Sunday, December 23, 2012

Limited Release Ep. 3: Surly Darkness Day

Rob Wengler and Ron Johnson, some old friends of mine from High School, have been working on a web-based show called Limited Release over the last 2 years.  The idea is to get to some of the special release days for those incredibly hard to find and rare beers that most of us beer geeks only dream of getting to try.  Since most of these events require lots of time waiting in lines and often travel to other states, this is a great way to see what the fuss is all about without actually getting there.  The downside?  Not getting to actually the amazing beer they are talking about! (Follow the link above for the current episode and the website.)

What sets this show above a lot of podcast/blogs is the work that goes into each episode. There is a lot of post-production and prep to get these looking and sounding good.  The first episode's sound quality was a bit suspect, but that apparently was due to a computer crash causing a loss of the better sound files.  They have greatly improved that over the next two episodes.  Also included in each episode are some fun animations ranging in style from South Park to Atari computer graphics.

Rob and Ron always include a good amount of background info on the beers and the breweries, filming in places like my bar, The Four Firkins and The Bruery's Barrel Room.  They usually manage to organize an exclusive interview with the brewer, and in this episode they get to talk a bit to Todd Haug from Surly.

Hard at work or checking Facebook?

My favorite part of the episodes so far is where Rob lets me try the rare and expensive beer and give my impressions as a "Beer Expert."  I like the free awesome beer part, but always feel a little (a lot) weird about being on camera.  Last month Rob brought over his camera and a bottle of 2012 Darkness for us to try.  We filmed at my basement bar over a couple of hours, ending up with a clip about a minute long in the final version of the episode.  Post-production and editing can make anyone seem like they know their stuff!  There was a brief cameo from my cat Freya, and I think she handled being in the lime-light better than I.  During our filming she actually started licking the crap out of the Darkness bottle sitting on the bar, but we didn't get a good enough shot to use in the episode.

Freya enjoying her time in the spot-lights

The next episode is The Bruery's Black Tuesday (currently in post-production) and I'm hoping I get tapped as expert witness again!  They plan on heading out to film Pliny the Younger as a break from all those Imperial stouts, but since that one is draft only I might not get a chance to try it.  Dang!

I'm a big fan of these guys and what they do.  If you like what you see in the episodes like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.  In the past they have given away bottles of Dark Lord and Autumn Brew Review tickets as special prizes for their fans.  Share the links with your beer-geek friends too!  For now this is purely for fun, but they would love to be able to get some funding/sponsorship for the show to allow for more travel and better equipment, and the best way to do that is getting the word out.  Also tell us what you think!  What do you want more of?  What do you want less of? (and don't say me!)

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