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12 best beer movies to watch with a cold one in hand

This beer movies list has something for everyone, from brewing beer to comedies about drinking it

The World's End (2013) movie poster of main cast drinking beer at bar.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

What we put in our bodies is much more than just for survival, as eating and drinking is often a cultural tradition. For example, beer is as much a part of Americana as apple pie, baseball, and hot dogs on the Fourth of July. Beer might even top the list of favorite American pastimes. When was the last time you had a slice of apple pie? Thanksgiving? When was the last time you had a beer? There’s probably a pilsner currently warming in your hand right now, considering the average adult consumes about 10 ounces of beer per day.

While Homer is correct, the possibilities of beer are endless; we do know one thing for sure — adding beer usually makes for a pretty good movie.

Whether it’s a documentary about beer, a comedy about drinking beer, or a movie about transporting beer across state lines, this list of the best beer movies is sure to include something for everyone. Watching one of these films while sipping any of the best beers of the year isn’t a bad way to spend an evening.

Here are 12 of the best beer movies to watch for the first time or all over again. Did we forget one? Probably. We’ll blame it on the alcohol.

Beer League (2006)

Beer League
40 %
r 86m
Genre Comedy
Stars Artie Lange, Ralph Macchio, Cara Buono
Directed by Frank Sebastiano
One of the most underrated comedies of all time is also one of the best beer movies. Artie Lange, one of the writers of Beer League, plays Artie, a loser with no life, no job, and no girlfriend. All Artie has in his life is beer, buddies, and softball. Artie and his pals play for a team sponsored by their favorite dive bar — Ed’s Bar and Swill — and the team gets tossed from the league for constantly starting fights. To get back into the league, the team must beat the undefeated Manganelli Fitness in a do-or-die game if they can stay sober long enough to show up for the game.

Take This Job and Shove It (1981)

Take This Job and Shove It
pg 100m
Genre Comedy, Romance
Stars Barbara Hershey, Art Carney, Robert Hays
Directed by Gus Trikonis
Take This Job and Shove It doesn’t just involve beer, as the film is also the first to feature a monster truck. Enjoy that useless piece of information you’ll never forget. The film stars Robert Hayes (Airplane) as Frank Macklin — an up-and-coming executive sent back to his hometown in Iowa to bring a failing brewery back to profitability. The brewery workers include many of Macklin’s childhood friends he left behind years ago for a better life. Besides the monster truck and the brews, the real star of the film might be the title song, Take This Job And Shove It, performed by Johnny Paycheck and written by an original country outlaw, David Allan Coe.

Beerfest (2006)

46 %
r 110m
Genre Comedy
Stars Erik Stolhanske, Jay Chandrasekhar, Steve Lemme
Directed by Jay Chandrasekhar
It took the Broken Lizard crew seventeen years to deliver a follow-up to the cult classic Super Troopers. In between, the crew put out one hell of a beer movie. Beerfest is the story of two American brothers who travel to Germany during Oktoberfest and stumble upon a centuries-old competition involving — Beerfest — which involves beer drinking games. After being beaten handily, the brothers return home to America to assemble a super team of players (and drinkers) to return to Germany to win it all. One viewing of Beerfest will make any guy want to drink copious amounts of beer, play an assortment of drinking games, get hammered, and probably watch Super Troopers for the hundredth time.

Drinking Buddies (2013)

Drinking Buddies
71 %
Genre Romance, Drama
Stars Olivia Wilde, Jake Johnson, Anna Kendrick
Directed by Joe Swanberg
Drinking Buddies is one of the best films about micro-breweries and an incredibly realistic look at modern dating, but the film is much more than the typical rom-com. Olivia Wilde and Jake Johnson play co-workers at a Chicago brewery who spend their days crafting beer while playfully flirting and spend their nights drinking beer while playfully flirting. The chemistry between the two is obvious, but romance is unthinkable since both are in committed relationships. An interesting note about Drinking Buddies for those watching the film for the first time — the entire movie was improvised. There was no script, and the actors and the crew were only given a vague plot outline and the order in which certain scenes would occur.

Smokey and the Bandit (1977)

Smokey and the Bandit
50 %
Genre Action, Adventure, Comedy
Stars Burt Reynolds, Sally Field, Jerry Reed
Directed by Hal Needham
Smokey and the Bandit has everything – beer, car chases, dope classic rides, and hilariously outdated 1970s comedy that will still elicit a chuckle. Burt Reynolds plays “The Bandit,” a driver-for-hire paid to keep the cops — referred to as a smokey in CB radio language — away from a truck filled with Coors beer. It was illegal to sell Coors east of the Mississippi River without a permit. Bandit agrees to follow the beer truck from Texas to Georgia within 28 hours and keep the police away from the delivery truck. If Smokey and the Bandit sounds like one big commercial of Coors beer, well it is, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a great beer movie.

