Thursday, December 1, 2011

Beer TV News and Orval.

I know it was a long time ago, but back in January I told you about Tim Webb's Beer Amongst the Belgians documentary project. For now, you can still watch the promo episode here.

Well, looky here, I have some news: Director and co-producer Taylor Brush writes this morning that they have received an offer from "a major national channel in the U.S." To start, the channel wants to air a trimmed-down version of the promo -- it would be 22:30 instead of the current 26:11. If there is enough interest, the channel may go with 12 half-hour episodes (Brush and Webb had originally mapped out six hourlong shows).

"Hopefully we can get it done ASAP and be ready to shoot next year," Taylor said in an email.

So best of luck to what would surely be one of the more insightful beer shows yet produced.

Speaking of beer shows: What to help another one become a reality? Lew Bryson would be the gregarious star of American Beer Blogger, should the project raise another $57,000 or so in the next 43 days. After an initial flurry of donations, interest has flagged a bit. Probably that's normal with this sort of thing. Go have a look and see if it's something you'd want to see on TV. I mean, how many times can you watch Sam Calagione in the same six episodes of Brewmasters? Just think of all those times you flip channels and finally settle on something about which you could not give a damn. And remember that if this project doesn't reach its fund-raising goal, then you never spent a dime.

Jesus and Rainbows: Beer writer Chuck Cook gets a peek, as he is wont to do, inside Orval's new brewhouse. You can see a few of his photos here, featuring super-groovy stained glass behind the brew kettles. Then you can go and read his whole Celebrator article online, for free.

Some of the interesting bits: Chuck says that both the dry-hopping and Brettanomyces yeast addition take place in the secondary fermenters. I had long been under the impression that the Brett went in only at bottling... The difference would be more time for that funky Brett character to develop before the bottle goes to market (though another year or two in your cellar certainly doesn't hurt). Chuck also says that some of hops for the dry-hopping hail from Washington state's Yakima Valley, although he doesn't say which variety. The brewing hops are German Hallertauer Hersbrucker and French Strisselspalt. So, noble and spicy.

Finally -- and I think this is seriously, seriously cool -- the brewery has rebuilt its recipe for Petit Orval, available only in the Guardian Angel brewery tap. Previously a pleasant but watered-down 3.5% version of Orval, it's now up to 4.5% abv with greater hop additions for bitterness and aroma, Chuck reports. And it's on draft only at the café.

I've just kicked that to near the top of my Thirsty Pilgrimage bucket list.


  1. " many times can you watch Sam Calagione in the same six episodes of Brewmasters?"

    I think the answer is 1/3 as after two episodes I could not suspend my disbelief any further.

  2. Never noticed until tonight your cameo at around 24 minutes in!

  3. Joe - Orval changed from adding Brett in secondary to dosing it in line during bottling by 2006. I can't imagine they changed back.

  4. Ryan: I'd forgotten about the cameo. Thanks, I think.

    Stan: That's what I thought, although I didn't realize it was so recently that they changed. I'll see if Chuck can shed further light on it.