Tag Archives: brew

New Belgium’s Accumulation White IPA & Fargo

Oh hi there, Drinkers!

Oh jeez guys, I finally did it. I finally watched a good movie. I know it’s been a while but I figured you all had earned it after this latest string of garbage films I’ve put you through. And now that the temperatures have started to drop below 80 here in Los Angeles, I figured it was time to shake things up and get a little wintery. That’s why today’s pairing is New Belgium’s Accumulation White IPA and the snowy, Minnesota classic Fargo. I’ll try to keep the Minnesota-isms to a minimum (having linguistically tortured my actually Minnesotan roommate while watching the movie) but, like always, I make no promises. So let’s get started, ya?

Set in 1987, Fargo is the Coen Brothers’ not-actually-true-story about an inept car salesman, a bungled kidnapping and the subsequent trail of murder that follows. For the sake of those who haven’t seen this movie (go see this movie), I’ll provide the quick setup of the movie. Jerry Luundegaard is in a bit of money trouble and thus decides cooks up a scheme to have his wife kidnapped and, upon her release, split the ransom with the kidnappers. But as all schemes go, it doesn’t work out that cleanly. Due to a toxic combination of ineptitude, not-so-happy accidents and a little psychopathy, people get murdered and said murders get investigated. But the movie isn’t really about the case or the kidnapping. It’s about the slow-motion implosion of an inherently dumb idea. And it’s about the characters who get entangled in the snowy shitstorm.

fargo1

Quiet ride through the ‘burbs

Like all good Coen Brothers’ movies (and that definition varies depending on who you talk to), Fargo is sharply written, superbly well-acted, mildly disturbing and profoundly bizarre. The dark themes of the movie are anachronistically set against hilarious dialogue and quiet, seemingly inane character moments. The film’s tense dramatic beats are expertly separated with scenes of domesticity for our hero-sheriff Frances McDormand. And we get to see that even our hapless villains watch The Tonight Show. These strange, off-beat moments disrupt an otherwise hauntingly dark film. But what is really special about these moments is that they never feel random or pointless. Rather, every moment informs character and narrative in a way that I imagine makes many other filmmakers jealous.

Wholesome family fun

Wholesome family fun

There’s a lot to say about this movie (cars, representations of space, the nature of greed, etc.) but for the sake of time, I’ll just say that Fargo shows the Coen Brothers’ at the top of their game. With fantastic writing and unparalleled acting from the entire cast, Fargo is a must (re)watch.

So how about our snowy beer? Hailing from the perennially pleasing New Belgium Brewing Company, the 2014 Accumulation White IPA doesn’t fall far from the delicious tree. Pouring a pale yellow-gold with a fluffy, white head (you might say it looks…snowy?!), you’ll get hints of grain, grass and hops off the nose. With a sip, you’ll get muted notes of grain and citrus backed up with some mild pine from the hops. At 6.2% ABV, the beer is an all-around easy drinker. None of the flavors are too bright or are overwhelming. Rather, they play together quite nicely and deliver a solid sipper of a beer. Definitely a nice alternative to the heavier, dark beers that are more traditional for this time of year. Really just a nice, low-key beer.

So there you have it, Drinkers! A snowy night of MURDER and beer. We watched a fantastic film with an easy drinking beer on a “chilly” winter’s evening. Have you seen Fargo or tried this year’s Accumulation? If so, let me know what you think in the comments! Or shoot me some of your favorite winter beers and I’ll try to feature them in an upcoming BAAM!

And as always keep drinking, my friends!IMG_0469

 

Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
NB’s Accumulation White IPA:
-Clear, pale yellow pour
-Mild mix of grain, citrus and hops
-Easy drinking alternative for a cold night

Fargo:
-Stellar acting
-Quirky but dark
-Makes Minnesota look like a wasteland

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The Tap Brewing’s Sassy Rabbit & The Curse of the Were-Rabbit

Hey there, Drinkers!

I know it’s been awhile but New Years not the time to judge me. Or ever. Anyway, I just got back from a visit to my hometown of Boston and I thought I’d bring you all a local brew for today’s BAAM. We’re sipping on The Tap Brewing Company’s Sassy Rabbit while watching one of my personal fun-favorites: Wallace & Gromit’s The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. So grab your beer and let’s hop to it!

