Hey there drinkers!
Tonight’s combo is a bit of stretch but you’ll just have to deal with it (tonight’s original choice was Gone in 60 Seconds but I couldn’t get my hands on it. And I don’t need more Nick Cage in my life). Anywho, I’ve been feeling like a bit of an IPA man recently (get it?), so I picked up the much-celebrated 60 Minute IPA from Dogfish Head and decided to watch some kickass kung fu. Literally. Asses were kicked. Everyone loves a good kung fu movie and everyone should love craft beer, so tonight ‘s BAAM seems like a perfect match. Let’s get kicking!
Ip Man is the 2008 Chinese biopic that follows the life of the legendary kung fu Grandmaster Ip Man (surprise surprise!) during the Second Sino-Japanese War (WWII era). For those of you who have no idea who Ip Man is (I didn’t before watching this movie, though I’d heard good things about the film), this is the grandmaster who taught Bruce Lee all his moves. So, needless to say, this guy is kind of a badass. And the movie does a good job of conveying that. Ip Man, played by Donnie Yen, truly just kicks ass. He is utterly calm, collected and smooth, and yet he just obliterates everyone around him with occasional help from feather dusters. Unlike many of the amazing kung fu movies that we are are used to, Ip Man does not rely on high-flying stunts or insane set-pieces to get your adrenaline running. Rather, the fights are appropriately “realistic” which in turn helps raise the stakes for everyone involved in the fight as we feel like they are real human beings and not Cirque du Soliel acrobats. Beyond the fight scenes, the story itself feels a little like filler. The acting is a little stiff (though subtitles don’t really help) and the actual details of the narrative were a bit mundane. Sure, Ip Man finds himself the champion of the Chinese in the face of Japanese invasion and it’s most inspiring, but it feels much more like rhetoric or propaganda than heartfelt performance. But this is an issue that generally didn’t bother me as the film was never far from more sweet kung fu. A final note, this movie looks beautiful. Not to generalize, but most Chinese films I’ve seen have immaculate cinematography and Ip Man is no different. Each shot is carefully composed and brilliantly executed. Oh and color drains or saturates depending on how hopeless the Chinese feel in any particular sequence. It’s pretty sweet.
And now for our oddly paired beer. Dogfish Head is one of the big names in American craft brewing. They are always trying innovative recipes while consistently making great beers. Did you ever watch Discovery’s short-lived series Brewmasters? That’s Dogfish Head. And it’s an awesome show. Watch it. Anyway, Dogfish Head is arguably best known for its IPAs (and its Punkin Ale). They have a variety of IPA’s of varying hopping schedules (hence 60 Minute IPA, 90 Minute IPA and 120 Minute IPA) and I’ve only heard good things. Their most “basic,” or accessible as I prefer to say, is the 60 Minute IPA. It’s a simple, medium-bodied IPA that is not too bitter or overwhelming with its hoppiness. That first sip will come as a bit of a surprise for those less-acquainted with IPAs (yours truly included), but once you’ve gotten acclimated, the beer is really quite easy to drink. It also has a lovely cloudy, copper color and a rich head that releases some tasty tasty aromas. All said, this is one good beer, which makes sense considering it’s one of the brewery’s most common and well-liked beers. Dogfish Head has a ton more interesting beers out there that I sadly have not yet tried. I’ll have to add them to my New Year’s Resolution list for beer. Or maybe just cool-it with the Sam Adams…
A quick word of business and then I’ll let you go. I’m going on a family trip next week to Colorado which means two things. One, I may or may not be posting next week (sorry). Two, I will be drinking lots of New Belgium’s Fat Tire and 1554 (not sorry).
And so, with that, I welcome you all to 2012. May this New Year bring you lots of delicious beer drinking (in moderation), engaging movie viewing (with friends!) and all things good and shiny. Thanks for reading BAAM in its 2011 infancy and maybe, just maybe, I’ll mature a little, like a fine barreled-aged stout. But that’s unlikely.
Refreshingly not-over-the-top fight scenes
A bit preachy when it comes to themes of nationalism
Ip Man defeated all of Japan. All of it.