Tag Archives: hops

The Tap Brewing’s Sassy Rabbit & The Curse of the Were-Rabbit

Hey there, Drinkers!

I know it’s been awhile but New Years not the time to judge me. Or ever. Anyway, I just got back from a visit to my hometown of Boston and I thought I’d bring you all a local brew for today’s BAAM. We’re sipping on The Tap Brewing Company’s Sassy Rabbit while watching one of my personal fun-favorites: Wallace & Gromit’s The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. So grab your beer and let’s hop to it!

Now, I sincerely hope that all of you are familiar with the lovable British claymation characters Wallace and Gromit. For you sad few who don’t know who they are, Wallace and Gromit were first unleashed on the world in 1990 in the short film A Grand Day Out and have since gone on to be featured in four more shorts and a lone feature. Wallace is a silly, cheese-loving inventor and Gromit is his silent yet intelligent dog/assistant. Gromit is also one of the most expressive characters in film, all told with hand gestures and eyebrow raises. Without fail, the humor is equal parts clever and stupid in the best of ways. In 2005, The Curse of the Were-Rabbit launched Wallace & Gromit into the feature-film world, delivering all the expected humor and heart for which the franchise is known. Since you should really see this movie, I don’t want to go too far into the plot but, in short, the film is about a giant, vegetable-ravaging rabbit that terrorizes a quaint English town just in time for its annual giant vegetable competition. And while the film is first and foremost intended to be a family-friendly goof-fest, it also provides the audience with some more subtle and adult comedy as well. So well-integrated is the humor that I find it hard to point out any one thing in particular but needless to say that every detail has been accounted for when it comes to the comedy.

Bun Vac 6000

Bun Vac 6000

And as for the film itself, of course it’s impressive. It’s 90 minute claymation film (well, technically they no longer use clay but whatever)! It’s incredible they ever actually finished it even, given how minute and varied some of the animations are. At times, there are upwards of twenty moving characters on screen, all requiring painstakingly careful movement in order to come to life. So to have a funny, complex and engaging film on top of that technical feat, this film will always be considered a winner in my very fleshy heart.

So many cute bunnies to animate!

So many cute bunnies to animate!

And our Sassy Rabbit? It’s definitely its own beast, so it fit perfectly with our Were-Rabbity adventure. Hailing from Haverhill, MA, this brew from The Tap Brewing Company is a rye ale brewed with a significant amount of hops. The end result is a uniquely smooth IPA that both confuses and delights the palette. As I’ve said in the past about ryes, these brews tend to be smoother than your average ale, making them great for easy drinking. However, this Sassy Rabbit sports a ton of hop power, bringing out a nice mix of pine, citrus and earth. While it wasn’t as spicy at the label promised, it was still an interesting, tasty mix of bite and smooth. Moreover, since the brew is only 5.7%, you can drink it at whatever pace you’re comfortable with and avoid any unwanted buzz. Next time I’m back in Boston, I’ll definitely have to check this brewery out.

So there you have it folks, a hoppy and happy evening for families and bunnies alike. A fun, silly and smart movie with an interesting and delicious brew. Both are definitely worth checking out when you can.

Thanks again, Drinkers for being here in 2013. Work has really slowed my output on BAAM, so I really appreciate all of you bearing with me. So raise your glass and cheers to a safe and happy New Year. And as always keep drinking, my friends.

Tonight’s Tasting Notes:83225
The Tap Brewing’s Sassy Rabbit:
-Hazy brown pour
-Nice rye smoothness
-Significant hoppiness

The Curse of the Were-Rabbit:
Sharp, fun comedy for everyone
-Great voice-acting cast
-Wallace & Gromit in their finest form

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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!
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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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Port Brewing’s Anniversary Ale & Who Framed Roger Rabbit

Hey there, Drinkers!

Sorry for the long delay but the anniversary of our nation’s founding threw my schedule a little out of whack. But with the 4th safely behind us, I thought it was high time we celebrate another anniversary: the 25th release anniversary of Who Framed Roger Rabbit while sipping on Port Brewing’s (10th?) Anniversary Ale. So let’s get celebrating, shall we?!

