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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!

CRA_Nebulous

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

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

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Golden Road Brewery’s Wolf Among Weeds & The Wolf of Wall Street

Hey there, Drinkers!

Are you ready to get a little crazy? Maybe do one to eight different drugs at once? Then you’re in the right place because today we’re watching Martin Scorsese’s drug-and-money-fueled film The Wolf of Wall Street while sipping on a particularly potent Wolf Among Weeds from local beer giant Golden Road Brewery. For the astute reader, you’ll know I reviewed this beer last November. But since tonight is all about self-indulgence, I’m re-reviewing it. So there! So grab your penny stocks and come join me for a wild ride. Let’s get started!

Martin Scorsese’s 2013 The Wolf of Wall Street is, for the uninitiated, the dramatic retelling of a real stock broker’s epic rise and fall through the corrupt avenues of Wall Street in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Our protagonist, Jordan Belfort, is played by a particularly committed Leonardo DiCaprio and is surrounded by a superb cast which includes, but is not limited to, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie, Margot Robbie’s breasts, Rob Reiner (huh?) and Matthew McConaughey (for 5 minutes). From scrappy broker to young upstart to bacchanalian ‘Wolf,’ the film follows every stage of Belfort’s decline as he ascends the ladder of American wealth. As portrayed by DiCaprio, Belfort’s pathos is both disgusting and weirdly comprehensible as we see a man who truly believes that money can buy happiness. All the while we see him ruined by that same belief. More than anything, it’s a fabulous character study on the addiction of greed and a raucous expose on the nature of extreme wealth. And while the fantastic acting and absurd displays of wealth keep this movie engaging, the film ends up collapsing under its weight.

So I heard this movie addresses wealth & greed...

So I heard this movie addresses wealth & greed…

Simply put, the film is just too long. The Wolf of Wall Street runs for 2 hours and 59 minutes. For most people, that’s just an insane amount of time to watch one film. But the real tragedy is that the movie really only needs to be about 2 hours long. The film, its characters and its story are all frenetic, a reflection of the insane amounts of cocaine shown in the film. But what Scorsese repeatedly does throughout the film is let captivating character moments extend well beyond what they need to be as actors superbly improv long scenes. The result is simple conversations which in turn long back and forths about nothing. And depictions of epic party insanity last way too long without informing new characters or advancing the plot. The true big narrative turn of this film clocks in just under the 2 hour mark. The net result is that as good as this movie is, you can’t help but feel like it’s unending. In every regard, this movie seems to take the adage ‘too much of a good thing…’ to heart.

Cheers, bitches.

Cheers, bitches.

And in keeping with the spirit of selfishness, excess and indulgence, I’m re-reviewing one of my favorite local IPA’s: Golden Road Brewery’s Wolf Among Weeds.

So what about our Wolfy beer? Wolf Among Weeds is a powerful double IPA that is not for the feint of heart. Pouring a hazy golden amber with a modest, fluffy head, Wolf Among Weeds never tries to hide what it is. Off the nose you’ll get strong notes of pine, resin, hops and citrus. IPA through and through. And when you take your first sip, you’ll get all of those flavors mixed together just right. It’s bitter, piney and citrusy without much sweetness. And it’s a bit boozy too. You won’t feel it at first but about halfway through your pint, you’ll realize the Wolf packs an 8% ABV punch. While this DIPA may not be for everyone, it’s a fantastic brew for West Coast IPA true believers.

So there you have it, Drinkers. A wild movie that is simultaneously fantastic and disappointing with an unrelenting and unabashed brew. Thanks for reading and stay tuned over the next few days for another Holiday Slasher Special for Christmas!

And as always keep drinking, my friends.

wolfbeer
Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
GRB’s Wolf Among Weeds:
-Hazy gold pour
-Super piney bitterness
-Heavy hitter at 8%

The Wolf of Wall Street:
-Stellar acting all around
-Fascinating and disgusting look at excess
-WAY too long. Unfortunately.

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Golden Road’s Wolf Among Weeds DIPA & The Wolf Man

Hey there, Drinkers!

Sorry for the long pause between posts recently, I’ve been crazy busy at work and have not had time to watch many movies. Plenty of time to drink my stress away though (just kidding, that’s not a healthy way to cope). ANYWAY! We’re letting the wolf out for today’s BAAM with Golden Road’s Wolf Among Weeds DIPA and the 1941 werewolf original The Wolf Man. So grab your beer and any silver you can lay your hands on. Let’s get going!

