dream
    Let there be biers — all kinds of people drink themselves to death over a period of six weeks on strong Belgian beers. Compulsive watching. Could also be called Come Die with Me (us?) Soundtrack Chopin played on Rolf Harris’ stylophone
    Count Arthur Strong — sitcom featuring a washed up beer writer with a penchant for strong beer hence his nickname, hold on a minute… the jazz band that always plays as CAMRA fests

  9. And what’s so bad about breathy Joy Division covers? ;-)
    Something on 4AD records wouldn’t be amiss for anything involving Twinklies either, I’m thinking later period Cocteau Twins with Liz’s unintelligible rambling warbling away.
    I noticed a fine variety of tunes on the Hairy Bikers Bakeation series, and German beer got a good look in. If you’re going to do something, get in before Si and Dave do!
    All the ideas so far are winners, I have a sneaking feeling we’d all love to watch Top Beer though. Publican Sam’s idea for it was hysterical. Father Jack indeed…

  10. Last Of The Summer Wine. predictable but cosy regional sitcom. every episode ends with a hip Yorkshire craft brewer being pushed down a hill in a bathtub on wheels.

  11. Decoction, Decoction, Decoction. Kirsty & Phil try to prevent aspiring brewers from over-reaching themselves without first mastering the basics.

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