Hey there, Drinkers!
In anticipation of the upcoming U.S. release of The World’s End, and everyone’s love of zombies, today we’re celebrating Shaun of the Dead. And fitting with the British theme of beer consumption in this film, and all the other films in the “Cornetto Trilogy,” I’ll be sipping on Dogfish Head’s Noble Rot (got it yet?). So let’s get started, shall we?
Released in the U.S. in 2004, Shaun of the Dead is one of those rare movies that jumps from cult favorite to modern ubiquity. Starring a then largely unknown Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, Shaun of the Dead follows our unlikely heroes as they navigate a sudden zombie outbreak. To call the movie a zombie-genre spoof though both denigrates this film and unreasonably elevates the genre. While Shaun of the Dead is ostensibly a satire, it is also a loving (and highly intelligent) homage to everything we know and love about the zombie genre. Romero and 28 Days Later references aside, the movie takes pure joy in flexing the genre’s familiar muscles while also playing them for laughs. Even the visual style, which is remarkably distinct, has fun with the intensity and hyper-realism found in other zombie flicks.
There’s a actually a lot I’d like to say about this film but the sake of time and cohesion, I’ll try to remain brief. I do want to point out that there are few films that make you as keenly aware of the film’s planning than Shaun of the Dead. The film so expertly folds back in on itself, both in its writing and its visuals, that the viewer gets the sense that as silly as the film is, its creators took their jobs very seriously in the film’s making. From the mirrored, long single-takes to the secret foreshadowing drinking schedule of Ed, even down to the repeated little argument about whether dogs can or can not look up, Shaun of the Dead is a film that was clearly well-planned and expertly executed.
Finally, I’d like to just make the point that this film is unabashedly British, which I love. Maybe this is because I’m an American and this film wasn’t made with the intention of being an international success, but Shaun of the Dead makes no attempts to Americanize itself in its language or humor. An obvious result of this is the ease with which the actors occupy their characters (also, they’re just good actors) and moreover, the comedy feels cleaner and truer to the tone the for which the film strives. Overall, Shaun of the Dead undoubtably ranks not only among my favorite comedies, but also among my favorite films.
And while our zombies were rotting away on screen, how about Dogfish Head’s Noble Rot? To be honest, I didn’t really know what to expect from this beer. I think I bought it because of the label was cool and it seemed like a good fit for the movie. Also, I figured that a $20 bomber from the “off-centered” brewers of Dogfish Head would be a pretty good. And I guess my intuition was correct because this beer was CRAZY GOOD! Ostensibly a saison, this beer is brewed with grape must (unfermented wine grape juice) which makes it a magical beer/wine hybrid. Pouring a beautiful clear, light gold color with tons of tiny bubbles, you’ll instantly start making comparisons to champagne. With a powerful white wine nose, backed up with a little bit of wheat, yeast and fruit, the beer has a distinct and delicious aroma. With your first sip, you’ll get all of those flavors in a lovely, subtle mix. It has the body of a lighter saison, and that grainy flavor you’d expect, but the grape must adds this fantastically smooth and sweet white wine aspect that you rarely find in a beer. And even with a hefty 9% ABV, the beer never weighs you down or feels too boozy. Rather, you get that relaxing sensation that comes from sipping a cool glass of white wine on a warm summer evening. So overall, I consider this beer a real winner.
So there you have it, folks. A simply rotten evening. A truly unique and delicious brew with a fresh and engaging zombie comedy. I think it’s about as good as BAAM gets in my book. And while the beer was a bit pricey, having a friend to share the experience (and tab) would only make the evening a little sweeter.
Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
Dogfish Head’s Noble Rot:
-Beautiful, clear golden pour
-Perfectly balanced blend of beer & wine
-High ABV but super smooth & crisp
Shaun of the Dead:
–Everything you love about zombie movies, but smarter
-Expertly written, shot & acted
-Both a spoofy & loving homage to the genre