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Abita’s Purple Haze & Dazed and Confused

Alright alright alright, Drinkers!

Tonight we’re kicking it back and taking things slow with Dazed and Confused while sipping on a tasty Purple Haze from Louisiana’s Abita Brewing. My memory may may be a bit hazy (I had to, sorry) but I think tonight was quite the success. Let’s find out why, shall we?

The 1993 cult high school movie, Dazed and Confusedis one of those movies that I think most people saw when they were too young to really get what was going on. Or they know about it, never saw it and pretend like they have seen it. Or maybe that’s because they got a contact high from the film strip and forgot it all but that’s another issue. Directed by Richard Linklater (I reviewed his famous Before Sunrise about a year ago), Dazed and Confused is at once a typical coming-of-age high school flick and a confounding piece of cinema. Most obviously confounding is the cast. This massive ensemble film includes many actors that we have come to know over years including Ben Affleck, Milla Jovovich, Park Posey, Joey Lauren Adams and Matthew McConaughey, who literally hasn’t changed in 20 years.

But what struck me more was the lack of a structured narrative. In fact, the film is actually quite directionless, which seems fitting. Taking place on the last day of school for a group of rising freshmen and seniors, the audience is tossed into a world of incredibly high teens who seem to have some weird aggression problems, all of whom really have no plan for the future.

Milla has zombies in her future. Lots of zombies.

And while focus-less films typically frustrate me to no end, I wasn’t as bothered by Dazed and Confused. I think what it came down to for me was that this film didn’t try too hard to look like it wasn’t trying too hard. If that makes sense.  Let’s make a comparison, shall we? The Big Lebowski is ostensibly about nothing, right? Well the Coen brothers, as brilliant as they are, tried very hard to create a plot about nothing (don’t hate me, Dudes). And while some people love this film, I tend to disagree. The opposite can be said of Dazed and Confused. This is a movie about a bunch of teens with nothing to do and just enjoying it. And the film itself reflects that. We weave in and out of characters’ lives, there is no major problem to be resolved and not everyone has to get the girl at the end. It’s kind of cool actually. Yes, this film is a bit…meandering but it works. For me. And while my high school experience was is in no way represented in this film, I did feel a certain kinship with most of the characters as they fail to figure out what their lives are all about. I also have to say, briefly, that this film is reminiscent of many of Linklater’s other films. From Before Sunrise to A Scanner Darkly, Linklater seems to be interested in characters that are floating through existence, occasionally searching for something more. Dazed and Confused is no different.

Oh and I also have to point out this one line where a female character compares decades:
“Maybe the 80’s will be like radical or something. I figure we’ll be in our 20s and it cant’ get worse.”
Oh it gets worse, darling. It gets worse.

Kind of how you feel after watching this movie.

So we were dazed, confused and hazy? Sure! Why not? Tonight’s tasty beer was brought to you by the Abita Brewing Company and it actually matched the film quite well. As Abita explains on the label, their Purple Haze is a wheat lager with an added raspberry puree that goes into the brew after filtration. When you crack open the bottle, that added raspberry is immediately apparent in the nose. You get a nice sweet, tartness that excites your palet. But what’s cooler is that when you give this beer a pour, you can actually see a slight purple hue in this otherwise light-golden beer. With that first sip, you get a nice balance of light wheat flavor and subtle fruitiness. And on top of that, it’s really just a refreshing beer. Maybe the kind you want one or two of when school gets out for the summer (Just kidding kids! Don’t drink until your 21!). But seriously, Purple Haze is a nice clean, crisp beer for those toasty summer nights.

So there you have it, folks. A hazy but enjoyable evening. We watched a not-too-serious and heavily substance-abused (on screen, not me) reflection on high school while sipping on a sweet little raspberry beer. Neither tries too hard to be anything other than it is and, in the end, that helps them both. Rather than hitting us over the head, both pieces of entertainment leave us with enough room to breath. To think, or not think, about the choices we make and the future that awaits us this summer.