Now, I sincerely hope that all of you are familiar with the lovable British claymation characters Wallace and Gromit. For you sad few who don’t know who they are, Wallace and Gromit were first unleashed on the world in 1990 in the short film A Grand Day Out and have since gone on to be featured in four more shorts and a lone feature. Wallace is a silly, cheese-loving inventor and Gromit is his silent yet intelligent dog/assistant. Gromit is also one of the most expressive characters in film, all told with hand gestures and eyebrow raises. Without fail, the humor is equal parts clever and stupid in the best of ways. In 2005, The Curse of the Were-Rabbit launched Wallace & Gromit into the feature-film world, delivering all the expected humor and heart for which the franchise is known. Since you should really see this movie, I don’t want to go too far into the plot but, in short, the film is about a giant, vegetable-ravaging rabbit that terrorizes a quaint English town just in time for its annual giant vegetable competition. And while the film is first and foremost intended to be a family-friendly goof-fest, it also provides the audience with some more subtle and adult comedy as well. So well-integrated is the humor that I find it hard to point out any one thing in particular but needless to say that every detail has been accounted for when it comes to the comedy.

Bun Vac 6000

Bun Vac 6000

And as for the film itself, of course it’s impressive. It’s 90 minute claymation film (well, technically they no longer use clay but whatever)! It’s incredible they ever actually finished it even, given how minute and varied some of the animations are. At times, there are upwards of twenty moving characters on screen, all requiring painstakingly careful movement in order to come to life. So to have a funny, complex and engaging film on top of that technical feat, this film will always be considered a winner in my very fleshy heart.

So many cute bunnies to animate!

So many cute bunnies to animate!

And our Sassy Rabbit? It’s definitely its own beast, so it fit perfectly with our Were-Rabbity adventure. Hailing from Haverhill, MA, this brew from The Tap Brewing Company is a rye ale brewed with a significant amount of hops. The end result is a uniquely smooth IPA that both confuses and delights the palette. As I’ve said in the past about ryes, these brews tend to be smoother than your average ale, making them great for easy drinking. However, this Sassy Rabbit sports a ton of hop power, bringing out a nice mix of pine, citrus and earth. While it wasn’t as spicy at the label promised, it was still an interesting, tasty mix of bite and smooth. Moreover, since the brew is only 5.7%, you can drink it at whatever pace you’re comfortable with and avoid any unwanted buzz. Next time I’m back in Boston, I’ll definitely have to check this brewery out.

So there you have it folks, a hoppy and happy evening for families and bunnies alike. A fun, silly and smart movie with an interesting and delicious brew. Both are definitely worth checking out when you can.

Thanks again, Drinkers for being here in 2013. Work has really slowed my output on BAAM, so I really appreciate all of you bearing with me. So raise your glass and cheers to a safe and happy New Year. And as always keep drinking, my friends.

Tonight’s Tasting Notes:83225
The Tap Brewing’s Sassy Rabbit:
-Hazy brown pour
-Nice rye smoothness
-Significant hoppiness

The Curse of the Were-Rabbit:
Sharp, fun comedy for everyone
-Great voice-acting cast
-Wallace & Gromit in their finest form

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Christmas Crossover Special: Black Christmas, Black Phoenix & The Beer That Saved Christmas

Hey there, Drinkers!

Tis the season for gift giving, sleigh bell ringing and black beer drinking. And once again in celebration of the holidays, I’ve teamed up with Anne from We Recycle Movies to watch some terrible holiday-themed slashers while drinking a few good beers. Since Anne’s blog is all about sequels and remakes, we watched the two iterations of Black Christmas while sipping on Bootlegger’s Black Phoenix (it’s black…and phoenix’s live again…nevermind) and also The Beer That Saved Christmas (aka the beer that saved us the pain of watching these movies). So sit down, enjoy those chestnuts roasting over that open fire and prepare for a black Christmas!

