Fluid filmmaking: two beer-related films help launch San Diego Beer Week

Beer — it’s not just in bottles, cans and pint glasses. This week, it’s also bubbling onto the movie screen.

Coinciding with San Diego Beer Week, Friday through Nov. 11, two documentaries about craft beer and the impassioned creators of this beverage are opening in the county.

On Friday, “Brewmaster” will begin a week-long engagement at the Digital Gym in North Park. Focusing on a New York lawyer with ambitions of opening his own brewery, and a professional brewer studying for the rigorous Master Cicerone examination, the 95-minute film premiered this March at the SXSW Festival in Austin, Tex.

On Sunday, the California Center for the Arts will host the first public screening “The Beer Jesus from America.” The movie follows the long, twisty road taken by Escondido-based Stone Brewing to become the first independent American company to open and operate a brewery in Germany.

The one-time showing will begin at 5 p.m. It will be preceded by a 4 p.m. beer tasting and followed by a Q and A session with director Matt Sweetwood, a San Diego State University graduate, and Stone co-founder Greg Koch.

Tickets for “Beer Jesus” are $12 to $15. The price of admission includes a trio of 3-ounce samples of Stone beers, admission to a post-screening reception at the nearby Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens, and a $10 credit there.

The California Center for the Arts is at 340 N. Escondido Blvd., Escondido, and is a 10-minute drive from Stone’s headquarters and bistro, 1999 Citracado Parkway, Escondido.

At the Digital Gym, “Brewmaster” is scheduled to play through Nov. 8. Tickets are $7.50 to $11.

Like beer itself, “Brewmaster” is not to everyone’s taste. The Seattle Times listed the documentary among the best movies at this year’s SXSW Festival, calling it a “great thirst-quencher for fans of craft beer,” while the Los Angeles Times said it had an “informally agreeable effervesence.”

The Hollywood Reporter, though, found that this “moderately informative” venture into “dude culture” fell flat. “Brewmaster,” critic John DeFore wrote, “may ride the coattails of its subject’s surging popularity, but will leave most thirsts unquenched.”

The Digital Gym is located at 2921 El Cajon Blvd.

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