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Brewster's Magic (1933)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

A man at a bar hand-pulls a pint tankard beer. The commentary explains that hops are the most important ingredient of beer. A shot of a hop root from which a cutting is taken to grow the young hops. Time-lapse sequence of the hop's growth, pushing its way through soil. A close-up of the stem, showing its 'claws'. The expansion of the leaves speeded up 25,000 times. A look at the plant as it begins to climb and it is shown that the claws are used for gripping. The hop putting out flowers. The flowers of the male hop are shown. The flowers of the female hop. Each one is a ball of scales with sticky threads to catch pollen. However, the threads wither and fall away as there is no pollen in the vicinity. The scales continue to grow as a protective device for the absent seeds and become covered with a sticky substance called lupulin, which gives beer its flavour.

Hop-picking. Barley, the second ingredient necessary for beer, ripening in a field. Time-lapse: barley seeds absorbing water, placed in layers in a warm atmosphere putting out roots; and turned upside down to slow growth. Withering following removal of the water supply. Animated diagram of the barley grain with its three parts. The grains mashed up in warm water, the digestive fluid continues to turn starch into sugar, producing malt. The brewery where the malt is mixed with the hops liquid and yeast is added. Microcinematography of yeast cells, growing in the sugary mixture, then budding, which is fermentation. Animated chemical equation explaining how yeast breaks up sugar molecules into molecules of carbolic acid and sugar. The solution under the microscope. The carbolic acid forms bubbles. Final shot of man drinking beer.