Monthly Archives: February 2013

The Bruery’s Mischief & Rumble in the Bronx

LET’S GET READY TO RUUUUMMMBBLLEEE!

Sorry drinkers, it needed to be said. Here we are with another BAAM and boy is it a doozy. We all know what it’s like to wrap up a long day at the office and need a drink. But, if you’re anything like me, every now and then that craving for a great craft beer comes along with a sudden, inexplicable desire to watch kung fu. Moreso than any other genre of film, kung fu inspires the same levels of desire and immediate satisfaction as chocolate. Or Mexican food. And so, tonight I present you with Jackie Chan’s mid-nineties classic Rumble in the Bronx and The Bruery’s Mischief Belgian Strong. So let’s rumble, shall we?

As a casual connoisseur of Jackie Chan films, I feel obligated to educate you readers before we dive into the actual review. Prior to the 1995 release of Rumble in the BronxChan was largely a Hong Kong cinematic phenomenon with little penetration in the American market. While he was already quite famous in Asia, Rumble in the Bronx marked his first major foray into American cinema. After Rumble, Jackie Chan became synonymous with kung fu and was instantly an American movie star. So with that out of the way, let’s discuss how absolutely crazy this movie is.

Okay, brief plot summary: Jackie Chan (aka Keung) arrives in New  York City for his Uncle’s wedding. Soon thereafter, he finds himself at odds with a local street gang (the most racially diverse and strangely dressed gang you will ever see). This gang finds Chan frustrating and thus decide to make his life utterly miserable.  Somewhere in the middle of the movie, after Chan beats submission into the gang and then ends up entangled in a diamond heist-gone-bad. This then escalates into a chase/fight on  hovercraft. Oh and along the way he falls in love with the girlfriend of the gang leader who seems totally cool with all this. Also the entire film takes place over the course of about three days, though the film would have you think otherwise.

Hold it right there buster...dude...ese...buddy...amigo...sir

Hold it right there buster…dude…ese…buddy…amigo…sir

As absurd as this film is, it is important to note that no one watches a Jackie Chan movie for the plot or the acting. They watch it for the action. And the action is kick-ass. For me, it isn’t even that Jackie Chan is totally baller, it’s his use of the environment around him. As staged as it all is, there is something utterly exhilarating about seeing Jackie Chan using everything at his disposal, from chairs to refrigerators to crutches to skiis. Jackie Chan is a master of incorporating his surroundings into the action. Ironically enough, this adds a certain level of believability to his largely unbelievable actions. While it is obvious to every viewer how choreographed every move is, it is still fun (and logical) to see him push chairs in the way of his enemies in order to best them. Though it doesn’t explain why the gang had so many refrigerators in storage….

He also jumps off a building onto the fire escape of another building. Also kind of badass.

He also jumps off a building onto the fire escape of another building. Also kind of badass.

For the record I truly do love this movie, but I should point out the absurdity of it all. For one, everyone is dubbed into English. Even the people speaking English are dubbed into English. And if they weren’t dubbed, then their acting is even worse than I thought. Good lord is it terrible. Also, it is important to note that New York City has no mountains. Such are the pitfalls of trying to use Vancouver as NYC. On a similar theme, what Bronx does this take place in? Yes, the Bronx is a racially diverse borough but seriously, where the F@&% does this movie take place? It’s a weird mix of urban slum, lawless subway system, public beach and private golf course. I just don’t understand. But as I said before, you don’t go into a Jackie Chan movie, or any kung fu movie for that matter, to pick over the plot or the setting. You watch it for the raw, visceral action. And Rumble in the Bronx delivers. As silly as it is, it remains one of my favorite kung fu movies and I would happily watch it again and again.

NECK CHOP!

NECK CHOP!

So was our beer as kickass as our movie? It kinda was, to be honest. The Bruery’s Mischief Belgian Strong Ale is an easy-drinking, high ABV beer that, in my totally unprofessional opinion, would appeal to drinkers across the spectrum. Pouring a thick, two inch head with a mild Belgian yeast aroma and a light orange  color, Mischief is a bit deceptive and is definitely delicious. With your first taste, you’ll be struck with how mild the beer is overall. And not in a bland way. Rather, all of the flavors blend together nicely without any one overpowering the other. You’ll get notes of hops, citrus, banana-y yeast and a touch of booziness. And considering this beer sports a hearty 8.5% ABV, the lack of a strong, alcohol bite is quite surprising. In fact, I have to say that the alcohol snuck up on me, hitting me just in time to write this review. Ultimately, the subtle blend of these flavors and it’s lack of an overstated booziness make this beer easy to enjoy over a long period of time and completely accessible to drinkers of all tastes.

