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Magic Hat’s #9 & Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Hey there, drinkers!

I’m finally healthy again and off antibiotics, which means BAAM is back! And what better way to celebrate than with a magical evening? Tonight we’re enjoying Magic Hat’s delightfully difficult-to-describe #9 brew and watching the 2001 franchise progenitor Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. While I’ve had this beer fairly recently (it’s one of my favorites), I probably haven’t seen this film since it came out when I was 12 years old. Time flies, huh? And so do brooms, apparently.  Grab your Sorting Hat and let’s get started!

Plot synopsis seems a bit unnecessary when discussing any Harry Potter book or film, so tonight we’ll just be analyzing and critiquing Potter Film #1, Sorcerer’s Stone. Before the last books were written, a cinematic franchise firestorm was created with the release of the first HP film. In Sorcerer’s Stone, we are taken on our first trip to the deathtrap that is Hogwarts and, through ceaseless exposition, shown all the detailed delights of the Wizarding World. Literally every single bit of J.K. Rowling’s jingo is loudly presented, explained and used properly in a sentence.

Hagrid “Silly Muggles.”
Harry “Muggles?”
Hagrid “Muggles are people who aren’t magical, such as your inexplicably abusive and  repressive Aunt & Uncle.”
Harry “Thanks Hagrid. I now understand the definition of Muggles.”
Hagrid “Atta boy, ‘arry”

Okay, so maybe I’m exaggerating, but most of the film operates in this manner. I recognize that there is a ton of information that needs to be clearly presented in the first film of this franchise, but the writer seems think that we’re really stupid and need to be hit over the head repeated. Much like a child playing Quidditch. Or like a child doing anything at Hogwarts.

Other things to note in this film? The Hogwarts staff is utterly unobjective and blatantly plays favorites with Houses and students throughout. I’m looking at you, McGonagall.  And Snape really is a dick for no reason. I mean, I know it gets explained in a convenient chapter or two in the last book, but seriously, what an asshole. You too, Draco.

Finally, I just want to point out that at much as we’ve come to love Daniel Radcliffe & Co. over the years, in Sorcerer’s Stone, his main acting technique seems to be bugging his eyes out in feigned surprise. At least Rupert Grint is acting. Radcliffe seems to be acting at acting. But he was young and he’s improved, so I’ll give him a pass. And Emma Watson’s hair stylist definitely got fired after this film. Thanks to whoever made that call.

Get a haircut. No one likes you.

And our other magical entertainment for the evening? Vermont brewer Magic Hat is difficult to find out here in Los Angeles, but I’ve been seeing a recent uptick in kegs and bottles out here, which has brought a smile to my face. Magic Hat’s curious flagship #9 was one of the first beers I ever had and remains one of my favorites. #9, which is self-described as a “not-quite-so-pale-ale” pours a golden copper color with lots of fine bubbles. The thick, white head gives off strong fruity aromas. I would describe the smell as apricot but there’s something else going on in there as well that’s hard to describe. That fruity-apricot aroma comes through with the first taste, giving way to a light-bodied ale that goes down smooth the whole way. It’s not a particularly complex beer, but it’s different and refreshing. The fruit characteristic is very hard to define, making the “not-quite-so-pale-ale” label quite apt.

This is only partly related to Harry Potter:

So that’s it, wizards and witches! BAAM is finally back after being sick for first time since I was probably 12. And after feeling like crap for over 10 days, there are few better ways to celebrate than with a delicious, but not overly complicated beer. And while Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is not exactly the finest in the series, it is still fun and has helped define a generation of young readers and movie-goers. And I respect it more than Twilight.  Sorry vampires, wizards are cooler.


Tonight’s Tasting notes:
Magic Hat #9:
-Very nice, golden color.
-Strong aroma of fruit (apricot & something else).
-An exciting change of pace for easy-drinking beers.

Harry Potter & The Sorcerer’s Stone:
-Understandably, yet annoyingly, over-explained.
-Launched one of the most definitive movie franchises in recent history.
-Remember when Harry, Ron and Hermione were little & unattractive?

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