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

Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
Abita’s Purple Haze:
-Strong raspberry aromatics
-Subtle purple hue to the pour
-Refreshing, not-too-fruity taste

Dazed and Confused:
-Lovingly irreverent of high school
-Kids in the 70’s drank and smoked…a lot. Should I be surprised?
-Tons of stars before they were stars

 

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Abita’s Abbey Ale & Young Frankenstein

Hey there, drinkers,

Tonight I’m feeling good, drinking beer and watching movies (well, really just one movie). And with a bomber of 8% beer to indulge in and an obscure cinematic reference to explain, this BAAM has all the makings of great evening. Fair warning, due to the fairly high ABV of this beer and the sheer quantity of beer consumed (a bomber is a 22 oz. bottle), I may or may not be a bit tipsy in the writing of this review, so just bear (or beer….get it?) with me as I ramble and leave typos.

Before I begin, I owe you at least a brief explanation for this seemingly random pairing. For those of you who have not seen Young Frankenstein, the plot hinges on a one-liner. When Dr. Frankstein’s assistant, Igor (eye-gore), goes to retrieve a brain for the soon-to-be-reanimated-creature , he steals a brain labeled “abnormal,” believing the brain actually belonged to a lady named Abby Normal. Silly. I know. But it’s Mel Brooks, so just go with it. And since this is BAAM and we don’t take ourselves too seriously, we’re just going to pretend that Abby was spelled with an E and go about our merry way. If you have any complaints about my pairing system you can A) Take it up with the person who suggested this film to me or B) Suck it. Let’s move on, shall we?

Now, Mel Brooks’ 1974 film Young Frankenstein is one that I actually have a bit of history with. Back in college, I somehow got away with writing a paper on this film (amongst other films), so I’m sure I could talk to you at length about the repurposing of genre tropes, but we’re not in film school anymore so I’m going to skip that bit. For Mel Brooks, this film is actually less uproarious and absurd than many of his others. Unlike Blazing Saddles (one of my favorite films) or Spaceballs (one of the best parody films), Young Frankenstein doesn’t feel the need to have a joke every 15 seconds. Rather, the film seems to truly relish the tropes of classic horror films. The dramatic black & white aesthetic, combined with a pitch-perfect score and the indulgence in unnecessary pauses in dialogue, it is very easy to see Mel Brooks’ reverence for the genre. Or, at the very least, reverence for his knowledge of the genre and his ability to poke fun at it. Going in to the plot seems a bit silly (it’s the story of Frankenstein, but funnier), but I will say that this film does not disappoint when it comes to feeding the audience a few, healthy guffaws. And while my laughter may have been just a product of the beer, I would recommend this film to anyone who loves classic films and classic parodies. None of this Scary Movie crap. I’m talking about the real deal here. No one does it like Mel Brooks. Oh, also, Gene Hackman is in this film for about 5 minutes. Just a heads up.

No one can yell his way through a film like Gene Wilder. Bring it on, Will Ferrell.

So what beer made me giggle throughout this entire film? Well folks, it’s none other than Abita’s Abbey Ale. A tribute to Belgian beer-making, this Abbey Ale has a deep amber color and a thick head. Smelling, and tasting, primarily of Belgian yeast, there is no mistaking this beer for anything other than an abbey-style beer. Unfortunately, I found the beer’s yeasty-ness to be a bit overpowering. While the beer went down smooth and was pleasant to drink (especially considering the high ABV), it was very difficult to taste anything other than yeast. Sure, you get hints of bread, but that’s basically just a nice way of talking about yeast. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed this beer, it just got a little old after awhile. I wanted more complexity out of this beer. As a quick disclaimer, my palette is absolutely not as refined as true beer aficionados, so I may be way off base in my assessment of this beer. For alternate opinions on this or any beer, check out Beer Advocate. They’re awesome. Anyway, from the point of view of a common drinker who enjoys the occasional Belgian beer, I have to say that there are better Belgian-style beers out there. Second disclaimer: I love Abita and I would recommend to all of you to try out this Louisiana brewery (this is BAAM’s 3rd Abita beer, so you probably already figured that out anyway).

So maybe tonight’s combo wasn’t as…memorable as last weeks adventure with Ironclad, but it was certainly more enjoyable. The movie was a funny, low-key parody that gave proper respect to its parent genre while the beer got me tipsy enough to mostly disregard its repetitive flavor. In the history of BAAM, we’ve had worse and we’ve had better. Minimal complaints.

