Tag Archives: 2001

Lucky Hand Black Lager & Ocean’s Eleven (2001)

Hey there, Drinkers!

Today, we’re going to Vegas! Time to bet big and lose your life savings! We’re watching the 2001 classic update of Ocean’s Eleven and sipping on Lucky Hand’s Black Lager (their labeling is gambling themed, go with it). Beer, money, attractive men, Vegas…doesn’t that sound like the perfect BAAM? Hint: it was pretty sweet.

So let’s get started, shall we?

A quick disclaimer before we begin: I’ve never seen the original 1960 Ocean’s Eleven, so I won’t be making comparisons or assumptions about this modern reboot. So here we go, Ocean’s Eleven is Steven Soderbergh’s star-filled, quick-witted, hyper-stylish heist movie. And in many ways, it really is a classic heist movie. The first half of the film gathers our crew, explains their skills, lays out (most) of the details on the job and sets up how much of a dick our bad guy is. Hint: he’s a real dick. The second half of the film is the job itself, offering its little twists and turns and surprises, gently unfolding the hidden parts of the heist to the delight of the audience and the chagrin of the bad guy. But what’s interesting about this film is that it’s not really  about anything. The biggest impetus for the heist seems to be mostly because they’re bored and “it’s never been done before.” Our hero, Danny Ocean, is also motivated by the need to get his wife back (which happens way to easily and is kind of a dumb character point). But most of the reasoning is sidelined and deemed unimportant. In the end, the movie isn’t actually about much but since you have so much fun before the credits roll, you don’t really mind.

Brad Pitt tells Carl Reiner to steal things...just cuz

Brad Pitt tells Carl Reiner to steal things…just cuz

The real magic in this movie is, quite obviously, the casting. You have some of the biggest and more talented male actors in recent memory all sharing the screen together, quipping away at each other like there’s no tomorrow. Lead by the two kings of smooth, Brad Pitt and George Clooney, the film has an incredibly sharp wit and fast pace, making it easy to get caught up in the dialogue. Almost every line is expertly delivered and reveals something about the character, their history and their relationship with the people around them. The unfortunate side-effect of having so many talented actors is that only a few of them get enough screen time. Even Matt Damon the super actor seems underused, mostly because he just has to share his screen time with so many others. The other casualty of this intense screen-sharing is that only a few characters get a real history. Yes we get good, short anecdotes on most of Ocean’s 11, but the history of their relationships with one another is vague, leaving the audience to assume that all smart criminals are best friends and always know where to find one another. Maybe that’s the way it is in real life, but I’m not a super criminal so I can’t say for sure.

One other small thing to note before I move on is the film’s visual style. The first half of the movie has a very specific, highly-stylized visual character that seems to get a little lost as the film progresses into the heist. The visuals, coupled with the editing and soundtrack do give the movie a certain 60’s throwback vibe, but all of the truly interesting visuals step aside for narrative clarity in the latter of half of the movie.

But overall, the film is success. I think that’s mostly because Soderbergh understood that this film is more of a playground for his actors than anything else. It’s fun, quick and our heroes make a lot of money. Oh and the men are beautiful.

It's really unfair to guys like me that guys this actually exist...

It’s really unfair to guys like me that guys this actually exist…

So was our beer as Lucky as our movie? I’d say so. Lucky Hand is not a brewery  I heard of before and black lagers/schwarzbiers are not typically my bag. But I have to say that Lucky Hand’s Black Lager was a nice surprise. For those who don’t know, schwarzbiers are black in color but lack the same heavy, malty body of a stout or porter. Instead, the beers tend to be on the lighter end of the spectrum with regards to body. The Lucky Hand poured a deep black with a rich, caramel head, giving off strong notes of roasted malt. But with that first sip, you’ll be surprised to find the beer quite easy to drink. Moreover, those roasted malts are balanced quite nicely with some mild hopping. The end result is a low ABV beer that is both rich in flavor but light on the stomach, making it easy to take down the bomber I had to myself. As BeerAdvocate notes, these qualities make this beer a nice alternative for the typically heavier winter beers. So when the temperature dip below 70 here in sunny Los Angeles, Lucky Hand’s Black Lager is not a bad option.

So there you have it folks. A night with the cards all stacked in our favor. A great, fun, light movie with a great, fun, light beer. Definitely not a bad way to kick back and relax on a weeknight.