Let’s begin at the beginning. The original Black Christmas was released in 1974 and subsequently….actually I don’t think it did anything after that. To horror fanatics, I think it ranks as a sort-of spiritual predecessor to Halloween, as the films are surprisingly similar (albeit that Halloween is a much better film). But beyond that, the film doesn’t hold much water. Or blood. The film, which follows the deadly targeting of a sorority house, very rarely elevates itself beyond creepy but usually relegates itself to the mundane. The film slowly meanders between its uninteresting characters and largely ignores the murders, which is very odd for the genre. Occasionally the film veers off-course entirely and does very little to reincorporate itself into the central plot. The scariest parts of the movie are actually its phone calls. A’la Scream, the girls of the house are harassed by unnerving, sexual and animalistic calls that the police generally disregard until the end of the film. For the most part, there is very little that really captivated me with this movie but there are two points that are worth mentioning. One, the film very directly deals with the issue of abortion. Our heroine finds herself unintentionally pregnant and makes the difficult decision to have an abortion, a conviction she firmly holds on to throughout the film. Second (SPOILER ALERT), you never find out who the killer is. There a few suspects but they are all cleared/killed by the end of the film, and with only two shots of the killer himself (all shadowed and highlighting only his eyes), you never actually learn who the killer is or his motivation. A fact that I found infuriating. But maybe some people find that genre-defying. I found it lame.

One of two shots of the killer

One of two shots of the killer

And the 2006 remake of Black Christmas? Yeah it’s pretty terrible. In this version, the film takes the mythology of the original and over-explains everything. See in the original, the mystery killer keeps mentioning the names “Billy” and “Agnes,” two characters we never meet. In the 2006 version we know right away who our killer is: Billy. Billy is a yellow-skinned cannibalistic killer who is raped by his mother, who gives birth to his oddly man-like daughter Agnes. Oh and Billy made Christmas cookies out his mother’s skin. Whatever. Anyway, all of this story is WAY over-explained in stupid flashbacks that mostly serve to gross us out while cheaply delivering plot. The rest of the film follows the various murders of these sorority sisters and the occasional douche-y boyfriend that gets caught in the way. And while this film provides our bad guys with “motivation,” the film really isn’t any better than the original. Actually, it’s probably worse. The acting is terrible, the kills are kinda silly and the bad guys are just really lame. It does feature Katie Cassidy before she was Laurel Lance on Arrow (great show, not a good actress), so that’s a fun fact. And finally, it’s simply not scary. Yeah it’s a little gross but that’s only a small factor when it comes to successful horror movies. Overall, I’d say don’t waste your Christmas on these movies. Maybe watch something a little more wholesome.

blah blah this movie blah blah

blah blah this movie blah blah

And ours beers? Pretty solid actually. The first we had was Prairie Artisan Ales’ The Beer That Saved Christmas (that’s a mouthful) . This brew is an Old Ale, a style of beer I didn’t even know about. Apparently, these beers can be very fruity and malty, which is pretty much how I’d describe this one. Pouring a deep, almost rust-colored brown, you’ll get a sweet, malty nose and lovely tan head. When you taste it, you’ll get a very interesting and bright pop of flavor. I tasted a nice mix of cherry, red wine and oak barrel (this beer is barrel aged). What is most interesting is that big splash of character almost immediately disappears into a smooth, light finish. And for a 10% brew, you get almost no booziness. It’s hard to say that this beer was extraordinary but it certainly was interesting. If you’re looking for something different this holiday season, I’d say give this one a shot.

As for Bootlegger Brewery’s Black Phoenix, this brew held up as a solid coffee stout with a nice little twist of chipotle spice. Pouring a deep black with minimal chocolate-lacing, you get a well-balanced mix of roasted malts, coffee flavor and a hint of chipotle. None of these flavors hit you over the head and the 6.7% ABV keeps this beer under control. For a beer with some many potentially big flavors involved, I found this coffee stout to fairly mild-mannered and easy to drink, which makes it a good alternative for those looking for something a little lighter when you’re perusing the stout aisle at your local beer store.

So there you have it, Drinkers! A Black Christmas! As per usual with these holiday specials, the movies were pretty awful but the beer and the company really made the night a winning combo. Be sure to show Anne some love and check out her review of the movies which will probably hold the same level of disdain as my own review. Thanks as always for reading and have a happy holiday season!

And as always keep drinking, my friends!
Prairie-The-Beer-That-Saved-Christmas-Oak-Aged-Old-AleTonight’s Tasting Notes:

Bootlegger’s Black Phoenix Chipotle Coffee Stout:bootlegger
-Clean black pour
-Very malty, nice hint of coffee
-Spicy little twist

Prairie’s Beer That Saved Christmas:
-Big, bright opener
-Mild, smooth finish
-Surprisingly not boozy

Black Christmas (1974):
-No killer reveal
-Meandering
-Shag carpets

Black Christmas (2006):
-Too much exposition
-Gratuitous grossness
-Sad remake to a sad original

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Coronado Brewing’s Orange Avenue Wit & A Clockwork Orange

Hey there, Drinkers!

