Film crew in tow, they travelled the country by camper van, covering almost 4500 kilometres as they documented the current craft beer scene. Visiting breweries, sampling beers, discussing brewery history and the passion that had resulted in people from all walks of life choosing brewing as their occupation, the pair’s progress was captured on camera to be used in an online video series.
While it's true that last fall's 200th Oktoberfest was bigger than ever, using Oktoberfest to measure the health of German beer culture is like using Disney World admissions to measure the health of American cinema. Once a decorous wedding pageant, Oktoberfest is a hot mess, with cheesy carnival rides and hordes chugging cheap lager as if it were Hawaiian Punch. Paris Hilton even showed up for the anniversary celebration.
Trouble is, the Reinheitsgebot is now working against the very industry it was supposed to preserve. For one, it puts a vise grip on innovation by demonizing flavor- or body-enhancing additions of any kind: oats, ancient grains (such as spelt, millet, and sorghum), spices, herbs, honey, flowers other than hops, and any other natural fermentable starches and sugars. This taboo rules out trying Belgian, French, and New World brewing styles, which often call for refermentation in the bottle with sugar in a manner similar to Champagne.