On the CBS show Sunday Morning yesterday, they aired their annual Food Issue, which included a segment of pretzels and beer.
It was great to see them delve into the history of pretzels in America, especially because I grew up on Pennsylvania pretzels. In fact, one of the companies they highlighted, Tom Sturgis Pretzels, is located in my hometown of Shillington, Pennsylvania. The man who runs it now, Bruce Sturgis, was in my high school class.
For the beer segment, entitled Even the Founding Fathers Loved Beer, it was mostly a positive depiction of beer for a change and featured two friends, my old professor Charlie Bamforth from U.C. Davis and Marty Jones from Wynkoop Brewing in Denver, Colorado.
The only annoyance was when host Barry Petersen had the following exchange with Charlie Bamforth.
Peterson: “Charlie Bamforth teaches brewing and he throws down the gauntlet on wine versus beer.”
Bamforth: “The most sophisticated and complex of alcohol beverages.”
Peterson: “More than wine?”
Peterson: “Oh, come on.” [said in a tone dripping with contempt.]
Bamforth: “No, absolutely.”
Peterson: “How?” [in a tone barely concealing his disbelief and, again, dripping with contempt.]
Bamforth: “It’s much more complicated to make.”
Peterson cut Charlie off at that point, but he could have gone on and on, no doubt, about the issue of wine vs. beer. After all, Bamforth has written several books on this subject, the most recent of which is Grape vs. Grain. I also just got my review copy of his latest book, Beer Is Proof God Loves Us: Reaching for the Soul of Beer and Brewing.
I don’t know much about Barry Peterson, but it takes a lot of gall to assume you know more about beer and wine than a professor of fermentation sciences. What’s the point of interviewing an expert if you’re just going to assume you know more than they do. Charlie’s pretty used to it by now, I suspect, and just nonchalantly continues. The segment later on talks about how the perception of beer and wine is what keeps better beer in the shadows, which is ironic since Peterson, by his own actions, just proved that point by displaying his own ignorance for the subject he’s reporting on.
But that aside, a nice take on beer overall. You can watch both the pretzel and beer segments below.