The camera is still, forcing you to gaze across a tranquil body of water as it is gradually consumed by an encroaching darkness. The muted violet sky fades to black and a primal symphony of nocturnal wildlife tunes up. Suddenly the viewer is transported and thrust into a nightmarish visage of flailing knives, bloodstained beds and lifeless naked bodies. The sequence offers a startling introduction to Sergio Martino’s visceral slice of Giallo exploitation: Tutti i colori del buio (All the Colours of the Dark). HonestBrew spoke to Martin Saunders, the commercial director of Bristol based brewery Wiper and True, about collaborating with Hellfire Video Club and taking inspiration from the cult 1972 slasher flick to brew a devilishly good beer that would prove “as mesmerising as the film”.
How did a collaboration between Wiper & True and Hellfire Video Club come about?
A bit like an epic film, it’s been 2 years in the making. Joe, the founder HFVC, works at Wiper and True. He and Michael Wiper have known each other for years and whenever they shared a few beers, the conversations often lead to “what kind of beer would pair with a psychotropic film night!?” – a pretty obvious area of discussion in the early hours.
It only makes sense for a film and beer collaboration to take place as the Wiper and True team’s love of beer evidently extends to the medium of underground cinema – they’ve got the video tapes to prove it!
Most of us are partial to a bit of celluloid viewing but Joe is the one who takes the film buff moniker to a new level. When he was 15 years old he had over 200 films on VHS and they are probably still somewhere in his loft!
You’ve stated that just like the film, you wanted to create “a beer that challenged the senses and was bizarre, but also satisfying and enjoyable.” How did you decide upon that specific picture?
Returning to those late night conversations, a lot of it centred on ingredients – could blood or green goo work in a beer? Darkness is closely associated with horror – a key ingredient of many HFVC screenings – so a black India Pale Ale had always been a candidate for the collaboration. When Joe mentioned that his first ever HFVC screening was of All the Colours of Dark, that made the decision an easy one.
Wiper and True recently unveiled the unique brew at the Arrogant Sour Festival in Reggio Emilia, Italy – the birthplace of famed giallo directors such as Mario Bava and Dario Argento and a country rich with brewing history. Cinema and beer loving Italians revelled in the twisted inspiration from which the beer was born, yet Italian beer lovers also had a hand in sculpting the black soul of the brew.
Having settled on an India Pale Ale, the creative process was augmented when our Head Brewer Will went to Italy. In conversation with the guys who import our beer there about the possibility of being at the Arrogant Sour Festival, he mentioned that we were brewing a black India Pale Ale inspired by “All the Colours of the Dark” – they were amazed as “All the colors…” or “Tutti I Colori Del Buio” has a real cult status there. Their excitement sparked the final stage of the beer’s development – to sour it – which seemed the perfect twist to match the film.
…and what should beer lovers expect from the beer when they venture into the darkness clutching a bottle?
Aside from a blend of interesting flavours, the main thing that is noticeable is that unlike most sour beers where the sourness hits you first and then fades, “All the Colours” starts gently and builds.
As with all Wiper and True beers, every drop is precious, yet the perils of the horror genre and its inevitable jump scares didn’t deter the brewery from pairing their creation with such a startling movie.
We carried out a risk assessment and felt that this was better than a comedy where people might spray the beer out when they laugh or a rom-com where nausea is a real issue.
When Wiper and True do finally emerge out of the darkness with their thirst for deviancy sated, their next collaboration is less concerned with laying waste to helpless victims and more interested in crafting great beer from food waste.
Our next collaboration couldn’t be further away stylistically from “All the Colours..”. We have joined up with the guys who created TOAST – a beer made from surplus fresh bread. We are going to be making a brew inspired by bread and butter pudding to be launched during Bristol Beer Week, which, along with being a great beer, we hope will help engage more brewers and home brewers with the idea of how brewing with surplus fresh bread can help alleviate food waste. Profits from Toast Ale are donated to Feedback who campaign against food waste from farm to fork.