A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The documentary’s entire purpose is to provide educational information about beer, and it provides a great wealth of scientific, historical, and cultural facts about the beverage.
The value of celebrating and caretaking cultural traditions and histories is somewhat of an undercurrent here, but it's difficult to be fully on board with this positive message from the documentary when it concerns an alcoholic beverage that has been known to lead to addiction and the deterioration of many families around the world. There’s one moment when the narrator says that “it was even usual and socially acceptable for children to be drinking beer”. The redemptive moment is when the documentary details the efforts German beer companies make to recycle bottles.
Products & Purchases
The documentary exists to celebrate and tell the story of commercial beer, giving inside access into a modern for-profit beer factory and listing many commercial beer brands (as opposed to, say, simply telling the history of German beer). As such, it generally celebrates consumption in a way not often found in other nature or history documentaries. Moreover, the documentary briefly mentions several beer brands by name, both small time craft beers and larger popular beer brands. There’s one scene where a psychologist examines historical beer advertisements, so the beer’s commercial side isn’t worshipped blanketly.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
As given in even the title alone, the documentary's informative and entertaining elements revolve around beer. There isn’t any information about the short or long term consequences of ingesting alcohol, but the filmmakers do warn the viewer that the old advertisements trumpeting beer’s health benefits were simply untrue.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Story of German Beer is a TV documentary special that provides a deep dive into the past, present, and future of German beer production. Offering a slew of historical details about the development of beer as we now know it today alongside special access into the workings of a modern-day German beer factory, the documentary is richly educational. However, because these educational aspects revolve entirely around the eponymous alcoholic drink, parents who are concerned about their kids learning to revere alcohol should tread warily.
Is It Any Good?
This series certainly lives up to its title, providing nearly an hour of in-depth explanations and displays of the past, present, and future of German beer production. The documentary is a beer lover's dream, showing as it does a slew of close-ups and dense explanations that will likely delight people who are familiar with the steps of making beer and with beer in general.
The documentary's visuals and information are extensive, and it's obvious that this was made by people who were passionate about their subject. There isn't any problem with The Story of German Beer's quality, because in terms of both entertainment and edification it's a grand slam. The missing piece of the puzzle is that the documentary doesn't discuss any of the short or long term health consequences of beer whatsoever. So, depending on both adult and child viewers' maturity levels (or lack thereof), it might come across as a celebration of beer that some viewers might find problematic. However, in the end it's a well made documentary and should be transfixig for any over-21 lovers of the titular beverage.
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