Tag Archives: coffee

Eagle Rock Brewery’s Stimulus Belgian Ale & Don Jon

Hey there Drinkers!

Let’s get stimulated! Open up a bottle, crank the Barry White and awwwww yyeeaahhh! That’s right folks, today we’re drinking Eagle Rock Brewery’s Stimulus while watching Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s 2013 film Don Jon. And yes, I will be discussing sex and porn, so if you’re uncomfortable with that maybe you should skip to the beer review portion of today’s BAAM. Otherwise, let’s get it on!

For those of you who don’t know, Don Jon was written and directed by the professionally trendy/attractive actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt. He is also the star. Already a well-established and accomplished actor, JGL shows his chops in all fields in this movie. Just for the sake of understanding, Don Jon follows the life of JGL’s Jon, a stereotypical Jersey playboy with a dependency on porn, which complicates his emerging love life with the professionally sexy Scarlett Johansson (aka Barbara Sugarman). The movie is fast, electric and funny. We instantly understand who Don Jon is; his loves, interests and troubles. The first few minutes are a remarkable bit of character explanation aided by some fun voice-over and a few porn clips. It’s on the nose but that’s how the movie wants to be. Actually, for a movie filled with purposefully vapid characters, everyone feels distinct and fleshed-out. The only exception is Johansson’s swift and abrupt ride on the crazy train. We’re briefly shown that she can be demanding of her men (no Swiffering!) but it doesn’t feel like enough to warrant how she characterized later on as a woman who ceaselessly demands things from her men.

These people are way too attractive

These people are way too attractive

Aside from the sharp, humorous writing, it’s also a great display of deliberate editing. Like Jon’s muscles and the porn he watches, everything in this film is heightened and exaggerated. A show for us to behold. And the editing reflects this. Generally speaking, the editing stands out and highlights the absurd repetitions of his life. His road-rage filled car rides, his church confessions, his trips to the gym. All of these, along with his porn problem, are part of his routine and become the visual routine of the film. And for a first time director, it’s actually quite impressive to watch.

Very impressive to watch

Very impressive to watch

Finally, I just want to point out that this film has, at least in my opinion, an earnest look at love and sex. While in many movies, sex seems like a side effect of love, Don Jon treats sex as its own, important part of the human experience. And yes at times its crude but that doesn’t make it less true. For a movie about porn, it has a lot of interesting things to say about sex.

Also Julianne Moore gives sex advice

Also Julianne Moore gives sex advice

And was our beer just as stimulating? Yes it was! This was actually the second time I’ve enjoyed this beer from Eagle Rock Brewery (one of my favorite breweries), so I already knew what to expect. This Stimulus Belgian Amber is brewed with Intelligentsia  Coffee, which serves as the primary flavor for the beer. It pours a beautiful golden amber color with a tame, white head that quickly dissipates. Off the nose you’ll get hints of coffee, malt and just a little bit of sweetness. When you take a sip, you’re going to get that lovely amber mouthfeel that is fairly light and smooth. And while you don’t really get that classic Belgian flavor, you will be treated to a tasty mix of coffee, toffee and malt all balanced out with just a hint of sweetness. It’s also not very hoppy, making it smooth and easy to drink with a 6.6% ABV. Really just another winner from ERB. If you’re ever in the Los Angeles area, I highly recommend grabbing a bottle or stopping by the brewery for a pint.

So there you have it folks,  a stimulating movie with a stimulating beer. A pairing about love in its many forms. And a great excuse to look at Joseph Gordon-Levitt without a shirt. Thanks for reading everyone and please have a fun, safe 4th of July.

And as always keep drinking, my friends.

Tonight’s Tasting Notes:ERB_Stimulus_small
ERB’s Stimulus Belgian Amber:
-Perfect golden amber color
-Strong notes of good coffee
-Well balanced, easy to drink

Don Jon:
-Fast, in every way
-Sharp, funny writing
-Strong directorial vision



Filed under Review

Ballast Point’s Victory at Sea Coffee Vanilla Porter & Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

Ahoy, Drinkers!I probably could have sailed around the world a few times since my last post but all that matters now is that I’m back and I’m drinking! And I’m back real hard with a hearty Ballast Point Victory at Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter while watching some silly fun in the form of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. So let’s drop sail and catch the wind, shall we?Fun fact: the first Pirates of the Caribbean film, the aforementioned Black Pearl, was released over 10 years ago. 10 YEARS AGO! How bonkers is that? Compounding that crazy is the fact that Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom (aka two of the most beautiful people around) look pretty much the same. Boy do hot people have it easy. But aside from a few dated CG moments that stand out to our modern eyes, the movie pretty much holds up. It’s simple, swashbuckling fun thanks almost exclusively to Johnny Depp (and Geoffry Rush. He’s kinda amazing). Aside from the sword fights and explosions (of which there are plenty), the movie is really held together by Depp. His Captain Jack Sparrow is funny, confident, self-interested and unfiltered. For such a popcorn movie, it’s a surprising display of acting ability. Especially when compared to his very attractive co-stars who sadly can not keep up.

I’m a better actor than ye, savvy?

And while many of the emotional and character beats throughout the film make no sense whatsoever, the even pace and remarkable comprehensible plot help us suspend all manner of our disbelief. I mean, if we’re rolling with cursed quasi-zombie pirates, then why shouldn’t Orlando get the girl? Or why shouldn’t Jack Sparrow get spontaneously let go moments after avoiding his own hanging? Sure. Why not. Whatever. But really, overall, this movie is good bit of fun. I can’t speak for the rest of franchise (as I’ve actively avoided it) but for some glamorized pirate fun, you could do a lot worse than The Curse of the Black Pearl.*Fun side note, the curse in the film actually has nothing to do with the Black Pearl. The curse is tied to Cortez’s Aztec gold which is stowed away in a cave. The Black Pearl is just a remarkably fast ship with raggedy sails. The more you know!