It’s officially summer which means it’s time for light beers and dark movies! Today, we’re drinking Coronado Brewing Company’s Orange Avenue Wit and watching Stanley Kubrick’s classic A Clockwork Orange. And while I typically steer clear of wheat beers and depressing movies, I made an exception for you, lovely readers. So let’s get started, shall we?

As universally renowned as A Clockwork Orange is, there a few films that I’ve had more difficulty getting through. And not in a bad way, but in a viscerally uncomfortable way. But that’s kind of the point. Everything about this film is designed to make you feel thoroughly uncomfortable. The painfully long, uncut scenes, the extreme close ups, the graphic rape scenes, the blaring loud music. Everything leaves you unsettled and generally unhappy. But that’s kind of what makes this movie great. Kubrick expertly manipulates his audience into going through every painful and disturbing emotion that our anti-protagonist Alex goes through. At the start, when Alex revels in senseless violence, we the audience are brought along in for the thrill. Of course we are not okay with Alex’s action, but his witty dialogue and the uncomfortable levity of the music helps twist your guilt. Once Alex is sent to prison, we commiserate with his institutionalized isolation and obedience. And when he volunteers for an experimental “cure” for his wickedness, we bear excruciating witness to the cruelty which he endures. I won’t take us through the entirety of the film but needless to say it’s a bit of a uncomfortable cinematic ride.
A movie almost as uncomfortable as this scene

A movie almost as uncomfortable as this scene

I don’t mean to sound all gloomy about this film. I do truly believe that it’s a great work of cinema, I just don’t think it’s a film that’s taken casually. When you sit down for A Clockwork Orange, you have to be prepared to feel uncomfortable. The excessive use of nudity, sexual material and “ultra-violence” does not make for easy viewing and definitely does not make it a family film. So maybe you casual movie-goers who just want a fun escape should avoid this one. But for those who have a genuine interest in cinema as a venue for art, I’d suggest giving this one a try. And in full-disclosure, there is a lot more to be said about this film. About it’s views on politics and prison reform and the nature of man with regard to sex and violence, but we don’t have the time or the proper citations to have that discussion. But if that sounds interesting, then that’s a good sign that this is a film for you.

a-clockwork-orange-4fdbc32f745f5

And our light beer to go with our dark movie? I think Coronado Brewing’s Orange Avenue Wit was actually a smart decision. This bomber of 5.2% was just the kind of light, easy-drinking beer I needed to go with a movie I felt in my stomach. Pouring a hazy, highly-carbonated orange color, the Orange Avenue gave off strong aromas of straw, malt and citrus. With a sip, you get mild notes of orange, lemon, wheat and light malt. While not extremely complex, it’s a great summer beer that is refreshing, light and developed enough to provide a great alternative to the bigger summer wheats out on the market. It wasn’t as orange-y tasting as I expected from the name, but I was okay with that. Many drinkers enjoy their wheat beers with an orange garnish, which would have certainly put the orange flavor over the top. So for me, it was just right.

So there you have it folks, an engaging summer night cloaked in the orange sunlight of Los Angeles (poetic, no?). For all of the grim warnings I’ve given about A Clockwork Orange, I do want to reiterate that it is a great movie and is capable of being enjoyed. You do not have to be a cineaste of developed-palette to appreciate this film. It just might help you stomach it a little better. And the beer was a good partner for the night. 22 ounces of relaxing wheat to get me through the night. So, all things being considered, I think this was a success. Wouldn’t you say so, my little droogs?

And as always keep drinking, my friends!
CBC-Bottle-02_0004_California-Wit-1
Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
Coronado Brewing Co’s Orange Avenue Wit:
-Cloudy, orange pour
-Lots of carbonation
-Quiet notes of citrus, straw and malt

A Clockwork Orange:
-A visual tour-de-force
-Can be difficult to watch, if not disturbing
-Truly a cinematic & storytelling masterpiece

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Uinta Brewing’s HooDoo Kolsch & Live and Let Die

Hey there, Drinkers!

It’s time to Live and Let Drink! Not a terrible motto, right? Too bad this BAAM combo isn’t exactly worthy of such optimism. Today we have Uinta’s HooDoo Kolsch-style ale and the 1973 Bond flick Live and Let Die. It’s a light (lite) duo with much promise and much disappointment. And since you already know how I feel about the whole ordeal, let’s read more about it!

