Beers of Joy is a beautifully shot and fascinating documentary, journeying into the craft beer industry. The documentary follows four individuals whose lives revolve around the beer.
Ryan Daley, previously of Goose Island Beer Company, and Joe Vogelbacher of Sugar Creek Brewing Company, both Advanced Cicerones, go through a rigorous and extensive training process as they prepare for the Master Cicerone exam, beers’ equivalent to the Master Sommelier. The exam is notoriously difficult, with around a 99% fail rate, only 15 people having scored high enough to earn the coveted title. This, for me, was the most interesting story in the movie, seeing the lengths that people go to, training their palette and researching various brewing techniques is extremely impressive.
We see Tonya Cornett of 10 Barrel Brewing Company travelling throughout Germany, visiting some of the world’s most well-respected breweries to gain the knowledge to create the perfect Berliner Weiss. Whilst doing so, we hear the brewers’ views on the Reinheitsgebot, Germany’s purity law.
Sean Z. Paxton, the “Home Brew Chef”, explores the history of beer in America as he plans a 16th century feast, based around the beer brewed at that time and cooked in a traditional kitchen. We see how beer was first introduced to America and how the pilgrims would brew their own pine-based beer every day.
Overall, each of the storylines were interesting and you found yourself genuinely rooting for the individuals to reach their goals. It will definitely inspire people to research the Cicerone program and perhaps have a go at gaining the qualification themselves. It’s an insightful documentary that is worth watching for anybody who is interested in gaining a little bit more knowledge of the industry that we all know and love.
Beers of Joy is available to buy or rent here.