Scotland's Brew Dogs Invade America for TV Series

Another "extreme brewery" will test the waters of the "reality TV" genre starting this week.

Master brewers James Watt and Martin Dickie, principals of BrewDog in Ellon, near Aberdeen, Scotland, have shot seven episodes of a documentary series, Brew Dogs, which premieres Tuesday, September 24 at 9:00 p.m. (Central) on the new Esquire Network.

JAmes Watt and Martin Dickie of the Brew Dog brewery in Scotland.

In each one-hour episode, James and Martin visit a different American beer town, celebrate distinctive craft beers and create their own locally-inspired draft. As the news release goes; "Along the way, they break every rule in modern brewing, seek out (sometimes bizarre) local ingredients for their brew, and challenge American brewers to help them create the most outrageous beers on earth – all designed to get people thinking about beer in a whole new way."

The locally inspired beers involve the world's hottest chiles, caffeinated imperial stouts, pale ales with cactus.

  • San Diego — James and Martin set out to make a quintessential Southern California brew by using ingredients they harvest themselves, including kelp and the world’s hottest chili; brewed while traveling 70mph on a train up the Pacific coast.
  • Philadelphia — James and Martin make The Most American Beer Ever Brewed. It’s brewed on a float during a Fourth of July parade, and the final ingredient is added as fireworks light up the Philadelphia sky. The beer is also DNA digitally encoded with 328 million copies of the Declaration of Independence.
  • San Francisco — The Brew Dogs get “foggy” by making the world’s first vaporized beer. You don’t drink this beer, you inhale it!
  • Seattle — James and Martin brew the world’s most-caffeinated beer — a big, chocolate-coffee imperial stout — on the top deck of the Bainbridge Island Ferry.
  • Denver — The guys brew the ultimate Western beer: a solar-powered, cactus-infused, meat pale ale — at 14,000 feet, using only the sun’s rays to boil the brew. 
  • Portland — James and Martin create a uniquely Oregonian beer — a fresh-hopped, blackberry-infused Berliner weisse — while floating on a beer-keg raft down the Willamette River.
  • Boston – Along with Sam Adams’ proprietor and legendary craft beer entrepreneur Jim Koch, Martin and James brew a Boston Clambake beer, infused with lobsters and clams and brewed on a tall ship sailing through Boston Harbor.

Esquire Network is a new channel co-produced by the eponymous Hearst-owned men's magazine, and NBC/Universal. Esquire had been announced as replacing the gamers' favorite G4 channel, but earlier this month it was announced they would replace the Style Network instead.

Since its founding in 2007, BrewDog has attracted plenty of attention for its many extreme brews. Most famously they began competing with German brewer Schorschbräu to produce the strongest beer possible. This resulted in a series of eisbocks (beer concentrated by freezing out the water), which Schorschbräu simply named "Schorschbock" in increments of 31, 40, 43, and 57 percent alcohol by volume, to which BrewDog responded with beer named Tactical Nuclear Penguin (32%, see my review on another site here), Sink the Bismarck (41%), and culminating in the infamous "The End of History," a 55% beer in a very limited edition of 12 bottles encased in taxidermied roadkill stoats. At the opposite extreme was Nanny State, a beer which achieved an abv level of 0.5%, not through adulteration like "Lite" beers, but by starting with one-fifth the malts per batch of their flagship Punk IPA. Other beers of note included a 2010 collaboration with Three Floyds called Bitch Please, a barley wine brewed with shortbread cookies, candy floss, and fudge.
This is not the first time an "Extreme" craft brewer has gotten the "reality show" treatment. In 2010, the Discovery channel gave Dogfish Head's Sam Calagione a similar treatment in "Brew Masters." The show was slated to run six episodes, but after low ratings, the series was cancelled. The last episode, delayed because it was intended to cover to opening of Dogfish's La Birreria restaurant in New York City, itself unexpectedly delayed. Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, Tweeted that the cancellation was due to advertising pressure from a "big beer company" (the understood implication os Anheuser-Busch), but the show was also failing to draw viewers, with most eposides focusinging on the question of "will Sam get his latest beer to market in time?" Watt and Dickie appear, in the previews at leasst, to be projecting a vibe more akin to Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage of Mythbusters, at least in attitude if not execution.

BREW DOGS is produced for Esquire Network by Custom/Redtail Partners LLC. Executive producers are Steve Stockman, Chris Burke and Jared Cotton.

Where to find Esquire Network:

Uverse 380 1380-HD
Comcast 84 287-HD
RCN 140  646-HD
WOW! 323  (No HD)
Dish  115  115-HD
DirecTV  235  (No HD)
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