In 1973, Roger Moore hit the James Bond scene with Live and Let Diea film mostly remembered for its Paul McCartney theme-song. And rightfully so. That song is awesome. The rest of the film is largely forgettable. Not to say that the details of the film are forgettable, because many of them are actually quite memorable, but rather the film as a whole can be easily lumped in with most other generic Bond movies. So what actually stands out about this film? Mostly its location and its peripheral characters. Unlike most Bond film, Live and Let Die takes place largely in the United States and heavily features African-Americans in leading roles. Not that those roles are flattering or positive or racially sensitive but hey, at least they’re there, right? And maybe most memorable piece of this movie is the occasional henchman Baron Samedi, the extremely well-dressed/never-dressed undying Voodoo spirit. Accompanied by his hearty laugh, Baron Samedi is a weird Bond antagonist who has a very loose connection to the actual Bond villain and mostly exists to add color to the otherwise drab story. In fact, the story isn’t even drab. It’s muddled. I admit I wasn’t paying close attention (but who does for a Bond movie?) but it was very difficult to understand what was going on and why. Fortunately, in classic Bond fashion, the bad guy explains his entire operation before leaving Bond to die in an overwrought and under-thought death trap.

Live and Let Me Be Creeped Out

Live and Let Me Be Creeped Out

If you take a step back, you’ll realize that Live and Let Die is pretty much the exclusive basis for the Austin Powers movies. Bond is left die in several compromising but silly situations (death by crocodile farm, death by shark tank, death by over exposition!). He immediately sleeps with every female her encounters. The villain explains every detail of his plan over cocktails with Bond.  Bond has several highly specialized gadgets that very silly (magnet-buzzsaw watch). The villain dies in the most absurd way. And the villain’s secret lair includes a monorail. Seriously. How is that not Austin Powers? But on a serious note, as a true Bond fan, it is always upsetting to watch one of these lesser films. They kind of suck the magic and allure out of the franchise and leave behind a frustrating shell of a movie. To be fair, I still laughed and smiled during this movie. But I was definitely laughing at the movie in the least respectful of ways.

Sorry Roger Moore, this one was just not a winner.

Because guns are just blasé

Because guns are just blasé

And how about Uinta’s HooDoo Kolsch-style ale? Well, much like Live and Let Die, I was disappointed. Like the Bond franchise, Uinta puts out great products but sadly, this one seems like a bit of a dud. Full disclosure: I do not typically drink lighter beers like Kolsch’s as I find them to be lacking in complexity. I’ve had a few lighter beers when the weather gets warm but they are always my go-to. That being said, I found the HooDoo to be a bit too simplistic to make me a repeat buyer. It poured a nice, clean golden-yellow that I would expect from a Kolsch. Its aroma and taste were fairly similar with notes of straw malt and light, floral sweetness. The body was probably a little heavier than most Kolsch’s (I assume but again, I haven’t had many beers in this style) but overall it was mostly light and refreshing. The beer is not a bad beer, it’s just not great. It doesn’t do much to stand out against the multitude of summer beers that hitting shelves now. Maybe I’m just a Kolsch-noob and don’t know any better but if you Drinkers have any suggestions for similar beers, feel free to send them my way.

So that’s it, folks! A bit of a letdown of an evening with Live and Let Die and Uinta’s HooDoo (did you get the HooDoo-Voodoo connection?). The movie was flat and silly and the beer was a bit uninspired. But all of that aside, any time you can sit down after work with a beer in hand and a movie on your screen is a thing to be thankful for. Besides, how else can you appreciate the good if you haven’t experience the mediocre?

And as always keep drinking, my friends!
hoodoo
Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
Uinta’s HooDoo Kolsch-style ale:
-Golden yellow pour
-Light, refreshing carbonation
-Simple, sweet straw flavor

Live and Let Die
-Thin, unconvincing plot
-Leans heavily on absurd Bond stereotypes
-At least it has a memorable song?

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Green Flash’s West Coast IPA & Chinatown

Hey there, Drinkers!

