Hey there, Drinkers!
Sorry for the long pause between posts recently, I’ve been crazy busy at work and have not had time to watch many movies. Plenty of time to drink my stress away though (just kidding, that’s not a healthy way to cope). ANYWAY! We’re letting the wolf out for today’s BAAM with Golden Road’s Wolf Among Weeds DIPA and the 1941 werewolf original The Wolf Man. So grab your beer and any silver you can lay your hands on. Let’s get going!
The Wolf Man (1941) exists amongst the canon of the classic monster movies that helped define the rules of decades of subsequent films. The film centers around the return of Larry Talbot to his ancestral home (castle) in an English village which holds a rich folklore of werewolves. There, he quickly falls for local beauty Gwen after a really creepy, semi-rapey courtship which involves him spying on her through a telescope. As the film’s name suggests, Larry is attacked by a werewolf, becomes one and then terrorizes the town while slowly uncovering the truth about himself.
While the film is, at its most basic level, about werewolves, it is more accurately a film about psychology, schizophrenia and the duality of man. The poem that locals recite about werewolves is less about turning into a wolf but more about how good-natured men can hold evil within themselves. And that’s much of the point of the film. While Larry is a “good man” (I say that in quotes because, by today’s standards, he kinda stalks Gwen and breaks up her engagement) who quite literally has a beast inside of him. The film spends a significant amount of its dialogue on trying to understand the pseudo-psychology of Larry, of breaks with reality, schizophrenia and other personality disorders. While none of the discussion is particularly scientific and is very on-the-nose, it does allow for a world in which “normal” people can have very real mental disorders, which I think is something worth noting.
Aside from the surprising mini-discussion in psychology, the film is….well it’s fine. It’s hard to watch these old movies as a modern viewer with modern-viewer expectations. It can be a challenge to turn off that part of your brain and watch as an audience member from 1941. The townspeople are unimaginably stupid and both the doctor and Larry’s father generate such absurd “rational” explanations for Larry’s behavior that it’s laughable. Moreover, the wolf transformation is inconsistent. The original werewolf, played by the legendary Bela Lugosi for five minutes, turns almost instantly into an actual dog whereas Larry very slowly turns into an exceptionally hairy man. But those gripes for today. For the past, the film is kind of fun. You have some creepy gypsies, some scary monsters, a beautiful lady and incredible superimposition work to tie it all together. While not a particularly engrossing 70 minute movie, it’s still a fun trip down cinematic memory lane.
So what about our oddly named Wolf Among Weeds DIPA from LA’s own Golden Road Brewery? Well, first off, apparently the beer pulls its name from the Latin translation of one of the beers signature hops. Who knew. Second off (that’s not an expression but whatever), I have to disclose that this beer was poured from a can. I typically try to stay away from canned beers, despite the growing movement amongst craft brewers to use cans over glass, but I guess I’m just a snob. Anyway, GRB only cans its beers, so this was the only way to enjoy the beer at home without a growler (a purchase I am thinking of making). That all being said, the brewery is quite explicit in its decision to only can their beers, so I respect them for their conviction. But let’s talk about this beer.
The WAW DIPA (as I’m calling it) is a beer in the tradition of most west coast IPA’s: big hop-forward flavor, tongue-buckling bitterness and high ABV. Pouring from a 16 oz. can (a full pint! woooo!), this brew is a slightly hazy yellow/gold with a clean one-two finger head. The nose gives off strong notes of pine, hops and bitter citrus. When you sip it, you’ll mostly get that big hops flavor. Pine and grass come through the bitterness, as well as hint of sweetness from the citrus fruits, but really you’re just going to steam-rolled by the bitterness. That bitterness was fine for someone like me who enjoys that but I can imagine that most casual drinkers would find the overpowering hoppiness a bit off-putting. Moreover, the beer can be a little one note over the course of the pint. But overall, it’s a great DIPA I’d recommend to any hop-head that’s in the greater LA area.
So there you have it, Drinkers! A night that left me with a wolfish grin on my face. An original monster movie with something surprising to say and an LA original DIPA that will blow you away with its hoppiness. Overall, I call it a successful night.
Thanks for your patience while I find the time to get these out. And as always keep drinking, my friends.
The Wolf Man
-Everyone is kind of stupid…
-Larry, our hero, is a little rapey
-Actually discusses mental illness