This Beer Can Be Used to Develop Film
Dogfish Head’s SuperEight is named after the film your grandparents shot home movies on.
When Delaware’s Dogfish Head Brewery announced its 2019 release calendar in December, the return of the brewery’s Grateful Dead collaboration beer American Beauty got the headline, but a few new beers slated for release also sounded interesting — including a brew named “SuperEight.” The beer was described as “our sessionable gose brewed with eight super ingredients: prickly pear, mango, boysenberry, blackberry, raspberry, elderberry, kiwi juices, [and] toasted quinoa.” Now, it’s been revealed that choosing to use eight ingredients was about more than just clearing out the health food section of the brewery’s local grocery store: SuperEight was also brewed to be able to process Kodak’s old-school Super 8 film.
For younger readers not familiar with Super 8, you can think of it as a film predecessor to the camcorder (which itself was the predecessor to filming things on your smartphone). Debuting in the 1960s, Super 8 cameras were small enough and simple enough that people could use them to make home movies, but unlike the VHS camcorders that came later, Super 8 was actual film, so it required processing and, to show your movies at home, you needed a Super 8 projector. (And if you wanted to edit your Super 8 films, you needed a splicer and tape!)
Dogfish Head says this old technology inspired a beer when founder and CEO Sam Calagione heard on a Kodak podcast that, if brewed in the right way, beer could be used to develop Super 8 film. The brewery explains that it already felt an inherent kinship with the photography brand. “We have a saying here at Dogfish Head, ‘Analog beer for the digital age.’ Whether it’s a blissfully inefficient brewing process, high-quality (and often obscure) ingredients, or simply the handcrafted care that goes into the making of an off-centered ale, you’ll find it’s at the heart of everything we do,” the brewery explains. “That same spirit can be found in our latest collaboration with the analog creators at Kodak.”
As a result, Dogfish Head crafted SuperEight to be “high in Vitamin C and more acidic — making it ideal for developing film.” More than just a concept, Kodak released about a minute of Super 8 film footage (on YouTube, ironically enough) that was shot traveling around Philadelphia and then “hand processed” with Dogfish Head’s beer.
“We were developing a beer called SuperEight,” Calagione explains in a video from his brewery, “and we said, ‘Hm, this beer is going to have an acidic, sort of sour pH….’ And we thought this beer could be the ultimate film developing catalyst. We tested it. Low and behold, it is.” Meanwhile, that one-minute teaser video above is just the beginning. “We’re going to be making a film this summer, submersing the Super 8 film from Kodak in the SuperEight beer from Dogfish and releasing it in partnership with The Nature Conservancy in the fall,” Calagione continues.
But while we hold tight for that film release, good news for lovers of fruity goses, SuperEight the beer will be released next month. And once you have the beer in hand, Kodak has even released instructions on how you can use it to hand-process Super 8 film yourself.