Of the many premium 2018 documentaries on tap, “Brewmaster” may not pack one of the bigger buzzes, but it certainly goes down easy.
Part pilsner primer, part genial human interest piece, the documentary takes an up-close-and-personal look at some of the factors and players involved in the country’s burgeoning beer renaissance.
Although Jimmy Carter was responsible for legalizing home brewing back in 1976, and that same year Jack McAuliffe launched the game-changing New Albion Brewing Co., generally regarded as America’s first microbrewery in generations, in Sonoma, it would take a bit of time before beer culture would have the moment it’s clearly enjoying today.
Director Douglas Tirola has assembled a number of experts in the field, including Dogfish Head Brewery founder Sam Calagione and renowned beer expert Garrett Oliver, but the primary focus is on a pair of the predominantly male 20-somethings who share, along with facial hair, a geeky passion for the alchemy that occurs when introducing water to yeast, malted barley and hops.
As a tenacious New York law clerk who graduated from Mr. Beer kits, Drew Kostic dreams of launching his own label. Brian Reed, a young Milwaukee-based husband and father is equally determined to pass the Master Cicerone exam, a certification that’s comparable to sommelier in the wine world.
Their trials and tribulations, along with a selection of vintage beer commercials, lend the undemanding film an informally agreeable effervescence.
Running time: 1 hour, 29 minutes
Playing: Starts Friday, Laemmle Monica Film Center, Santa Monica