Abita’s Abbey Ale & Young Frankenstein

Hey there, drinkers,

Tonight I’m feeling good, drinking beer and watching movies (well, really just one movie). And with a bomber of 8% beer to indulge in and an obscure cinematic reference to explain, this BAAM has all the makings of great evening. Fair warning, due to the fairly high ABV of this beer and the sheer quantity of beer consumed (a bomber is a 22 oz. bottle), I may or may not be a bit tipsy in the writing of this review, so just bear (or beer….get it?) with me as I ramble and leave typos.

Before I begin, I owe you at least a brief explanation for this seemingly random pairing. For those of you who have not seen Young Frankenstein, the plot hinges on a one-liner. When Dr. Frankstein’s assistant, Igor (eye-gore), goes to retrieve a brain for the soon-to-be-reanimated-creature , he steals a brain labeled “abnormal,” believing the brain actually belonged to a lady named Abby Normal. Silly. I know. But it’s Mel Brooks, so just go with it. And since this is BAAM and we don’t take ourselves too seriously, we’re just going to pretend that Abby was spelled with an E and go about our merry way. If you have any complaints about my pairing system you can A) Take it up with the person who suggested this film to me or B) Suck it. Let’s move on, shall we?

Now, Mel Brooks’ 1974 film Young Frankenstein is one that I actually have a bit of history with. Back in college, I somehow got away with writing a paper on this film (amongst other films), so I’m sure I could talk to you at length about the repurposing of genre tropes, but we’re not in film school anymore so I’m going to skip that bit. For Mel Brooks, this film is actually less uproarious and absurd than many of his others. Unlike Blazing Saddles (one of my favorite films) or Spaceballs (one of the best parody films), Young Frankenstein doesn’t feel the need to have a joke every 15 seconds. Rather, the film seems to truly relish the tropes of classic horror films. The dramatic black & white aesthetic, combined with a pitch-perfect score and the indulgence in unnecessary pauses in dialogue, it is very easy to see Mel Brooks’ reverence for the genre. Or, at the very least, reverence for his knowledge of the genre and his ability to poke fun at it. Going in to the plot seems a bit silly (it’s the story of Frankenstein, but funnier), but I will say that this film does not disappoint when it comes to feeding the audience a few, healthy guffaws. And while my laughter may have been just a product of the beer, I would recommend this film to anyone who loves classic films and classic parodies. None of this Scary Movie crap. I’m talking about the real deal here. No one does it like Mel Brooks. Oh, also, Gene Hackman is in this film for about 5 minutes. Just a heads up.

No one can yell his way through a film like Gene Wilder. Bring it on, Will Ferrell.

So what beer made me giggle throughout this entire film? Well folks, it’s none other than Abita’s Abbey Ale. A tribute to Belgian beer-making, this Abbey Ale has a deep amber color and a thick head. Smelling, and tasting, primarily of Belgian yeast, there is no mistaking this beer for anything other than an abbey-style beer. Unfortunately, I found the beer’s yeasty-ness to be a bit overpowering. While the beer went down smooth and was pleasant to drink (especially considering the high ABV), it was very difficult to taste anything other than yeast. Sure, you get hints of bread, but that’s basically just a nice way of talking about yeast. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed this beer, it just got a little old after awhile. I wanted more complexity out of this beer. As a quick disclaimer, my palette is absolutely not as refined as true beer aficionados, so I may be way off base in my assessment of this beer. For alternate opinions on this or any beer, check out Beer Advocate. They’re awesome. Anyway, from the point of view of a common drinker who enjoys the occasional Belgian beer, I have to say that there are better Belgian-style beers out there. Second disclaimer: I love Abita and I would recommend to all of you to try out this Louisiana brewery (this is BAAM’s 3rd Abita beer, so you probably already figured that out anyway).

So maybe tonight’s combo wasn’t as…memorable as last weeks adventure with Ironclad, but it was certainly more enjoyable. The movie was a funny, low-key parody that gave proper respect to its parent genre while the beer got me tipsy enough to mostly disregard its repetitive flavor. In the history of BAAM, we’ve had worse and we’ve had better. Minimal complaints.

And remember, if you have any ideas or suggestions for beers or movies, please let me know. Tonight’s film was suggested through a friend/reader after I had already settled on a less-clever pairing. So, just like in this great democracy of ours, your voice is important! Tell me what you want to see here on BAAM and I’ll try my best to make it happen.

Happy drinking, friends!


Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
Abita’s Abbey Ale
Deep, rich amber color
Yeasty nose and flavor
Overwhelmingly yeasty, to a fault

Young Frankenstein
Gene Wilder in top form, as always
A loving, and caustic, reflection on classic horror film
I once wrote a paper on this film. I miss college…

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