Also, this movie is a weird costume drama

And our scurvy-fightin’ brew? Well, for starters, this beer would not cure scurvy. There is no vitamin C in it, as far as I know. Also, it’s not rum, so it’s not exactly a pirates favorite drink. But that’s all besides the point. Ballast Point’s Victory at Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter (bit of a mouthful, ain’t it?) is just another example of this brewery knocking it out of the park. As I’ve said in the past, Ballast Point is one of my favorite breweries not only because they just make good beer, but also because make interesting beer. And while coffee or vanilla porters are not that unusual, the delicate balance of those flavors is this dark beer is truly impressive. As you’d hope, the porter sports strong notes of chocolate, malt and coffee grounds. But balanced out with those stronger, more harsh flavors is the light sweetness of vanilla with just a hint of a coffee kick. And it all goes down smooth with a thick, almost chewy texture (that’s a good thing in this case). With a 10% ABV, it’s a wonder this beer doesn’t taste too boozy on top of all of these other flavors. In fact, the alcohol can sneak up on you, so I’d recommend sharing a bomber with a friend, unless you have a sober friend to helm your ship back to port. Overall, it’s really a great brew for you dark beer fans.So there you have it folks, BAAM is back on the high seas of occasional beer-blogging. We had a fun, light movie with a fun, heavy beer. A good balance for when you’re trying to get back in the groove. Hopefully I’ll be posting a little more frequently now so, if I’ve won you back, stay tuned for more!

And as always keep drinking, my friends!

Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
Ballast Point’s Victory at Sea:
 -Dark, thick pour
-Rich coffee & chocolate aroma
-Careful balance of sweet vanilla

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl:
-Johnny Depp
-Keira Knightley (need I say more?)


Filed under Review

Alesmith’s Speedway Stout & Senna

Hey there, Drinkers!

Put down your drinks and put the pedal to the metal, because today’s BAAM is all about that checkered flag (also because drinking and driving is illegal & super dangerous)! We’re sipping on Alesmith’s delightful Speedway Stout and watching the 2010 racing documentary Senna. So let’s hit the pavement and roll right into tonight’s BAAM! (so many racing puns!)

As much as BAAM is about watching terrible movies in which many things explode, every now and then it is truly refreshing to engage in a film that captivates and mesmerizes. And it is only more invigorating when that film is an artfully done documentary that so beautifully captures, represents and respects its subject. Senna, the 201o documentary from filmmaker Asif Kapadia, is a loving remembrance to one of Formula One’s greatest legends: Brazilian driver Ayrton Senna. For the sake of disclosure, I have zero interest in auto racing and barely see the appeal of the sport. But regardless of you fall into that same disinterest category, the beauty of Senna is that it makes the viewer understand and feel the sport. The doc does a wonderful job of capturing the romance of auto racing.  The beauty, the glamour, the politics, the danger. All of it exists in this film and all of it is grounded in the painfully human story of driver Ayrton Senna.

So thoughtful. So beautiful.

So thoughtful. So beautiful.

What is most remarkable about this film is how unbelievably true it all is. As I told my roommate, Senna’s story is something you see in the movies because it is too perfectly dramatic for real life. The young upstart driver forces his way into the Formula One scene. With his first big break, he is disqualified due to a BS technicality that seems orchestrated by his calculating rival/teammate (who happens to be French). Yet despite the adversity, Senna becomes a three-time World Champion, an international celebrity and a hometown hero. And, on top of all that, he’s a God-fearing hottie! It is literally too good to be true. But it’s all true. I’m not educated enough to decry spin or slant but to my untrained eye, the film seems objective, honest and respectful of the facts without opinion or angle. Ultimately, Senna is an exceptional film about an exceptional man.



And could Alesmith’s Speedway Stout keep up with Senna? Short answer? Yes. END OF REVIEW!

Just kidding, Alesmith deserves more than that. This Speedway Stout, brewed with coffee for extra speediness, is a jet black (oil black, if we’re keeping with the racing theme) brew with as much character as Ayrton Senna. Pouring a deep black with a modest caramel head, Speedway gives off strong notes of caramel, chocolate malt and coffee. The taste brings more of the same but despite it’s heavy color, the mouthfeel is surprisingly mild. Speedway is supremely smooth and the carbonation is mild, making this the ultimate sipping beer. That and the 12% ABV. I mean, I’m not a fast drinker by any means but I was still drinking this 2 hours into this bomber. Big beer and big alcohol require a more leisurely pace, in my opinion

So while drinking a stout in a warm Los Angeles spring may not be the best idea, this beer ended up being the perfect companion to Senna. Both are rich in character and best enjoyed slowly. You don’t have to like Formula One racing or stouts to get into these bad boys either. While they offer something to the seasoned fanboy, they area also wholly accessible to the casual consumer. Maybe Senna is more easily accessible than Alesmith’s Speedway, but that’s mostly because driving really fast will always be more awesome than anything. Other than spaceships. Spaceships are the best.

So there you have it, Drinkers. A night of speed! Of action! Of character! But seriously, all joking aside, tonight was thoroughly enjoyable. And after nearly two years of BAAMing, I have to say that Senna was one of the few breakout surprise hits I’ve had the pleasure of viewing. Good thing it’s on Netflix!

And as always keep drinking, my friends!

Tonight’s Tasting Notes:Speedway-Stout
Alesmith’s Speedway Stout:
-Brewed with real, locally roasted coffee
-Deep, dark black pour with caramel head
-Strong notes of caramel malt, coffee & chocolate

-The glamour & drama of Formula One racing
-An accessible film to an elusive sport
-A story that defies the “too good to be true” label

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Filed under Review