Monthly Archives: December 2013

The Tap Brewing’s Sassy Rabbit & The Curse of the Were-Rabbit

Hey there, Drinkers!

I know it’s been awhile but New Years not the time to judge me. Or ever. Anyway, I just got back from a visit to my hometown of Boston and I thought I’d bring you all a local brew for today’s BAAM. We’re sipping on The Tap Brewing Company’s Sassy Rabbit while watching one of my personal fun-favorites: Wallace & Gromit’s The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. So grab your beer and let’s hop to it!

Now, I sincerely hope that all of you are familiar with the lovable British claymation characters Wallace and Gromit. For you sad few who don’t know who they are, Wallace and Gromit were first unleashed on the world in 1990 in the short film A Grand Day Out and have since gone on to be featured in four more shorts and a lone feature. Wallace is a silly, cheese-loving inventor and Gromit is his silent yet intelligent dog/assistant. Gromit is also one of the most expressive characters in film, all told with hand gestures and eyebrow raises. Without fail, the humor is equal parts clever and stupid in the best of ways. In 2005, The Curse of the Were-Rabbit launched Wallace & Gromit into the feature-film world, delivering all the expected humor and heart for which the franchise is known. Since you should really see this movie, I don’t want to go too far into the plot but, in short, the film is about a giant, vegetable-ravaging rabbit that terrorizes a quaint English town just in time for its annual giant vegetable competition. And while the film is first and foremost intended to be a family-friendly goof-fest, it also provides the audience with some more subtle and adult comedy as well. So well-integrated is the humor that I find it hard to point out any one thing in particular but needless to say that every detail has been accounted for when it comes to the comedy.

Bun Vac 6000

Bun Vac 6000

And as for the film itself, of course it’s impressive. It’s 90 minute claymation film (well, technically they no longer use clay but whatever)! It’s incredible they ever actually finished it even, given how minute and varied some of the animations are. At times, there are upwards of twenty moving characters on screen, all requiring painstakingly careful movement in order to come to life. So to have a funny, complex and engaging film on top of that technical feat, this film will always be considered a winner in my very fleshy heart.

So many cute bunnies to animate!

So many cute bunnies to animate!

And our Sassy Rabbit? It’s definitely its own beast, so it fit perfectly with our Were-Rabbity adventure. Hailing from Haverhill, MA, this brew from The Tap Brewing Company is a rye ale brewed with a significant amount of hops. The end result is a uniquely smooth IPA that both confuses and delights the palette. As I’ve said in the past about ryes, these brews tend to be smoother than your average ale, making them great for easy drinking. However, this Sassy Rabbit sports a ton of hop power, bringing out a nice mix of pine, citrus and earth. While it wasn’t as spicy at the label promised, it was still an interesting, tasty mix of bite and smooth. Moreover, since the brew is only 5.7%, you can drink it at whatever pace you’re comfortable with and avoid any unwanted buzz. Next time I’m back in Boston, I’ll definitely have to check this brewery out.

So there you have it folks, a hoppy and happy evening for families and bunnies alike. A fun, silly and smart movie with an interesting and delicious brew. Both are definitely worth checking out when you can.

Thanks again, Drinkers for being here in 2013. Work has really slowed my output on BAAM, so I really appreciate all of you bearing with me. So raise your glass and cheers to a safe and happy New Year. And as always keep drinking, my friends.

Tonight’s Tasting Notes:83225
The Tap Brewing’s Sassy Rabbit:
-Hazy brown pour
-Nice rye smoothness
-Significant hoppiness

The Curse of the Were-Rabbit:
Sharp, fun comedy for everyone
-Great voice-acting cast
-Wallace & Gromit in their finest form

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Christmas Crossover Special: Black Christmas, Black Phoenix & The Beer That Saved Christmas

Hey there, Drinkers!

Tis the season for gift giving, sleigh bell ringing and black beer drinking. And once again in celebration of the holidays, I’ve teamed up with Anne from We Recycle Movies to watch some terrible holiday-themed slashers while drinking a few good beers. Since Anne’s blog is all about sequels and remakes, we watched the two iterations of Black Christmas while sipping on Bootlegger’s Black Phoenix (it’s black…and phoenix’s live again…nevermind) and also The Beer That Saved Christmas (aka the beer that saved us the pain of watching these movies). So sit down, enjoy those chestnuts roasting over that open fire and prepare for a black Christmas!

