Monthly Archives: April 2013

Stone’s Old Guardian Barley Wine & The Cabin in the Woods

Hey there, Drinkers!

Today we’re getting Ancient with Stone’s Old Guardian oak-smoked barley wine style ale and the 2011 sci-fi horror/slasher Whedonverse film The Cabin in the Woods. It’s a big, bold pairing filled with blood n’ booze! And while that sounds like any episode of Game of Thrones, I promise that this combo is something special. And equally badass. So let’s get started, shall we?

The Cabin in the Woods is, interestingly enough, a film nerd’s dream. Created as both an adoration and parody of the horror/slasher genre, Cabin is pretty much a wall-to-wall cinematic reference. From the broad strokes of genre trope (abandoned cabin, young people, zombies, etc.) to technical details (camera references to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre)Cabin in the Woods expertly walks the line between satire and cliche. I won’t discuss much of the plot, but suffice it to say that at its core, the film is every horror movie ever made. Young, attractive people wander off the beaten path, display risque behavior and suffer the horrifying consequences. But where many other filmmakers have just stuck to the formula, Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon have bent those genre stereotypes into something new and utterly self-reflexive. Without revealing too much, Cabin is built on a premise that explains and/or justifies every horror movie ever. The cliches of movies past become the narratives hooks that drive the story forward without patronizing the audience. Rather, they became the moments of levity that make an otherwise gruesome film completely HILARIOUS!

Shot-for-shot lift from the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Shot-for-shot lift from the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre

There are actually a lot of things I want to point out about this film but since I am a wordy writer, I figure a list will be more efficient. Let’s go!

-Before Chris Hemsworth was Thor, he was a Sociologist major jock. Though this film was released after Thor, it shot a few years before. Hollywood be crazy!
-When this came out in theaters, it was the first film I saw on the big screen in over a year. (I was unemployed at the time). My friends and I laughed at all the movie references while the rest of the audience was dead silent. Aaawwkkward.
-Joss Whedon’s dry sense of humor is SPLATTERED all over this film. If your unfamiliar with his writing style, watch anything of his. Literally anything.
-A Firefly Reaver can be seen during the monster massacre scene. How awesome is that?!
-Boobs are acceptable in this film because they make a statement about the use of female nudity in this genre…what am I talking about?! Boobs are always great!
-Character stereotypes exist for a reason. Because they prevent the end of the world.
-If you think it’s Sigourney Weaver’s voice, it probably is.
-All in all, this movie is actually quite well shot and well acted. Who knew?

But seriously folks, this is one of those movies that exists for pure entertainment. Even if you’re not a big horror fan or into blood n’ guts (I’m not), this film is actually quite good fun. Yes, it does get a bit bloody at times but for the most part, it all serves the purpose of parody. You don’t even have to know most of films Cabin references to enjoy it. It is so intelligently constructed that any viewer should be able to identify it as both parody and reverence for one of the most overwrought genres in cinema.

References on references

References on references

And Stone’s Old Guardian Oak-Smoked Barley Wine Style ale(that’s a mouthful)? Well let me tell you, it is quite the beer. As with everything that Stone brews, it is a BIG beer. Pouring a beautiful, deep amber color with a tan head and remarkable lacing (the foam left behind on the edge of the glass), the Old Guardian is a beer to behold. While the nose is fairly mild, hinting at rich barley and refined hops, the beer itself is quite potent. With your first taste, you’re hit with substantial malty flavor. Toasty deliciousness fades into a respectable hoppiness that is prominent without overpowering the palette. It finishes with a bitter, boozy bite brought on by the 11.5% ABV. As with most Stone beers, this is not for the feint of heart. The Old Guardian is a powerful beer that is complex and yet thoroughly enjoyable. Not to mention quite pretty to look at. In the end though, it left with me an impressive buzz. In short, this beer is not to be underestimated. Maybe try it with a friend. Or don’t be a lightweight like me. Either way works.