25 years ago, Robert Zemekis and Steven Spielberg released the incomparable, technically-stunning Who Framed Roger RabbitFor the unfortunate ones who have not seen this film, it’s essentially a 1940’s noir set in a fictional Hollywood in which cartoons are real. It’s a bit of an odd concept (one originally created in the form of a novel actually) but the murder mystery that drives the film is quite clear and easily understood, so the film remains grounded and on-course despite its inherent zaniness. In fact, the noir story in and of itself is quite compelling. The murder mystery is captivating and well-paced and the subplot regarding the reconfiguration of Los Angeles travel (the birth of freeways) is also well-integrated. Moreover, what I learned only a few years ago, the film is a purposeful parable and critique of Los Angeles gentrification and minority-community dispersal. In the film, greedy men and studios wheel and deal to remove Toon Town and remake Los Angeles in their image. In the real world, the creation of the now-infamous LA freeway system split and destroyed historically African-American communities that are still reeling from the negative impact to this day.

zany AND poignant!

zany AND poignant!

Aside from a strong story with a pertinent subtext, Who Framed Roger Rabbit is simply an excellent example of great filmmaking. From a technical standpoint, the hybrid of live-action and hand-drawn animation (no CGI here, folks!) is simply incredible. The forethought in the scene-blocking, the complete dedication of the acting…it’s all truly remarkable. Not to mention that the animation is simply just good. It feels like a classic Looney Toon cartoon! From a world-detail standpoint, everything we see on-screen feels like it belongs in the world. The period-setting is accurately done and the cartoon elements feel about as real as they should be. It would have been easier (and probably cheaper) to say “ah it’s just cartoons so no one will really care anyway” but fortunately, that was not the case. The detail of what we see lends such authenticity to the story that you can’t help but love the film more. Third, from a business standpoint, seeing Warner Bros and Disney character side-by-side on film is really remarkable. I don’t know how those deals got made but I’m just impressed. And finally, the film is just really damn funny. Aside from all the easy toon-related gags, there’s a good amount of subtle or below-the-radar humor that I’ve only picked up on from having seen the movie many (MANY) times. Also, being an Los Angeles resident also lends a little bit of humor to the mix, as the film relentless pokes fun at the modern day city. How about them Brooklyn Dodgers?!

Chuckles...technically challenging chuckles

Chuckles…technically challenging chuckles

So in case you haven’t picked up on it already, I really love this film. As a kid, as an adult, as a film-student, as an Angeleno…everything about this movie is truly wonderful. Go watch it!. It’s on Netflix.

Seriously, go now.

Oh and the bad guy Judge Doom is still terrifying. Just FYI.

What have you done with Doc Brown?!

What have you done with Doc Brown?!

And while not “zany,” I have to say that Port Brewing’s Anniversary Ale was quite the treat. Released every spring and summer, this year’s iteration of the Anniversary Ale is a super-hopped strong pale ale. Yes, “strong” is actually a type of beer. Pouring a hazy golden orange reminiscent of summer wheats, this beer smacks you with powerful hoppiness and a mild-mannered head. There are also hints of sweet citrus in there but you’ll most get those once you take a sip. Despite the hefty 10% ABV, the beer does not come off as too boozy. Rather, you’re hit again with that strong hoppy flavor accompanied with notes of grapefruit and a little bit of grain. All of those flavors mellow out as it warms, so this one I’d suggest you don’t let sit out too long. But other than that, it’s actually quite easy to drink if you like hops. And finally, I think I could classify the texture or mouthfeel as chewy and/or sticky. Neither of those words make a beer sound appealing but it’s actually a pretty accurate description for how the beer feels on your tongue (hence it’s called mouthfeel). The Port Brewing website also describes the beer this way, so I’m not completely out of my mind. But overall, this is a very good beer that I’d recommend to any hop-head.

So there you have it, Drinkers. Another successful adventure! What better way to relax like an adult than with cartoons and beer? A seriously good movie for all audiences and a great beer for the educated drinker. I think I’ll be enjoying both again in the future.

