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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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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!
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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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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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