“My name is Meg Gill, and I love beer.”
So starts Beerland, a new show set to premiere this month on Viceland (April 27 at 10 p.m.), hosted by Gill, co-founder and president of Golden Road Brewing, a rapidly growing brewery that launched in Los Angeles in 2011. (The brewery was subsequently sold to AB-InBev last year, but Gill is still acting president and actively manages the company.)
In Beerland, Gill travels the States in search of the most interesting and innovative homebrewers across the country, with stops including Santa Fe, New York, San Francisco, Denver, and Honolulu. At each city (and in some cases the city’s surrounding area), Gill individually meets with a handful of local homebrewers who show off their beer and where they drink it, each competing for the chance to have their recipe brewed on a commercial scale by Golden Road Brewing.
The series follows Gill from city to city, where she bluntly advises each brewer on his or her beer, knowing that one from each of the five regions will be selected for a final episode in which five final beers will go head to head in front of a panel of judges. The winner will get to have their beer brewed, canned, and distributed by Golden Road.
According to Gill, who is well known in the beer industry for being young, female, and a beer industry “powerhouse,” the show is not about her, but about the “extremely passionate, oftentimes eccentric” homebrewing community that is burgeoning across the country, from more established craft beer markets like Colorado and the San Francisco Bay Area, to the fledgling beer scenes of New Mexico and New York.
At an advance screening held at Brooklyn’s Syndicated on April 4, Gill said that although she has been approached several times since starting Golden Road to star in a show, she was waiting for the right idea to come along. “I would never do a reality show or some mainstream, bullshit show,” said Gill, who seems to be equally unfiltered onscreen and in person.
If the first episode is any indication, Beerland will be full of eccentric characters and communities, indeed. In Santa Fe, Gill visits Cale, a cowboy who essentially operates an illegal bar in his basement; Bobby, owner of a craft beer bar with no address that operates without any government interference; and Andy, the sweet, nervous type who brews with a wild hop varietal that he found in a friend’s backyard (and that, as it turns out, makes for a decent pale ale).
With each geographical location, Gill establishes a sense of place with beer at its center, where we meet the bright minds of homebrewing communities countrywide and catch glimpses of the many paths a brewer can take to see his or her creation come to life.
Beerland premieres Thursday, April 27 on Viceland, where it will air weekly at 10 p.m. Episodes: April 27–Santa Fe; May 4–New York; May 11–San Francisco; May 18–Denver; May 25–Honolulu; and June 1–Los Angeles. View a trailer of the Beerland series here.