Tag Archives: Gene Wilder

Port Brewing’s Mongo IPA & Blazing Saddles

Hey there, Dwinkers!

Valentine’s Day is over and my next major holiday is Passover (a decidedly unfriendly holiday to the beer-drinker), so we’re back to our regular scheduled (I schedule?) programming. Tonight we saddle up and head West with Blazing Saddles and Port Brewing’s Mongo IPA. So grab your spurs and candy grams and let’s ride out!

I think I first saw Mel Brooks’ 1974 Western parody film Blazing Saddles when I was probably ten. Maybe younger. I loved it then and I love it now but the first thing that comes to mind is “why the hell did my parents let me watch this as a child?!” Aside from much of the humor going WAY above my head (who’s Hedy Lamar? who’s Marlena Deitrich? what about all black men makes them…gifted?),  the references, innuendoes and jokes fly by at a mile a minute and it’s easy to miss many of them, even to the most knowledge of viewers let alone a 10 year-old kid. But that’s part of Mel Brooks’ genius. The comedy is never-ending and regardless of base or crude the joke may be, he commits to each one fully. Even when that joke is just men farting around a campfire for 10 seconds straight. I’m still surprised I was allowed to watch this movie though. Blazing Saddles filled with so much foul language and racial offense that it’s a marvel that this movie was made even in the 70’s! But it’s Mel Brooks and he can pretty much do whatever he wants since he pretty much makes fun of everyone.

Gunplay is funny!

Gunplay is funny!

But aside from the brilliant dialogue and expertly-timed jokes, the real treasure of this film is in its performances. Every character so effortlessly plays off the other that you can almost sense how much fun they were all having on set. Even Gene Wilder, who is dramatically understated for most of the film, manages to bring a smile to you every time he speaks. And then there’s Madeline Kahn. She’s just amazing. Oscar-nominated amazing, in fact. Oh and one more quick thing: it should be pointed out that this movie truly is a fantastic parody of the Western genre. Nearly every theme, trope, cliche and character archetype is addressed and lambasted. Even the music is in on the game (also Oscar-nominated, along with film editing). For you cinephiles out there, this is a good crash-course in the American Western. But you know I hadn’t seen this movie in some time and it was good remembering why I love it so much. For a variety of reasons, for good and ill, they truly don’t make movies like this anymore.

It also has one of the most bizarre, meta conclusions you’ll ever find on the big screen.

Can I offer you some more...comedy?

Can I offer you some more…comedy?

And was Port Brewing’s Mongo IPA “just a pawn in game of life”? To be truthful, I’m not quite certain how I feel about this IPA. The beer pours a nice, hazy orange and leaves behind some lovely lacing, making it a very pretty beer to look at it. But the aroma and primary taste I got from the beer was one of grain and citrus with only a hint of hoppy IPA bitterness. Maybe it was just the bottle I had but this felt much closer to a wheat than an IPA. For what it’s worth, this 8.5% ABV beer was quite light in body and easy to drink, so it might be a good alternative for those who are still on the fence about IPA’s. But for me, it just wasn’t big or bombastic enough  or for the movie I was watching. I do like many other of Port Brewing’s beers, so I’m not writing them off but I was a bit disappointed with my Mongo.

So there it is, Dwinkers! Another beer and a movie riding off into the sunset. Fantastic movie, meh beer but still a good evening. My abs definitely got a workout from the movie and I’m glad I got to try another new beer, even if it was a bit of a dud.

Thanks for reading and be sure to connect with BAAM on Twitter, Facebook or Untappd (for you mobile drinkers).

And as always keep drinking, my friends.

Tonight’s Tasting Notes:port
Port Brewing’s Mongo IPA:
-Nice, hazy orange pour
-Thick head w/ lovely lacing
-More grain than hop in flavor profile

Blazing Saddles:
-Non-stop joke onslaught
-Fairly offensive, but it shares the wealth
-Never gets olds, a true classic

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Abita’s Abbey Ale & Young Frankenstein

Hey there, drinkers,

Tonight I’m feeling good, drinking beer and watching movies (well, really just one movie). And with a bomber of 8% beer to indulge in and an obscure cinematic reference to explain, this BAAM has all the makings of great evening. Fair warning, due to the fairly high ABV of this beer and the sheer quantity of beer consumed (a bomber is a 22 oz. bottle), I may or may not be a bit tipsy in the writing of this review, so just bear (or beer….get it?) with me as I ramble and leave typos.