Strange Brew (1983)

Strange Brew
50 %
pg 90m
Genre Comedy
Stars Dave Thomas, Rick Moranis, Max von Sydow
Directed by Rick Moranis, Dave Thomas
In the original theatrical release of Strange Brew, the roaring MGM lion at the beginning of the film is replaced with a drunk lion that belches. Things only get odder — and funnier — in this film written by Second City alum Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas, based on Second City TV characters. Moranis and Thomas play Bob and Doug McKenzie — two unemployed and typically drunk Canadian brothers who score jobs working at the factory that makes their favorite beer. When the brothers uncover a secret plot by the brewery owner to control the minds of everyone in the world, the brothers split time between foiling the evil plot and getting blackout drunk.

Beer Wars (2009)

Beer Wars
pg 89m
Genre Documentary
Stars Norman Adami, Anat Baron, Roberta Baskin
Directed by Anat Baron
Told from an insider’s perspective, Beer Wars is a behind-the-scenes look at the all-out war that goes on to bring beer to the American people. Sam and Rhonda — two entrepreneurs and beer makers — struggle to succeed in an industry dominated by powerful companies with unlimited cash flow. Beer Wars is the story of the independent brewers trying to make a name for themselves in the hearts of Americans and on the shelves of stores while fighting a constant battle against the big beer makers.

Crafting a Nation (2013)

Crafting a Nation
Genre Documentary
Directed by Thomas Kolicko
Crafting a Nation was filmed at 40 different breweries across the United States, ranging from start-ups to the massive craft breweries to highlight the highs and lows of building a brewing empire. The filmmakers explained in a press release at the time of the movie’s release that characters selected for this film “are all picked for their passion and dedication.” The film’s primary focus is on the Black Shirt Brewing Co. and the two brothers attempting to build the business from scratch. Crafting A Nation isn’t just one of the best beer movies around. It’s also a cinematic roadmap to all the breweries to visit on your next cross-country road trip.

Beer (1985)

Genre Comedy
Stars Loretta Swit, Rip Torn, Kenneth Mars
Directed by Patrick Kelly
With a title like Beer, one could assume this film is another documentary about the rise of craft breweries in the United States or the early days of the biggest names in brewing. Nope, it’s an 80s comedy starring the woman from M.A.S.H. and David Alan Grier before In Living Color came along and made him a household name with two snaps across the face. Beer is the story of an ad exec trying to develop a new campaign for the failing Norbecker Beer company. When three guys stop a robbery at their favorite watering hole and become famous, the ad executive decides to make the trio the new faces of Norbecker.

The World's End (2013)

The World's End
r 109m
Genre Comedy, Action, Science Fiction
Stars Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Paddy Considine
Directed by Edgar Wright
The World’s End is a beer movie that feels like it’s based on a true story. Well, except for the second part of the story. Five friends get together to recreate an epic bar crawl from twenty years earlier that ends at a famous pub called The World’s End. Along the way, the guys try to mend fences and become close pals once again. The journey of drinking and reconciliation comes to an abrupt halt when the fivesome faces the literal end of the world.

Blood, Sweat, and Beer (2015)

Blood, Sweat, and Beer
Genre Documentary
Directed by Alexis Irvin, Chip Hiden
Blood, Sweat, & Beer is a must-watch for serious craft beer fans and anyone considering opening a brewery. The film follows two different breweries through the various struggles each faces in their respective businesses. The first brewery, Shorebilly Brewing Co., is being sued by a shirt company that produces a shirt with the same name. Legal fees alone could put the brewery out of business. The Brew Gentlemen Beer Co., the second brewery, is another start-up created by two college buddies who decide to set up shop in their slowly collapsing hometown.

Poured in Pennsylvania (2018)

Poured in Pennsylvania
Genre Documentary
Directed by Nate Kresge
It’s important for a beer documentary to capture the emotional and humanistic side of the drink’s history, and this one focusing on the beer industry in the famous eastern state of Pennsylvania does just that. Interviews, stories, and interesting tidbits about the distilleries unique to the region will make beer fans’ favorite brews go down with ease. Fans of their drinking pastime should get the most out of watching this one, but it’s also an interesting watch for newcomers.

Editors' Recommendations

Movie images and data from:
Shawn Laib
Shawn Laib is a freelance writer with publications such as Den of Geek,, Edge Media Network, diaTribe, SUPERJUMP…
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