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Anthony Bourdain on why he's cool with craft beer and loves Boston's bar scene

"I like any excuse to come to Massachusetts."
Anthony Bourdain
Anthony Bourdain stopped by Chestnut Hill on Wednesday night. Photo by Getty Images

Anthony Bourdain's latest travel gig involves a lot of whisky and adventures with some of the nation's best craftspeople.

The "Parts Unknown" star has teamed up with Scotch whisky makers Balvenie for "Raw Craft," a YouTube series that explores the dedication and commitment of those involved in the American craft movement.

Bourdain stopped by the Showcase SuperLux in Chestnut Hill on Wednesday night for a special screening of "Raw Craft" involving Southbridge drum makers SJC Custom Drums. The company created a special instrument for Green Day drummer Tre Cool in the episode using wood from the Balvenie distillery in Scotland.

While Bourdain isn't sure if craft is making that big of a comeback in the U.S., he has nothing but respect for the work that these artisans do.

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"I don't know if it's a movement, I hope it is, but I don't know," Bourdain told Metro after the event. "I don't think we're going to see a cobbler on every corner anytime soon or a blacksmith, as much as that might be awesome. I think that makes it all the more heroic when you see people like these doing what they do."

Here's what else Bourdain had to say about the craft movement, why he's fine with craft beer and what he loves about Boston's bar scene.

The word craft gets throw around a lot. What does it mean to you?

You actually make stuff with your hands. Some actual, real artisanship in the old school sense of the word. You learned from somebody who was an expert. You trained and you studied until you were good enough and you try to get better every day. It's not an artisanal potato chip made by a major corporation.

What do you think about all the hype over craft beer?

I don't know. Correct me if I'm wrong, when they first started, it was a pretty important thing. There is sort of that second album syndrome. People say, "I used to really like it, until everyone else did." Look, good beer is good beer. I happen to like good beer, but I also like cold beer, easily accessible beer.

I think craft beer is a permissible use of the term, overused when it's a major corporation that controls a third of all beer production in a state and they set up a sort of fake craft brewery. That hurts a little, but there are a lot of people brewing small batch stuff and trying to make better and better product. While I may not want to listen to my bartender describe my beer for 12 minutes or make me feel bad about my beer choice if I don't go for their Mumford and Sons IPA, I think it's a good thing.

How much fun did you have filming the Massachusetts episode of "Raw Craft?"

I got to see Green Day. I've never seen Green Day before. I like music. I like any excuse to come to Massachusetts. I have a lot of history here. I just feel really comfortable in this state. I love it. I like coming to Boston. I tend to not make the shows that people want me to make when I come here, but I enjoy doing that as well.

What kind of shows aren't you making about Boston?

I've never come here and done "Boston's top 10 restaurants" or "hidden treasures of Boston." That's not what I do. I'm much more interested in these pockets that are uniquely, weirdly Bostonian that we just don't have and could never have in New York.

Where do you like to go when you're in town?

I like Southie. There was a bar we went to on the show. I don't think it's there anymore. It was built into a row house in Southie. It was incredible. A perfect bar is a rare and beautiful thing, and Boston has a good bunch of them, as well as a lot of really old school, dinosaur places that do old school s--t without any irony, which I like too.

 
 
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