Posted on 7/03/10 12:06 PM
I can't figure why Anat Baron, of all people, would go to such strident lengths and concoct hours upon hours of such amazingly amateurish research for a subject matter she knows next to nothing about. It shows within the first 12 minutes that this woman clearly does not have very much insight into the world of beer, much less craft beer, but she certainly seems, to the untrained, unlearned eye, an aspiring educator; however, to people like me, she is anything but. She was, for many ongoing years, the General Manager for Mike's Hard Lemonade Co. and it indefinitely shows in this quirky, yet ultimately bland documentary about the United State's uncompromisable self-starting beer industry: all marketing and very little soul, this film, along with the conglomerated macros of North America, relies heavily on advertising rather than geeky beer knowledge to fashion an almost misanthropist-created experience: about all of the interviewees are pathetically uninformative on the subject and of most, do not feel like they even belong in the movie, save for maybe Sam Calagione a half-hour in, but even dear old Sam has trouble competing with his previous intellect in the rightly timed Quick Sips (Dogfish Head's informative beer
video update) where he delves into the new, exciting and innovative beers he and his company has to offer, as seen on Dogfish.com, and Youtube. Charlie Papazian should've been on the list of one of the very few individuals in this film I found fascinating, but if Anat really wanted to score with the beer-geek/homebrewing crowd, she would have Papazian on camera for a longer amount of time, as homebrewing is undeniably incomplete without Papazian in there somewhere. Michael Jackson, too, should've gotten a larger spot in this one; actually, I'm not entirely convinced she understood the relevance or the importance, even, Jackson was to the world of beer-hunting. Without him and his masterful world-traveled writings, we would be a lot less knowing of so many of the beer options out there.
Greg Koch has always been an arrogant bastard to me, and I was just waiting for his presence to leave the scene before some new stuff happened. Jim Koch was a delight to see on camera, but again, he didn't provide the audience with any beneficial reasons to come and search for his name on the web. Then there were people like Rhonda Kallman, and, for the life of me, I could not understand what motivated her, if anything: MoonShot was a travesty -- it had gotten a "6" on Ratebeer, and a "F" on Beeradvocate, averaging 1.94/1.55 (terrible score) on both sites. Why Anat thought it was necessary to interview this woman is beyond me. I guess because it shows the everyday American workingman, in this case, a working-woman, trying to make it big, but there was no respect in her work -- passion, maybe, but she was incredibly ignorant to the world of beer and I felt quite sad for her after the end of her segment. What also perturbed me is Mike's Hard Lemonade, the best-selling product from the company Anat worked under for many years, is not a craft beverage, nor is it even beer. It's a hideous alcohol-injected nationally-distributed alcopop, nothing more. This film had some interesting moments, particularly of the "aisle space", as well uncovering some truth about Anheuser-Busch's nefarious plans for universe-domination, but all in all I never thought this was a fully-developed documentary. The casual Bud drinkers out there may find this to be one of the greatest beer-docs to date, but for people like me, this is one hell of a boring ride.