The Wolf Man (1941) exists amongst the canon of the classic monster movies that helped define the rules of decades of subsequent films. The film centers around the return of Larry Talbot to his ancestral home (castle) in an English village which holds a rich folklore of werewolves. There, he quickly falls for local beauty Gwen after a really creepy, semi-rapey courtship which involves him spying on her through a telescope. As the film’s name suggests, Larry is attacked by a werewolf, becomes one and then terrorizes the town while slowly uncovering the truth about himself.

While the film is, at its most basic level, about werewolves, it is more accurately a film about psychology, schizophrenia and the duality of man. The poem that locals recite about werewolves is less about turning into a wolf but more about how good-natured men can hold evil within themselves. And that’s much of the point of the film. While Larry is a “good man” (I say that in quotes because, by today’s standards, he kinda stalks Gwen and breaks up her engagement) who quite literally has a beast inside of him. The film spends a significant amount of its dialogue on trying to understand the pseudo-psychology of Larry, of breaks with reality, schizophrenia and other personality disorders. While none of the discussion is particularly scientific and is very on-the-nose, it does allow for a world in which “normal” people can have very real mental disorders, which I think is something worth noting.

Sad Wolf Man is just having a split with reality

Sad Wolf Man is just having a split with reality

Aside from the surprising mini-discussion in psychology, the film is….well it’s fine. It’s hard to watch these old movies as a modern viewer with modern-viewer expectations. It can be a challenge to turn off that part of your brain and watch as an audience member from 1941. The townspeople are unimaginably stupid and both the doctor and Larry’s father generate such absurd “rational” explanations for Larry’s behavior that it’s laughable. Moreover, the wolf transformation is inconsistent. The original werewolf, played by the legendary Bela Lugosi for five minutes, turns almost instantly into an actual dog whereas Larry very slowly turns into an exceptionally hairy man. But those gripes for today. For the past, the film is kind of fun. You have some creepy gypsies, some scary monsters, a beautiful lady and incredible superimposition work to tie it all together. While not a particularly engrossing 70 minute movie, it’s still a fun trip down cinematic memory lane.

When the Wolf Man attacks he...dips you?

When the Wolf Man attacks he…dips you?

So what about our oddly named Wolf Among Weeds DIPA from LA’s own Golden Road Brewery? Well, first off, apparently the beer pulls its name from the Latin translation of one of the beers signature hops. Who knew. Second off (that’s not an expression but whatever), I have to disclose that this beer was poured from a can. I typically try to stay away from canned beers, despite the growing movement amongst craft brewers to use cans over glass, but I guess I’m just a snob. Anyway, GRB only cans its beers, so this was the only way to enjoy the beer at home without a growler (a purchase I am thinking of making). That all being said, the brewery is quite explicit in its decision to only can their beers, so I respect them for their conviction. But let’s talk about this beer.

The WAW DIPA (as I’m calling it) is a beer in the tradition of most west coast IPA’s: big hop-forward flavor, tongue-buckling bitterness and high ABV. Pouring from a 16 oz. can (a full pint! woooo!), this brew is a slightly hazy yellow/gold with a clean one-two finger head. The nose gives off strong notes of pine, hops and bitter citrus. When you sip it, you’ll mostly get that big hops flavor. Pine and grass come through the bitterness, as well as hint of sweetness from the citrus fruits, but really you’re just going to steam-rolled by the bitterness. That bitterness was fine for someone like me who enjoys that but I can imagine that most casual drinkers would find the overpowering hoppiness a bit off-putting. Moreover, the beer can be a little one note over the course of the pint. But overall, it’s a great DIPA I’d recommend to any hop-head that’s in the greater LA area.

So there you have it, Drinkers! A night that left me with a wolfish grin on my face. An original monster movie with something surprising to say and an LA original DIPA that will blow you away with its hoppiness.  Overall, I call it a successful night.

Thanks for your patience while I find the time to get these out. And as always keep drinking, my friends.

weeds
Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
GRB’s Wolf Among Weeds DIPA:
-Light straw color
-Lovely, multi-note aroma
-Huge hop flavor

The Wolf Man
-Everyone is kind of stupid…
-Larry, our hero, is a little rapey
-Actually discusses mental illness

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New Belgium’s Rampant Imperial IPA & Mimic

Hey there, Drinkers!