Tonight we head to the coast with Green Flash’s West Coast IPA and the classic Los Angeles film Chinatown. Originally, I was planning on watching Once Upon a Time in the West but that “West” is not exactly coastal. Also, three hours is a lot of time to dedicate on a weekday night. But fear not! I did not settle. Today’s combo was as beautiful as the Golden State and if you read below, I’ll tell you why!

The 1974 Roman Polanski neo-noir Chinatown was first introduced to me before I had any real film education or passion for the media. Rather, my dad introduced it to me as his favorite film and, after my first viewing with him, I think I heartily agreed. Flash forward about eight years and eight more viewings and my opinion is largely the same. Though I might contend that The Good, The Bad and the Ugly is ultimately my favorite film, Chinatown is a very (VERY) close second. For the uninitiated, Chinatown is fictionalized history of the birth of modern Los Angeles, as told through a murder mystery. I don’t want to say any more about the plot, as it’s hard not to tread on the hints and clues that are expertly left throughout the film. Instead, let’s just talk about the film as a film, shall we?

chinatown-bd-1326218075
At its most basic level, Chinatown is an engaging story which is gently unfolded through powerhouse performance. Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway and John Huston are all impeccable and do great service to well-written script. What also is interesting is how Los Angeles, and the area around it, also exists as a character. Or characters. At its core, the film is about the creation of Los Angeles from a conglomeration of disparate geographical locations. What us modern Angelenos accept as a part of our daily lives (and commutes) lies at the heart of Chinatown. As might be obvious from the film’s title, the film is truly about geography. What happens where. What it does to people or what people do to it. How it changes people or people change the land. It’s a fascinating, albeit cynical, look at how cities are made and I say it’s required viewing for any resident of Los Angeles.

Faye Dunaway is the best. As per usual.

Faye Dunaway is the best. As per usual.

Finally, what is arguably most interesting about Chinatown is its take on genre. While these may seem like an esoteric discussions for non-film majors, what Chinatown did for the noir genre was quite revolutionary and stands out as a major cinematic milestone for that reason. While Chinatown embraces many of the tropes we have come to know and expect from noir films (the hard-boiled detective, the femme fatale, the intermingling of politics and passion, etc.), it simultaneously rejects many of the genre’s characteristics. Setting aside the obvious change to color photography, Chinatown is a bright and vibrant film. It rarely uses the harsh shadows and  strict lines of classic noirs and instead embraces the golden sunlight of Southern California. Chinatown also makes its hero Jake Gittes utterly reactionary. Of course he figures out the mystery, but much of what he learns is because he is told or is lucky. Sure he’s a bright, witty guy but he is not always in control of the situation. Also, he’s utterly broken by the end of the film, which is not exactly typical. There’s a lot more to discuss in terms of genre (I spent a few college classes on the subject) but those are the basics. Overall, Chinatown still stands out one of the great American films. It also has one of the most memorable closing lines in all movie history.  And it still remains my father’s favorite movie.

The most "noir" shot of the movie. And maybe the only one.

The most “noir” shot of the movie. And maybe the only one.

And for our LA movie, how about an SD beer? For this BAAM, I had Green Flash Brewing’s West Coast IPA. As to be expected, this IPA made generous use of the famed West Coast hops that define most American IPA’s. Pouring a cloudy copper color with a healthy two-finger head, the West Coast gave off a nice hoppy aroma. Not too powerful, but just enough to give you an idea of what was in store. When you take a sip, you’re pretty much in for a straight-up hoppy ride. It’s light, crisp and deeply flavored with pine and citrus. Probably grapefruit. While the beer is fairly bitter, it is definitely NOT one of the more bitter IPA’s out there, making it surprisingly easy to drink. Even with a 7.3% ABV, I was able to drink this beer pretty quickly. And I’m a notoriously slow drinker. Overall, this is a great, easy-drinking IPA that should satisfy both casual drinkers and hardcore hop-heads.

So there you have it, folks! A little trip down the West Coast from Los Angeles to San Diego. We paired a classic movie with broad appeal with an accessible IPA. Without a doubt, I would recommend either of these separately but when together, they make for a truly special evening.

Thanks for reading, Drinkers! If you haven’t already, be sure to hit that subscribe button on the right hand side, or follow me on Facebook, Twitter or Untappd.

And as always keep drinking, my friends!

Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
Green Flash Brewing’s West Coast IPA:
-Hazy copper color
-Mild hoppy aroma
-Pine & citrus hop flavor

Chinatown:
-Stunning performances all-around
-A great story beautifully told
-A great twist on the noir genrebotw_westcoastipa_1_t670_t658

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Ballast Point’s Tongue Buckler & The Buccaneer

Yarr, Drinkers!

