How To Develop Film With Beer


Y­­­ou do shoot film, right? Of course you do!

It’s the new (old) Instagram, magically freezing light from an actual moment in chemical paste shmeared across the back of some cellulose, sorcery of the highest order preserving slices of life for future recollection. A physical manifestation of energy, proof in the pudding that you did whatever it was you did or saw whatever you saw, inarguable evidence that you were there, proof that you are here.

Oh, those anxious hours or days waiting to get film back from the lab, to see if you pulled it all together in time to capture some decisive moment or another. Did you nail it? Were you a hair too late? Did you remember to focus and expose properly? Did you get coffee jitters that translated to camera shake? Ooh, you got some good ones! Time to embrace irony and get some scans so you can prove your analog mastery by sharing digitally! Wait, processing and scans is how much? Damn. Okay. Hmmm…

Yeah, it’s expensive. But what if you could cut out the middleman and go full 24-hour-photo hut in your own basement or back seat? Better yet, what if you could do it without some of those pesky toxic chemicals? What if you could do it with something you already have loads of, something like… beer?

That’s right, you can develop film in beer. Sure, it only works for black and white film, but who do you think you are, Bruce Weber? Black and white is the only true way to go, just ask Hamburger Eyes. Plus, it’s artsy af and the film is way cheaper. Stay pure, stay poor, etc.

What’s that? You’re under the drinking age? Don’t worry, I got you. Just swap out the beer for a few packs of instant coffee dissolved in water and play with the developing time a little. Either way, remember: drink any afterwards. Seriously.

Like messing with film? Then you should check out our Tandem Double Exposure club. You could get a special roll of film, a fancy bag of coffee, and a zine delivered to your door every month. I’m not saying it’s the cure for the COVID quarantine blues, but it’s better than hard drugs, at least in the long run.

You should probably grab some Fat Tire beer and try it out.

Sign up for the Monster Children Newsletter