Today we’re running RAMPANT with New Belgium’s Rampant Imperial IPA and the 1997 creature-feature Mimic. Bugs n’ beer! Because if it rhymes then you know its gotta be good. Right? How about we dive into the nasty subway tunnels of late 90’s New York and find out?

Mimic is one of those odd movies that apparently everyone has seen and yet it is never classified as “great” or “terrible” or a “classic.” For such a seemingly ubiquitous film, the general consensus surrounding the film is a resounding “oh yeah, that movie with the bugs.” And that’s actually a pretty accurate assessment. It’s memorable enough but doesn’t seem to stand on its own as a classic creature horror movie. In fact, that seems like the official position of the film. Director Guillermo del Toro (who most recently directed Pacific Rim) apparently disavowed the film after it was released, citing difficulties with the infamous Weinstein brothers. But setting all that gloom aside, let’s just take a look at the film as it is.

For the most part, Mimic is a fun and generally unsettling monster movie in which bioengineered termites/mantises grow into human sized and human shaped bugs that kill people. For those of you who are familiar with del Toro’s work, this sounds an awful lot like Hellboy. And Blade II for that matter. Both silly. Both great. But back to the movie at hand. What makes this movie different from other monster movies is the amount of time spent not combatting the insectoid-enemy. In fact, most of the movie is spent just creeping us out while our hapless CDC heroes find little clues along the way. There are few flashy deaths, no great public panic, no grand plan and no great final assault. Instead, our heroes accidentally find this infestation and through sheer luck (and little bit of balls), manage to destroy the infestation. So, in that regard, the movie is fairly fresh and engaging because it allows our protagonists to feel more human and not superhuman.

Hasn't seen this bug in three years yet totally unconcerned

Hasn’t seen this bug in three years yet totally unconcerned

But in other regards…not so much. For one, like all “science” based horror movies, it makes no sense. Somehow faster metabolism made these all female, sterile bugs reproduce really fast? And these termite/mantis bugs, which look like cockroaches, evolved to camouflage themselves from their human predators? The humans that didn’t know they existed and weren’t hunting them at all? Sure, aptly named “Judas hybrid” look real creepy but it doesn’t really make sense. Also, our heroes assertion that these bugs would have no problem infiltrating our communities is a bit of a stretch. I feel like we might start to notice the freakishly tall dudes in trench coats after awhile but hey, I’m not a scientist so I can’t say for sure. Aside from that, the acting is not stellar. For the most part, the characters are basic archetypes without much complexity but again this is a creature movie. So no one cares. Overall it was a fun movie that is spooky, not scary. Though at times a bit bloodier than you’d expect. Also Josh Brolin is in it, so that’s cool. Oh also Norman Reemus (from The Walking Dead) has a few lines too.

Totally inconspicuous

Totally inconspicuous

And while our on-screen friends were running rampant, was our beer doing the same? While I’m not sure “rampant” is the word I’d use to describe New Belgium’s Rampant Imperial IPA, I’d say it’s a pretty damn good beer. Pouring a nice clear, coppery color with a modest but lovely head, this beer is just a beauty to behold. Off the nose, you’ll get hints of hops with a surprising amount of malt in there too. With your first sip, you’ll definitely get that classic hoppy flavor you’d expect but it won’t overwhelm you. The bitterness of the hops is incredibly well-balanced against the bready, maltiness of the beer. Some sweet, fruity notes also come into play that help keep the beer feeling light and fairly refreshing. And despite the 8.5% ABV, the beer never felt boozy or heavy. Rather, Rampant is remarkably smooth and easy to drink. A definite must buy for those trying to experiment with some hoppier beers. And it’s a good beer for us seasoned hop-heads as well. A real crowd pleaser.

So there you have it, drinkers. A night of beer n’ bugs! So yes, rhyming does make it a good thing. A fun, creepifying movie that is easy to watch paired with an interesting yet easy to drink IIPA. Definitely a successful evening.

Thanks again for reading folks!

And as always keep drinking, my friends!