So that’s it, folks. A little Mischief in the Bronx (because, you know, Jackie Chan gets into trouble…mischief…WHATEVER! STOP JUDGING ME!). What’s important is that this is a great, easy-watching movie and a tasty, easy-drinking beer with enough complexity to satisfy a more discerning drinker/viewer. I highly recommend both. Together. Seriously, Rumble in the Bronx is even better when you’re tipsy.

If you’re looking for the complete BAAM experience, I suggest you hit me up on Facebook, Twitter or Untappd. Also, I’ll be attending LA Beer Fest in early April so if you’re planning on coming, let me know!

And as always keep drinking, my friends.

pizzalounge-002edit


Tonight’s Tasting Notes:

The Bruery’s Mischief Belgian Strong Ale:
Thick, foamy head
-Mild aroma and flavor, but not without complexity
-Good, easy drinking for an extended period of time

Rumble in the Bronx:
-Jackie Chan’s official U.S. debut
-Fantastic, environmentally-involved action
-Silly plot and silly story, but we don’t care!

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Port Brewing’s Mongo IPA & Blazing Saddles

Hey there, Dwinkers!

Valentine’s Day is over and my next major holiday is Passover (a decidedly unfriendly holiday to the beer-drinker), so we’re back to our regular scheduled (I schedule?) programming. Tonight we saddle up and head West with Blazing Saddles and Port Brewing’s Mongo IPA. So grab your spurs and candy grams and let’s ride out!

I think I first saw Mel Brooks’ 1974 Western parody film Blazing Saddles when I was probably ten. Maybe younger. I loved it then and I love it now but the first thing that comes to mind is “why the hell did my parents let me watch this as a child?!” Aside from much of the humor going WAY above my head (who’s Hedy Lamar? who’s Marlena Deitrich? what about all black men makes them…gifted?),  the references, innuendoes and jokes fly by at a mile a minute and it’s easy to miss many of them, even to the most knowledge of viewers let alone a 10 year-old kid. But that’s part of Mel Brooks’ genius. The comedy is never-ending and regardless of base or crude the joke may be, he commits to each one fully. Even when that joke is just men farting around a campfire for 10 seconds straight. I’m still surprised I was allowed to watch this movie though. Blazing Saddles filled with so much foul language and racial offense that it’s a marvel that this movie was made even in the 70’s! But it’s Mel Brooks and he can pretty much do whatever he wants since he pretty much makes fun of everyone.

Gunplay is funny!

Gunplay is funny!

But aside from the brilliant dialogue and expertly-timed jokes, the real treasure of this film is in its performances. Every character so effortlessly plays off the other that you can almost sense how much fun they were all having on set. Even Gene Wilder, who is dramatically understated for most of the film, manages to bring a smile to you every time he speaks. And then there’s Madeline Kahn. She’s just amazing. Oscar-nominated amazing, in fact. Oh and one more quick thing: it should be pointed out that this movie truly is a fantastic parody of the Western genre. Nearly every theme, trope, cliche and character archetype is addressed and lambasted. Even the music is in on the game (also Oscar-nominated, along with film editing). For you cinephiles out there, this is a good crash-course in the American Western. But you know I hadn’t seen this movie in some time and it was good remembering why I love it so much. For a variety of reasons, for good and ill, they truly don’t make movies like this anymore.

It also has one of the most bizarre, meta conclusions you’ll ever find on the big screen.

Can I offer you some more...comedy?

Can I offer you some more…comedy?

And was Port Brewing’s Mongo IPA “just a pawn in game of life”? To be truthful, I’m not quite certain how I feel about this IPA. The beer pours a nice, hazy orange and leaves behind some lovely lacing, making it a very pretty beer to look at it. But the aroma and primary taste I got from the beer was one of grain and citrus with only a hint of hoppy IPA bitterness. Maybe it was just the bottle I had but this felt much closer to a wheat than an IPA. For what it’s worth, this 8.5% ABV beer was quite light in body and easy to drink, so it might be a good alternative for those who are still on the fence about IPA’s. But for me, it just wasn’t big or bombastic enough  or for the movie I was watching. I do like many other of Port Brewing’s beers, so I’m not writing them off but I was a bit disappointed with my Mongo.

So there it is, Dwinkers! Another beer and a movie riding off into the sunset. Fantastic movie, meh beer but still a good evening. My abs definitely got a workout from the movie and I’m glad I got to try another new beer, even if it was a bit of a dud.

