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Eagle Rock Brewery’s Red Velvet & Blue Velvet

Hey there, Drinkers!

Today’s pairing is one of those obvious and simple combos that we almost never strive for here at BAAM. In fact, the last (re. only) time we had as beautiful of a naming pair was all the way back in 2011 with Blue Moon & New Moon. But with age comes taste and today’s pairing is all about great taste. I watched David Lynch’s acclaimed 1986 film Blue Velvet while drinking Eagle Rock Brewery’s acclaimed Red Velvet Imperial Red with Rye. So let’s get it started!

Let’s begin with a disclaimer regarding Blue VelvetBlue Velvet is one of those films that is generally regarded as one of the greatest films in recent history. It’s layered with meaning and heavy with artistry. And I’m not here to dispute that. Educated in film as I am, I fear I may not have the critical or artistic wherewithal to fully or dutifully review this film the way ‘real’ critics have in the past. But that doesn’t mean I can’t try! Okay now GO!

At its most base level, Blue Velvet is a neo-noir film. What does that mean? It means that the film builds off the foundational tropes of film noir (a mystery, an investigator, a femme fatale, high contrast, etc.) while adapting it with newer or more modern themes and styles. But what makes Blue Velvet a standout neo-noir film is its ability to adhere to noir tropes while undermining or destroying the genre at the same time. It’s not just a reactionary film, it’s a complete reinvention. The setting is a small town, the investigator is a college-aged man, the femme fatale a much older woman and, notably, the mystery is secondary to the film.

But there are musical numbers!

But there are musical numbers!

It’s funny, in a David Lynch sort of way, that the murder mystery is not really the driving force of the film. Sure, our hero Jeffrey hunts for clues and snoops where he shouldn’t, but really the investigation happens to him instead of Jeffrey being the active player. Moreover, any investigative beats are shown through exposition, almost as a flashback, rather than a major set pieces like a classic noir. They’re more a statement than a discovery, if that makes sense. Really, the film is more interested in the damaged psychology of our characters through unsettling voyeurism. Just as Jeffrey watches this murder mystery unfold in front of him, so too does the film unfold before the viewer.

Do you get the theme?

Do you get the theme?

There’s a lot more I could say about this movie but I think it’s actually better if you just experience it on its own. I will say that the film is 100% David Lynch (for those who are familiar with his humor, darkness and visuals) but it’s not as off-puttingly weird as some other films of his, namely Eraserhead (which you can skip, in my opinion). I know there can be hesitancy towards Lynch for many viewers (myself included) but I do think Blue Velvet is worth watching, if only to watch it is as an experiment in genre. But truly, it’s an interesting and engaging film that I would recommend.

Also, Dennis Hopper is crazy. But in a good-to-watch kind of way. Also Laura Dern.

Like nitrous-fueled crazy

Like nitrous-fueled crazy

So what about our beer? Was it Velvet-y good? Actually, yeah! It was damn good! For those who live in Southern California, you may have heard of LA-based Eagle Rock Brewery and its famed, very limited-release beer Red Velvet Imperial Red with Rye. The 2010 GABF Gold Medal Winner is only released a few times a year and instantly sells out in the entire LA metro area. I was lucky to grab two bombers the last time I visited the brewery. This brew pours a lovely reddish-brown with a two finger khaki head and leaves behind some beautiful lacing. Off the nose you’ll get notes of malt, pine, booze, caramel and rye. And when you taste it, you’ll taste all of those but in a perfectly balanced symphony. The malt plays nicely off the piney hops but is smoothed out by the rye. And sweet caramel notes also help undercut the hoppy bite from the 10.8% ABV. For such a hefty beer, it’s shockingly easy to drink. It’s smooth, delicious and complex. Really just an outstanding beer.

So there you have it, Drinkers! A night of stellar art and entertainment. We had an interesting and unique bit of filmmaking paired with some excellent beer craftsmanship. I have to recommend you give both a shot (though the Red Velvet may hard/impossible to find for many).

And always keep drinking, my friends.



Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
ERB’s Red Velvet:
-Nice reddish pour
-Perfect flavor balance
-Easy to underestimate the ABV

Blue Velvet:
A disruptive neo-noir
-More character study than mystery
-Disturbing depictions of sexual assault (just FYI)

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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



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Eagle Rock Brewery’s Manifesto Witbier & American Pie

Hey there, Drinkers!

Now I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that I’ve thrown in the towel and am now just making arbitrary pairings. I mean, in what way is American Pie thematically linked to ERB’s Manifesto Wit? Was the beer just sitting in your fridge and you had no idea what to pair it with?  Well I have something to tell you, oh ye doubters and drinkers of little faith: yeah you’re mostly right. There are only so many Soviet-era films that I feel like watching casually (none) and I’ve had this beer sitting around for awhile. So yes, today’s BAAM is a bit of a stretch but…there is a connection. I swear. Just bear with me.

So todays’ film is the 1999 modern raunchy teen classic American Pie. In the interest of full disclosure: I was watching the unrated version (oooo so bad!) which is slightly different than the theatrical release. I assume this just means there were more boobies and no major plot additions but I’m just trying to be transparent here. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the film, or just haven’t seen it in awhile, American Pie (at least in my mind) ushered in a new era of mainstream teen comedies around the new millenium. Gone are the John Hughes tropes of earnest teen shenanaginry from the 80’s. This is the late 90’s now and all this movie cares about is SEX. Launching the American Pie franchise and a host of lesser, sex-fueled teen comedies that dominated the early 2000’s, American Pie chronicles the lives of four highschool seniors who make a pact to seize their sexual destiny and get laid by prom. If the plot sounds a bit rote, that’s because this movie made it popular. Sure, prom has long been seen as the culmination of all highschool films, but the narrative focus on sex as a path to success and self-worth seems a bit novel at this point.  And while this film is very (VERY) much about sex, and women as vehicles of sex, it’s also a lot more than that.

It's also about the desecration of baked goods

It’s also about the desecration of baked goods

This may sound a little weird but American Pie is actually a good movie. Yes it’s crass and crude but it still retains that earnest clarity that we love in teen comedies. By the end of the film, our heroes seem to understand that while sex is important, it’s not as important as everyone makes it out be. What is important is that they are at a unique moment in their lives. A moment on the cusp of transformation and that they are entering this new phase of life (aka college) together as friends with no real regrets, knowing that they’ve embraced the present. Sure this seems a bit overblown for a movie in which one of our protagonists bangs an apple pie but it’s true. In a weird way, American Pie quite successfully captures what it’s like to be a teen at the end of the 90’s.

Jason Biggs as Every Character He's Ever Played

Jason Biggs as Every Character He’s Ever Played

A few other quick things to note about this film.
1) It has a MASSIVE cast. So much talent with many faces that we still see on screens today.
2) It’s not really Jim’s movie. It’s Oz and Kevin’s.
3) It’s still horribly uncomfortable to watch.
4) It’s still funny and incredibly quotably.
5) It has a surprisingly accurate depiction of how webcams are now commonly in use today.
6) It includes the premise to Easy-A.

The original poster actually doesn't feature any of the male leads...

The original poster actually doesn’t feature any of the male leads…

And our loosely-related Manifesto Witbier from Eagle Rock Brewery? It’s actually a pretty solid brew. I don’t usually drink wheats because they can be a bit one-note and light for my tastes but the Manifesto is actually a surprisingly fulfilling wit. It pours a very light golden color with a big, frothy head (no jokes guys) with lots of carbonation. It gives off strong aromas of wheat and grain with a little underlying hints of citrus and yeast. Many reviewers also taste notes of coriander but I’m either not that discerning or I don’t know what coriander tastes like. With your first taste, that wheat is going to hit you the hardest, with the citrus and yeast playing in the background to break it up, adding some nice complexity. For a fairly light beer, weighing in at 5.7% ABV, it’s still somewhat substantial and I found myself enjoying it slowly. So even with my general hesitance towards wits and wheats, Eagle Rock Brewery again proves to be deceptively delicious and ever-surprising (which is why they’re my favorite LA-based brewery).

