Hey there, drinkers!
Tonight we dropped an iron curtain across BAAM with Irondale’s Barley Wine and the enigmatic 2011 film Ironclad. Haven’t heard of either? That’s fine. I’m here to educate you. Remember? Actually, let’s get one thing straight. A large portion of tonight’s education does not come from me or my brain. Rather, it comes from my good friend Anne, who joined me for tonight’s BAAM. Her surprisingly thorough knowledge of 12th century (12th, right?) English history is quite remarkable and serves to only further illuminate her awesome nerdiness. For those interested in all things not related to English history, I suggest you check out her film blog, We Recycle Movies. It’s pretty sweet. Expect a BAAM-WRM crossover in the future. Anyway, let the education commence!
So I just finished watching Ironclad which is about….wait…what…what just happened? Seriously, does anyone know what just happened in this movie? I think I saw Paul Giamatti and a few other famous people whose faces I recognized…But really, can someone help me out with what the hell just happened in this two hour, disappointingly battle-scarce medieval bit of English “history.” And I really do mean “history” with quotation marks because, from what Anne has told me, and from my own working knowledge of history, I’m pretty sure none of this movie is based on facts. As far as I know, King John the Douchebag signed the Magna Carta and happily lived out the rest of his years as a powerless king before dying of dysentery. However, Ironclad contends that post Magna Carta-ing, King John the Crazy Pants decided to hire a bunch of Danish mercenaries (really? Danish?) to help retake his country (with the Pope’s blessing) only to be routed by about 20 dudes in a castle and a French army that seizes the English crown. But those are trivial facts. Let’s talk about this as a movie. Well, for one, this film certainly does love its blood. Despite there not being much fighting, the few scenes of violence certainly do overcompensate. We’re talking about severed limbs, spouting blood, split skulls, intestines laid out for display…it’s all there except for one, crucial aspect of medieval filmmaking. Boobies. I mean, what movie of this historical era doesn’t randomly thrown some breasts on screen? Game of Thrones, anyone?! I mean, come on! Why so much blood if there’s only going to be one (1) pair of boobs on screen for the whole two hours? And they’re not even Kate Mara’s! By the way, did I mention that Kate Mara is in this movie? Anyway, it seems hardly worth it if you ask me. Also, one other quick gripe I have with this film besides the excessive gore, lack of female nudity, blatant disregard of history and the fact that this movie making no sense whatsoever…what is the film’s obsession with moats? Time and time again, characters in the movie reference the fact that the primary castle in the film lacks a moat. Whoopty do! No moat! Let’s move on with our lives and siege towers!
Okay. That’s enough. Quick synopsis of my feelings of this movie: what just happened? There. You have it. Don’t watch this movie.
Okay let’s throw a little sanity into the mix and talk about beer. So, for you avid BAAM readers, you’ll know that this is only the second barley wine that I’ve consumed. And I have to say that the style is very intriguing. I still havent’t really figured out what they’re all about but I’m interested enough to continue trying. So let’s talk about Irondale’s Bull Maclary’s Mor Barley Wine (long name, right?). For a beer with 9% ABV and so rich in flavor, it is remarkably smooth and easy to drink. Its rich, almost chocolatey finish helps calm down the beer’s more excitable early flavors that I found difficult to identify (though, to be honest, that might have just been because I was trying so hard to not pay attention to this movie). It’s actually almost a bit sweet, which is something I didn’t expect but I didn’t really mind either. Overall, it felt like a good beer to have on a chilly winter evening. Hearty, filling and yet not overbearing. The kind of beer that dulls your senses enough to make you not hate yourself for watching a movie like Ironclad.
So, there you have it folks. I’m pretty sure you can intuit my feelings on the movie. The beer I think I would come back to, though I’m compelled to experiment with more barley wines to help me further understand what this style is all about. But, in all, it was quite the educational evening. I learned some more about barley wine. I learned quite a bit about English history from my friend Anne. And I also learned that no self-respecting castle shows up for a fight without a moat.
Happy drinking, friends!
Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
Irondale’s Barley Wine:
Rich, full-bodied flavor
Impressively smooth and drinkable.
History has no bearing on historical films
Oh yeah, there were Knights Templar in this movie
What just happened again?