Review – The Love of Beer

The Love of Beer

By Angelo De Ieso II

The Love of Beer – A documentary by Portland, Oregon’s Alison Grayson highlighting the regional accomplishments, struggles, and the presence of women in the craft beer industry.

The film opens with the sun rising over a hopyard before the late summer harvest along with the voices of various women stating their position. The first voice we recognize is Bend Brewing’s Tonya Cornett, a central figure in Grayson’s documentary, and perhaps the best known woman in the Northwest’s vibrant brewing community.

Bend brewmaster Tonya Cornett

Documentarianist Alison GraysonThe Love of Beer is loaded with rich imagery depicting multifarious stages of the brewing process from the harvesting and processing of ingredients to bottling and pouring on the hospitality end. Grayson does a nice job in allowing her visual content to speak as prominently as the featured women’s own voices. The film maker does not employ a scripted narrative, rather she projects through illustrations and mindful editing.

Though many females are featured in The Love of Beer, the heart of Grayson’s work focuses on a handful of central personalities.

Lisa Morrison, known nationally as “The Beer Goddess” is journalist and radio host with a life mission to serve as a beer evangelist while regularly highlighting the merits of Northwest brewers. “I love the passion and the people who make this happen,” she admits, adding “I want to support that as much as I can, because I’ve never seen something so…beautiful.”

Lisa Morrison (left) and Women Enjoying Beer's Ginger Johnson

Soon after this brief interview portion with Morrison, we are whisked away to a wintry Bend Brewing Co. where Cornett’s testifies to her passion for the craft from the brewhouse side of things. “There’s lots of things (that I love) about this job, and it’s mostly in the details,” she says.

Charlie Papazian (left) and Bend Brewing's Tonya Cornett at GABF (photo courtesy of Alison Grayson)Throughout The Love of Beer, we are taken on a journey that allows us as the audience to ride along with these prominent and inspiring women throughout a segment of their lives. With Cornett, we experience her from the gritty and laborious brewhouse labors like hauling spent grain, through the more glamorous World Beer Cup awards ceremonies for which she is dressed up and accepting awards for her internationally acclaimed beer.

Grayson is successful in tying a human element to her documentation, interspersing bits of trivial and often engaging digressions to help further humanize her subjects. Cornett tells of her past ambitions studying industrial psychology; we are confronted with the journey that people embark upon before happening into their professional and personal roles and interests.  Further, we are made cognizant of the munificence that craft beer has bestowed on these women along their life paths. Says Cornett with a smile: “I’m not a painter. I’m not a writer. But I can make you a beer, and hopefully you’ll like it.”

After our initial introduction with the Bend brewmaster, we are taken into another vital component of the industry. On the retail side, we hear the echoing sentiment of community and passion. Since craft beer, like the women who make it, is still in the minority, we are reminded of how comradery is the keystone to collective success. Morrison says “I think this is a model for what the ideal Utopian world would be.”

Saraveza founder Sarah PedersonSarah Pederson, proprietary publican of the popular Saraveza Bottleshop and Pasty Tavern of North Portland is next in line to carry us through Grayson’s piece. Allowing montages and crisp, tantalizing visuals of colorful and intriguing beers being poured, and playful music, The Love of Beer sends us further down the road of personal complexity with soon to be mother Pederson. This acts to bind the business and personal elements of craft beer, tying in how these women made a career out of what most beer lovers only experience from the vicarious side of the bar or brewhouse. Grayson does a great job of capturing Pederson’s passion in an emotional speech given to a crowded pub during Saraveza’s one year anniversary party. “When you do something big and you’re changing your life, you can’t think about not making it.”  Grayson captures an emotional and charismatic Pederson through the height of her pregnancy and ties in the bar owner’s unparalleled and unwavering fervor. The sensation of it all appears magnified in this moment to the advantage of the documentarianist.

Fred Eckhardt (center) and Teri Fahrendorf filmed For The Love of Beer documentary at PIB 2010The multifaceted industry of craft beer is glued together by Pink Boots Society founder and accomplished brewer Teri Fahrendorf, who through her own journey has tied in many of the corners depicted by Grayson’s other subjects. In the film, we experience Fahrendorf within the walls of Great Western Malting of Vancouver, Washington. “Beer makes people happy,” says Fahrendorf, explaining why she does what she does. “At the end of the day, does what you do make somebody happy? I used to be a cobalt programmer. At the end of the day, what I did made nobody happy. Not even me.” When Fahrendorf set off on her mission to become a professional brewer in the late 80s, there were about 50 craft breweries in the nation. Today there are more than 1,700.