So in case you haven’t figured it out, today’s thematic link was the Old Guardian protecting us from the Ancient Ones from The Cabin in the Woods. If that doesn’t make any sense whatsoever, go watch the movie. And pick up this beer. I promise that the fun (and blood) will complement the alcoholic haze of this tasty brew. Truly a wonderful pairing that I would recommend to both the casual consumer and the seasoned connoisseur…though maybe the beer isn’t so casual.

Tonight’s Tasting Notes:IMG_79591-189x300
Stone’s Old Guardian:
-Beautiful pour
-Mild, malty nose
-BIG (and balanced) taste with significant booziness

The Cabin in the Woods:
-A nerd’s best friend
-A Whedon film to its core
-Surprising balance of respect and parody for the genre

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AleSmith’s IPA & Bad Boys

Hey there, Drinkers!

Today we phone-in our BAAM pairing with AleSmith’s IPA and the 1995 Will Smith (get it yet?) action movie Bad Boys. Yeah, that’s right. We’re Smith pairing. Since AleSmith wastoo awesome to actually name this brew, we weren’t left with too many options, so bear with me. But regardless of lame my combo, this pairing actually worked quite well. So tell me, what are you going to do when tonight’s BAAM comes for you?

Probably drink more but that’s just a guess. Let’s get started, shall we?

EEXXPPLLOSSSIIOOONNSSS!! That’s what my brain said when I saw Michael Bay’s name in the opening credits of Bad Boys. So you can imagine my disappointment when I found a dearth thereof in this two hour film. Actually, for an action film there was a general lack of action throughout. Sure there was a sprinkling here and there but I think the gun fight/car chase/explosion budget was saved for the last ten minutes of the film. Of course, any action film’s conclusion should be big and bombastic, but not at the expense of the entire second act of the film. Seriously, the body of this film was just quick-witted exposition, sassy banter and Miami scenary. Yes, the brotherly banter between Martin Lawrence and Will Smith is expertly paced but there is only so much mindless chat you can take before you desperately cry out for something to EXPLODE!

So much action...in this one scene!

So much action…in this one scene!

I don’t really want to discuss the plot because there isn’t much to say. Most of the film is not about the plot. It’s about the characters. And how frustratingly senseless Julie (the key witness our heros must protect) is with regard to her own predicament. Oh, I’m a witness to a murder/major heroin deal? How about I only trust ONE COP and refuse any actual police support? Oh, being protected by the police means I can’t go out? How bothersome! Seriously Julie, you’re killing me. You make no sense and your skirts are WAY too short. And why do you make such a big deal about being a vegetarian? I’m a vegetarian. It’s not a big deal. Okay clearly I’m getting off-track here.

What I mean to be discussing is how annoying the editing style is for this film. In classic Michael Bay form, his action sequences are big and boisterous, but nearly impossible to follow. When the action kicks up, you lose all sense of space and time seems to move freely without any real semblance of..well, time. In the end, I can’t say I’m surprised. Michael Bay is not been known for his storytelling or his narrative clarity. He’s really been known for proclivity for weaving humor with EXPLOSIONS. And in that regard, Bad Boys is a success. In any other regard, not so much.

MOAR GUNZ

MOAR GUNZ

So was our beer equally bombastic? In many regards, it was more an explosion of awesome than Bad Boys. AleSmith’s IPA (because giving it a name would be lame) is, without question, one of my favorite IPA’s around. I’ve been fortunate enough to have this brew on tap throughout Los Angeles but this was my first encounter with its bottled brethren  While draft is always the way to go with craft beer, I have to say that this bottled beer was pretty much just as good. Pouring a clear, copper color with a two-finger head (fingers are standard measurement tools for beer), this IPA is exactly what you want out of this style of beer. It has a massive, piney-hops nose with a beautiful, floral hoppy taste that does not overpower the palate. Rather, the careful balancing of this beer allows the complexity of the hops to dance around on your tongue. There’s bitterness, pine, citrus and just a hint of booze. It really is a perfect IPA in my opinion. For the IPA-lover, AleSmith’s IPA is the beer for you. And I’d recommend it to beginner trying to explore this style as well. Truly a winner.

