Good Evening Drinkers,
Tonight we’re in for some double (dubbel) trouble with Allagash Dubbel Ale and the 1944 Billy Wilder classic noir Double Indemnity. A duo that makes you sit up, pay attention and appreciate the finer things. So let’s get started.
For those who are unfamiliar with the specifics of Double Indemnity, I wouldn’t worry too much. While the narrative is fascinating and deserves multiples viewings, the film’s entirety serves as the archetype for all noirs, making it easily recognizable to any viewer. The stark black and white contrast, the slick voiceover, the beautiful femme fatale; Double Indemnity has all the tropes of a good noir because it’s one of the best. To summarize, this film follows an insurance salesman by the name of Walter Neff (“with two F’s, like in Philadelphia, if you know the story”) as he records his confession in helping a sexy (and deranged) woman kill her husband for the insurance money. The entire film is a flashback and the audience is only briefly reminded of this fact as Walter’s confident voice easily carries you from scene to scene, immersing you in the past. Not to mention the dialogue is very sharp and deeply layered with sexual tension as Walter Neff fires off a stream of superb one-liners. Now a lot of people have this sad assumption that older movies (re: black and white) are either dry or boring, in both story and style. However this is not the case for Double Indemnity. I’ve already mentioned the that story is captivating, but I also have to mention that the lighting design of this movie is equally incredible. Without the distraction of color, it is remarkable what one notices in terms of light. Every scene is deftly composed to underscore what the narrative. Neff’s troubled thoughts as to his crime are reflected in the half-shadows that cover frequently his face. Our femme fatale, however, is often shown is complete darkness, revealing her malevolent inner nature. If she is not the darkness, then she is lit gorgeously, projecting that outward air of beauty. Now I don’t mean to bog you down with these film-major details, but these are things worth paying attention too, especially in a classic like Double Indemnity. Oh also, it might be of interest to fellow Angelinos that this movie makes great use of the city’s geography. Without the traffic. And it rains.
So let’s talk about the other part of my dubbel-feature. Now for the sake of honesty, I’ll let you know that I will pretty much drink, and enjoy, anything that Allagash brews. I’ve had maybe six or seven of their beers and they have all been stellar. I’d try more of them, as I have with Sam Adams, but the price tag for Allagash beer tends to run a little high. But despite that, I picked up this Dubbel and it did not disappoint. For those unfamiliar with the many different genres of beer, a dubbel is a Belgian style that trends towards a brown ale with an average ABV of about 7%. To that end, Allagash’s Dubbel fits the bill quite neatly. It has a nice, brown color, a mild malty flavor and hints of that easily identifiable Belgian yeast (bananas, remember?). For a beer with a higher-than-average ABV and malty character, I was surprised at how easy it went down. In fact, I ended up finishing it faster than I intended, leaving me to wish I had a second in the fridge to carry me through the rest of the movie (not that the movie needed any help). But alas I only had the one, which means that I’ll be back at the store to pick up another one of these tasty beers. And as a general rule of thumb, if Allagash is the brewery, it’s good.
So that was my double trouble night. If I were feeling like a baller I would have done two movies with two dubbels, but I’m not that awesome. Maybe some other night. But I will say that this was one of the more complimentary combos I have done so far. A strong, thoughtful movie with a smooth but surprising beer. Not to toot my own horn, but I’m really happy with the combination and I would recommend that all of you give it a whirl sometime.
Keep drinking my friends!
Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
A classic noir by which many others are compared
Sharp writing and beautiful visual style
A great history lesson in LA geography (also watch Chinatown if you’re interested)