Avery’s Salvation Belgian-Style Golden Ale & Terminator: Salvation

Hey there, Drinkers!

Are you ready to get saved? FROM ROBOTS?! I hope so, because in today’s BAAM we’re not watching Saved! but rather Terminator Salvation while drinking Avery Brewing’s Salvation Belgian-Style Golden Ale. Why robots and not pregnant teens? One word: Explosions. So strap in, grab a beer and travel through time for today’s review. Let’s get started.

In 2009, The Halycon Company rebooted the Terminator franchise the only way modern moviemakers know how to reboot an action franchise: with Christian Bale. But gone was the setting of pre-apocalyptic America and in its place was the post-Judgement Day world. I remember when Terminator Salvation came out I was SO excited to finally see the world that had only been hinted at in previous movies. No longer was Skynet just going to be a few skin-clad Terminators and a bunch of early 90’s computers. Instead, we were going to see something bigger and darker. And to the film’s credit, it does do a decent job of showing that. The film, while mostly centered on the human element, does give us a few glimpses of Skynet’s world along with a few obligatory shots of a decimated Los Angeles. Realize I haven’t mentioned anything about the narrative (yet). That’s mostly because this film is more visual than anything else. From a purely visual standpoint, the film is actually quite exciting. The camerawork and editing is top-notch and the visual effects are of the same high quality we expect from our other blockbusters. And interestingly enough, the film creates a distinctive visual style that many other action movies lack. With long, uninterrupted shots and a heavy focus on its character’s faces, the film is actually quite visceral and strives for human connection. Unfortunately, the writing and narrative make that…well let’s say challenging.

Human. Machine. Themes.

Human. Machine. Themes.

The real problem with the writing in Terminator Salvation is that it’s just. so. deliberate. Where am I? What happened here? Who are you? I’m John Connor, leader of the Resistance. We have to find John Connor. On and on and on! The whole movie is just a series of single, expository lines with a few general platitudes about ‘Humanity’ interspersed throughout. And imagine all of this delivered in Christian Bale/Batman-lite gruff speech. Yikes. There is exactly ONE good line in the whole movie and it’s “The devil’s hands have been busy” and that’s about as good as it gets. Similarly, the narrative is fairly lockstep predictable with the expected nonsense that comes with blockbuster movies and time-travel. Nonsense like why don’t the robots kill their #1 target, Kyle Reese, when they have him captured? Or how do the human resistance still have warplanes? A lot of major decisions don’t really make any sense or aren’t explained, so you’re left just shrugging your shoulders and waiting for the next explosions to kick off.

EMPHATIC SPEECHES!

EMPHATIC SPEECHES!

Overall, the movie is fine. It’s not terrible but it’s not great either. For what could have been a big, dramatic reboot of the franchise, I think this film falls a little short. Sure it looks pretty, but it don’t talk too pretty.

Did I mention robots?

Did I mention robots?

So was our beer the Salvation of the evening? I think so. Avery Brewing’s Salvation Belgian Style Golden Ale is a solid Belgian that can carry you through most movie-watching experiences, good or bad. Pouring a true golden color with a two-finger head and some nice lacing, beer is visually everything you would expect from a golden Belgian. With the pour, you’ll get that classic Belgian yeast aroma along with some mild hints of citrus, grass and malt. And that same goes once you take a sip. Lots of yeast with just little drops of sweet, citrus, grass and malt all tied together with some very fine, light carbonation. It’s actually a very easy beer to drink (quickly) despite the 9% ABV, though I wouldn’t say the beer does anything special. But I find that can be the case for a lot of Belgian-style ales, so maybe I’m biased. But overall a solid beer from a great Colorado brewery.

So there you have it, Drinkers! An evening of pure Salvation. We had an action movie with a passing grade and a solid Belgian-style beer to help us muscle through the dialogue. Not a bad evening by BAAM standards. As usual, thanks for reading and please feel free to suggest any future combos.

And as always keep drinking, my friends!

Tonight’s Tasting Notes:Avery-Salvation
Terminator Salvation:
Strong, well-defined visuals
-Sub-par writing & narrative
-Helena Bonham Carter & Common are both in this movie

Avery’s Salvation:
-Lovely golden pour
-Strong notes of Belgian yeast
-Solid brew but nothing extraordinary

 

 

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Stone Spotlight Series Sprocket Bier & The Lego Movie

Hey there, Drinkers!

How are you doing today? Feeling AWESOME? Because I’m not sure if you know this but EVERYTHING IS AWESOME! That’s right Drinkers, today we’re pairing up The Lego Movie with our appropriately themed Sprocket Bier hailing from Stone’s Spotlight Series. So strap in (or snap in? Too much?), grab your glass and get ready!