As a whole, The Love of Beer is a feel good prep rally for craft beer that is particularly meaningful to those of us whole live in the Pacific Northwest, especially Portland, Oregon. It isn’t clear what the ultimate thesis of the film is other than offering a window into the lives of women in this burgeoning industry. Just as there is no voiceover narrative directing our perception and interpretation, the more abstract chronicle provides a unique and more artistic feel for the viewer.  The documentary allows us to acknowledge our own community and the women who are critical to what happens here in the way of artisan brew. Well known regional “celebrities” such as brewers Jacob Leonard and Doug Rehberg of Widmer Brothers Brewery, the bartenders like Erika Huston and Tyler Vickers of Saraveza, and a seemingly endless cast of regulars who contribute to many of the components that bolster the success of craft beer, make The Love of Beer even more for fun for us to watch. It’s a little slice of Beervana that encapsulates a moment in time that will be interesting to revisit in years and decades to come.

Prominent women in the Oregon beer community (left to right): Bend Brewing's Tonya Cornett, Saraveza proprietor Sarah Pederson, documentarianist Alison Grayson, Lisa "The Beer Goddess" Morrison, and Pink Boots Society's Teri Fahrendorf

November 2011 screenings of The Love of Beer:

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October was another great month for The Love of Beer, a documentary celebrating women in the craft beer industry.  We screened to several hundred people at four different screenings, including our Bend OR premier.  We want to give a huge thanks to Coalition Brewing, Lucky Labrador Brewing, The Guild, and GoodLife Brewing.

November is equally as busy with debuts in Pacific City, Hood River, Astoria, and Eugene, along with a tasting/screening at Saraveza in good ole Portland OR.  Come join us!

November 3rd
Pelican Brewery
33180 Cape Kiwanda Drive, Pacific City OR
Doors at 6:30, screening at 7pm.  Come early to enjoy a beer and the coastal view!

November 11th
Dog River Coffee Screening, followed by a tasting at Volcanic Bottle Shoppe
Dog River Coffee- 411 Oak Street, Hood River OR
Volcanic Bottle Shoppe- 1410 12th Street, Hood River OR
6pm doors, 6:30 screening
8pm tasting lead by Sarah Pederson, star of For the Love of Beer and owner of Saraveza
$5 movie, $12 tasting, $15 both

November 12th
Fort George Brewery
1483 Duane Street, Astoria OR
Doors early, screening at 7- This screening is held during Astoria’s Art Walk, where Ft George will be displaying paintings by beer writer extraordinaire John Foyston.  Come early to check out the art, grab a pint, and reserve your chair.

November 16th
Saraveza (in the Bad Habit Room)
1004 N Killingsworth St, Portland OR

6pm tasting
7pm screening
$5 movie, $12 tasting, $15 both
The Love of Beer star (and owner of Saraveza) Sarah Pederson will open the night with a “Change in Seasons” Beer tasting.  A huge chunk of the documentary was filmed at Saraveza, so watch us on our home turf!

November 29th
Join filmmaker Alison Grayson at 16 Tons Beer and Wine for a pre-show tasting!
16 Tons Beer and Wine

265 East 13th Ave
Eugene, OR 97401
In preparation for our November 30th Eugene Premier (see below), 16 Tons is putting together a women themed beer tasting!  More details TBA

November 30th
Oakshire Brewing
1055 Madera Street, Eugene OR

Doors at 6:30, screening at 7
Eugene is a great beer town, and we’re uber excited for this screening!

The Love of Beer Synopsis:
The Love of Beer is a documentary celebrating the women at the forefront of the Pacific Northwest beer community.  As of 2010, there are 1,759 breweries operating within the United States–1,716 of these are craft breweries. While the industry is expanding rapidly, growing 11% by volume in 2010, women within the industry are a vast minority.

Traditionally, brewing was a household chore that fell upon women.  It wasn’t until the Industrial Revolution that brewing shifted from a woman’s small enterprise to the domain of male factory workers. Beer and brewing gained a “men’s club” stereotype and, further enforced by marketing and popular media, the industry has remained a heavily male-dominated field.  However, in the Pacific NW, women are fighting their way towards being some of the most influential people in the brewing industry. From the farm to the consumer, Pacific NW women are setting new standards for brewing and changing the way the nation looks at women and beer.

With a heavy supporting cast and featuring Sarah Pederson, publican of Saraveza, and Tonya Cornett, award winning brewmaster of Bend Brewing, The Love of Beer provides an intimate portrayal of the women in the Pacific NW craft beer industry.  These inspiring women are not afraid to fight discrimination and make sacrifices for the sake of their craft. While they acknowledge that their struggles are opening doors for females everywhere, they’re not doing it for feminism or equality…they’re doing it for the love of beer.


-“I watched the documentary with a lump in my throat and tear in my eye. Thank you for creating this documentary. It was moving in many ways and thank you for addressing the taboo subject of childbearing as a professional woman. Cheers to amazing women!” -Julia Ratcliff

-“You captured the extraordinary personalities & talent of the women you highlighted in your film…One more thing, on the way home I stopped @ the store and bought a craft beer from one of the brewers I saw on screen.”- Annette Hadaway

-“A sensitive yet honest appraisal of women’s strength and joy. Cheers to you and all involved” -The Beer Babe

-”What a great portrayal of passion in brewing, and the women who help spearhead the craft beer movement. Simply awesome.” – The Beer Goddess

Watch our trailer or read additional reviews at
Total Running Time: 72 minutes