So if you haven’t put the connection together yet, I’ll spell it out for you. The boys in American Pie make a pact. A solemn vow. A manifesto, if you will, to take control of their destinies and write their own sexual fates. So there you have it, arguably the biggest reach in BAAM history but you know what? WHATEVER! I had a great time watching a fantastically awkward teen comedy while drinking a surprising delicious witbier. So if you take issue with my pairings then go read your beer/movie combinations somewhere else!

Wait…I take that back….please don’t leave me.
As always keep drinking, my friends!

Tonight’s Tasting Notes:SONY DSC
Eagle Rock Brewery’s Manifesto Witbier
-Very pale & a bit hazy
-Big, frothy head
-A more complex & substantive wit

American Pie
-A new, dirtier kind of classic
-Shockingly poignant…at times
-Good ol’ fashioned uncomfortably raunchy humor

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BAAM’s Two Year Anniversary Special: The Apple

Happy anniversary, Drinkers!

Today’s post celebrates BAAM’s second birthday! I can’t believe it’s been two years since I started this silly little drinking adventure but here we are: with developed palettes and terrible taste in cinema. In celebration, I invited a few friends over to share some beers and introduce them to the horrendous 1980 film The Apple. Since there were a few different beers on hand for the event, I’ll just give a brief overview of each one while also providing a more in-depth review of the film…if there’s any depth to be had. So, without further ado, let’s get started!

Now since most of you are normal, well-adjusted people I am going to assume that none of you have even heard of  The Apple so I’ll summarize. The Apple is a musical allegory for Adam and Eve set in a a futuristic dystopian 1994 in which a music mogul has taken control of the world due to the overwhelming popularity of his song “Bim.” The lyrics to said world-dominating song are as follows: “Hey hey hey, Bim’s on his way.”  Ostensibly the film follows the disparate lives, successes and failures of couple Bibi and Alphie who choose different paths after they are offered a major record deal with music mogul Mr. Boogalow but we all know that’s just a bunch of crap. This film is mostly just an excuse for expensive musical numbers.

The price of success

The price of success

If you watch this movie, which I recommend you do, you’ll realize that about 80% of the film is an incomprehensible, fever-dream of musical sequences that only loosely relate to the plot. The other 20% is filled with bad acting, shiny spandex and face paint. But this is not a movie you watch to understand. You watch The Apple to be confused and then to rip on it. In fact, heckling is encouraged in my book. If you watch this on your own, you won’t have any fun. So be sure to bring a friend when (not if) you watch this masterpiece of garbage. I guarantee you won’t regret it. GUARANTEE!

The film's namesake Apple

The film’s namesake Apple

And the beers we sampled? It was a nice mix, representing my beer-drinking history and geography from Boston to Los Angeles. I even had a few more beers that we didn’t get to but that’s fine. Just more beer for me and more BAAMs for you! Here’s a quick breakdown of what was consumed.

Sam Adams’ Summer Ale:
-Required summer drinking for any Bostonian
-Light wheat flavor, easy to drink
-Noticeable lemon-y notes that some may find overpowering
images (2)




Eagle Rock Brewery’s Populist IPA
-The IPA that made me fall in love with IPA’s
-Fantastic local Los Angeles brewery with real care for their craft
-Super hoppy but fairly soft on the palette

populist (1)






Stone’s IPA
-A solid, San Diego IPA
-Hop-forward aroma and taste but not unforgiving
-A great entrance into the IPA world
images (3)






So again, I want to thank each and every one of you sticking with me these past two years. BAAM has always been a great excuse for me to try out great beer and watch random movies, but it’s your comments and support that make it thoroughly gratifying. So cheers to another successful year of BAAMing!

Remember: drink local, drink with friends and watch bad movies.

And as always keep drinking, my friends.


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Beer and an Outdoor Screening Special: Eagle Rock Brewery’s Populist & Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Hey there, sportos, motorheads, geeks, sluts, bloods, wastoids, dweebies and dickheads!

