Well, a lot.
“This is a game about a bunch of dudes doing bong hits with their friends, but it’s also a game about a bunch of dudes hanging out in a hotel, having drinks,” says Dan Harmon, showrunner and executive producer of Community. “We have to show that these bars are a source of entertainment where we as an audience can be entertained.” They had just gotten into a long-running Community tradition of watching the show through the first season and had started to notice more than a few similarities in their drinking habits — specifically in how a few of the characters had developed a taste for alcoholic beverages. With these beers, they realized they had enough evidence (as their boss, Mr. Belding, had made sure to inform them) that they might be onto something special — which they’d previously discovered was a thing for everyone on campus at the prestigious (and now defunct) Willamette University. “The reason we had that particular beer on our first season is because of the way it was introduced,” Harmon says, looking at the mug that carries the logo “The Willamette Brewing Co.” and the “Beertrade Lounge.” (You can make your own by filling a cup with water, adding a tablespoon of kosher salt, two drops of black pepper, and two tablespoons of sugar, and drinking it through the straw.) “When we had the idea to brew an alcoholic beer from scratch at Willamette, I was like, Okay, I’m ready for my dream job,” he says. “We know we can do this.”
And that’s how the show turned into one of the least known in TV history — and the one that shows how easy it is to create comedy with the right beverage. For the third consecutive season, Harmon, director Josh Schwartz and producers Alison Brie and Dan Harmon (who, as the show was starting its fourth series, also had just come from a long-running standup set) went to Chicago to meet with the head of the brewery and to begin gathering the various sources of inspiration for the upcoming beers. The beers include the popular Cherry Bomb, as well as the Pilsner, a pilsner that Harmon found in a nearby storage locker; the Black Jack, a Belgian Quadrupel; and the Amber Ale.
“The cherry bomb is a little sweeter than what we did the first couple shows because it’s just a cherry. It’s basically like a black currant, which you don’t see too often,