So there it is, drinkers. A generally EXPLOSIVE pairing of both beer and movies. How about that?And while our movie was a little lackluster, it was nothing 22 ounces of pure hoppy delight couldn’t remedy. So whatcha gonna do next time you find yourself watching a Michael Bay movie? I’d recommend grabbing an AleSmith IPA. Especially if you’re going to check out Bay’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which will apparently be lacking in both the “mutant “and “turtle” departments.

Stupid ninja aliens….

As always keep drinking, my friends.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
AleSmith’s IPA:
-Clear, copper pour
-Lovely pine aroma
-Full-bodied hoppiness without  being overpowering

Bad Boys
-Noticeable lack of explosions
-Great banter
-Bloated second act

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Anchor Brewing’s California Lager & Clueless

Hey there, Drinkers!

Today’s pairing is all about California and how it generally regards itself as a superior state to all others in the Union. So our pairing for today is the 1995 teen classic Clueless and Anchor Brewing’s California Lager. As an East Coast transplant, my feelings are mixed with regard to the “Best Coast” but at the very least, living in LA for five years has opened up a new perspective on things. Namely things pertaining to Clueless. And my perception of cold. Anyway, let’s get rollin’ with the homies in today’s BAAM!

In 1995, a highschool comedy titled Clueless hit the big screen. Roughly twelve years later, I actually watched it. And now I’m watching it again. For you. Because I love you.  Chronicling the like totally challenging life of Beverly Hills highschool student Cher, Clueless is a perfect combination of sincerity and satire. That rare breed of film that makes you laugh out loud in earnest while also making you want to punch yourself in the face because it’s so predictable and corny. And while much of the dialogue evokes involuntary eye-rolling, that eye-rolling becomes part of the joke in itself. Everything that happens is so over-the-top and unbearable that it becomes an integral part of both the tone and narrative itself. Maybe I’m over-thinking things, but Clueless is actually written very well. And I don’t just mean that it’s funny and engaging and the characters are fleshed out. I mean that at every point throughout the film, the film simply builds on its own absurdity and folds it into the narrative. Yeah, now I might definitely over-thinking Clueless.

People dressed like this in the 90's? As if!

People dressed like this in the 90’s? As if!

There’s actually a surprising number of things I could say about this film that make it special, but most of them have been said before or would take away from the movie’s simple and charming appeal. I could talk about its take on teen sexuality or its perceptions of women, or drug culture, or LA elitism, or high school social castes or charity work. Or maybe how this film what shot at my college… Or that NO ONE THINKS IT’S WEIRD THAT CHER AND JOSH HOOK UP AT THE END!

Okay, I get they’re not related but still. I’m a little skeeved out by it. I mean, thank goodness it’s Paul Rudd otherwise we’d have some issues.

I’m glad we talked about this.

What's the social etiquette on dating your ex step-brother?

What’s the social etiquette on dating your ex step-brother?

Today’s brew hails from San Francisco, California’s second best city for craft beer (sorry SF, but San Diego is a craft brewing titan). Coming from the talented brewers at Anchor Brewing, the California Lager is a light, golden beer brewed exclusively with California hops. For those who don’t know, the term lager refers to lighter beers that are lower in alcohol. This is opposed to an ale, which is typically darker and higher in ABV. Anyway, this California lager generally sticks to that format. It’s light, crisp, easy to drink and very refreshing. What sets it apart is its surprising hoppiness. Obviously it doesn’t reach IPA levels, but it is one of the more bitter and dry lagers I’ve had. I don’t typically go for lagers, as I like my beer to have more complexity and some body, but the California offered a nice change of pace to lighter end of the beer spectrum. And while the bitterness might be off-putting to someone who just wants a “regular” lager, I’d still recommend giving this one a shot. Could be good to try something new.

So there you have it folks, California. Maker of movies, brewer of beers, manipulator of reality. But seriously, tonight was a good, relaxing tribute to my now-adoptive state. It was golden, fun, smart and with a dash of intellectual self-mockery. Sounds about right.

For another perspective, check out what Beer Broad had to say about this brew.

Remember you can always subscribe to BAAM by hitting the button at the top of the page. Or you can always follow me on Facebook, Twitter or Untappd.

