Monthly Archives: July 2013

Alesmith’s (Summer) Yulesmith & Bad Boys II

Hey there, Drinkers!

Remember when I drank Alesmith’s IPA and watched Bad Boys? Well in the spirit of We Recycle Movies, we’re doing a sequel! Today we’re drinking Alesmith’s Summer Yulesmith and watching Bad Boys II. And I promise that YULE (you’ll) love every minute of the mindless, explosive combo! So let’s get to it, shall we?

In continuing this blog’s strange infatuation with filmmakers like Michael Bay and Roland Emmerich, I’ve decided to revisit the Bad Boys franchise for today’s BAAM. For those of you who have been with BAAM for a little while, I reviewed Bad Boys back in April and I thought the experience was…meh. But since I’m gentleman/masochist, I decided to watched the 2003 sequel Bad Boys IIReuniting our two fast-talking, ne’erdowell Miami cops in the hunt for DRUGS, Bad Boys II pretty much ignores the first movie and charts its path. That’s actually about all I can say about the plot. It’s kinda hard to follow. There’s something about lots of Ecstasy coming from Amsterdam to Miami on its way to Cuba but there are also Russian clubs involved but the DEA is in from NYC and there’s a morgue….it’s a bit of a mess. But that’s not why you watch Bad Boys II, or any Michael Bay movie for that matter. You watch it for one thing and one thing only:

EXPLOOOSSSSIIOOONNNSSSS!!!

My face for the entire film

My face for the entire film

But really, the movie is largely incomprehensible and jumps wildly through time and space. And scope, for that matter. What begins as a tactical drug bust in the swamps outside Miami (there are swamps outside Miami?) eventually comes down to an unsanctioned, military-style raid on a Cuban compound. No lies. This movie literally goes cop movie to war movie in about a 5 minutes flat (after about 2+ hours of other explosions). What carries us through this whirlwind is a series of high-octane, high-budget action sequences peppered with snarky banter between our heroes Will Smith and Martin Lawrence. Each action sequence, and there are quite a few, lasts a good 20+ minutes and are  simultaneously bewildering and fascinating. Dozens of cars explode, people’s brains are blown out, building explode, more cars are destroyed and laughs are had. Oh and Michael Shannon shows up a little bit too. But, like most Michael Bay films, it’s very hard to follow. I mean, I appreciate all the hard work that went into shooting and cutting these scenes, but PLEASE! Let me follow along! It’s like a nauseating rainbow of destruction.

This movie is serious business!!

This movie is serious business!!

But seriously, this movie is probably best enjoyed as I enjoyed it: with a cold, high ABV beer in hand. What better way to let chaos wash over you than with an Alesmith Summer Yulesmith Imperial IPA by your side? This beer is released twice a year: once around Christmas and once around July 4th, with variations in the grain bill to suit the season. This summer Imperial IPA (or Double IPA or DIPA) pours a very nice clear, golden color with yellow-ish head that dissipates quickly. Giving a strong citrus aroma, you’ll be hit with flavor notes of grapefruit, pine and a little bit o’ malt. While this brew is definitely an IPA in hoppiness, it also layers in some nice sweetness that counteracts the typical bitterness found in high ABV IPA’s or DIPA’s. So, like everything else I’ve had from Alesmith, this beer is exceptional. Crazy flavorful, easy to drink and just complex enough to keep me interested over the course of a 2.5 hour movie.

So there you have it, folks! Another EXPLOSSSIIIIVVVEE BAAM brought to you by Alesmith and Michael Bay. Since these two reviews have been such a mind-numbing experience, I may considering doing this again sometime. But seriously, you have a mindless (but nevertheless entertaining) film and a fantastic brew, how can you go wrong a warm summer evening?

And as always keep drinking, my friends!
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Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
AleSmith’s Yulesmith:
-Clear, golden pour
-Lovely pine aroma
-Big citrus, pine and malt flavor

Bad Boys II:
-Fast-talking & fast action
-Action is hard to follow
-MICHAEL BAY=EXPLOSIONS!

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Boulevard Brewing’s Long Strange Tripel & Dr. Strangelove

Hey there, Drinkers!

Let’s get STRANGE! Today we’re drinking Missouri’s Boulevard Brewing’s Long Strange Tripel and watching Stanley Kubrick’s Cold War satire Dr. Strangelove. It’s been a little while since I’ve seen this movie and I’ve never even heard of this brewery before, so I was ready for a bit of a weird night (get it?). But fortunately I was pleasantly surprised. So let’s get started, shall we?

Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb is one of those classics that everyone is supposed to see at least once in their in life. A bizarro satire of the Cold War arms race infused with real worry concerning the possibility of nuclear war, the film sits in the unique position of being both perfectly attuned to its time while also remaining a timeless lesson in the risks of war. For those who are unfamiliar with the film, it loosely tracks the aftermath of an Air Force commander’s decision to nuke Soviet Russia in effort to “preserve our precious bodily fluids.” I say loosely because the film is actually less about the actual events and more about the myriad of wild characters that occupy the film. In a strange, twisted way, the film does a great job of simply extending real Cold War rhetoric to it’s next absurdly logical step. For example, the idea of nuclear deterrence is carried beyond that basic idea to completion: purposeful mutually-assured destruction in the form of a “Doomsday Device.” In a weird, scary way, it makes the argument if one person can’t win the war, then NO ONE gets to win.  I’m realizing that it’s hard to describe the satire (or any satire, for that matter) without you having seen it but ultimately, the film achieves that perfect balance of laugh-out-loud comedy and coming dangerously close to our own history.

Bombs are hilarious!

Bombs are hilarious!

What dragged Dr. Strangelove down for me is its pacing. While the film is funny and poignant and well-acted, there are several long (LOOONNGG) stretches where we simply watch Airmen rattle through military jargon as they fly into Russia. Sure, it lends some realism to an otherwise absurd film, but it really can drag at times. In contrast, the film’s titular character Dr. Strangelove only appears in two scenes that are not exceptionally long even though we wish they were. He steals those scenes, but I wanted more of him and less of planes flying. But that’s mostly just personal taste. Overall, the film is a quick 90 minutes of historical fun that I’d suggest you enjoy sometime.

Come at me with your sharp political satire, bro!

Come at me with your sharp political satire, bro!

And our Long Strange Tripel: was it as strange as our movie? It’s actually been awhile since I’ve had a tripel so it took me a few sips to remember what I should be expecting but I refreshed pretty quickly. Pouring a lovely hazy golden color, I was thoroughly impressed by the massive, three finger head. It was frothy, pure white and took its time to dissipate, leaving behind some lovely lacing. From the glass, you get a nice, grainy aroma with hints of Belgian yeast. With your first sip, you’ll get more of that wheaty graininess infused that banana-y Belgian yeast. I also found the beer is smoother than expected with sweet highlight notes of fruit and citrus. However, none of these flavors dominated the palette one way or the other, making the beer a good, middle-of-the-road easy drinking beer. So if you want something a bit yeasty and on the strong side (9% ABV), I’d say you could do a lot worse than Boulevard Brewing’s Long Strange Tripel.

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So there you have it, Drinkers! A strange night! Actually it wasn’t all that weird, to be honest. It was nice. A classic satire and a surprisingly drinkable complex beer. A little mix of high and low brow, which is something that everyone needs from time to time.

Remember, if you like what you’re seeing here, be sure to Like, Subscribe and Follow all across the various social media.

Oh also, as a heads up, I’m about to start a brand new job on a TV show that’s moving into production shortly, so I’m not sure what my schedule will be like. I will try my best to keep getting BAAM’s up regularly but bear with me as I find my footing with the new schedule.

And as always keep drinking, my friends!

Tonight’s Tasting Notes:Boulevard-Long-Strange-Tripel
Boulevard Brewing’s Long Strange Tripel:
-Lovely golden, orange pour
-HUGE, foamy, white head
-Notes of grain, yeast and fruit

Dr. Strangelove:
-Sharp satire perfect for the era
-Amazing characterization
-Drags a bit when not making jokes

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Port Brewing’s Anniversary Ale & Who Framed Roger Rabbit

Hey there, Drinkers!

Sorry for the long delay but the anniversary of our nation’s founding threw my schedule a little out of whack. But with the 4th safely behind us, I thought it was high time we celebrate another anniversary: the 25th release anniversary of Who Framed Roger Rabbit while sipping on Port Brewing’s (10th?) Anniversary Ale. So let’s get celebrating, shall we?!