And remember, if you have any ideas or suggestions for beers or movies, please let me know. Tonight’s film was suggested through a friend/reader after I had already settled on a less-clever pairing. So, just like in this great democracy of ours, your voice is important! Tell me what you want to see here on BAAM and I’ll try my best to make it happen.

Happy drinking, friends!

 

Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
Abita’s Abbey Ale
:
Deep, rich amber color
Yeasty nose and flavor
Overwhelmingly yeasty, to a fault

Young Frankenstein
Gene Wilder in top form, as always
A loving, and caustic, reflection on classic horror film
I once wrote a paper on this film. I miss college…

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Abita Andygator & Mega Python Vs. Gatoroid

Hello Drinkers,

I’ll be honest, I didn’t have a great day today. And sometimes after a crappy day at work, all your want to do is get a little drunk and veg out in front of the TV. That’s why tonight’s Terrible Twosome is Abita’s Andygator (I reviewed Abita’s Amber a few weeks ago here) and the 2011 SyFy Original movie Mega Python Vs. Gatoroid. Now this might be stooping a bit low for Beer and a Movie, but just bear with me and keep on reading if you want to hear my half-drunken opinions on one of the campiest movies I’ve ever seen and one of my favorite beers.

Mega Python Vs. Gatoroid. Boy, where to begin. Let’s start with the obvious, the name. Holy crap was is this movie about?! A Mega Python I vaguely understand but what is a Gatoroid? The answer is actually more stupid than you probably thought. I was hoping for a futuristic robo-alligator in the vein of Mecha Godzilla (the mechanical nemesis of our friend Gojira). Nope. It’s an alligator on steroids. Deal with it. What else is there? Oh okay there’s the two 80’s pop stars Tiffany (of “I Think We’re Alone Now” fame) and Debbie Gibson (of…other 80’s pop song fame…) in the leading roles as competing environmentalists. Debbie Gibson plays a crazy snake specialist who releases captive snakes into the Everglades. Those snakes somehow become Mega Pythons but let’s not worry about the details. Meanwhile, Tiffany plays a gun-toting park ranger who decides that creating a giant alligator is the only logical response to combating mega pythons. There are a lot of mean words traded and a couple of slaps, but ultimately they band together to fight off the growing horde of monsters. Spoiler: they both die in the one surprising moment of this movie. Well, that and the Appalachian Indian gator specialist Diego Chavez. He was also a bit of a surprise. Definitely not a Mexican…But hey, we didn’t watch this movie for the acting or the characters or the story or the…what did we watch this movie for? Oh, that’s right, the EPIC MONSTER FIGHTS! Another Spoiler: there are no actual monster fights!

Mega Python Vs. Cute Puppy

But the night couldn’t have been all that bad, could it? Actually, you’re right. Abita’s Andygator is one hell of a beer. It is only sold by the Mega Bottle which holds one pint six ounces of this tasty and deceptive beer (ten ounces more than a normal bottle). According to the label, the Andygator is a Helles Doppelbock which means that this beer is high in alcohol, light in color and rich in flavor. Even with a surprising 8% alcohol by volume, the beer is light, crisp and fruity without losing the hoppiness of a beer. Typically, beers of a higher alcohol content are darker, richer and very complex in their flavors. The Andygator, however, defies these expectations by providing a literally intoxicating beverage that is very easy and enjoyable to drink.

So if you see a bottle of Andygator in the store, don’t be intimidated by it’s size. It’s a delicious beer that gives you just a enough flavor to keep you happy and just enough alcohol to make any bad day seem a little better. Unless, however, that day has been spent fighting amphibious abominations in the Everglades. In that case, drop the beer, grab a gun and unload.

Tonight’s Tasting Notes: 

Andygator:
Deceptively high in alcohol.
Light, fruity flavor.
Beautiful, light golden color.

Mega Python Vs. Gatoroid:
80’s pop stars go gator wrastlin’.
Pythons and alligators are sworn enemies.
Pretty much everybody dies.
(but at least the Everglades get saved!)

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