And as always keep drinking, my friends

Tonight’s Tasting Notes:cal-lager-bio
Anchor Brewing’s California Ale:
-Clear & golden
-Crisp, refreshing & dry
-Notable hoppy bitterness

Clueless
-Overwrought dialogue that’s part of the joke
-Equal parts reverence & satire of Los Angeles
-And it’s true, everywhere you go has valet

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Coronado’s Idiot Imperial IPA & The Naked Gun

Hey there, Drinkers!

Passover is over and I’m back to drinking! …that makes it sound like I’m a relapsed alcoholic but whatever, here we are! Tonight we’re celebrating the idiot in all of us with Coronado Brewing’s Idiot Imperial IPA and The Naked Gun, one of the many films in which Leslie Nielsen plays an idiot. Fitting, right?

In 1988, The Naked Gun: Files from the Police Squad (a movie which I just learned apparently was apparently based off a 1982 TV show called Police Squad!) hit the scene. Like all great spoofs from the time, The Naked Gun pulls from multiple genres and (cop drama, noir, romance, spy, etc) relies heavily on sigh-gags and slapstick. Also it makes no sense whatsoever. Carried by the incomparable Leslie Nielsen, The Naked Gun is equally cringe-worthy and knee-slappable about every 15 seconds. The jokes are ceaseless and shameless. But unlike modern parody films, which suck monkey balls, The Naked Gun does not revel in its own absurdity. Rather it simply accepts itself at face value and moves forward. Though there are a few exceptions to this rule, the film largely is deadpan, leaving the laughter and incredulity to the audience. As dumb as every scene is, the film leaves the decision as to what is funny or not to the viewer. A decision which I appreciated and applied liberally.

Beaver jokes? Classic

Beaver jokes? Classic

And while the story makes no sense and most of the comedy is of the lewd n’ crude variety, the film still holds up as a decent comedy. Yes, a lot of references are dated (half of evil world leaders in the intro are now dead or deposed) but that’s a given. For me, The Naked Gun is more about letting go than it is about tuning in. Sure there are plenty of jokes you’ll miss your eyes aren’t completely fixed on the screen but that’s not the point of the movie. Really what you want is laugh at the penis jokes and feel uncomfortable when you see O.J. Simpson show up as Nielsen’s injured partner.

In short the movie is undeniably stupid. But that’s the point. And it does it well. So I have no real complaints. Not to mention it’s a nice little snapshot of late 80’s Los Angeles. Kinda interesting as a modern day resident.

Awwwkkwwaarrddd

Awwwkkwwaarrddd

So was our beer equally idiotic? Maybe a more accurate description for Coronado Brewing’s Idiot Imperial IPA would be “stupidly good.” This 8.5% beer pours a nice clear, golden color with a modest foamy head and minimal lacing. If you take a whiff of the beer before your first sip (which you should do before drinking any good beer), you’ll get that nice hoppy IPA aroma you’ve come to know and love. But with that first sip, your taste buds will be delightfully confused. You’re immediately hit with a strong, hoppy punch but without the usual bitter bite or dry mouthfeel. Rather, the beer is surprisingly smooth and the hoppiness turns to sweet citrus after a moment or two. A drinker with a more attuned palette might get notes of grapefruit and other tropical fruits, but I’m not that developed. But it’s no stretch to say that this is a deliciously complex beer better suited to a seasoned-IPA lover. Not to dissuade the casual drinker for this beer (go for it!), but I’d say this beer may be a bit much for those who are just casually passing by.

So I have to report that our idiotic pairing wasn’t as stupid as I thought. The Naked Gun has buried smarts amongst its dumb humor and the Idiot IPA is definitely not for the simple-minded. Both offer a surprisingly level of intelligence despite the common denominator of making grown men giggle like children. Oh the joys of booze.de_1655_lg

Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
Coronado Brewing’s Idiot IIPA:
-Clean, golden color
-Classic hoppy flavor without bitter bite
-Complex citrus & floral notes

The Naked Gun:
-Bizarre, shameless & hilarious
-O.J. Simpon……
-Several “holy crap, I recognize that actor!” moments
(including The Sopranos & Pee Wee Herman’s Big Adventure)

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