Drink contest spurs movie

Paul Soter, left, and Erik Stolhanske star in Beerfest, which is now in theatres.


Canadians are well known for at least two things: their politeness and their love of beer.

So it’s no surprise that Steve Lemme and Erik Stolhanske, two-fifths of the Broken Lizard comedy troupe (Super Troopers, Club Dread) would cite the residents of the Great White North as the world’s best beer drinkers.

Or maybe in this case it’s the Americans who are just being polite.

“They actually are fantastic beer drinkers up here,” Stolhanske remarks. “We used to cross the border, get Canadian beer and bring it back to the States because it’s stronger.”

When it comes to beer, the co-writers and co-stars of the new Broken Lizard offering Beerfest know what they’re talking about.

They spent most of their university years playing drinking games and learning about brew from the inside of the bottle out.

But it wasn’t until they were touring Australia to promote Super Troopers in 2001 that the troupe stumbled on a group of Aussies, challenged them to a chugging contest and were doused with a hefty stein of inspiration.

The Aussies accepted, Broken Lizard lost due to the drinking inadequacies of one member whose identity, they say, will be revealed in Beerfest’s DVD extras, and the idea for Beerfest was born.

“We realized that for one more movie we were going to hold on to the over-grown frat boy image we’ve already cultivated,” Lemme says.

The film includes deliberately gratuitous nudity, references to drinking ram urine — it’s a beer-training technique — and plenty of drinking challenges.

After a sound beating at the hands of the champion German drinking team, an American squad helmed by Todd and Jan Wolfhouse (Stolhanske and Paul Soter) take their crew of beer enthusiasts (rounded out by Lemme, Kevin Heffernan and Jay Chandrasekhar) to an underground international beer-drinking competition in Germany called Beerfest in the hopes of securing the highly-carbonated title for their country.

“We wanted to do a sports movie about beer where to get in shape you have to get out of shape,” Lemme says of their not-so-rigorous training regimen for the shoot.

But now Lemme and Stolhanske are faced with a new challenge as they crisscross North America to promote their film.

Challengers are coming out of the woodwork, expecting these supposed beer-guzzling actors to live up to their onscreen mettle.

“Every night we’re being forced to power drink,” Lemme laments.

“Now the studio has hired security to follow us around because we’re always accosted by hammered people,” Stolhanske adds. “Last night we had our first bodyguard.”

• Beerfest pours into theatres today.

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