Let’s begin at the beginning. The original Black Christmas was released in 1974 and subsequently….actually I don’t think it did anything after that. To horror fanatics, I think it ranks as a sort-of spiritual predecessor to Halloween, as the films are surprisingly similar (albeit that Halloween is a much better film). But beyond that, the film doesn’t hold much water. Or blood. The film, which follows the deadly targeting of a sorority house, very rarely elevates itself beyond creepy but usually relegates itself to the mundane. The film slowly meanders between its uninteresting characters and largely ignores the murders, which is very odd for the genre. Occasionally the film veers off-course entirely and does very little to reincorporate itself into the central plot. The scariest parts of the movie are actually its phone calls. A’la Scream, the girls of the house are harassed by unnerving, sexual and animalistic calls that the police generally disregard until the end of the film. For the most part, there is very little that really captivated me with this movie but there are two points that are worth mentioning. One, the film very directly deals with the issue of abortion. Our heroine finds herself unintentionally pregnant and makes the difficult decision to have an abortion, a conviction she firmly holds on to throughout the film. Second (SPOILER ALERT), you never find out who the killer is. There a few suspects but they are all cleared/killed by the end of the film, and with only two shots of the killer himself (all shadowed and highlighting only his eyes), you never actually learn who the killer is or his motivation. A fact that I found infuriating. But maybe some people find that genre-defying. I found it lame.

One of two shots of the killer

One of two shots of the killer

And the 2006 remake of Black Christmas? Yeah it’s pretty terrible. In this version, the film takes the mythology of the original and over-explains everything. See in the original, the mystery killer keeps mentioning the names “Billy” and “Agnes,” two characters we never meet. In the 2006 version we know right away who our killer is: Billy. Billy is a yellow-skinned cannibalistic killer who is raped by his mother, who gives birth to his oddly man-like daughter Agnes. Oh and Billy made Christmas cookies out his mother’s skin. Whatever. Anyway, all of this story is WAY over-explained in stupid flashbacks that mostly serve to gross us out while cheaply delivering plot. The rest of the film follows the various murders of these sorority sisters and the occasional douche-y boyfriend that gets caught in the way. And while this film provides our bad guys with “motivation,” the film really isn’t any better than the original. Actually, it’s probably worse. The acting is terrible, the kills are kinda silly and the bad guys are just really lame. It does feature Katie Cassidy before she was Laurel Lance on Arrow (great show, not a good actress), so that’s a fun fact. And finally, it’s simply not scary. Yeah it’s a little gross but that’s only a small factor when it comes to successful horror movies. Overall, I’d say don’t waste your Christmas on these movies. Maybe watch something a little more wholesome.

blah blah this movie blah blah

blah blah this movie blah blah

And ours beers? Pretty solid actually. The first we had was Prairie Artisan Ales’ The Beer That Saved Christmas (that’s a mouthful) . This brew is an Old Ale, a style of beer I didn’t even know about. Apparently, these beers can be very fruity and malty, which is pretty much how I’d describe this one. Pouring a deep, almost rust-colored brown, you’ll get a sweet, malty nose and lovely tan head. When you taste it, you’ll get a very interesting and bright pop of flavor. I tasted a nice mix of cherry, red wine and oak barrel (this beer is barrel aged). What is most interesting is that big splash of character almost immediately disappears into a smooth, light finish. And for a 10% brew, you get almost no booziness. It’s hard to say that this beer was extraordinary but it certainly was interesting. If you’re looking for something different this holiday season, I’d say give this one a shot.

As for Bootlegger Brewery’s Black Phoenix, this brew held up as a solid coffee stout with a nice little twist of chipotle spice. Pouring a deep black with minimal chocolate-lacing, you get a well-balanced mix of roasted malts, coffee flavor and a hint of chipotle. None of these flavors hit you over the head and the 6.7% ABV keeps this beer under control. For a beer with some many potentially big flavors involved, I found this coffee stout to fairly mild-mannered and easy to drink, which makes it a good alternative for those looking for something a little lighter when you’re perusing the stout aisle at your local beer store.

So there you have it, Drinkers! A Black Christmas! As per usual with these holiday specials, the movies were pretty awful but the beer and the company really made the night a winning combo. Be sure to show Anne some love and check out her review of the movies which will probably hold the same level of disdain as my own review. Thanks as always for reading and have a happy holiday season!

And as always keep drinking, my friends!
Prairie-The-Beer-That-Saved-Christmas-Oak-Aged-Old-AleTonight’s Tasting Notes:

Bootlegger’s Black Phoenix Chipotle Coffee Stout:bootlegger
-Clean black pour
-Very malty, nice hint of coffee
-Spicy little twist

Prairie’s Beer That Saved Christmas:
-Big, bright opener
-Mild, smooth finish
-Surprisingly not boozy

Black Christmas (1974):
-No killer reveal
-Meandering
-Shag carpets

Black Christmas (2006):
-Too much exposition
-Gratuitous grossness
-Sad remake to a sad original

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