Tonight’s Tasting Notes:Rampant_Credit_Jay_Geisen-e1367522293288
New Belgium’s Rampant IIPA:

-Gorgeous pour color
-Very well balanced hoppiness
-Complex flavor but easy to drink

Mimic:
-Fun, simple, spooky
-Weird science!
-Thematically similar to roughly half of director’s films

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Alesmith’s (Summer) Yulesmith & Bad Boys II

Hey there, Drinkers!

Remember when I drank Alesmith’s IPA and watched Bad Boys? Well in the spirit of We Recycle Movies, we’re doing a sequel! Today we’re drinking Alesmith’s Summer Yulesmith and watching Bad Boys II. And I promise that YULE (you’ll) love every minute of the mindless, explosive combo! So let’s get to it, shall we?

In continuing this blog’s strange infatuation with filmmakers like Michael Bay and Roland Emmerich, I’ve decided to revisit the Bad Boys franchise for today’s BAAM. For those of you who have been with BAAM for a little while, I reviewed Bad Boys back in April and I thought the experience was…meh. But since I’m gentleman/masochist, I decided to watched the 2003 sequel Bad Boys IIReuniting our two fast-talking, ne’erdowell Miami cops in the hunt for DRUGS, Bad Boys II pretty much ignores the first movie and charts its path. That’s actually about all I can say about the plot. It’s kinda hard to follow. There’s something about lots of Ecstasy coming from Amsterdam to Miami on its way to Cuba but there are also Russian clubs involved but the DEA is in from NYC and there’s a morgue….it’s a bit of a mess. But that’s not why you watch Bad Boys II, or any Michael Bay movie for that matter. You watch it for one thing and one thing only:

EXPLOOOSSSSIIOOONNNSSSS!!!

My face for the entire film

My face for the entire film

But really, the movie is largely incomprehensible and jumps wildly through time and space. And scope, for that matter. What begins as a tactical drug bust in the swamps outside Miami (there are swamps outside Miami?) eventually comes down to an unsanctioned, military-style raid on a Cuban compound. No lies. This movie literally goes cop movie to war movie in about a 5 minutes flat (after about 2+ hours of other explosions). What carries us through this whirlwind is a series of high-octane, high-budget action sequences peppered with snarky banter between our heroes Will Smith and Martin Lawrence. Each action sequence, and there are quite a few, lasts a good 20+ minutes and are  simultaneously bewildering and fascinating. Dozens of cars explode, people’s brains are blown out, building explode, more cars are destroyed and laughs are had. Oh and Michael Shannon shows up a little bit too. But, like most Michael Bay films, it’s very hard to follow. I mean, I appreciate all the hard work that went into shooting and cutting these scenes, but PLEASE! Let me follow along! It’s like a nauseating rainbow of destruction.

This movie is serious business!!

This movie is serious business!!

But seriously, this movie is probably best enjoyed as I enjoyed it: with a cold, high ABV beer in hand. What better way to let chaos wash over you than with an Alesmith Summer Yulesmith Imperial IPA by your side? This beer is released twice a year: once around Christmas and once around July 4th, with variations in the grain bill to suit the season. This summer Imperial IPA (or Double IPA or DIPA) pours a very nice clear, golden color with yellow-ish head that dissipates quickly. Giving a strong citrus aroma, you’ll be hit with flavor notes of grapefruit, pine and a little bit o’ malt. While this brew is definitely an IPA in hoppiness, it also layers in some nice sweetness that counteracts the typical bitterness found in high ABV IPA’s or DIPA’s. So, like everything else I’ve had from Alesmith, this beer is exceptional. Crazy flavorful, easy to drink and just complex enough to keep me interested over the course of a 2.5 hour movie.

So there you have it, folks! Another EXPLOSSSIIIIVVVEE BAAM brought to you by Alesmith and Michael Bay. Since these two reviews have been such a mind-numbing experience, I may considering doing this again sometime. But seriously, you have a mindless (but nevertheless entertaining) film and a fantastic brew, how can you go wrong a warm summer evening?

And as always keep drinking, my friends!
de_2289_lg
Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
AleSmith’s Yulesmith:
-Clear, golden pour
-Lovely pine aroma
-Big citrus, pine and malt flavor

Bad Boys II:
-Fast-talking & fast action
-Action is hard to follow
-MICHAEL BAY=EXPLOSIONS!

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