The Beer Hunter
The Beer Hunter (Discovery Channel Multimedia) will no doubt disappoint a college frat boy for every serious connoisseur that it pleases. This “Complete Interactive Guide to The Beer Renaissance”, restricted to American brews, takes a highbrow approach by covering only “true” micro-breweries (or, in some cases, “major micro-breweries” like Samuel Adams). The disc is hosted by Michael Jackson (not that Michael Jackson). This Jackson is an affable Brit with unruly hair and streaks of white in his beard, who explains that he has spent “the better part of a lifetime” researching beer because “it is one of life’s pleasures.” He proceeds to lead you through the “History of Brewing,” the “Art of Brewing,” a “Field Guide” to beers in America, and “Resources” (in case you’d like to brew your own). The audio clips accompanying “MJ’s Top 24” aptly illustrate that beer tasting can have just as heady a vocabulary as wine tasting. The sequel to the disc, coming in June, is entitled Michael Jackson’s World Beer Hunter, and will expand the coverage to include countries outside the U.S. Considering that his topic is relatively narrow, we found ourselves wanting a little bit more of everything: more History (the slide show is under ten minutes in length), more beers (although the program clearly is intended to cover micro-breweries, a comparison to the watery mainstays like “Bud” would be interesting), and more examples of Mr. Jackson’s affable pleasantries. But any CD-ROM that not only mentions Anchor Steam but credits it with sparking the modern microbrewery revolution deserves at least one round on the house.
– November 1995