Tonight we’re doing something different and headed out on the town to an outdoor screening here in Los Angeles. There are a number of outdoor series running throughout the city, but tonight’s festivities were provided by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, also known vaguely as “the Academy.” Yes, that Academy is now offering outdoor movie screenings on its property in Hollywood for the delightfully Summery price of $5. From what I gather, they’ve recently redone their property and now there is a beautiful lawn that’s just perfect for screenings. Not to mention the bumpin’ surround sound. But enough pimping the Academy, they don’t need the free publicity. For those of you who are interested in future screenings this summer, check out their site for more information. But for now, let’s talk about the evening.

Tonight’s “theme” really is about doing it local. Summer is all about getting outside, spending time with friends and exploring the world around you. For me, that means hitting up local screenings and drinking some of the finest local beer you can get. So I grabbed a rare bottle of Populist, made by the beautiful people at Eagle Rock Brewery and got cozy with my fellow Angelinos for Ferris Beuller’s Day Off. So let’s cut class and see what we have in store.

Sadly, we didn’t have string lights but it was still a sweet venue

For the zero of you who have never seen the 1986 John Hughes mega-classic high school film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, I ask how you have survived so long without this cinematic gem. I’m not going to go into the plot too heavily or overstate it’s humor, because I think that’s familiar territory for most of you. But I haven’t seen this movie in a number of years and I was struck by how fresh the film still felt. The jokes were still on point, the characters still nuanced and playful, and Charlie Sheen still looked strung out. Of course over the years, you forget a lot of the little moments that make the movie so wonderful, like the little looks and faces the actors give one another, as if egging each other on in their roles. And while you could break down and quantify why this film is still so beloved, its standout feature is its earnesty. Sure the characters are a bit exaggerated at times, but at their core, each of the principle characters is deeply uncertain and scared. In  a sense, the film really ends up being more about Cameron, Ferris’s BFF, as he is really the only character to undergo a major change. For the angsty that still lives inside of all of us, Cameron is our point of contact throughout the film and can’t help but fall in love. This ability to play with humor and angsty universal truths is writer/director John Hughes’ trademark and, for me, Ferris Bueller strikes just the right balance. Not to mention it features arguably one of the greatest movie sequences of all time.

And it’s about time I got around to Eagle Rock Brewery. I’ve been coming to this place for a little over a year now and I still can’t get enough. Housed in a small, nondescript warehouse just off the freeway near where I went to college, this local brewery was one of the catalysts that sparked my interest in craft beer. And their West Coast IPA, the Populist, is the IPA that re-introduced me to the style. Tonight was the first time I had tried the bottled (they only recently started selling bottles, so until this point I’ve either had this at the tap room or out of my growler) and I still loved it. Populist manages to capture that bright, hoppy flavor of IPA’s without any excessive bitterness. The result is a hazy orange beer that is piney and floral. What I love most is that it retains that big, bold flavor without feeling heavy or too intense. And with a well-masked 7% ABV, this is a great beer to have with dinner or to slowly sip under the stars and in front of the silver screen.

Drink local!

So thanks for joining me on this unconventional BAAM tonight. There really was no question that tonight’s combo was going to be a real winner. Great local beer? Check. Timeless teen comedy? Check. Enjoying an evening under the stars with friends? Check. For those of you who do live in Los Angeles, I highly recommend you check out both of the places I’ve mentioned here. The Academy screenings go all the way through August and it’s a cheap way to have a great evening (plus free parking!). As for Eagle Rock Brewery, why wouldn’t support a local business that’s making great products? And for those who aren’t in LA, just grab yourself a local beer, find Ferris Bueller’s Day Off on Netflix and have a great night.

And, as always, keep drinking my friends.

Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
ERB’s Populist IPA:
-Big, hoppy flavor
-Not overly bitter
-The IPA that started it all for me

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off:
-Timeless humor & high school sentiment
-Subtle & loveable characters
-Most kickass German heritage parade of all time

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