When I first saw The Lego MovieI had my doubts. How could you ever turn my beloved, story-less childhood toy into a movie? Didn’t you see what they did to Battleship? (Hint: no one did, that’s the problem). But I have to say that The Lego Movie truly defied my expectations and instantly turned me into a rabid fan. For those of you who don’t have small children or do but still somehow haven’t seen this movie, the film follows the adventures of an ordinary Lego construction worker as he gets hurled into a plan to save the universe from an evil businessman. At its core, the story itself extremely familiar and predictable. Throughout his trials, our hero learns about himself before saving the world, making friends and getting the girl. Pretty straightforward stuff, right? Nope! What makes The Lego Movie special isn’t its story but its execution.

At home with your Legos

At home with your Legos

First and foremost, the film’s attention to detail in its writing and visual is astounding. If you’re familiar with Legos, you know how detailed a world you can create with plastic bricks and the same goes for the movie. Every shot is teeming with bright, fun and well-thought-out details that make this fantastical world seem alive and familiar. Combined with the fun of seeing the familiar bricks comes to life in fun ways (water is a good example), you can tell that filmmakers took great pains to stay faithful while also maximizing their own pleasure in creating this movie. And the same can be said for the writing. It’s sharp, witty and moves at hyperspeed. I’ve now seen it twice and I still feel like I’m missing jokes. All of this combined with a stellar cast and an entertaining stop-motion-esque visual style  boils down to is a film that radiates love and respect for the toys many of us have grown up with.

Also, Batman!

Also, Batman!

There’s actually quite a bit more I could say about this movie but for the sake of time, I’ll just strongly suggest you watch this movie (my roommate is watching it while I’m writing this, if that’s any indication). Yes, the movie gets a bit preachy and its themes can hit you over the head (repeatedly) but that’s really a minor flaw for a film that is ostensibly for a young audience. Moreover, this movie is so fun and funny that it kind of earns a pass. Also, that damn song  is just so addictive!

images

So did our beer just SNAP into place? Mostly, yes. This interesting beer has an interesting history, so let’s start there. Apparently, this Sprocket Bier was the winner of the first Stone Spotlight Series brewing competition. Brewers from several companies teamed up and battled it out in a blind taste test. The winner, our Sprocket, earned large-scale brewing and distribution from Stone. The winner, Sprocket, is a self-described ‘black rye Kölsch-style ale.’ And honestly I didn’t really know what the meant. Kölsch’s are typically lighter in color with a little bit of hoppy bitterness. And frankly, I’m not sure what part of that description applies to this beer. Pouring a deep black with red highlights, the beer comes off as malty, herby and smooth (from the rye). It is surprisingly light for such a dark beer (maybe that’s the Kölsch?) and when combined with the relatively low 5.45% ABV, it makes for an easy sipper. So while this beer maybe isn’t as wild as our movie, it does go down easy.

So there it is, Drinkers. An AWESOME!!! movie with a decent beer. Lots of fun was had and no regrets were made. Thanks so much for reading and please remember to send in any suggestions you might have for future BAAM pairings.

And as always keep drinking, my friends.

tumblr_n6zirkqTb41rpzglno1_r2_1280
Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
Stone’s Sprocket Bier:
-Black pour, red highlights
-Surprisingly light body
-Simple, malty flavor

The Lego Movie
-AWESOME!
-SPACESHIP!
-BATMAN!

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Dogfish Head’s Chateau Jiahu & Red Cliff

Hey there, Drinkers!

Today we’re getting ancient with today’s BAAM. We’re traveling back about 1800 years to China’s Three Kingdom’s period to watch John Woo’s Red Cliff, and then hopping in the DeLorean roughly another 7000 years to try Dogfish Head’s ancient Chinese-inspired Chateau Jiahu. A pairing of history, culture and beer! What else do you need? Let’s get started, shall we?

Red Cliff is the 2008 period war film from legendary action director John Woo. Taking place at the dawn of China’s Three Kingdom’s period in the early 200’s AD, the film catalogues both sides of the build up to the massive battle at Red Cliff along the Yangzte River. On one side, you have the arrogant and ambitious Prime Minister Cao Cao (our bad guy) and on the other, you have the shaky alliance of Liu Bei and Sun Quang. And while Liu Bei and Sun Quang appear in the film, their side of the story is mostly filtered through their host of generals and a tactician named Kongming. The cast is actually HUGE and can be hard to keep track of over the course of the 2.5 hour movie, but after a while you can start to identify characters as much by their wardrobe as by their names.

Good dudes looking good

Good dudes looking good

The plot itself is fairly straightforward and is can related to us in equally straightforward terms. The narration, dialogue and even the visuals do very little in the way of subtly. But then again, what about a war of hundreds of thousands of soldiers is subtle? What I meant to say is that the way characters speak and how they are characterized does little add to depth or intrigue to them. Rather, they simply state their beliefs, intentions and plans. Even our bad guy is unabashedly blunt in his arrogance and ignorance. And in the few times when information isn’t relayed to us directly through dialogue, the visuals and their juxtaposition can a bit on the nose. To highlight the differences between how the two armies prepare for war, we are treated to a rapid-cut sequence showing the good guys training and the bad guys laughing maniacally at a sport games. And while all of the visuals are stunning, at times their blunt nature got to be a bit grating.

Can you tell he's the bad guy?

Can you tell he’s the bad guy?

