Monthly Archives: January 2015

Clown Shoes’ Undead Party Crasher Imperial Stout & The Night of the Living Dead (1968)

Hey there, Drinkers!

Today’s pairing is all about the LIVING DEEAADDD. No, not zombies. Just the dead coming back to life and eating people. That’s right folks, we’re watching the original The Night of the Living Dead while sipping on a beer from Clown Shoes’ Undead Party Crasher (repping my Massachusetts upbringing). So grab your blunt objects, aim for the head and start drinking!

In 1968, George A. Romero’s The Night of the Living Dead shocked and horrified audiences across America. For its time, Night was incomparably gruesome, violent and explicit. Aside from the fact that it was, for all intents and purposes, the original modern zombie film (which we’ll discuss that shortly), the film was one of the first to display gore and cannibalism. By the standards of the time, this movie was sick. It was gross, disturbing and altogether horrifying. And it’s still pretty gross.

They're coming for you Barbara!

They’re coming for you Barbara!

The most important thing to remember while watching this film is to forget everything you know about zombies. Forget about eating brains, hitting them in the head or viral outbreaks. Everything you know about modern zombies can be traced back to this movie. Prior to this film, the term cinematic zombie was typically reserved for a sort of voodoo-induced-hypnosis. You can watch films like White Zombie or I Walked with a Zombie for reference. What Romero did in The Night of the Living Dead is create an entirely new monster: a reanimated corpse with a hunger for human flesh. In fact, the term zombie is never used in the film. Rather, the monsters are referred to mostly as murderers, cannibals, ghouls or ‘those things.’ Moreover, these zombies are smart. The use weapons, open doors and cut power lines. They are proto-zombies.

He's (kind of) a ZOMBIE!

He’s (kind of) a ZOMBIE!

Oh and they were most likely created through exposure to radiation from Venus. Whatever.

But the movie itself is also interesting to watch. The film is claustrophobic, grounded and steeped in mistrust. All of the characters, who have found themselves trapped in a house, struggle to work together. Heightening the drama is the unsaid racial tension between the film’s resourceful hero Ben and the white Harry who tries to wrestle power from him. Now I’ve heard that the script was not written with a black protagonist in mind, but the underlying power struggle between these two men serves as a fantastic microcosm for the issue of race in 1960’s America.

Accidental racial politics

Accidental racial politics

There’s a lot to say about this relatively short film but what I really want to say is that you should see it. For anyone who is interested in the history of cinema (or zombies), this is oddly enough an important chapter. Check it out!

So did our beer crash this zombie party? Not at all! Clown Shoes’ Undead Party Crasher was actually the perfect accompaniment to our evening. This Imperial Stout pours jet black with a thin, brown head. Off the nose you’ll get tons of roasted malt backed up some of that 10% ABV booziness. When you sip, you’ll get a quick flash of roasted malt and chocolate with a hint of sweetness. All of those flavors dissipated quickly into smooth, light carbonation with an alcoholic finish. For an Imperial stout, the beer is not nearly as heavy as you would expect, which makes it easier to drink. Especially considering the high ABV. Definitely a winner from Massachusetts brewer Clown Shoes.

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So there you have it, Drinkers! A night of great beer and the undead! I’m really happy with how this pairing turned out. We had a great, easy sipping but complex beer to go with an engaging and fun cult-classic. Thanks as always for reading and don’t hesitate to suggest beers or movies you want to see me pair.

And as always keep drinking, my friends!

Clown-Shoes-Undead-Party-Crasher

Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
Clown Shoes’ Undead Party Crasher Imperial Stout:
-Jet black pour
-Huge roasty aroma & taste
-Boozy throughout

The Night of the Living Dead
-The original zombie movie
-Slow burning intensity
-Interesting racial politics

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Rogue Ales’ Santa’s Private Reserve Ave & Rare Exports

Happy New Year, Drinkers!

Now that the holidays are over, I thought it would be an appropriate time to post a Christmas-themed pairing. Because I plan ahead! Today, we’re sipping on Rogue’s Santa’s Private Reserve while watching the Finnish (of Finland) film Rare Exports. This pairing was a little weird, a little late, a little disappointing and very confusing, which seemed like an accurate summation of many people’s holiday. So let’s get it started!

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For a quick summary, Rare Exports is a 2010 film about how an evil Santa Claus is thawed out from a Finnish mountain and wreaks havoc on a small town. Or at least that’s what the movie was billed as. But instead of the Santa-slasher that I was expecting, I was treated to a relatively bloodless, thrill-less story of a weird boy,  his weird knowledge of evil Santa and the naked, pickaxe-wielding men who come after him. Still sound exciting? Well then continue to be disappointed. Almost nothing happens in the movie. The story plods along without suspense, tension or intrigue, dragged along by largely boring, one-dimensional characters. Our pack of protagonists is lead by a very strange and annoying young boy named Pietari who demands his father beat him so Santa doesn’t claim him as a ‘naught boy.’ Really it’s just scene after scene of disappointment. With such a great (re. terrible) premise, it’s frustrating to see it thrown away on a piece that takes itself too seriously yet lacks the narrative tools to do so.

This implies more drama than actually exists in this film

This implies more drama than actually exists in this film

So maybe our beer helped fight off the winter chill from Rare Exports? Well, yes and no. Rogue’s Santa’s Private Reserve Ale is an Imperial Red (hence Santa, I suppose) but it lacks any sort of winter-y profile. Which is fine, if you’re not expecting a winter beer. The beer pours an copper-red color with a sizable, foamy white head. Mixed with the distinct Red hoppiness is a little caramel-sweetness balanced against a medium body. On its own, it’s a solid beer. It’s simple, not overwhelmingly bitter or piney and is easy to drink. But if you’re looking for a specifically winter-y beer, maybe this isn’t the brew for you.

So there you have it, Drinkers! Another holiday gone by, another pairing behind us. Unfortunately, I was a bit disappointed with the movie. And the beer, while solid, was not what I was expecting. But if that’s the extent of my displeasure, then I think we did just fine. Thanks for reading and I hope you had a wonderful New Years holiday!

And as always keep drinking, my friends!
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Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
Rogue’s Santa’s Private Reserve:
-Lovely red pour
-Well balanced flavors & body
-Not a winter beer, despite the name

Rare Exports:
-Unfortunately underwhelming
-Very little actually happens
-Simple, one-dimensional characters

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