Thanks for reading and be sure to connect with BAAM on Twitter, Facebook or Untappd (for you mobile drinkers).

And as always keep drinking, my friends.

Tonight’s Tasting Notes:port
Port Brewing’s Mongo IPA:
-Nice, hazy orange pour
-Thick head w/ lovely lacing
-More grain than hop in flavor profile

Blazing Saddles:
-Non-stop joke onslaught
-Fairly offensive, but it shares the wealth
-Never gets olds, a true classic

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Valentine’s Day Special: Alesmith’s My Bloody Valentine Ale & Valentine

Hey there, Drinkers!

It’s that time of year again! The time when we give the people we love chocolates, flower, teddy bears and other a host of other heart-shaped paraphernalia. It also means it’s time for the glorious return of the awful slasher movie review from both myself and We Recycle Movies. If you remember last year, we watched both versions of the terrible mining-slasher My Blood Valentine. But sadly (or thankfully), there are a limited number of Valentine’s Day-themed murder movies out there, so Anne & I settled for the only one we could find: Valentine. And in keeping with the theme, I also grabbed two bombers of Alesmith’s My Bloody Valentine Ale (wish I had those last year…). So with our beers in hand, our movie before us and our attention elsewhere, we begin our evening!

For starters, Valentine is a crappy 2001 movie about spurned love and heavily features Denise Richards’ chest. Taking place over what we assume to be the days running up to Valentine’s Day, a group of girls (and a bunch of other randos) are murdered by someone in a cherub mask with a perpetually bloody nose. Unlike most other slasher movies, the killer has no weapon or choice and does not have superhuman walking speed/teleporting capabilities. Rather, our killer is, we assume, just an average psychopath. How refreshing…Actually that’s a lie, it’s not refreshing. Most of the murders feel arbitrary and the main spook device, a creepy Valentine’s Day card, is quickly abandoned in favor of…well nothing. The result is a fairly average movie with overly-extended suspense scenes that largely conclude with kills we don’t really understand.  Moreover, the low quality of the writing and acting doesn’t really engender any concern for these characters.

Heart-shaped DEATH!(and yes, that's Angel)

Heart-shaped DEATH!
(and yes, that’s Angel)

I’m actually wracking my brain to think of more things to say about this movie but it’s kinda of challenging actually. The movie is just bad for all the expected, boring reasons. Poor writing, poor story, poor acting, poor editing…the usual suspects. The production design was solid…except for the creepy lips-only video art gallery scene. That sh*t was weird.  The only real positives I have for the film are as follows:

1) Cherub-murder man does kill someone with arrows. So that’s fitting.
2) Denise Richards’ boobs are heavily featured.
3) Marley Shelton’s boobs are heavily featured.
4) Katherine Heigl dies in the first 5 minutes. No love lost there.
5) A guy gets his penis Maker’s Mark’ed by Denise Richards. Apparently she doesn’t like surprises.

And that’s Valentine. Don’t watch it. You can do better.

This is most of this movie

This is most of this movie

But My Bloody Valentine? This Alesmith brew was actually introduced to me last week while on a visit to the West Coast brewing powerhouse that is San Diego. In the past, I’d only had Alesmith’s IPA, which had quickly become one of my IPA favorites, so I was game to test out another one of their brews. According to the label, My Bloody Valentine Ale is the seasonal cousin to Alesmith’s Halloween beer, a brew I’ll definitely check out next October. This dark red ale pours a big head and leaves behind some very pretty lacing (foam left behind on the inside of the glass). Though I find that many reds lean more towards the malty side of the spectrum, this brew hits you with some serious hoppiness at the front that is well-balanced by a sweet, malty backbone. The end result is a very flavorful and full-bodied beer that is remarkable smooth, making it very easy to drink. Moreover, the ABV, which has been carefully brewed to 6.66%, makes this a beer you can sip on for quite some time without worrying too much about the drive home.

So there we have it, drinkers. Another Valentine’s Day BAAM come and gone. Though the bad movie may have killed the romance, at least we had a beer to easy the pain.

If you have any Valentine’s Day brews or films you enjoy on this holiday, let me know and maybe you’ll see them next year! But I’m not watching Valentine‘s Day. Screw that.

And as always keep drinking, my friends.

 

Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
Alesmith’s My Bloody Valentine Ale:alesmithmybloodyvalentine__11071.1359179413.1280.1280
-Deep, ruby red color
-Bright hoppiness supported by sweet malt
-Super smooth

Valentine:
– Inconsistent killer
-Flat writing & poor delivery
-Ending makes you scratch your head, but not in a good way

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