Tag Archives: IPA

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!
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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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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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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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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.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
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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Guest Review: Passover Double Feature

* Hi there, drinkers. Please enjoy this week’s BAAM courtesy of Anne from We Recycle Movies, a blog I highly recommend. If you’d like to submit a guest review, please let me know in the comments. Happy Passover!

Shalom, drinkers!

Gabe is observing Passover this week, which means that he cannot drink beer. Fortunately for all of you, Episcopalians do not have to follow dietary restrictions during Lent, so I was totally free to write a guest blog. I was so excited that I decided on a double feature. I even went with a Passover theme! First up were The Prince of Egypt and He’brew IPA, celebrating the animated history of the Jewish people. After that came the combination of The Ten Commandments and Saison de Lente, which turned out to be an epic undertaking. Two bombers and 5 hours of movie watching later, here is my review:

The Prince of Egypt is an animated re-telling of the book of Exodus. The story follows Moses. I’m pretty sure we’re all at least vaguely aware of his story: baby in the bulrushes, Egyptian prince, Jewish prophet, Let My People Go, Ten Commandments, Foundation for Judaism. Obviously, since this is a kids’ movie, they felt the need to change some things. In the first half of this film, Moses is basically that annoying-but-charismatic frat guy who kept bugging you in college: he races chariots, drops water balloons on priests, and goads Ramses a lot. Prophets: they’re just like us!

Moses: Prince of the Bros

How to Cure a Hangover of Biblical Proportions

Since it came out in 1998, it is of course a musical. And I have to say right up front, most of the music aged well. The only song that really bothered me was “Believe.” The first time I heard it, the song came across as uplifting and hopeful, but it gets overused. Eventually I was just hoping the little Jewish kids would stop singing and start schlepping. Jerusalem is a long walk from Egypt!

What part of Exodus is this from again?

What part of Exodus is this from again?

Our second Passover movie, The Ten Commandments, is a three and a half hour long epic from the 1950s, in the same extremely long vein as Ben HurThe Robe, and King of Kings. Charlton Heston plays Moses as a kind of Biblical action star. He spends the first half of the movie shirtlessly seducing at least 3 women and conquering countries. Once he becomes a prophet, he starts wearing robes and yelling in a booming voice. He’s definitely more forceful and vengeful, and when we get to the creation of the Ten Commandments and the golden idols, Moses throws those tablets down with FORCE. Prophets: they’re just like Arnold Schwarzenneger?

It was a solid spectacle, but I felt the length. The first act dragged (we get it, Moses is hunky and charismatic and Ramses is not). The second half was pretty action-packed though, what with all of the plagues and Red Sea partings and pillars of fire and whatnot. The special effects didn’t age well, but it’s a 50 year old movie so really the fun of it is trying to figure out how they pulled it off with no CGI. I honestly don’t know if this is the best family Easter or Passover celebration though, if only because sugar-high kids hopped up on chocolate eggs and maccaroons will not be able to sit through all three and a half hours

Overall, it was fun to re-watch both movies. You have to admit that the book of Exodus adapts into a pretty great story, especially if you leave out those pesky 40 years wandering the desert. It’s got romance, drama, secret identities, plagues, and acts of God. Now, onto the beer!

YOU SHALL NOT PASS!

YOU SHALL NOT PASS!

First up was He’Brew’s IPA, which I have to say wasn’t my favorite. I get that IPA’s are supposed to be hoppy, but the hops overpowered every other taste in this beer. It pours amber and clear with a solid head and lacing. As it got warmer it got more citrus-y, but overall it was still too flat and bitter for me. I like my IPAs like I like my films: full of character. (nnnnneeeerrrrrrdddd)

Saison de Lente was next. This beer is clearly not brewed by Catholics, because if it was it would have a sad little kid poking at a piece of fish on the label instead of an Easter egg. Anyway, it poured with little head, cloudy and straw-colored. Smelled yeasty but spicy. It tasted spicy and yeasty as well, though not as flavorful as I would have liked. It did get better as it got warmer. I enjoyed it more than the IPA, and it was more drinkable, but still mostly just ‘eh.’

So there you have it, drinkers. Thank you to Gabe for allowing me to write this week, and thank you for introducing me to good beer.  Before I knew Gabe, I thought beer just tasted like beer, which is to say like guilt and sourness. Now I know that beer can taste like citrus or spice or cinnamon AND hops, which it turns out do not taste like guilt or sourness. Hooray for Gabe!hebrew-hop-manna

Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
The Prince of Egypt:
-Standard 90s animated movie with biblical themes
-Cannot. Get. That. Song. Out. Of. My. Head.
-When you believe, somehow you will! Now you will! You will when you belieeeeve!

The Ten Commandments
-Charlton Heston was the Ryan Gosling of the 50’s: no shirts
-This is the most action-packed biblical adaptation ever
-De Mille made himself the voice of God. No one was surprised

He’Brew Hop Manna:Saison de Lente
-I either need to learn more about IPAs or drink less sucky ones
-Gabe should probably re-review this and get back to me (Why? Because I’m Jewish?)
-I don’t like my beer tasting like a pinecone

Saison de Lente:
-Not made by Catholics
-Spicier and more drinkable, but still kinda blah
-Two bombers in one night is two bombers too many. I can’t feel my face

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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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