Before I begin, I owe you at least a brief explanation for this seemingly random pairing. For those of you who have not seen Young Frankenstein, the plot hinges on a one-liner. When Dr. Frankstein’s assistant, Igor (eye-gore), goes to retrieve a brain for the soon-to-be-reanimated-creature , he steals a brain labeled “abnormal,” believing the brain actually belonged to a lady named Abby Normal. Silly. I know. But it’s Mel Brooks, so just go with it. And since this is BAAM and we don’t take ourselves too seriously, we’re just going to pretend that Abby was spelled with an E and go about our merry way. If you have any complaints about my pairing system you can A) Take it up with the person who suggested this film to me or B) Suck it. Let’s move on, shall we?

Now, Mel Brooks’ 1974 film Young Frankenstein is one that I actually have a bit of history with. Back in college, I somehow got away with writing a paper on this film (amongst other films), so I’m sure I could talk to you at length about the repurposing of genre tropes, but we’re not in film school anymore so I’m going to skip that bit. For Mel Brooks, this film is actually less uproarious and absurd than many of his others. Unlike Blazing Saddles (one of my favorite films) or Spaceballs (one of the best parody films), Young Frankenstein doesn’t feel the need to have a joke every 15 seconds. Rather, the film seems to truly relish the tropes of classic horror films. The dramatic black & white aesthetic, combined with a pitch-perfect score and the indulgence in unnecessary pauses in dialogue, it is very easy to see Mel Brooks’ reverence for the genre. Or, at the very least, reverence for his knowledge of the genre and his ability to poke fun at it. Going in to the plot seems a bit silly (it’s the story of Frankenstein, but funnier), but I will say that this film does not disappoint when it comes to feeding the audience a few, healthy guffaws. And while my laughter may have been just a product of the beer, I would recommend this film to anyone who loves classic films and classic parodies. None of this Scary Movie crap. I’m talking about the real deal here. No one does it like Mel Brooks. Oh, also, Gene Hackman is in this film for about 5 minutes. Just a heads up.

No one can yell his way through a film like Gene Wilder. Bring it on, Will Ferrell.

So what beer made me giggle throughout this entire film? Well folks, it’s none other than Abita’s Abbey Ale. A tribute to Belgian beer-making, this Abbey Ale has a deep amber color and a thick head. Smelling, and tasting, primarily of Belgian yeast, there is no mistaking this beer for anything other than an abbey-style beer. Unfortunately, I found the beer’s yeasty-ness to be a bit overpowering. While the beer went down smooth and was pleasant to drink (especially considering the high ABV), it was very difficult to taste anything other than yeast. Sure, you get hints of bread, but that’s basically just a nice way of talking about yeast. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed this beer, it just got a little old after awhile. I wanted more complexity out of this beer. As a quick disclaimer, my palette is absolutely not as refined as true beer aficionados, so I may be way off base in my assessment of this beer. For alternate opinions on this or any beer, check out Beer Advocate. They’re awesome. Anyway, from the point of view of a common drinker who enjoys the occasional Belgian beer, I have to say that there are better Belgian-style beers out there. Second disclaimer: I love Abita and I would recommend to all of you to try out this Louisiana brewery (this is BAAM’s 3rd Abita beer, so you probably already figured that out anyway).

So maybe tonight’s combo wasn’t as…memorable as last weeks adventure with Ironclad, but it was certainly more enjoyable. The movie was a funny, low-key parody that gave proper respect to its parent genre while the beer got me tipsy enough to mostly disregard its repetitive flavor. In the history of BAAM, we’ve had worse and we’ve had better. Minimal complaints.

And remember, if you have any ideas or suggestions for beers or movies, please let me know. Tonight’s film was suggested through a friend/reader after I had already settled on a less-clever pairing. So, just like in this great democracy of ours, your voice is important! Tell me what you want to see here on BAAM and I’ll try my best to make it happen.

Happy drinking, friends!

 

Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
Abita’s Abbey Ale
:
Deep, rich amber color
Yeasty nose and flavor
Overwhelmingly yeasty, to a fault

Young Frankenstein
Gene Wilder in top form, as always
A loving, and caustic, reflection on classic horror film
I once wrote a paper on this film. I miss college…

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