25 years ago, Robert Zemekis and Steven Spielberg released the incomparable, technically-stunning Who Framed Roger RabbitFor the unfortunate ones who have not seen this film, it’s essentially a 1940’s noir set in a fictional Hollywood in which cartoons are real. It’s a bit of an odd concept (one originally created in the form of a novel actually) but the murder mystery that drives the film is quite clear and easily understood, so the film remains grounded and on-course despite its inherent zaniness. In fact, the noir story in and of itself is quite compelling. The murder mystery is captivating and well-paced and the subplot regarding the reconfiguration of Los Angeles travel (the birth of freeways) is also well-integrated. Moreover, what I learned only a few years ago, the film is a purposeful parable and critique of Los Angeles gentrification and minority-community dispersal. In the film, greedy men and studios wheel and deal to remove Toon Town and remake Los Angeles in their image. In the real world, the creation of the now-infamous LA freeway system split and destroyed historically African-American communities that are still reeling from the negative impact to this day.

zany AND poignant!

zany AND poignant!

Aside from a strong story with a pertinent subtext, Who Framed Roger Rabbit is simply an excellent example of great filmmaking. From a technical standpoint, the hybrid of live-action and hand-drawn animation (no CGI here, folks!) is simply incredible. The forethought in the scene-blocking, the complete dedication of the acting…it’s all truly remarkable. Not to mention that the animation is simply just good. It feels like a classic Looney Toon cartoon! From a world-detail standpoint, everything we see on-screen feels like it belongs in the world. The period-setting is accurately done and the cartoon elements feel about as real as they should be. It would have been easier (and probably cheaper) to say “ah it’s just cartoons so no one will really care anyway” but fortunately, that was not the case. The detail of what we see lends such authenticity to the story that you can’t help but love the film more. Third, from a business standpoint, seeing Warner Bros and Disney character side-by-side on film is really remarkable. I don’t know how those deals got made but I’m just impressed. And finally, the film is just really damn funny. Aside from all the easy toon-related gags, there’s a good amount of subtle or below-the-radar humor that I’ve only picked up on from having seen the movie many (MANY) times. Also, being an Los Angeles resident also lends a little bit of humor to the mix, as the film relentless pokes fun at the modern day city. How about them Brooklyn Dodgers?!

Chuckles...technically challenging chuckles

Chuckles…technically challenging chuckles

So in case you haven’t picked up on it already, I really love this film. As a kid, as an adult, as a film-student, as an Angeleno…everything about this movie is truly wonderful. Go watch it!. It’s on Netflix.

Seriously, go now.

Oh and the bad guy Judge Doom is still terrifying. Just FYI.

What have you done with Doc Brown?!

What have you done with Doc Brown?!

And while not “zany,” I have to say that Port Brewing’s Anniversary Ale was quite the treat. Released every spring and summer, this year’s iteration of the Anniversary Ale is a super-hopped strong pale ale. Yes, “strong” is actually a type of beer. Pouring a hazy golden orange reminiscent of summer wheats, this beer smacks you with powerful hoppiness and a mild-mannered head. There are also hints of sweet citrus in there but you’ll most get those once you take a sip. Despite the hefty 10% ABV, the beer does not come off as too boozy. Rather, you’re hit again with that strong hoppy flavor accompanied with notes of grapefruit and a little bit of grain. All of those flavors mellow out as it warms, so this one I’d suggest you don’t let sit out too long. But other than that, it’s actually quite easy to drink if you like hops. And finally, I think I could classify the texture or mouthfeel as chewy and/or sticky. Neither of those words make a beer sound appealing but it’s actually a pretty accurate description for how the beer feels on your tongue (hence it’s called mouthfeel). The Port Brewing website also describes the beer this way, so I’m not completely out of my mind. But overall, this is a very good beer that I’d recommend to any hop-head.

So there you have it, Drinkers. Another successful adventure! What better way to relax like an adult than with cartoons and beer? A seriously good movie for all audiences and a great beer for the educated drinker. I think I’ll be enjoying both again in the future.

And as always keep drinking, my friends!
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Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
Port Brewing’s Anniversary Ale:
-Nice hazy, orange pour
-Super hoppy deliciousness
-“Chewy” mouthfeel but that’s a good thing

Who Framed Roger Rabbit:
-Amazing technical feat
-Utterly hilarious
-Captivating story with real-world touchstones

 

 

(and yes I realized I missed many “hoppy” pun opportunities. sue me.)

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