I should point out that John Woo still very much knows what he is doing. His visuals are crystal clear, his action is frenetic without losing the audience and the production design is absolutely nuts. It really is a beautiful movie but, at times, it gets caught up in its own visual melodrama. But overall, this movie is a classic example of an epic.

Dat epic production design

Dat epic production design

And how about our ancient brew? For those of you who are unfamiliar Dogfish Head’s Ancient Ales project, what they do is essentially adapt ancient recipes from archaeological study and historical research and then provide them to us, the drinking public. Chateau Jiahu is based of the residue left behind in pottery jars in Neolithic Northern China. Brewed with rice, honey, fruit and hawthorn berry, this beer is definitely an interesting change of pace for the curious drinker. Pouring a clear, golden yellow color, you’re immediately hit with a wave of sweet fruit, honey and grape aromas. When you sip, at first you’ll be treated to a light, almost white-wine flavor. As you swallow, you’ll start to feel the sweet, almost sticky honey flavor along with that light, rice body. Really, the beer takes like a very sweet, honeyed white wine. In some ways, it’s similar to Dogfish Head’s Noble Rot, which is also a wine-like beer. But be warned, this sweet, light beer comes with a healthy 10% ABV that will sneak up on you. This beer is delicious but is definitely very different than most of the other beers you’ll find out there. If you’re not into sweeter beers, then maybe you should pass on this one. But if not, then drink away!

So there you have it, Drinkers. A match made in ancient China. An epic, if blunt, movie with a beer that largely defies convention. Both are worth your time and will make for a memorable evening.

Thanks for reading and as always keep drinking, my friends.

jiahu

Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
Dogfish Head’s Chateau Jiahu:
-Beautiful, clear golden pour
-Very sweet, honey & grape flavor
-Sneaky 10% ABV

Red Cliff:
Epic, in every sense
-Beautifully shot action
-A bit blunt in its storytelling

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New Belgium’s Wild2 Dubbel (Lips of Faith Series) & The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

Hey there, Drinkers!

I see you made it past that mouthful of a title and are ready get a little wild! In today’s BAAM we’re headed west with New Belgium’s Lips of Faith Wild2 Dubbel and the classic John Wayne Western The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. So grab your spurs and sit down at the saloon. Let’s get it started!

In 1962, director John Ford released yet another Western with John Wayne. In all, the duo worked together on 24 films, which helps explain certain notions and archetypes we all take for granted regarding the genre. And in a lot of ways, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance is a classic Western. You have the balance between law and bandit, the specter of an encroaching railroad and the intersection of intellectual ideals with harsh, real-world practicalities. It has all themes and characters we recognize so easily. And even some of the sayings we all know…pilgrim. A large part of this comes from John Wayne, who seems to play himself more than he ever plays a character. And that’s not really a bad thing. He’s not exactly a great actor in this movie but his comfort in the role of the smirking yet troubled rancher is really all he needs to play off the more serious and idealistic James Stewart (who is always just awesome). And with a colorful (and wildly intoxicated) supporting cast of a tough-as-nails young woman, a drunken newsman, a cowardly marshal, a trusty black ranch hand, a heartless criminal and unnamed Mexicans, you really have all the makings of a classic Western.

That's a nice belt you got there, Pilgrim

That’s a nice belt you got there, Pilgrim

But really what makes this movie interesting, aside from the on-screen chemistry of John Wayne, James Stewart and Vera Miles, is how different it is from other Westerns. Most notably, this movie is told almost exclusively as a flashback. It’s actually quite Citizen Kane-y in that respect where the film is propelled by the mysterious return of a popular man who then must explain his past, shedding light on the man he is today. But aside from that structural difference, what makes this movie special is how morally and politically conflicted it is. While many Westerns are famous for their moral ambiguity, this movie takes another angle by pitting American democratic ideals against the iron of a handgun in a very literal, political fashion. James Stewart’s character relentlessly defends the law and promotes the strength of the democratic system, and yet he is utterly powerless when he tries to execute those laws. Meanwhile, John Wayne’s character embraces the DIY system of frontier justice and yet is never rewarded or recognized for his ‘just’ acts. It seems a bit standard nowadays but it’s quite unapologetic with its views. While the film generally supports the American ideals of liberty, voting rights and a free press, it regularly complicates and undermines these institutions.

And for what it’s worth, it’s also just a fun move that I recommend to any fan of the genre.

Eastern Man, Western Justice

Eastern Man, Western Justice

And our wild beer? The Wild2 Dubbel from New Belgium’s experimental Lips of Faith series is definitely an interesting brew. I poured from a 22 ounce bomber into a tumbler and was immediately impressed by the rich, dark golden brown color and the lovely, khaki head. Visually, it’s an appetizing beer. And with that pour, you’ll get some classic Belgian Dubbel hints of yeast and rich maltiness. And for the most part, that’s the taste you get as well. With a medium body, the beer is particularly malty with just hints of dark fruit and pepper. There’s a little odd spiciness in the finish that I can only assume comes from the schisandra with which the beer is brewed. Overall, it’s a solid dubbel. I’m not sure it’s as WILD as the Lips of Faith series generally promotes itself to be but really nevertheless a solid brew.

