kegs at Lift Bridge

Lift Bridge Brewing: In Cinemagraphs

We visited Lift Bridge Brewing in Stillwater in mid-July to capture part of their beer-brewing process. Brewer Matt Hall was our guide through the making of a batch of Farm Girl Saison. Photographer Becca Dilley, newly enamored of the video-like potential of animated GIFs, illustrated some of the more beautiful aspects of brewing in the process. [BANDWIDTH WARNING: This page contains large images and will overload old browsers and slow connections.]

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Malted grain (above) for the beer batch in process. The stuff can be chewed as is, and it has a nutty, earthy, almost Grape-Nuts-like flavor to it.

Lift Bridge Brewer Matt Hall walks the floor of the brewery
Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

We spent about four hours at the brewery. During that time, Matt was constantly on the move. Like cheesemakers and farmers, brewers stay busy.

Lift Bridge brewer Matt Hall pours grain
Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Matt pours malted grain from a sack.

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Hops are added to the mash, where they will add a subtle hop characteristic to the final brew.

stirring the mash at Lift Bridge brewery
Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Matt stirs the mash to help distribute the grain and keep the temperature even.

kegs at Lift Bridge
Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

After the beer has gone through the brewing process, it’s distributed in kegs throughout the Twin Cities area.



    I never said they invented the animated GIF but I find it hard to believe that the idea for doing cinemagraphs of the brewing process came out of thin air yet Dogfish Head’s cinemagraphs have gathered a lot of attention in the craft beer community. But instead a snobby reply is just as good. Thanks.

  2. James Norton

    Yes, I understand that the underlying premise of your original comment is that we couldn’t have possibly applied a current photographic technique to a topic as broad as brewing without having seen it first on the Dogfish Head website… and, yet, I assure you that that’s precisely what happened. Moreover, and in all seriousness, who cares? If we do a beer podcast, for example, are we ethically bound to point out that Sam Adams did a beer podcast in 2005, or is it OK to use media to document something without researching and then referencing who was “first” to do it?

  3. Tom

    I too am very taken by the idea of cinemagraphs: pictures that move as opposed to moving pictures. Did you have to make significant reductions in image quality to make these work on the site without blowing up your servers? Are there other, higher-quality versions? (Not that these look bad!)

  4. James Norton

    Tom, I should let Becca chime in with technical details, since she did these, but, yes, they’re considerably reduced in quality and frames from the first draft (giving them a kind of pleasing rough-hewn look, I think), and the “without blowing up your servers” thing is yet to be seen – it’s an experiment for us, although one that’s working out OK thus far.


    It was only featured on the New York Times website and but I’m sorry to suggest it was anything but a 100% original idea and moment of divine inspiration.

  6. Becca Dilley

    The guys are doing really cool stuff, and certainly I have seen some of the food images they are doing. Certainly an inspiration, as is the local food culture going on here.

    As for process, I actually start with JPGs and then combine them together in Photoshop, using the top layer as a mask so that the motion is limited to part of the image, and then making into an animation. Some of the final images have been compressed harder than I would have liked in the final export to GIFs to keep them at a (somewhat) reasonable file size, but the slightly jerky motion is more an outcome of starting with JPGs as opposed to pulling frames from a video and doing the same process.

  7. Kate

    Why yes,, we do have time to look at every media outlet, every day, all the time. We probably ought to thank MFK Fisher in the “About” section for inspiring us to write about food. Drop it already, animated GIFs are awesome, Becca did an amazing job and it seems like you have some hops up your butt.

  8. CopyCat

    Hi – I checked out your website. Very nice. I am not sure if you were aware, but photographs on a website – have been done before on the GetALife blog in 2007 and prior to that by a 13 year old girl on Compuserve in 2002. Also, the layout you have with tabs at the top and a surrounding frame of a photo – that too has actually been used by A MILLION OTHER PEOPLE. I wasn’t aware that one had to attribute every idea ever created/used anywhere. Since you give zero credit on your blog to the creator of the font you use, the design software you use, and the extensive use of Wikipedia – I guess those rules don’t apply to you?

  9. dave

    Overall a pretty nice set. The falling grains and the pouring of hops was spot on. The pouring of malt is a neat repetitive motion shot, though the guy’s face is filled with black squares. The stirring animation either goes on a bit to long or not long enough, because the guy jerks around a little too much (though fixing the timing would make that another great animation, especially with the steam). The rolling of kegs animation was really good, too bad it is quite “blocky”. The walking across the brewery shot, seemed pointless to me (the jerk of the tanks in the very last frame is also distracting).

    Do you run the jpegs through a color filter script before converting to gif (so that each gif frame has the exact color swatch), or does each gif have its own color swatch (i.e. just from saving the jpg as a gif)?

    Oh and the snarky comments from everyone… classic.

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