It’s said that baseball is America’s pastime, but an argument can also be made for drinking. It’s no secret that Americans love to drink alcohol. The craft brewing and distilling industries are booming, and the magic box in the center of every American household is full of shows about booze. Bartenders and cocktail specialists like Nadia G are starting to become the equivalent of celebrity chefs.
TV shows like Brew Dogs, Chug and The United States of Drinking provide a look into the world of alcohol every week. Here’s our list of the best drinking shows.
National Geographic Network
It’s highly unlikely that any one person has had more drinking themed travel shows than Zane Lamprey. Formerly the host of Have Fork, Will Travel, Three Sheets and Drinking Made Easy, Lamprey now hosts Chug on the National Geographic Network. Similar to his other shows, Chug is a travel show with a strong emphasis on drinking. Lamprey mixes in history, culture and humor while sampling the local beverages in each of the countries he visits. Chug originally aired in December, but can now be streamed on Hulu.
James Watt and Martin Dickie are the owners of famed Scottish brewery Brew Dog. They are well known for creating some of the most interesting and highest alcohol content beers in the world. On their show Brew Dogs, the native Scots travel throughout the US stopping in craft brewing hotbeds like Denver, North Carolina, Chicago, Delaware and Northern California. They sample the local brews and collaborate with brewers to create unique beers using local ingredients and flavors. The show returns to the Esquire Network in April.
Dark Horse Nation is a reality show about the day to day working of Dark Horse Brewing Company in rural Marshall, Michigan. The Brewery is run by a group of childhood friends who decided the best way to express their love of beer was to open their own brewery. This show is an inside look at the life of craft brewers, including owner Aaron Morse. The first season aired on the History Channel this past summer.
Besides the aforementioned Zane Lamprey, few people have hosted more drinking shows than Anthony Bourdain. Obviously Bourdain’s shows and The Layover weren’t only about drinking. They were all travel shows that highlighted the culture, food and drink of various countries throughout the world. Drinking was and is still is a major part of Bourdain’s travels. He may go to more dangerous destinations on Parts Unknown, but he still manages to try the local cuisine and drink in every country he visits. Parts Unknown returns to this spring for its fifth season on CNN.
The Cooking Channel
Bitchin’ Kitchen isn’t completely a show about drinking, but host Nadia G knows as much about cocktails as she does about cooking up tasty dishes designed to compliment them. This often times comedic show is based around the recipes of Nadia G, a Youtuber turned Cooking Channel star. Every show has a different, unique theme and the food and drinks are based on them. Bitchin’ Kitchen airs every Wednesday at 7:30am.
Leave it to the Smithsonian Channel to find a way to make American history fun. The United State of Drinking is a look at the drinking customs and beloved drinks of American citizens, past and present. Food writer Josh Ozersky travels throughout the US, visiting illicit moonshiners, microbrewers, cocktail bars and vineyards in search of what exactly makes a drink “American.” Check your local listings for show airings on the Smithsonian Channel.
The U.S. has a long and storied history of moonshining. Immigrants from Scotland and other whisky producing countries settled in Appalachia in the 1800s, bringing their whisky traditions with them, and some continue to make their homemade hooch in the mountains today. This reality series is a look into the secretive culture of moonshine from the production in hidden hollers to the law enforcement tasked to stop them. The show also takes a look at the long history of moonshining in the US. Episodes air every Tuesday on the Discovery Channel at 9pm EST.
The Travel Channel
Host Jack Maxwell grew up working in the tough, working class bars of South Boston. While behind the bar, he learned that every drinker has a story to tell. On his Travel Channel show, he has made it a goal to experience everything that the world of booze has to offer. This means visiting exotic locales like Belize, Lithuania, Mongolia, South Africa and the Netherlands in order to partake in the local drinking customs and traditions while sampling some of the most unique libations that exist on the planet. New episodes air every Monday at 10pm on the Travel Channel.