So there you have it folks, a wild night in the American West. A classic Western film and a Colorado brew all via a California palette. Thanks for reading folks and remember that you too can suggest pairings for the next BAAM!

And as always keep drinking, my friends.

New-Belgium-Wild2Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
Wild2 Dubbel:
-Gorgeous pour
-Classic dubbel profile with a little spiciness
-A solid dubbel, but nothing revolutionary

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance:
All the Western tropes we love
-Conflicted American ideals
-John Wayne as John Wayne, the cowboy

 

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Pretty Things’ Babayaga Stout & The Blair Witch Project

Hey there Drinkers,

Tonight we take a walk in the woods with Pretty Things’ Babayaga Stout and the 1999 horror film The Blair Witch Project while I’ll be doing my best to avoid witch jokes. Which jokes? Witch jokes. (okay, it’s out of my system now). So hang on to your wool hats, lace up your hiking boots and grab a glass. Let’s get started.

In 1999, the low-budget horror film The Blair Witch Project hit the scene and blew everyone’s mind. Well, everyone but mine since I didn’t watch the movie until this pairing. But that’s beside the point. While the film is not the first to use the now obnoxiously ubiquitous found-footage style, it did help popularize the format. More interesting though is the general consensus that The Blair Witch Project was the first film to fully utilize the power of the internet to generate interest. At the time, the online marketing campaign was so original and engaging, many viewers truly believed the film was real and not a work of fiction. They were wrong but it is interesting to see how much we’ve grown as cinematic and online consumers in the past 15 years. But now let’s talk about the movie itself.

Not having a good night

Not having a good night

Shown through the camera lenses of three amateur documentarians, The Blair Witch Project is, in essence, a film about getting lost in the woods. And a damn terrifying story at that. And just like feeling lost in the woods, the film does little to orient you.  The camera whips around casually and dips into long bouts of complete darkness after the sun has set. Unlike more recent found-footage films, TBWP does little to gloss up its look or clarify the setting. Rather, it just dumps the viewer out in the woods alongside the characters. A side effect of this is that the audio is inconsistent and we rarely see who speaks. Our heroine director Heather quite literally lives behind her videocamera, a realistic touch that also has major character and story relevance.

Lot's of looking at people's backs

Lots of looking at people’s backs

And for scares, this movie is of the slow-burning terror variety. What makes this movie so successful at making our skin crawl is that we never have more information than the characters. We see only what they see which, more often than not, is nothing. And we hear only what they hear, which is typically distant and indistinct. It’s a sense of removal, anxiety and complete ignorance that freaks us out more than any monster or blood ever can. I’m just impressed that the actual filmmakers avoided using classic jump scares or spooky monsters at all. Instead, we never really see much of anything. Just some creepy twig sculptures and a bloody tooth. That’s it! And I’ve never been more scared!

Not.Creepy.

Not.Creepy.

And our spooky stout? So good! Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project is a small brewery based in my home state of Massachusetts. So when I saw their Babayaga Stout in my local beer shop here in Los Angeles, I just had to buy it. For those who are wondering about tonight’s connection, Babayaga is a supernatural creepy woman from Eastern European mythology. As for the beer itself, my bottle was labeled as having been bottled in 2011 so I assume some aging had taken place over the years. But when I opened my bomber, I immediately got hit with a delightful wave of coffee and malt aromas. With a pour, you’ll find that it has a dark brown-black color with a thin, chocolate-colored head. When I first tasted it, I double checked the label to confirm that this was indeed a stout because it was much lighter-bodied than I was anticipating. This made it easier to drink and highlighted the lovely malt, molasses and chocolatey flavors in the beer. It wasn’t as roasty as other dark beers which made it perfect for the warm LA summer. Overall, a really outstanding stout.

So there you have it folks, a night of witches and their brew. We had a genuinely scary movie that has held up over the years with a delicious beer that had been bottled in 2011. Thanks for reading and always feel free to suggest pairings for future BAAM posts.

And as always keep drinking, my friends.

prettythings-babayaga

Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
Pretty Things’ Babayaga Stout:
-Deep, rich dark pour
-Lovely malty aroma without much roast
-Lighter bodied than other stouts

The Blair Witch Project:
-Simple, smart & effective
-Scary without classic scares
-The first true internet-era film

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Eagle Rock Brewery’s Stimulus Belgian Ale & Don Jon

Hey there Drinkers!

Let’s get stimulated! Open up a bottle, crank the Barry White and awwwww yyeeaahhh! That’s right folks, today we’re drinking Eagle Rock Brewery’s Stimulus while watching Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s 2013 film Don Jon. And yes, I will be discussing sex and porn, so if you’re uncomfortable with that maybe you should skip to the beer review portion of today’s BAAM. Otherwise, let’s get it on!

