Hey there Drinkers,
Tonight’s beer and a movie was a little special. It’s the 21st entry which means that we’re finally of age! And like any birthday party, we had some friends over and we drank beer. Since we were watching the 2006 Martin Scorsese Oscar-winning insta-classic The Departed, it felt only right to bring on the Sam Adams. With the “cold” weather rolling into Los Angeles, the Winter Variety 12 pack was not out of place and provided a little something for everyone. Oh and one of my friend’s brought over some Mickey’s, because that sounds Irish.
To be honest, it’s hard to watch a movie with a group of people. Conversations fly and important screen moments get missed. Which is fine. This was meant to be a social evening and I like to think that I’m not some crotchety old man just yet, but listen, I just like to watch my movies. But moving on, The Departed is really everything you want out of a good, thoughtful (but not too thoughtful) movie. There’s action, suspense, murder, sex, attractive men, old men, Mark Wahlberg. It’s really got everything. Aside from that though, the movie has some of the strongest characterization and acting of anything mainstream of late. Every character we see in this well-paced 2.5 hour film is three dimensional. All of the actors bring their A-game (would you slack off if Scorsese was in the room?) and truly bring their characters to life. And while the film suffers from a few jarring edits (which I know were done intentionally, I just didn’t like them), it flows seamlessly from scene to scene. You hardly even notice that they never actually experience Winter in Boston despite the film taking place over more than a year’s time. Hardly. Even. Noticed. And when it comes down to it, this movie is just hilarious. Everything that Mark Wahlberg says is priceless. Jack Nicholson is at the pinnacle of his crazy. And even the violence is so blunt that you can’t help but smile just a tiny bit after you recover from the initial shock. Well played Marty. Well played.
You know who else really brings it every time? Samuel Adams. I don’t think I have ever had a mediocre beer from them. I’ve probably had eight or more of their beers and they are all incredible. Unfortunately, I’m wasn’t man enough to try all of the beers from the Winter Variety pack in one sitting, (more pairings to come!) I did get a chance to sit down with the Old Fezziwig Ale and the Black & Brew. I’ve actually had Old Fezziwig before in last year’s Winter mix so I was particularly excited by the Black & Brew, but we’ll talk about both. Black & Brew, as you can imagine, is a stout beer brewed with coffee. And, simply put, it tastes exactly like what you’d expect. The beer is unmistakably a stout with a deep, black color and rich, almost chocolatey flavor. But the kicker is that you easily identify the coffee in this very drinkable stout and it tastes great. The coffee isn’t overpowering either. Rather, it subtly accentuates what is already happening in the stout and really rounds out this perfect winter-time beer. And Old Fezziwig Ale? Another solid performer. This ale is spicier than the Black & Brew and uses some of the classic winter flavors like cinnamon and relies more on noticeable hoppiness. Not too hoppy mind you, just enough to give this beer more of a body, which is exactly what you want from a winter beer. But since I’m in LA and not layering up to keep out the New England chill, these beers gave a me a little taste of home.
So all in all it was a successful birthday party. Good beers, a good movie, good friends. You can’t really ask for more than that. And a special thank you to my friends who came out and supported this largely asocial activity. Be on the lookout for some more wintry Sam Adams combos (someone’s gotta drink ’em) as well as another classic film paired with another New England beer coming soon in the near future. And, as always, keep drinking my friends.
Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
Old Fezziwig Ale
Classic winter spices
Strong, full body
Nice, reddish color
Black & Brew
Lives up to its name
Noticeable, but not overpowering, coffee flavor
Solid new brew from Sam Adams
Meticulous characterization and performance
Huge, star-studded male cast
Marky Mark is a true Bostonian