And as always keep drinking, my friends!
port1
Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
Port Brewing’s Anniversary Ale:
-Nice hazy, orange pour
-Super hoppy deliciousness
-“Chewy” mouthfeel but that’s a good thing

Who Framed Roger Rabbit:
-Amazing technical feat
-Utterly hilarious
-Captivating story with real-world touchstones

 

 

(and yes I realized I missed many “hoppy” pun opportunities. sue me.)

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Napa Smith’s Hopageddon Imperial IPA & The Omega Man

Hey there, Drinkers!

Today we toast to the end of the world! Maybe this would have been more appropriate back in December 2012 when the world actually ended but whatever. I do what I want. Today we’re cracking open a bottle of Napa Smith’s Hopageddon Imperial IPA and the 1971 post-apocalyptic movie The Omega Man. Charlton Heston. Beer. MAN MODE: ENGAGED!

So let’s get started, shall we?

The Omega Manfor those who are unfamiliar, is based off the same book which spawned the 2007 Will Smith movie I Am Legend. And the stories are ostensibly the same: plague wipes out humanity, last man on Earth fights creatures of the night, finds other survivors, makes cure, dies like Jesus. SPOILER! But I actually think the DVD box sums it more succinctly: “what price survival in a plague-ridden tomorrow?” And no, I’m not missing a word. They just screwed up their DVD box. Anyway, the film follows the surprisingly content (except for a few rote “he’s lonely” moments) Charlton Heston as he scours an abandoned Los Angeles for supplies. In the evenings, he holes up in his penthouse and fends off frivolous attacks from The Family: a band of cloak-wearing albinos who don’t like sunlight or technology. Apparently they’re psychotics or something but mostly they just seem like religious fanatics reacting to Charlton Heston’s relentless attacks. Actually, what’s weird is that for a group of weapon-hating crazies, they have no problems with knives, bows, spears and ballistas. Seriously. They made a ballista.

The pasty face of EVIL

The pasty face of EVIL

But seriously folks, this movie is pretty terrible. It’s mostly an excuse to have Charlton Heston on screen in formal dining wear and/or a track suit. Nothing really happens until the third act , everything is campy and very little make sense. I think the movie tries to make the argument that neither Charlton Heston nor The Family have the moral high ground, that this post-apocalyptic world has removed the humanity from everyone, in one way or the other. But that’s me stretching/the movie being really really blunt. Mostly the movie is about nothing.

Please note his lacy, velvet dinner jacket

Please note his lacy, velvet dinner jacket

But was our beer equally as silly? Yes and no. The bottle art is very silly in an awesome sort of way. It depicts flaming hops crashing into Earth. Kinda baller. But what is not silly about this beer is its hoppiness. Pouring a cloudy orange with a white, one-finger head, this IIPA lives up to its boisterous name. With the pour, you instantly get hit with a sharp, piney hop aroma. When you take a sip, that pine flavor continues but is also greeted with some nice, tart citrus along with some grass. As the beer warms, the 9.2% ABV gets more pronounced. Overall it’s a solid, hoppy Imperial IPA that is probably not best for you hop noobs.

So that was the end of the world. About six months off from the Mayans but whatever, can’t always be on time. We were blessed with a good beer to save us from our bad movie. But it’s not bad enough to be good, so I can’t really endorse it. But I do endorse this beer. Very hoppy but very good, so check it out if you see it!

And as always keep drinking, my friends.

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Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
Napa Smith’s Hopageddon IIPA:
-Hazy orange pour
-Bright, hoppy aroma
-Complex hoppy flavor

The Omega Man
-Original I Am Legend movie but no better
-Muddy plot & themes
-Charlton Heston’s smile is scary

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Stone’s Old Guardian Barley Wine & The Cabin in the Woods

Hey there, Drinkers!

