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99 Bottles of Beer

Microbreweries: Mom and Pop Tops  99 Bottles of Beer by Julie Strand     I ordered a Moustache Ride. My very attentive  waitress told me that this was the most popular  beer sold in Riverwest’s Stone Fly Brewery.     I enjoyed it. I decided I would be back for more when  I didn’t have an article to write.       I was waiting to interview David Oplinger, producer of  99 Bottles Documentary, a film on microbreweries in  Southeast Wisconsin, in which Stonefly is featured. I noted that other beers on tap bear equally interesting  names: Pierce Street Porter, Four Wolves English  Ale, Brass Knuckle Blonde, and Simon Bagley Stout.  Other beers not on tap, but also offered on the menu,  are Sixfinger IPA and Brewtown Brown.     I opened the menu and read through the appetizers,  pub fare and burgers. Surprise: almost half of the  menu is vegetarian and some of the choices can even  be made vegan. Wow! I don’t think I’ve ever been  to a brewery that is so well suited to the diets of its  neighbors.     When David arrived I got down to business. David  is one third of the team making 99 Bottles. In his  off time, he is a computer programmer for Quad  Graphics and an actor. He said that this documentary  is “saving his soul.”     The idea for 99 Bottles Documentary was, very  appropriately, formed over a pint at Wolski’s Tavern  by David and his friends Glen Popple and Jason  Williams. Popple is another producer and Williams  is the director.     I asked David why he wanted to make the film. Was  it just another reason to get together and drink some  beer?     “Microbreweries are the last bastions of blue collar  mom and pop industries, where the owners are the brew masters and  the mop boys,” said David. “It is an industry comprised of people  who love what they do and have a great story. One microbrewery  we interviewed for the film had a sixth generation beer maker  working there. No one has told the story of microbreweries in  Southeast Wisconsin sufficiently.”     I asked David what types of questions are answered in the film.  Does it answer, for example, what a Moustache Ride is supposed  to taste like?     He said, “The film asks the questions that go through a beer  drinker’s mind, questions that the average consumers have about  the industry. Macrobreweries have millions of dollars to advertise  and sell their products; these businesses rely on word of mouth.  Their products have to be quality for the word to spread.”     David, Glen and Jason interviewed 16 microbreweries for 99  Bottles Documentary. “Just choosing which breweries to include  was a large task,” David said. Considering I couldn’t even find an  accurate number of how many microbreweries are in Milwaukee  I can only imagine.     Riverwest’s Stonefly Brewery was added fairly late in the  filming process; however, Dave, Glen and Jason thought that the  addition would enrich the film. “Stonefly is one of the smallest  microbreweries that we included in the film. It’s not trying to  make a buck, it is a community-oriented business and is really a  great example of what the heart of the project is,” he said.     99 Bottles will premiere at the Oriental Theater, 2230 North  Farwell Avenue, on Thursday, August 21 at 7 pm.     If you would like to read more about the film or be the film’s  myspace friend visit 99bottlesdocumentary.com and myspace.  com/99bottlesdocumentary     Blurb (or should we say belch) from their myspace site:  motorcycles • harley  Producer David Oplinger, Director Jason Williams and Producer Glen Popple enjoy a round of research materials.  “ What is ‘99 Bottles Documentary’? It is a cinematic  endeavor to bring to the public some of the culture,  history and lore of the brewing craft. Through a wide  range of interviews we are building this documentary  from feedback of expert brewmasters as well as the  average ‘beer enthusiast.”