Sunday, May 15, 2011


In case you're feeling nostalgic for beer-related television after the questionably-permanent end of Brewmasters, or if you're dying to add just one more reality-tv show to your addiction, check out BYOB TV over on The content is homebrewing-related, but entirely relevant to non-homebrewing beer fans as well. And, it's simply entertaining. It's in a reality TV format, meaning there are teams that face a variety of challenges and, toward the end of each episode, potential elimination from the show. At the end of the season, the team left standing will receive a trip to the Pilsner Urquell brewery in Plzen. Not too shabby!

If you've ever listened to Brewing Network's Sunday Session, you'll likely recognize host Justin Crossley and "Director of Difficulty" JP. The first episode starts out with a quiz show style game, where competing teams answer questions about beer, perform taste tests, and guess hop varieties based on aroma. The teams then move on to timed challenges hooking up brewing equipment and finish up with a relay race involving mugs of beer and spent grain. Two of the eight teams were eliminated, with the remaining six going on to episode #2.

Episode #2 kicks off with the six remaining teams making different batches of beer, including a squash-sage beer, one with meyer lemons, and an oatmeal-raisin-cookie beer. But there's a twist that gets introduced, making the challenge even more challenge-y (and you have to watch the episode to see what it is). A judging panel chose to move five of the six teams on to episode #3, sending one team home.

And, finally, the most recent episode's challenge was to build an all-grain homebrew setup from junk. As with most reality shows, a bit of drama occurs within the first ten minutes but all was made right with a bit of compromise. This ended up being my favorite episode; I loved the sprinkler attached to the inside of the cooler-MLT lid for sparging, as well as the terra cotta pot as a false bottom.

Only four teams remain after this episode, and the next one available (aired May 14th but not yet online) involves the teams having to clone a Lagunitas brew. The show's well-made and engaging, and I laughed more than a few times. Happy viewing!

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