Today we’re getting Ancient with Stone’s Old Guardian oak-smoked barley wine style ale and the 2011 sci-fi horror/slasher Whedonverse film The Cabin in the Woods. It’s a big, bold pairing filled with blood n’ booze! And while that sounds like any episode of Game of Thrones, I promise that this combo is something special. And equally badass. So let’s get started, shall we?

The Cabin in the Woods is, interestingly enough, a film nerd’s dream. Created as both an adoration and parody of the horror/slasher genre, Cabin is pretty much a wall-to-wall cinematic reference. From the broad strokes of genre trope (abandoned cabin, young people, zombies, etc.) to technical details (camera references to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre)Cabin in the Woods expertly walks the line between satire and cliche. I won’t discuss much of the plot, but suffice it to say that at its core, the film is every horror movie ever made. Young, attractive people wander off the beaten path, display risque behavior and suffer the horrifying consequences. But where many other filmmakers have just stuck to the formula, Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon have bent those genre stereotypes into something new and utterly self-reflexive. Without revealing too much, Cabin is built on a premise that explains and/or justifies every horror movie ever. The cliches of movies past become the narratives hooks that drive the story forward without patronizing the audience. Rather, they became the moments of levity that make an otherwise gruesome film completely HILARIOUS!

Shot-for-shot lift from the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Shot-for-shot lift from the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre

There are actually a lot of things I want to point out about this film but since I am a wordy writer, I figure a list will be more efficient. Let’s go!

-Before Chris Hemsworth was Thor, he was a Sociologist major jock. Though this film was released after Thor, it shot a few years before. Hollywood be crazy!
-When this came out in theaters, it was the first film I saw on the big screen in over a year. (I was unemployed at the time). My friends and I laughed at all the movie references while the rest of the audience was dead silent. Aaawwkkward.
-Joss Whedon’s dry sense of humor is SPLATTERED all over this film. If your unfamiliar with his writing style, watch anything of his. Literally anything.
-A Firefly Reaver can be seen during the monster massacre scene. How awesome is that?!
-Boobs are acceptable in this film because they make a statement about the use of female nudity in this genre…what am I talking about?! Boobs are always great!
-Character stereotypes exist for a reason. Because they prevent the end of the world.
-If you think it’s Sigourney Weaver’s voice, it probably is.
-All in all, this movie is actually quite well shot and well acted. Who knew?

But seriously folks, this is one of those movies that exists for pure entertainment. Even if you’re not a big horror fan or into blood n’ guts (I’m not), this film is actually quite good fun. Yes, it does get a bit bloody at times but for the most part, it all serves the purpose of parody. You don’t even have to know most of films Cabin references to enjoy it. It is so intelligently constructed that any viewer should be able to identify it as both parody and reverence for one of the most overwrought genres in cinema.

References on references

References on references

And Stone’s Old Guardian Oak-Smoked Barley Wine Style ale(that’s a mouthful)? Well let me tell you, it is quite the beer. As with everything that Stone brews, it is a BIG beer. Pouring a beautiful, deep amber color with a tan head and remarkable lacing (the foam left behind on the edge of the glass), the Old Guardian is a beer to behold. While the nose is fairly mild, hinting at rich barley and refined hops, the beer itself is quite potent. With your first taste, you’re hit with substantial malty flavor. Toasty deliciousness fades into a respectable hoppiness that is prominent without overpowering the palette. It finishes with a bitter, boozy bite brought on by the 11.5% ABV. As with most Stone beers, this is not for the feint of heart. The Old Guardian is a powerful beer that is complex and yet thoroughly enjoyable. Not to mention quite pretty to look at. In the end though, it left with me an impressive buzz. In short, this beer is not to be underestimated. Maybe try it with a friend. Or don’t be a lightweight like me. Either way works.

So in case you haven’t figured it out, today’s thematic link was the Old Guardian protecting us from the Ancient Ones from The Cabin in the Woods. If that doesn’t make any sense whatsoever, go watch the movie. And pick up this beer. I promise that the fun (and blood) will complement the alcoholic haze of this tasty brew. Truly a wonderful pairing that I would recommend to both the casual consumer and the seasoned connoisseur…though maybe the beer isn’t so casual.

