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Craft Artisan’s Nebulous Imperial IPA & Interstellar

Hey there Drinkers!

I know it’s been awhile but let’s dive right back into the BAAM groove. In today’s pairing we’re talking about SPPPAAAACCEE (space)! As some of you know, space is my favorite because it is, quite literally, the best. Which is why I was so excited to pair Craft Artisan’s Nebulous Imperial IPA (galaxy hopped…get it?) and 2014’s space adventure Interstellar. So fire up those rocket boosters and let’s count down to liftoff for the glorious return of beer and a movie!

Now I assume most of you have seen Christopher Nolan’s 2014 space odyssey Interstellarso consider this review a free-fire zone when it comes to spoilers. Briefly (which this movie is not), Interstellar is the story of a father’s journey through a wormhole in order to identify a potentially habitable planet for the residents of a dying Earth. The film is slightly more complicated than that, what with the time-bending singularities, supernatural future ghosts and SCIENCE but the the heart of the film is about fatherhood. And the film uses fatherhood as a prism through which we can understand the struggle for humanity’s continued existence. In this regard, the film is actually successful. At every stage, we see our hero Cooper (played by a one Matthew ‘Texas Twang’ McConaughey) as a father. Not a pilot or intergalactic traveler or a scientist, but a father who is fighting with everything he has to protect and return to his kids. And it’s sweet and powerful and genuine. In a lot of ways, the film feels like an attempt by writers Jonathan and Christopher Nolan to understand their own role as parents in a world that is increasingly dangerous and complicated. So kudos for ironing out your issues with us!

Space Dad is go for liftoff

Space Dad is go for liftoff

But where the film starts to flag (aside from its almost 3 hour running time) is its confluence of science and idealism. Not that the two are mutually exclusive by any means, but the movie struggles to reconcile these two primary driving forces. The first through-line of this film is hard science. Faith in fact and discovery, which the film convincingly relies on for most of the film. But as the movie progresses, that foundation of science is replaced by loftier, harder-to-pin-down ideas like love and time and transcendence. Which generally is fine but when it tries to conflate the two, the movie just gets…confusing. The film is truly beautiful and powerful from a distance, but once you start to pull on the threads a little, certain things don’t really add up or mesh. Like the urgency of Cooper’s mission or why this data they so desperately need isn’t really needed in the end or why surprise Matt Damon’s feels the need to just straight up murder everyone. I get it…but at the same time I don’t. I think, at times, Interstellar gets a little caught up with itself and, as a result, loses itself in its own grandiosity.

Space is real purdy

Space is real purdy

All that being said, the movie is still an incredible, visually exquisite ride, a true testament to Christopher Nolan’s confidence and craftsmanship. If you can find the time to just the film wash over you, you’re going to have an amazing experience. Also, quick shoutout to the best character in the film: TARS.

Hero bot!

Hero bot!

And our beer. Was it equally grand and cosmic in scope and scale? Unfortunately not really. The Nebulous Imperial IPA from Artisan Craft Ales is a solid DIPA but it does little to elevate itself. Pouring a hazy gold, you’ll get aromas of pine, resin and grain, fairly standard DIPA notes. You’ll get the same notes when you taste it, but with a little tart citrus thrown in the mix. The 80 IBU’s definitely stand out but the beer is still decidedly malty too, which is a little odd. With it’s medium body and nice lacing, the beer is definitely solid but nothing extraordinary (definitely almost wrote extraterrestrial…).

So there you have it, Drinkers! We’re back (from outerspace) with a mixed bag of a movie and a mixed bag of a beer. Definitely a good pairing, I just wanted a little more clarify from Interstellar and a little more individuality from my Nebulous Imperial IPA.

Thanks for reading folks and as always keep drinking, my friends!


Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
Craft Artisan’s Nebulous Imperial IPA:
-Hazy, golden wheat pour
-Lots of pine on the nose
-Average DIPA flavor profile

-Visually awe inspiring
-Some cross confusion in the end re. science/love
-A strong, beautiful film overall

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Wychwood’s Scarecrow Ale & Batman Begins

Hey there, Drinkers!

