As Nitehawk prepares the family meal for our March 6th BEER DINNER AND A MOVIE presentation of Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather: Part II, we wanted to ask Garrett Oliver, the Brewmaster of our beer partner Brooklyn Brewery some questions about, well, beer and film. Buon appetito.

Can you talk a little bit about your two AMA beers on the menu that are a joint venture between Brooklyn Brewery and Amarcord Brewing of Apecchio?

The Ottaway brothers, who are the principal owners of Brooklyn Brewery, are half Italian and speak Italian fluently. They met Rino Mino of the Amarcord Brewery while traveling in Italy and struck up a friendship. We ended up making a special collaboration beer with them to celebrate the work of Rino’s friend, the late great auteur Tonino Guerra, who worked on Fellini’s great films. After the success of this “Riserva Speciale” we decided to make a whole new brand of beers dedicated to Italian cuisine. AMA Bionda is a Belgian-influenced blonde ale brewed with Italian honey. It’s soft, but dry and complex, very nice with seafood and cheese-based pastas. AMA Bruna is aimed more towards meat-based dishes, but anything that’s been roasted, grilled, or fried can work well with Bruna, which is made with a highly caramelized sugar. Again the beer is dry, but it has a lightly chocolatey raisin-caramel core.

What’s your process like when you’re given a menu to pair beers with?

I’m looking at a lot of things – what beers I’d like to show, the flavors of the dishes, the progression of the menu from lighter to more complex. I want the menu to tell a story about who we are as a brewery.

What’s your favorite scene in the Godfather: Part 2?

There are so many that it’s really almost impossible. But probably it’s where Michael tells Fredo that he’s always taken care of him, and Fredo finally cracks. It’s heart-breaking every time.

When was the first time you saw either The Godfather or The Godfather: Part 2 (and were you drinking a cold beer)?

I’m sure that I first saw the films on television, probably in badly cut up versions. Then I saw them both in film school and at a very early cinema dining place in Boston called Play It Again Sam’s in the early 80s. I was drinking some very bad beer, to be sure – that’s all we had back then.