Tonight’s Tasting Notes:IMG_79591-189x300
Stone’s Old Guardian:
-Beautiful pour
-Mild, malty nose
-BIG (and balanced) taste with significant booziness

The Cabin in the Woods:
-A nerd’s best friend
-A Whedon film to its core
-Surprising balance of respect and parody for the genre

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AleSmith’s IPA & Bad Boys

Hey there, Drinkers!

Today we phone-in our BAAM pairing with AleSmith’s IPA and the 1995 Will Smith (get it yet?) action movie Bad Boys. Yeah, that’s right. We’re Smith pairing. Since AleSmith wastoo awesome to actually name this brew, we weren’t left with too many options, so bear with me. But regardless of lame my combo, this pairing actually worked quite well. So tell me, what are you going to do when tonight’s BAAM comes for you?

Probably drink more but that’s just a guess. Let’s get started, shall we?

EEXXPPLLOSSSIIOOONNSSS!! That’s what my brain said when I saw Michael Bay’s name in the opening credits of Bad Boys. So you can imagine my disappointment when I found a dearth thereof in this two hour film. Actually, for an action film there was a general lack of action throughout. Sure there was a sprinkling here and there but I think the gun fight/car chase/explosion budget was saved for the last ten minutes of the film. Of course, any action film’s conclusion should be big and bombastic, but not at the expense of the entire second act of the film. Seriously, the body of this film was just quick-witted exposition, sassy banter and Miami scenary. Yes, the brotherly banter between Martin Lawrence and Will Smith is expertly paced but there is only so much mindless chat you can take before you desperately cry out for something to EXPLODE!

So much action...in this one scene!

So much action…in this one scene!

I don’t really want to discuss the plot because there isn’t much to say. Most of the film is not about the plot. It’s about the characters. And how frustratingly senseless Julie (the key witness our heros must protect) is with regard to her own predicament. Oh, I’m a witness to a murder/major heroin deal? How about I only trust ONE COP and refuse any actual police support? Oh, being protected by the police means I can’t go out? How bothersome! Seriously Julie, you’re killing me. You make no sense and your skirts are WAY too short. And why do you make such a big deal about being a vegetarian? I’m a vegetarian. It’s not a big deal. Okay clearly I’m getting off-track here.

What I mean to be discussing is how annoying the editing style is for this film. In classic Michael Bay form, his action sequences are big and boisterous, but nearly impossible to follow. When the action kicks up, you lose all sense of space and time seems to move freely without any real semblance of..well, time. In the end, I can’t say I’m surprised. Michael Bay is not been known for his storytelling or his narrative clarity. He’s really been known for proclivity for weaving humor with EXPLOSIONS. And in that regard, Bad Boys is a success. In any other regard, not so much.

MOAR GUNZ

MOAR GUNZ

So was our beer equally bombastic? In many regards, it was more an explosion of awesome than Bad Boys. AleSmith’s IPA (because giving it a name would be lame) is, without question, one of my favorite IPA’s around. I’ve been fortunate enough to have this brew on tap throughout Los Angeles but this was my first encounter with its bottled brethren  While draft is always the way to go with craft beer, I have to say that this bottled beer was pretty much just as good. Pouring a clear, copper color with a two-finger head (fingers are standard measurement tools for beer), this IPA is exactly what you want out of this style of beer. It has a massive, piney-hops nose with a beautiful, floral hoppy taste that does not overpower the palate. Rather, the careful balancing of this beer allows the complexity of the hops to dance around on your tongue. There’s bitterness, pine, citrus and just a hint of booze. It really is a perfect IPA in my opinion. For the IPA-lover, AleSmith’s IPA is the beer for you. And I’d recommend it to beginner trying to explore this style as well. Truly a winner.

So there it is, drinkers. A generally EXPLOSIVE pairing of both beer and movies. How about that?And while our movie was a little lackluster, it was nothing 22 ounces of pure hoppy delight couldn’t remedy. So whatcha gonna do next time you find yourself watching a Michael Bay movie? I’d recommend grabbing an AleSmith IPA. Especially if you’re going to check out Bay’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which will apparently be lacking in both the “mutant “and “turtle” departments.

