Tag Archives: 1999

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!



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.


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


Filed under Review

Eagle Rock Brewery’s Manifesto Witbier & American Pie

Hey there, Drinkers!

Now I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that I’ve thrown in the towel and am now just making arbitrary pairings. I mean, in what way is American Pie thematically linked to ERB’s Manifesto Wit? Was the beer just sitting in your fridge and you had no idea what to pair it with?  Well I have something to tell you, oh ye doubters and drinkers of little faith: yeah you’re mostly right. There are only so many Soviet-era films that I feel like watching casually (none) and I’ve had this beer sitting around for awhile. So yes, today’s BAAM is a bit of a stretch but…there is a connection. I swear. Just bear with me.

So todays’ film is the 1999 modern raunchy teen classic American Pie. In the interest of full disclosure: I was watching the unrated version (oooo so bad!) which is slightly different than the theatrical release. I assume this just means there were more boobies and no major plot additions but I’m just trying to be transparent here. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the film, or just haven’t seen it in awhile, American Pie (at least in my mind) ushered in a new era of mainstream teen comedies around the new millenium. Gone are the John Hughes tropes of earnest teen shenanaginry from the 80’s. This is the late 90’s now and all this movie cares about is SEX. Launching the American Pie franchise and a host of lesser, sex-fueled teen comedies that dominated the early 2000’s, American Pie chronicles the lives of four highschool seniors who make a pact to seize their sexual destiny and get laid by prom. If the plot sounds a bit rote, that’s because this movie made it popular. Sure, prom has long been seen as the culmination of all highschool films, but the narrative focus on sex as a path to success and self-worth seems a bit novel at this point.  And while this film is very (VERY) much about sex, and women as vehicles of sex, it’s also a lot more than that.

It's also about the desecration of baked goods

It’s also about the desecration of baked goods

This may sound a little weird but American Pie is actually a good movie. Yes it’s crass and crude but it still retains that earnest clarity that we love in teen comedies. By the end of the film, our heroes seem to understand that while sex is important, it’s not as important as everyone makes it out be. What is important is that they are at a unique moment in their lives. A moment on the cusp of transformation and that they are entering this new phase of life (aka college) together as friends with no real regrets, knowing that they’ve embraced the present. Sure this seems a bit overblown for a movie in which one of our protagonists bangs an apple pie but it’s true. In a weird way, American Pie quite successfully captures what it’s like to be a teen at the end of the 90’s.

Jason Biggs as Every Character He's Ever Played

Jason Biggs as Every Character He’s Ever Played

A few other quick things to note about this film.
1) It has a MASSIVE cast. So much talent with many faces that we still see on screens today.
2) It’s not really Jim’s movie. It’s Oz and Kevin’s.
3) It’s still horribly uncomfortable to watch.
4) It’s still funny and incredibly quotably.
5) It has a surprisingly accurate depiction of how webcams are now commonly in use today.
6) It includes the premise to Easy-A.

The original poster actually doesn't feature any of the male leads...

The original poster actually doesn’t feature any of the male leads…

And our loosely-related Manifesto Witbier from Eagle Rock Brewery? It’s actually a pretty solid brew. I don’t usually drink wheats because they can be a bit one-note and light for my tastes but the Manifesto is actually a surprisingly fulfilling wit. It pours a very light golden color with a big, frothy head (no jokes guys) with lots of carbonation. It gives off strong aromas of wheat and grain with a little underlying hints of citrus and yeast. Many reviewers also taste notes of coriander but I’m either not that discerning or I don’t know what coriander tastes like. With your first taste, that wheat is going to hit you the hardest, with the citrus and yeast playing in the background to break it up, adding some nice complexity. For a fairly light beer, weighing in at 5.7% ABV, it’s still somewhat substantial and I found myself enjoying it slowly. So even with my general hesitance towards wits and wheats, Eagle Rock Brewery again proves to be deceptively delicious and ever-surprising (which is why they’re my favorite LA-based brewery).

So if you haven’t put the connection together yet, I’ll spell it out for you. The boys in American Pie make a pact. A solemn vow. A manifesto, if you will, to take control of their destinies and write their own sexual fates. So there you have it, arguably the biggest reach in BAAM history but you know what? WHATEVER! I had a great time watching a fantastically awkward teen comedy while drinking a surprising delicious witbier. So if you take issue with my pairings then go read your beer/movie combinations somewhere else!

Wait…I take that back….please don’t leave me.
As always keep drinking, my friends!

Tonight’s Tasting Notes:SONY DSC
Eagle Rock Brewery’s Manifesto Witbier
-Very pale & a bit hazy
-Big, frothy head
-A more complex & substantive wit

American Pie
-A new, dirtier kind of classic
-Shockingly poignant…at times
-Good ol’ fashioned uncomfortably raunchy humor

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