For those of you who don’t know, Don Jon was written and directed by the professionally trendy/attractive actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt. He is also the star. Already a well-established and accomplished actor, JGL shows his chops in all fields in this movie. Just for the sake of understanding, Don Jon follows the life of JGL’s Jon, a stereotypical Jersey playboy with a dependency on porn, which complicates his emerging love life with the professionally sexy Scarlett Johansson (aka Barbara Sugarman). The movie is fast, electric and funny. We instantly understand who Don Jon is; his loves, interests and troubles. The first few minutes are a remarkable bit of character explanation aided by some fun voice-over and a few porn clips. It’s on the nose but that’s how the movie wants to be. Actually, for a movie filled with purposefully vapid characters, everyone feels distinct and fleshed-out. The only exception is Johansson’s swift and abrupt ride on the crazy train. We’re briefly shown that she can be demanding of her men (no Swiffering!) but it doesn’t feel like enough to warrant how she characterized later on as a woman who ceaselessly demands things from her men.

These people are way too attractive

These people are way too attractive

Aside from the sharp, humorous writing, it’s also a great display of deliberate editing. Like Jon’s muscles and the porn he watches, everything in this film is heightened and exaggerated. A show for us to behold. And the editing reflects this. Generally speaking, the editing stands out and highlights the absurd repetitions of his life. His road-rage filled car rides, his church confessions, his trips to the gym. All of these, along with his porn problem, are part of his routine and become the visual routine of the film. And for a first time director, it’s actually quite impressive to watch.

Very impressive to watch

Very impressive to watch

Finally, I just want to point out that this film has, at least in my opinion, an earnest look at love and sex. While in many movies, sex seems like a side effect of love, Don Jon treats sex as its own, important part of the human experience. And yes at times its crude but that doesn’t make it less true. For a movie about porn, it has a lot of interesting things to say about sex.

Also Julianne Moore gives sex advice

Also Julianne Moore gives sex advice

And was our beer just as stimulating? Yes it was! This was actually the second time I’ve enjoyed this beer from Eagle Rock Brewery (one of my favorite breweries), so I already knew what to expect. This Stimulus Belgian Amber is brewed with Intelligentsia  Coffee, which serves as the primary flavor for the beer. It pours a beautiful golden amber color with a tame, white head that quickly dissipates. Off the nose you’ll get hints of coffee, malt and just a little bit of sweetness. When you take a sip, you’re going to get that lovely amber mouthfeel that is fairly light and smooth. And while you don’t really get that classic Belgian flavor, you will be treated to a tasty mix of coffee, toffee and malt all balanced out with just a hint of sweetness. It’s also not very hoppy, making it smooth and easy to drink with a 6.6% ABV. Really just another winner from ERB. If you’re ever in the Los Angeles area, I highly recommend grabbing a bottle or stopping by the brewery for a pint.

So there you have it folks,  a stimulating movie with a stimulating beer. A pairing about love in its many forms. And a great excuse to look at Joseph Gordon-Levitt without a shirt. Thanks for reading everyone and please have a fun, safe 4th of July.

And as always keep drinking, my friends.

Tonight’s Tasting Notes:ERB_Stimulus_small
ERB’s Stimulus Belgian Amber:
-Perfect golden amber color
-Strong notes of good coffee
-Well balanced, easy to drink

Don Jon:
-Fast, in every way
-Sharp, funny writing
-Strong directorial vision

 

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Black Market Brewing’s Invasion Red Ale, Mortal Kombat & Mortal Kombat: Annihilation

Hey there Drinkers,

Yes, you did read that title correctly. I watched BOTH Mortal Kombat movies. For you. Actually, today’s combo is more the result of bad luck than anything else. Originally, I was saving this beer for Invasion of the Body Snatchers which seemed like an unusually appropriate pairing for this blog. Sadly, it was too good to be true and I could not get my hands on a copy of the movie. So I turned to Plan B, another movie and another beer. And it was going to be great! (stay tuned for that one!) But then I got distracted when I reached into the fridge, grabbed the wrong beer (today’s Invasion) and opened it before I realized my mistake. So rather than let a good BAAM’ing opportunity go to waste, I picked the next logical option which, weirdly, was Mortal Kombat. Both of them. So let’s get started…I guess.

Honestly, there is very little say about either of these movies but just for some context: Mortal Kombat originally was a fighting game first released in 1992. The franchise has endured and MK games are still be released to this day. Mortal Kombat is known for its gory animations, scantily clad women (just like any self-respecting fighting game) and its rich cast of characters. And while the games still remain somewhat influential in their genre, the 1995 film Mortal Kombat does not exactly live up to the hype.
mortal_kombat_1995_poster_by_gabboesparza-d5ddgd3
The story? Three warriors from the Earthrealm are chosen to compete in a tournament in order to prevent an evil invasion from Outworld. Boom. Done. To be fair, that’s the game’s story as well. Also, this is a movie about fighting and not about story, so we can cut them some slack. Anyway, our heroes Liu Kang (tortured denier of destiny), Johnny Cage (spoiled action movie star with something to prove) and Sonya Blade (soldier who is chasing a dude with a metal face) are all somehow easily convinced to travel to another dimension and fight otherworldly creatures in a battle to the death. Weirdly, none of them find this situation particularly strange or unnerving. Sure, sometimes they say the words (what is that thing?!) but really they seem pretty at ease in their home.