Stupid ninja aliens….

As always keep drinking, my friends.
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Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
AleSmith’s IPA:
-Clear, copper pour
-Lovely pine aroma
-Full-bodied hoppiness without  being overpowering

Bad Boys
-Noticeable lack of explosions
-Great banter
-Bloated second act

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Coronado’s Idiot Imperial IPA & The Naked Gun

Hey there, Drinkers!

Passover is over and I’m back to drinking! …that makes it sound like I’m a relapsed alcoholic but whatever, here we are! Tonight we’re celebrating the idiot in all of us with Coronado Brewing’s Idiot Imperial IPA and The Naked Gun, one of the many films in which Leslie Nielsen plays an idiot. Fitting, right?

In 1988, The Naked Gun: Files from the Police Squad (a movie which I just learned apparently was apparently based off a 1982 TV show called Police Squad!) hit the scene. Like all great spoofs from the time, The Naked Gun pulls from multiple genres and (cop drama, noir, romance, spy, etc) relies heavily on sigh-gags and slapstick. Also it makes no sense whatsoever. Carried by the incomparable Leslie Nielsen, The Naked Gun is equally cringe-worthy and knee-slappable about every 15 seconds. The jokes are ceaseless and shameless. But unlike modern parody films, which suck monkey balls, The Naked Gun does not revel in its own absurdity. Rather it simply accepts itself at face value and moves forward. Though there are a few exceptions to this rule, the film largely is deadpan, leaving the laughter and incredulity to the audience. As dumb as every scene is, the film leaves the decision as to what is funny or not to the viewer. A decision which I appreciated and applied liberally.

Beaver jokes? Classic

Beaver jokes? Classic

And while the story makes no sense and most of the comedy is of the lewd n’ crude variety, the film still holds up as a decent comedy. Yes, a lot of references are dated (half of evil world leaders in the intro are now dead or deposed) but that’s a given. For me, The Naked Gun is more about letting go than it is about tuning in. Sure there are plenty of jokes you’ll miss your eyes aren’t completely fixed on the screen but that’s not the point of the movie. Really what you want is laugh at the penis jokes and feel uncomfortable when you see O.J. Simpson show up as Nielsen’s injured partner.

In short the movie is undeniably stupid. But that’s the point. And it does it well. So I have no real complaints. Not to mention it’s a nice little snapshot of late 80’s Los Angeles. Kinda interesting as a modern day resident.

Awwwkkwwaarrddd

Awwwkkwwaarrddd

So was our beer equally idiotic? Maybe a more accurate description for Coronado Brewing’s Idiot Imperial IPA would be “stupidly good.” This 8.5% beer pours a nice clear, golden color with a modest foamy head and minimal lacing. If you take a whiff of the beer before your first sip (which you should do before drinking any good beer), you’ll get that nice hoppy IPA aroma you’ve come to know and love. But with that first sip, your taste buds will be delightfully confused. You’re immediately hit with a strong, hoppy punch but without the usual bitter bite or dry mouthfeel. Rather, the beer is surprisingly smooth and the hoppiness turns to sweet citrus after a moment or two. A drinker with a more attuned palette might get notes of grapefruit and other tropical fruits, but I’m not that developed. But it’s no stretch to say that this is a deliciously complex beer better suited to a seasoned-IPA lover. Not to dissuade the casual drinker for this beer (go for it!), but I’d say this beer may be a bit much for those who are just casually passing by.

So I have to report that our idiotic pairing wasn’t as stupid as I thought. The Naked Gun has buried smarts amongst its dumb humor and the Idiot IPA is definitely not for the simple-minded. Both offer a surprisingly level of intelligence despite the common denominator of making grown men giggle like children. Oh the joys of booze.de_1655_lg

Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
Coronado Brewing’s Idiot IIPA:
-Clean, golden color
-Classic hoppy flavor without bitter bite
-Complex citrus & floral notes

The Naked Gun:
-Bizarre, shameless & hilarious
-O.J. Simpon……
-Several “holy crap, I recognize that actor!” moments
(including The Sopranos & Pee Wee Herman’s Big Adventure)

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Sierra Nevada’s Ruthless Rye IPA & Ruthless

Hey there, Drinkers!

