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.