For this edition of the bookshelf, we decided to do things a little differently and review Friedrich Moser’s new documentary, BEER! – A Love Story, a deep dive into the world of craft beer.
There’s nothing quite like a day spent at a brewery to reignite one’s passion for beer. Ahhh, to tour a facility, try a few beers in the taproom and listen to a brewer talk about why they love beer and what makes their brewery stand apart – what could be better? Of course, over the past year, each of us has been hard-pressed to connect with these moments, as brewery tours, tap takeovers and beer festivals have all been put on hold. That’s what makes Friedrich Moser’s new documentary, BEER! – A Love Story, the right film for this moment.
Over its 92-minute runtime, Moser travels across the world – from Austria to Italy to Brooklyn and beyond – taking viewers on a craft beer journey. He visits some of the oldest, most revered breweries on earth, as well as brand new beer bars pouring beer from their taps for the very first time.
Moser’s beautiful cinematography (which would be right at home on a prestigious foodie show like Chef’s Table) brings every brewery and beer bar to life. Moser was also able to sit down with some of the industry’s most highly regarded brewers like Rodenbach’s Rudi Ghequire, Orval’s Head Brewmaster Anne- Françoise Pypaert and New Belgium’s former Brewmaster Peter Bouckaert.
The documentary finds each of these subjects in an unending supply of memorable scenes, such as when Frank Boon of the Boon Brewery talks through the history of lambic beers as he casually repairs a 100-year-old, 2,700 liter barrel in his brewery. Or Orval’s Pypaert showing off the brewery’s famous Brettanomyces yeast as she remembers the first Orval she ever drank (which happened to be during her job interview at the brewery).
Beyond these delightful anecdotes, viewers will find a documentary that reminds us how beer binds together history and cultures. Whether it’s Ghequire taking us through Rodenbach’s vast array of enormous foeders (some of which date back to the mid-1800s) or a hipster tapping a keg in the basement of a Brooklyn beer bar, each subject happily reminds us why beer still has the power to inspire and surprise us.
Perhaps Julia Herz, Craft Beer Program Director for the Brewers Association, puts it best when she says, “Everyone who works in beer has a story.” Hers began after she left her lucrative job at CNN to spend the next year on the road, traveling the country and sleeping on friends’ couches. After running out of friends who had space for her to crash, she realized that every time she stopped by a brewpub, there were brand-new friends to be made and new experiences to be had. It was these connections made with other beer lovers that persuaded her to pursue a life in beer.
BEER! – A Love Story is a beautiful work that weaves together similar stories from across multiple countries, in dozens of languages, that each speak the universal language of beer.
Head to BeerMovie.org to rent ($14.99) or buy ($24.99) the documentary.