Tonight we get ruthless with our BAAM combination. Nothing says Friday night like drinking a beer by yourself while watching a random 1940’s version of Wall Street...right? Maybe? Anyway, while little about this evening was particularly ruthless, there’s still a review to write! So let’s get to it!

(that may have been the least enthusiastic sounding intro I’ve ever written…but onwards!)

Tonight, for your viewing pleasure, we have the 1948 film Ruthless. While I promise I was mostly paying attention to this, I have to admit that I don’t understand what most of this movie was about, what happened or why. In the vein of Citizen Kane, most of this film is told largely through flashbacks that skip years and traverse the entire lifespan of one Horace Woodruff Vendig. It begins when Horace escapes from his broken home and is taken in by a wealthy family and follows Horace’s story of consumption and greed. A brilliant investor and manipulator of the stock market, Horace’s insatiable desire of wealth bleeds over into his personal life as he collects and discards female companions. Generally speaking, Horace is not a good guy and we don’t like him. Which, among many other reasons, is why I didn’t particularly like this film. Horace really has no redemptive moments and never fully learns his lesson (a conclusion we as American-moviegoers have come to expect). Rather we spend two hours learning about the life and times of a vulture-capitalist we largely understood from the get go. There is little growth in the film beyond the women Horace spends his time with and the diminishing respect from his best friend Vic. And from the perspective of plot, it’s just hard to stay engaged. A number of the more heated bits of dialog center around Wall Street deal making that is never well explained. With an influx of lingo I didn’t understand, I found myself tuning out and caring less about the events on screen.

The mustache means he's bad

The mustache means he’s bad

All of this isn’t to say that the film is bad. To its credit, it is shot well and the acting is solid. Sadly however, the pacing if fairly slow and there is little development or forward momentum to keep the viewer engaged. Rather it feels more like an extended character-study of a stoic Gordon Gekko predecessor. And while I should point out that (sadly enough) many of the film’s concerns about shady stock market dealings still ring true today, the film is mostly a slow slide into boredom rather than a biting criticism of greed.

I guess this poster is accurate...sort of

I guess this poster is accurate…sort of

So was our Ruthless Rye IPA as timid as our film? I don’t think so, but maybe ruthless was the wrong adjective. With such a strong name, I was expecting a beer that would knock me on my ass with big flavor and bold hoppiness, neither of which are characteristics I attribute to rye beers. Typically speaking, based on my limited experience, rye beers are smooth and a bit grainy. But not this beer. For one, this is a rye IPA, meaning that it presents a bright, piney bitterness that comes from hops just like any other IPA. But actually I found this hoppiness that was a bit biting at first but mellowed out as the beer warmed. And while I got a little bit of that rye smoothness at the finish, I wouldn’t  describe it as a standout note for this beer. If I hadn’t seen the label, I might have even simply called this beer a solid IPA. Don’t get me wrong, Sierra Nevada brews some great beers, but I just don’t think this one did anything special for me. However, it does make me want to try other rye IPA’s so I can speak more intelligently about the genre. So there’s that.

So there you have it folks, not a particularly ruthless evening but nevertheless enjoyable. I think both of tonight’s selections struggled a little with defining what they were about, but that is not to say that they are bad or not worthwhile. I say if you have the time or the curiosity to give them a try. What’s the worst you could happen? Lose a little time and drink a beer? Doesn’t sound like  a bad Friday at all to me!

And as always keep drinking, my friends.

Tonight’s Tasting Notes:2012-01-24-RyeIPA
Sierra Nevada’s Ruthless Rye IPA:
-Clear, amber pour
-Strong, bitter hoppiness at front
-Slight rye finish but lacking

Ruthless:
Solid film, just not too engaging
-Hard to follow timeline
-Little growth in primary character

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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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