And as always keep drinking, my friends.
Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
Lucky Hand’s Black Lager:
-Deep, black color
-Nice hop/malt balance
-Surprisingly light & easy to drink

Ocean’s Eleven:
-A heist movie, for fun
-More about the character than the story
-A-list cast delivering sharp dialogue


Filed under Review

Valentine’s Day Special: Alesmith’s My Bloody Valentine Ale & Valentine

Hey there, Drinkers!

It’s that time of year again! The time when we give the people we love chocolates, flower, teddy bears and other a host of other heart-shaped paraphernalia. It also means it’s time for the glorious return of the awful slasher movie review from both myself and We Recycle Movies. If you remember last year, we watched both versions of the terrible mining-slasher My Blood Valentine. But sadly (or thankfully), there are a limited number of Valentine’s Day-themed murder movies out there, so Anne & I settled for the only one we could find: Valentine. And in keeping with the theme, I also grabbed two bombers of Alesmith’s My Bloody Valentine Ale (wish I had those last year…). So with our beers in hand, our movie before us and our attention elsewhere, we begin our evening!

For starters, Valentine is a crappy 2001 movie about spurned love and heavily features Denise Richards’ chest. Taking place over what we assume to be the days running up to Valentine’s Day, a group of girls (and a bunch of other randos) are murdered by someone in a cherub mask with a perpetually bloody nose. Unlike most other slasher movies, the killer has no weapon or choice and does not have superhuman walking speed/teleporting capabilities. Rather, our killer is, we assume, just an average psychopath. How refreshing…Actually that’s a lie, it’s not refreshing. Most of the murders feel arbitrary and the main spook device, a creepy Valentine’s Day card, is quickly abandoned in favor of…well nothing. The result is a fairly average movie with overly-extended suspense scenes that largely conclude with kills we don’t really understand.  Moreover, the low quality of the writing and acting doesn’t really engender any concern for these characters.

Heart-shaped DEATH!(and yes, that's Angel)

Heart-shaped DEATH!
(and yes, that’s Angel)

I’m actually wracking my brain to think of more things to say about this movie but it’s kinda of challenging actually. The movie is just bad for all the expected, boring reasons. Poor writing, poor story, poor acting, poor editing…the usual suspects. The production design was solid…except for the creepy lips-only video art gallery scene. That sh*t was weird.  The only real positives I have for the film are as follows:

1) Cherub-murder man does kill someone with arrows. So that’s fitting.
2) Denise Richards’ boobs are heavily featured.
3) Marley Shelton’s boobs are heavily featured.
4) Katherine Heigl dies in the first 5 minutes. No love lost there.
5) A guy gets his penis Maker’s Mark’ed by Denise Richards. Apparently she doesn’t like surprises.

And that’s Valentine. Don’t watch it. You can do better.

This is most of this movie

This is most of this movie

But My Bloody Valentine? This Alesmith brew was actually introduced to me last week while on a visit to the West Coast brewing powerhouse that is San Diego. In the past, I’d only had Alesmith’s IPA, which had quickly become one of my IPA favorites, so I was game to test out another one of their brews. According to the label, My Bloody Valentine Ale is the seasonal cousin to Alesmith’s Halloween beer, a brew I’ll definitely check out next October. This dark red ale pours a big head and leaves behind some very pretty lacing (foam left behind on the inside of the glass). Though I find that many reds lean more towards the malty side of the spectrum, this brew hits you with some serious hoppiness at the front that is well-balanced by a sweet, malty backbone. The end result is a very flavorful and full-bodied beer that is remarkable smooth, making it very easy to drink. Moreover, the ABV, which has been carefully brewed to 6.66%, makes this a beer you can sip on for quite some time without worrying too much about the drive home.

So there we have it, drinkers. Another Valentine’s Day BAAM come and gone. Though the bad movie may have killed the romance, at least we had a beer to easy the pain.

If you have any Valentine’s Day brews or films you enjoy on this holiday, let me know and maybe you’ll see them next year! But I’m not watching Valentine‘s Day. Screw that.

And as always keep drinking, my friends.


Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
Alesmith’s My Bloody Valentine Ale:alesmithmybloodyvalentine__11071.1359179413.1280.1280
-Deep, ruby red color
-Bright hoppiness supported by sweet malt
-Super smooth

– Inconsistent killer
-Flat writing & poor delivery
-Ending makes you scratch your head, but not in a good way


Filed under Review, Special