After a botched Thanksgiving special BAAM with We Recycle Movies, due to a movie that was literally unwatchable, we’re back to our regular scheduled drinking. Tonight’s we’re hitting the high seas with the 1938 DeMille epic (is that redundant?) The Buccaneer while sipping on some potent Tongue Buckler from Ballast Point Brewing.  So your raise your sail and your glass for tonight’s combo!

It’s been awhile since we’ve done a classic, so tonight I decided to go with the 1938 Cecil D. DeMille film The Buccaneer. Taking place during the historically irrelevant War of 1812, The Buccaneer follows the tribulations of a Louisiana privateer caught between loves and loyalties. When principaled yet swashbuckling Jean Lafitte is propositioned by the British Navy to aid in the war against the fledgling United States, he is thrown into a military and political maelstrom that has ramifications for the entire nation. Though Lafitte is established as a merciless pirate, he has a certain soft spot for American flags and Dutch women. Struck with a certain level of patriotism, mostly because the Louisiana government refuses to arrest Lafitte and his men, Lafitte finds himself a devout American willing to defend New Orleans. There’s a certain amount of back and forth on the allegiances but I don’t want to spend more time on plot. Needless to say America wins and everyone important falls in love with who they are supposed to. What I want to say is that this film is actually pretty good. Old epics have a tendency to be a bit melodramatic (and a tad but racist) but this one strikes a good balance between love, drama, politics, humor and action. And racism. And yes, it is still melodramatic but only in small bits. For the most part, this film is actually a lot of fun. Lafitte is easily lovable and the political drama is engaging enough to pull through the otherwise excessive two hour running time.

The drama! The excitement! The Buccaneer!

What I want to make a point of actually is the humor of this film. For what should be a serious film about political and national affiliations, The Buccaneer does a fantastic job of mixing this drama with great humor. Laffite, like any self-respecting pirate (privateer!), always has a clever retort. His men are equally clever and Gretchen, his Dutch indentured lady-slave/love interest always manages to toss in a humbling line. And Andrew Jackson is friggin’ hilarious. And a baller. As is Dominque. He’s cool too. Beyond the humor, I want to briefly point out that the film does dare to suggest that the United States is imperfect. While the U.S. is still undoubtably the preferable nation to England in this film, The Buccaneer makes a point of showing that the U.S. is a fallible entity. It also takes the time to note that America is comprised of people who have crawled out of the sewers from the rest of the world. Quite the selling argument!

America is the best! Even when they shoot their own loyal pirates…I mean privateers!

And how was our swashbuckling Tongue Buckler from Ballast Point Brewing? Damn good. This is only the second time I’ve had this beer, as it seems a bit tricky to track down but boy is it a good ‘un. Boasting a healthy 10% ABV, this Imperial Red pours a hazy coppery-red color with a modest creamy head. The nose gives off strong, sweet maltiness that you could drink in. And good thing you can! The Tongue Buckler is a crazy malt-fest with just the right amount of bitterness to balance it out. It’s a nice mix of sweet maltiness, boozy grains and hoppy bitterness. It’s actually quite impressive. It’s definitely not for the feint of heart and the full 22 oz. was actually a bit difficult to complete on my own. Definitely doable, just….challenging. It’s mostly that the beer gets boozier as it warms and the high ABV gets to you after awhile. But overall, the beer is remarkably smooth and definitely tasty.

So tonight’s BAAM? Quite a success I have to say. A solid, classic film with the mix of drama, comedy and action we all crazy paired with a strong yet balanced beer. The movie is worth checking out, if you’re feeling a little old school and the beer is definitely worth a taste, though I might suggest trying it with a friend. And for the record, Ballast Point makes some other incredible beers. If you see some of their beers, do me a favor and pick one up. You won’t regret it. In fact, I have another one of their beers in my fridge already.

Thanks for reading everyone and have a great Thanksgiving. Remember to drink locally and responsibly this holiday season. And as always keep drinking, my friends.

Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
Tongue Buckler:
-Super malty flavor
-Lovely copper-red pour
-High ABV that borders on too much booze

The Buccaneer:
-Great mix of everything we love about film
-Huge, lovable cast
-Actually critiques the U.S…a little

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