This was part of dinner

This was the pre-dinner show

But setting aside the non-story, the bad acting and the movie’s repeated attempts to TELL  rather than SHOW or EXPLAIN anything at all, you’d assume that the fights were pretty badass, right? Uhhhh…yes and no. Some of the fights are kind of cool and exciting. For example, Johnny Cage vs. Scorpion is pretty sweet. It does randomly change locations for no good reason but other than that, it’s a good watch. But mostly the fight scenes are over-choreographed and have zero context. Dudes just start fighting and it’s sadly dull. The other sad fact is that the special effects do not hold up. Sure, Goro looks kind of cool with his four arms but everything else just looks so cheap. But you can’t hold that against them really; technology does not age well.

He has anger problems

He has anger problems

And then I made a mistake. I was so into how bad Mortal Kombat was, I watched another. I blame my roommate but hey, what’s done is done. The sequel, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation was released in 1997 after the original film made an insane amount of money. It takes place about 30 seconds after the first film and is undeniably 1000% worse. Having lost the tournament (spoiler!), Outworld’s immortal emperor Shao Kahn says ‘screw the rules, I’m just going to take Earth.’ And thus our recast cast of heroes (seriously, only two of the actors from the first film returned) must again engage in MORTAL KOMBAT in order to stop the invasion of their planet. And save the universe or something. It’s unclear. And where the first film largely just intoned and implied plot and blossoming relationships, Annihilation explicitly tells us everything we need to know without conceit or shame. Sonya Blade now LOVES Johnny Cage while Kitana and Liu Kang, who barely spoke in the first movie, are also madly in love. Also, within the first 5 minutes of the film, we’re TOLD how to defeat our big bad Shao Khan. How, might you ask? By reuniting his adopted daughter Kitana with her possessed biological mother, duuhhh. But really, that’s kind of the whole of the movie. The fights have even less context here and characters appear and vanish for no reason. Sub-Zero’s younger brother shows up for like 5 seconds, fights a dude and then leaves. Nightwolf, who is supposed to train Liu Kang, just throws what I can only assume is a peyote-laced tomahawk at Kang. And then he’s gone. For the entire movie. Also, half of the Outworld generals die after literally serving no purpose whatsoever.

*If this makes no sense to you, then good. I’ve done my job.

Yuuuuuup

Yuuuuuup

Really, these movies make no sense and do not stand the test of time. A thousand apologies to all the men who saw this when they were growing up but these are terrible movies. Don’t waste your time because I did it for you. You’re welcome.

Let’s talk about beer. Please. Finally. Praise the Elder Gods that I had Black Market Brewing’s Invasion Red Ale to stave off these poop-storm movies invading my brain. Pouring a dark brownish red with significant lacing, it’s a visually appetizing beer to behold. The nose gives off the standard red ale notes of malt and herby hops. But when I tasted it, it was surprisingly less hoppy than other red’s I’ve had in the past. Which was a nice surprise. It actually made drinking the 22 oz. bomber a little easier. Which was welcomed, considering it sports a 9.9% ABV. Despite that high alcohol content, I did not find the beer too boozy. Or maybe I was just too dumbstruck by the movies to care. But really an overall nice red to sip on over a longer period.

So there you have it folks. Some terrible movies ostensibly about invasions and a saving-grace beer that helped us through the slog. Thanks for reading this is long and stupid post.

And as always keep drinking, my friends.
de_2925_lg
Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
BMB’s Invasion Red Ale:
-Gorgeous dark red pour
-Lovely lacy head
-Not as hoppy as you’d expect

Mortal Kombat
-Simple story, if any
-Bad acting
-But that theme song!

Mortal Kombat: Annihilation
-New cast, not for the better
-Context-less fights
-Remarkably worse than the first

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Monk’s Cafe Flemish Sour & In Bruges

Hey there, Drinkers!

Today we’re taking a trip to Belgium. An irreverent, booze-soaked trip to Belgium. Inspired by a recent article I read about sour beers and summer weather, I’m sipping on a Flemish sour today while watching the entirely unexpected film In Bruges. So let’s get started, shall we?

A brief  overview of our film: In Bruges was released in 2008 and stars Colin Farrell along with most of the cast of the Harry Potter movies. The setting? The quaint, medieval Belgian town of Bruges; a town which we are repeatedly told is either a dream or a fucking shithole (pardon the language, I’m just channeling the characters). The story revolves around two hitmen, one old and one young, who must hide out in Bruges for two weeks after a job goes wrong. But the movie isn’t really about murder or hitmen. It’s about reconciling with your past and figuring out if there’s hope in your future. It’s also about love, forgiveness, hope and dwarves. Oh and I did I mention that it’s a dark, twisted comedy? Really, the whole essence of In Bruges is that it largely defies definition. Yes it’s a hilarious, unapologetic comedy but it’s also deeply disturbing and sad. Without giving too much away, a lot of people die in this movie and it’s all quite graphic (really, this isn’t for weak of stomach).

