As my friends stuff their TiVo’s full of episodes of “Deadliest Catch,” “No Reservations,” “Chopped” and the like, my TiVo sits empty, its owner (that’s me) not yet having fully embraced any of these successful TV reality series presented by Discovery Channel, Travel Channel or Food Network.
“Three Sheets,” in which host Zane Lamprey travels the world to get drunk and subsequently cured of his hangover–all according to local traditions–is intriguing, but honestly Lamprey’s personality kind of rubs me the wrong way. The closest I’ve come to getting hooked is Travel Channel’s “Man vs. Food,” in which host Adam Richman constantly pits himself against some of the biggest food challenges in the country (such as a race to finish 50 wings in 30 minutes in Boulder, Colo.).
Richman is a funny, likable guy on the show, and my respect for him grew when he showed up on the cover of my August 2010 issue of DRAFT magazine and I learned that he and I share a passion for craft beer. It turns out that Richman, a Brooklyn resident, grew up around beer: His grandfather was a successful beer distributor in the New York area. The Q-and-A interview touches on his toughest food challenge, some of his favorite bars around the country, how he pays close attention to his health (“You can’t do a show like this with a cavalier attitude,” he says), and why he doesn’t see a “Man vs. Beer” spinoff in his future.
All hope isn’t lost when it comes to beer and reality shows, though. It looks like Discovery Channel will finally start clogging up my TiVo–and maybe yours too–this fall when it launches “Brewed,” a new reality show featuring Sam Calagione, the charismatic founder of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery. When I visited the Milton, Del., brewery last month for a tour given by Calagione himself, he stated that “Brewed” cameras had been following him since June.
For a preview of how compelling “Brewed” might be, check out the documentary film “Beer Wars.” It highlights the struggle between small, passionate craft breweries and the deep-pocketed corporations behind Budweiser, Coors Light and Miller Lite, and it features Calagione and his David-vs.-Goliath story prominently throughout.