There’s a new beer out there that can be used to develop film. Which doesn’t sound safe, but we’re assured that it is completely safe for human consumption.
In Delaware, there is a craft brewer called Dogfish Head Brewery. Besides the name and a fancy set of brews, Dogfish also makes something unique among brewers: a beer that can be used for processing film.
It’s called SuperEIGHT Super Gose. Gose is a type of German sour beer with a salty finish, and so a Super Gose is like that, only less sour and more fruity. And in keeping with the name, SiperEIGHT has 8 ingredients: pear, mango, boysenberry, blackberry, raspberry, elderberry, kiwi juices, and toasted quinoa.
SuperEIGHT has bright fruity notes with a clean finish that is refreshing if slightly tart. It’s also got a brilliant red color that might confuse first-time drinkers into thinking they’re about to consume some cream soda.
And that’s where the story would end if this were any other beer. But SuperEIGHT’s story gets a little weird right about now.
When SuperEIGHT was being developed, Dogfish had a most unusual companion in the brewhouse: Kodak. Y’know, the company that still makes old-school analog film even though practically nobody uses it nowadays except for hipsters and film students.
Anyway, Dogfish CEO Sam Calagione spoke with some Kodak muckety mucks on a podcast about how certain high-citrus beers could be used to develop film. So Kodak helped him create a formula that would turn a beer into an ideal processing agent. And voila, SuperEIGHT was born.
Here’s a video of Kodak Super 8 film processed using SuperEIGHT beer. It’s not exactly fine cinema (unless you’re from 1908), but it is certainly a proof of concept.
Processing the film is a little more involved than bathing it in a bathtub of beer. You need to add baking soda, vitamin C, and also warm the beer to 90 degrees F. Then you have to wait for the foam to disappear, which could take an hour on its own. Then you gotta have a darkroom and a finishing agent to actually get the film to come out right.
But hey, it’s 2019 and we’ve invented beer that can develop film. Let’s just call that a win.
SuperEIGHT beer will arrive in stores nationally as a 6-pack of 12 oz cans starting next month.