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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