Truth

Truth

The movie is also a nice reminder that Colin Farrell is indeed an actor. His performance is really quite astounding and unexpected. Farrell’s character, Ray, is essentially an overgrown child who knows only about guns and drugs. And that’s not to say he’s stupid (which he kind of is) but it’s more that he never had a reason to emotionally grow up. He throws tantrums, he hates museums and can’t help but discuss the alarming rates of midget suicide with a dwarf actor he meets. He’s hilarious and also utterly depressed. Being a child, he has no way of dealing with the very adult realities that are facing him. Which is where Brendan Gleeson’s Ken comes in. Oddly, Ken becomes a sort of father to Ray, dragging the begrudging Ray around to all the old churches while also caring deeply for Ray’s emotional well-being. It’s a heartfelt, if not strange relationship that is the true core of the film. There is actually quite a lot to discuss in this movie but for the sake of time, I’ll just recommend that you watch it. It’s extremely well-written and well-acted. Also be prepared for some heavy English/Irish accents. Fair warning.

Also, there's ice cream

Also, there’s ice cream

And our Monk’s Cafe Flemish Sour from Brouwerij Van Steenberge? Delightful! Now some of you might be thinking “Sour? Why would I want to drink a sour beer?” That’s a fair question but I’d suggest you try one out first before passing judgement. Sour ales, a Belgian tradition of sorts, might be better categorized as tart. Or even vinegar-y but that also does not inspire confidence. Really, a great sour is the perfect mix between sweet and sour. And Monk’s Cafe fits the mold perfectly. Pouring a dark brown color, you’ll immediately get notes of sour cherry, vinegar and maybe a little woodiness (maybe oak, maybe cherrywood). When you sip it, you’ll first be shocked by how light this brown beer is. Interestingly enough, most sour’s have very light bodies that make them very easy to drink. You’ll also get hit with some fruity sweetness at the top that fades into sour cherry laced with alcohol (don’t worry, it’s only 5.5% ABV). It’s not entirely complex but it’s a bright flavor profile that will have you standing at attention. Really, a good sour stands apart from other beers and begs the question “is this really a beer?” Yes it really is a beer and yes it is really good.

So there you have it, Drinkers. A night out in Belgium without ever leaving your too-warm apartment. It’s really a great combination. An unexpected movie full of levity and darkness paired with an unexpectedly delicious beer. A beer that is both light and dark and waiting to be discovered.

Thanks for reading and as always keep drinking, my friends.

Tonight’s Tasting Notes:monks-cafe
Monk’s Cafe Flemish Sour Ale:
-Dark brown pour
-Strong, sour cherry flavors
-Easy to drink, a great introduction to the style

In Bruges:
Sharply written & acted
-Dark, funny & bloody
-Great cast, no Harry Potter magic though

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Anchorage Brewing’s Galaxy White IPA & Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

Hey there, Drinkers!

Today we venture into the uncharted sectors of the galaxy aboard the Starship Enterprise with Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan while sipping on an out-of-this-world White IPA (sorry, had to). So let’s get moving up to warp speed and have ourselves an adventure, shall we?

Full disclosure: I’m not much of a trekkie. I know some of the basics and have seen the two newest iterations of the Star Trek movie franchise but my true understanding of the original shows and movies is very limited. But fortunately, I think that Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is an easy way to slip into the universe. Rather than assuming the viewer is a well-informed fan, Khan does a good job of balancing fandom with explanation. We get a good understanding of who Admiral Kirk is (and was) and the rules and history of this universe are tastefully sprinkled throughout the film. Not that that same attention to detail is really extended to the set decoration (so many unmarked flashing green and yellow lights!) but overall, I finished the film with a solid understanding of how things work. That doesn’t mean I didn’t have questions (like why Kirk’s son is even a part of this movie or why Khan, a super smart dude, is so easily outwitted by Kirk) but that’s all besides the point. Mainly, this film is about fun. And SCIENCE!

Mad Max and Khan shop at the same store

Mad Max and Khan shop at the same store

The main conflict in Wrath of Khan surrounds something called the Genesis Device. Basically, it can create life out of nothing within minutes by restructuring matter at the subatomic level. Aside from that not making any sense whatsoever, the Genesis Device can naturally be turned into a weapon. In a silly design flaw, the device can also lay waste to living material. And that’s what Khan wants to do. Rut roh! Actually, it’s unclear what Khan plans to do other than kill Kirk. Populate some rando planet? It’s vague. But whatever. The Genesis Device also seems to be able to create planets via explosion technology but the details are unimportant. Just go with it. And honestly, I think that’s the best way to enjoy this movie. If you think too hard about large parts of Khan, things don’t always add up. But that’s okay. For an early 80’s movie about space adventures based off a long-running TV show about more space adventures, this movie is pretty solid. So just go with it and you’ll have a good time.