How are of you doing? I’m doing SUPER! Thanks for asking! Why, do you ask? Because I’m watching Batman Begins and drinking beer! It takes very little to make me happy. But seriously, it’s been awhile since we’ve done this. Probably too long. And while our guest review and our Halloween special were pretty amaze-balls, sometimes it’s nice to get back to basics. One beer. One movie. One me writing a review. And speaking of basics, let’s dive right into Batman 101.

Many years ago, all the way back in 2005, a one Christopher Nolan introduced the world to a re-imagined superhero who had been sorely mistreated by the 1990’s. Batman Begins provided a fresh, dark and grounded Batman and launched an absurdly successful franchise as a result. Now, in my opinion, this film is the best of “Dark Knight” trilogy simply because of this fact (sorry TDK fans). Though the film is, by definition, a bit bombastic, it still manages to keep its feet planted firmly on ground. Well, except when Batman is flying around but that’s not what I mean. Rather, the film manages to keep itself simple, clean and unpolluted by the potential energy of Batman’s legacy. The gadgets are pretty standard, the plot clear and the enemies fairly sensical. Actually, I think the decision to stay away from Batman’s more iconic adversaries in this film is one of its best features. While familiar to hardcore Batman fans, baddies like Scarecrow and Ra’s Al Ghul (and a cameo by Victor Zsasz) are largely unknown to the broader public, allowing the director more freedom in their reinvention and affording the ability to escape preconceived notions. It also means that they’re not stupid and gimmicky like Mr. Freeze/Fries.

No, I will not CHILL OUT!

And while I mostly have nothing but praise for this film, I do want to point out an inconsistency I noticed after seeing this movie about 34 times. Gotham is generally presented as a city with no moral compass and no legal order. The mob seemingly owns the police force and the justice system. It’s open. It’s blatant. That’s the point. But there are still people who are fabulously wealthy. The city still seems to operate normally. People still become cops or lawyers and are fighting for something. It’s just unclear what, considering the level of corruption. People haven’t abandoned this city? And really no one can do a thing about it? Falcone operates so openly that it’s insane to think that the city, the state or the federal government is literally powerless. Of course I’m just being nit-picky but what else are you going to say about a movie that you otherwise find expertly well-made and supremely entertaining? I mean, really. The story is great. The action is great. The casting is great. The pacing is great. And, on top of that,  Joffrey Baratheon is in it! What else do you want? Explosions? We got tons of explosions! Liam Neesom being a baller? Plenty of that too! Seriously. I mean The Dark Knight was good but this…this is great.

There are even ninjas!!

So we know the movie kicked ass but was the beer up to snuff? Sadly, it was a little lackluster. The Scarecrow golden pale ale brewed by UK Wychwood is a light, mild-mannered ale. Aka the opposite of Batman. It pours a simply golden color with minimal head and a standard grassy aroma. That aroma is followed by a similar taste that is only lightly balanced with a hint of bitterness. Sadly, the little flavor there is dissipates pretty quickly, leaving you with the impression that this is really just another light beer. It was easy to drink and I’d prefer it over the other crappy beers most Americans drink, but it’s still nothing to go out of your way for. I don’t think I’ll be grabbing another one of these any time soon.

When I think about it, the movie and the beer do have one thing in common: Batman totally kicks the crap out of Scarecrow. Actually, that’s not entirely true. Yes, Batman knocks Dr. Crane around a little, it’s actually Rachel Dawes whose is badass enough to taser that fool in the face. Though I guess it wasn’t enough to keep him out of the other two movies. But I’m okay with that. I like Cillian Murphy (did you see Sunshine?). But I digress.  Sometimes you get a great movie with a dud beer. But it never hurts to keep experimenting. Check out new beers. Watch unfamiliar movies or go back to old favorites. Never stop exploring. Never stop drinki….wait. Disregard that last comment.

Anyway, thanks for reading and be on the lookout this weekend for another terrible holiday slasher special featuring Anne from We Recycle Movies.
I’ll give you a hint: murder turkeys.

And as always, keep drinking my friends!

Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
Wychwood’s Scarecrow:
-Simple golden color
-Basic grainy malt flavor with minimal bitterness
-Flavor dissipates quickly

Batman Begins:
-A dark, fresh start for America’s most troubled superhero
-Remarkably grounded despite the high-flying action
-The best in an unbelievable franchise


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