Austrian Brewer Christoph Bichler and his team test a newly bottled beer for quality. // BEER! A Love Story – beermovie.org

*Light spoilers ahead*

BEER! A Love Story isn’t the first beer documentary, but it might just be the most immersive yet on the world of craft beer. Featuring 30 brewers and beer aficionados from Europe and the United States, the film deep-dives into the passion side of beer. Here, beer is not just a product or mere beverage – it’s a way of life, and for many, a great source of joy.

The enthusiasm of all those featured is felt throughout, and if you’re not wanting to savor a beer (not just drink… savor) in the first few minutes, you will by the end.

While the soul of the movie is undoubtedly in the interviews, the cinematography keeps it alive and well. Entirely independently funded, the movie is shot in 4K resolution that manages to make an already art-like passion appear all the more breathtaking. It’s also worth noting that BEER! A Love Story is produced but indie filmmakers Maarten Schmidt and Friedrich Moser. Moser’s last doc, A Good American, had Oliver Stone as executive producer.

“We wanted this film to bridge the gap between Europe and America, and to show the panorama of beer styles now replicated across the globe,” Moser said in a press release. “For any foodie, movie buff, and beer or beverage fan this is a must-watch film.”

Indeed, it’s a multifaceted doc that draws you in surprisingly quickly. There’s something new to learn or even an interesting anecdote to be found at every turn, from field to brewhouse to taproom. If you’ve ever been on one of those brewery tours that makes the whole operation seem dry and boring, this documentary right here restores life into the process.

Don Poppernack and Vern Berling of Pennsylvania’s La Cabra Brewing take a break with some pints. // Beer! A Love Story – beermovie.org

These are the breweries featured in Beer! A Love Story:

  • Austria – Ammutsøn Craft Beer Dive, Bierol, Ottakringer Brauerei, Stiegl
  • Colorado – Purpose Brewing & Cellars, New Belgium Brewing Company
  • Belgium – Rodenbach Brewery, Boon Brewery, Orval
  • New York – Brooklyn Brewery, Hudson Valley Brewery
  • Pennsylvania – LaCabra Brewing
  • United Kingdom – Manchester – Cloudwater Brewing

If there is any complaint that can be made about the documentary, it’s that the breweries and people featured do not fully show the growing diversity in the craft beer industry today. Brewing – as well as the hobby of drinking and appreciating beer – has long been a “boys club,” and a very white club at that. However, more recent years have started seeing a slow shift in demographics both on the producer and consumer end.

Diversity is touched on briefly in the documentary, and it’s a little troubling that the majority of interviews are with white men. They still make up the bulk of the brewing world, but for a movie that’s all about showing how different people are connected globally through the love of beer, it’d help if there was a bit more effort to bring in women and people of color. It also would have been nice to see just how expansive today’s craft beer world really is by interviewing beer folks from literally around the world – not just the U.S. and Europe (though, understandably, this would have been a much bigger endeavor).

Nevertheless, it’s still a well done feature worthy of being on any beer fan’s watchlist. On that note – it’s tempting to recommend specific beer pairings to go with your viewing, but it is far more in the spirit of this movie to keep the options open. BEER! A Love Story offers a little something to everybody. Craft beer fans will find it a tale about brewer innovation and making the industry what it is today, and movie buffs will see it as a rich mosaic of snapshots, people from all over connected by a creative passion. For those who love beer and movies, it’s an enjoyable indulgence of both.

BEER! A Love Story is currently streaming on Vimeo at a discounted rate for rent or purchase exclusively for Untappd users (it is free to make an account). The movie will be available until February 28 and can be found here.