Oh also, Kirstie Alley

Oh also, Kirstie Alley

And what about our beer? Anchorage Brewing Company’s Galaxy White IPA? I have to say, this was quite the drinking experience. Poured from a corked and caged bomber, the Galaxy was a hazy yellow with a 1-2 finger head. With a mix of citrus and spice (brewed with peppercorns!) on the nose, I found it very inviting. With a sip, you get all of those citrus notes but balanced against a lovely oak finish and some nice, light malt flavors. Also, as this is an IPA, you get some good, hoppy bitterness in there. On top of all this, this beer sits at a comfortable 7% but comes off a little stronger than that. Which, in my opinion, is only a good thing. It wasn’t the best warming beer but that’s mostly a product of my slow drinking habits. I have much to work on. But really an outstanding beer that I will be returning to next time I stop by the liquor store.

So there you have it, drinkers. An intergalactic adventure with breaks for American and Romulan ales (what the movie, you’ll get it). We had a good movie to let wash over you while sipping on an exciting and engaging beer. Also, it’s just fun watching the old Star Trek movies and see which parts JJ Abrams lifted to put in the new movies. Some movie trivia there for you nerds!

Thanks for stopping by and as always keep drinking, my friends. de_1319_lg

Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
Galaxy White IPA:
-Hazy yellow pour
-Citrus & spice aroma
-Complex but balanced flavor profile

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan:
-Good fan service with good world introduction
-Simple, fun and engaging
-Khan! KHAAAN!!

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Ballast Point’s Victory at Sea Coffee Vanilla Porter & Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

Ahoy, Drinkers!I probably could have sailed around the world a few times since my last post but all that matters now is that I’m back and I’m drinking! And I’m back real hard with a hearty Ballast Point Victory at Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter while watching some silly fun in the form of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. So let’s drop sail and catch the wind, shall we?Fun fact: the first Pirates of the Caribbean film, the aforementioned Black Pearl, was released over 10 years ago. 10 YEARS AGO! How bonkers is that? Compounding that crazy is the fact that Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom (aka two of the most beautiful people around) look pretty much the same. Boy do hot people have it easy. But aside from a few dated CG moments that stand out to our modern eyes, the movie pretty much holds up. It’s simple, swashbuckling fun thanks almost exclusively to Johnny Depp (and Geoffry Rush. He’s kinda amazing). Aside from the sword fights and explosions (of which there are plenty), the movie is really held together by Depp. His Captain Jack Sparrow is funny, confident, self-interested and unfiltered. For such a popcorn movie, it’s a surprising display of acting ability. Especially when compared to his very attractive co-stars who sadly can not keep up.
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I’m a better actor than ye, savvy?

And while many of the emotional and character beats throughout the film make no sense whatsoever, the even pace and remarkable comprehensible plot help us suspend all manner of our disbelief. I mean, if we’re rolling with cursed quasi-zombie pirates, then why shouldn’t Orlando get the girl? Or why shouldn’t Jack Sparrow get spontaneously let go moments after avoiding his own hanging? Sure. Why not. Whatever. But really, overall, this movie is good bit of fun. I can’t speak for the rest of franchise (as I’ve actively avoided it) but for some glamorized pirate fun, you could do a lot worse than The Curse of the Black Pearl.*Fun side note, the curse in the film actually has nothing to do with the Black Pearl. The curse is tied to Cortez’s Aztec gold which is stowed away in a cave. The Black Pearl is just a remarkably fast ship with raggedy sails. The more you know!

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Also, this movie is a weird costume drama

And our scurvy-fightin’ brew? Well, for starters, this beer would not cure scurvy. There is no vitamin C in it, as far as I know. Also, it’s not rum, so it’s not exactly a pirates favorite drink. But that’s all besides the point. Ballast Point’s Victory at Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter (bit of a mouthful, ain’t it?) is just another example of this brewery knocking it out of the park. As I’ve said in the past, Ballast Point is one of my favorite breweries not only because they just make good beer, but also because make interesting beer. And while coffee or vanilla porters are not that unusual, the delicate balance of those flavors is this dark beer is truly impressive. As you’d hope, the porter sports strong notes of chocolate, malt and coffee grounds. But balanced out with those stronger, more harsh flavors is the light sweetness of vanilla with just a hint of a coffee kick. And it all goes down smooth with a thick, almost chewy texture (that’s a good thing in this case). With a 10% ABV, it’s a wonder this beer doesn’t taste too boozy on top of all of these other flavors. In fact, the alcohol can sneak up on you, so I’d recommend sharing a bomber with a friend, unless you have a sober friend to helm your ship back to port. Overall, it’s really a great brew for you dark beer fans.So there you have it folks, BAAM is back on the high seas of occasional beer-blogging. We had a fun, light movie with a fun, heavy beer. A good balance for when you’re trying to get back in the groove. Hopefully I’ll be posting a little more frequently now so, if I’ve won you back, stay tuned for more!

And as always keep drinking, my friends!

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Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
Ballast Point’s Victory at Sea:
 -Dark, thick pour
-Rich coffee & chocolate aroma
-Careful balance of sweet vanilla

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl:
-Johnny Depp
-Pirates
-Keira Knightley (need I say more?)

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