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“Brewmance” is a documentary about the love of craft beers, the history of homebrewers in America that has made us the leader in home brewing, how to make craft beer, and so much more. Director Christo Brock, a filmmaker, living in Long Beach, California, told me in an interview that there are over 7,000 breweries in this country. In my interview with Brock, I asked him to explain the definition of craft beer. He answered, “Craft beer is a beer that a corporation has not brewed. Now I’ve got to tread lightly on this, but the Craft Brewers Association has a strict definition about this. Usually, something has to be brewed from all-malt, all-natural ingredients. It has to be independently owned, in other words, people who just decided, “You know what, I like making beer, and I’m going to start a little business” and really that’s kind of the heart and soul of craft brewers.

We see how the craft brew industry got going in the 70s thanks to Fritz Maytag, who began in San Francisco with Anchor Steam beer. His determination and hard work are a testament to what it takes to be successful in the art of brewing indeed. Brock captured him on film, adding to the historical beginnings of brew making—which by the way, was this reviewer’s first craft beer in 1994. As Brock told me, “Anchor Steam was my first craft beer as well, and I’ll venture to say it was many peoples.”

Following two homebrewer businesses from start to finish, “Brewmance” gives us a birds-eye view of what is involved in creating an independent brewery business. It’s a hands-on, roll-up your sleeves culture—one that requires hard work, camaraderie, and a love of the process. Brock became inspired to write a documentary film after attending meetings of the Long Beach Homebrewers. He met two homebrewers who are the main subjects of his film and followed them from start to finish to complete their dream of operating a brewery. Former “Reel Big Fish” trombonist Dan Regan of Liberation Brewing Co, 3630 Atlantic Ave, Long Beach, CA, and Jesse Sundstrom and his father Dan, co-owner of Ten Mile Brewing, 1136 E Willow St, Signal Hill, CA, show us the process of transitioning homebrew to a large-scale operation.

The Bottom-line: I’m way in 3 and ½ stars out of 4. Here’s a well-written and researched look at home brewing with just the right amount of humor, anchored by serious moments. I enjoyed the music of the band Real Big Fish throughout the film.

Check out my interview with Christo Brock on Sarah’s Backstage