Tag Archives: Joe Pesci

Flying Dog’s Raging Bitch Belgian Style IPA & Raging Bull

BAAM is back, bitches!

We’re coming out swinging after our week long hiatus for Passover with a well-regarded beer and a well-respected movie. That’s right, it’s a night of RAGE (!) with Scorsese’s boxing classic Raging Bull and Flying Dog’s Raging Bitch Belgian-style IPA. So let’s hop in the ring and get started.

Martin Scorsese’s 1980 Oscar winning Raging Bull chronicles the thoroughly depressing rise and fall of 1940’s-50’s boxing legend Jake La Motta and his inability to be a sane human being. In his quest to become world middle-weight champ, Jake manages to physically destroy every relationship he has (seriously, he hits pretty much everyone he loves). Unable to contain his rage (wonder where the title came from…) and control his paranoia-fueled jealousy, Jake manages to ruin two marriages and his relationship with his brother, played by everyone’s favorite Joe Pesci. And while the story is compelling and the acting is top notch (it’s truly one of De Niro’s finest performances), what is most striking about this film is its visual style. Photographed in haunting black and white at varying frame rates, the film effortlessly dips between painful realism and beautiful surrealism. Within the longer fight sequences, the audience is treated with overwhelming close-ups, dream-like slow-motion and a sort of horrified revelry in the blood of boxing. Every shot stands on its own as a great work of filmmaking. If you were to watch the film without the sound, I think you would still find the film easy to follow and beautiful to watch. Not to overstate anything, but Raging Bull truly is a great film (though a bit slow at times) that I would recommend to anyone, even if you’re not a “sports movie” fan. In fact, this film hardly qualifies as a sports movies, as it focuses much more intently on the fractured emotional states of Jake La Motta than on the actual matches themselves. Long story short, watch this movie. It’ll…wait for it…knock your socks off.

I swear I’m funny…

He's seen better days, but you haven't seen a better movie.

And now for our Raging Bitch. I’ve actually seen this beer, and many others by Flying Dog Brewery, at a few beer shops but I’ve held off on buying them mostly because I don’t like their labeling. I’m pretty sure most people would agree with me when I say that their packaging does not make their product appealing. However, on the suggestion of a friend, I decided to bite the bullet and pick up a Raging Bitch. But this is where I kind of have to end my review. See, from what I can tell, my bottle was spoiled. After a few sips and double checking against reviews on Beer Advocate, I think that this is really the only explanation for the mildly carbonated, generally flavorless and stale beer. I got none of the piney, hoppiness of the IPA, nor did I get any of the banana-y characteristics of a beer brewed with Belgian yeast. Moreover, this beer was supposedly 8.5% but, for me, it tasted very weak. So, for the time being, I’ll give Flying Dog the benefit of the doubt and not condemn this brew to a BAAM thumbs down. Of course I was disappointed to drink a spoiled beer, but I guess it means I’ll have to give this one a shot in the near future. Sorry everybody, but that’s just way it goes.

And so BAAM’s comeback night was a bit of a swing and a miss. Raging Bull was right on the money, delivering the one-two punch of fantastic acting and unbelievable cinematography. However, Flying Dog’s Raging Bitch couldn’t handle the punches with the spoiled bottle I drank. I definitely want to try this beer again for all of its positive reviews, but I’m out of boxing puns for now and I have many other beers to try. Catch you next time!

But until then, keep drinking my friends!

Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
Flying Dog’s Raging Bitch Belgian-Style IPA: 
-Unfortunately received a bad bottle, so there isn’t much I can say here. Sorry kids.
-And by kids I mean young adults who are over 21 years of age. Just to clarify.
-And by young adults I pretty much mean anyone over 21. I don’t discriminate.

Raging Bull:
-Powerful performances from every cast member.
-Striking black & white photography. Truly beautiful.
-Lots of sweaty De Niro. Winning!


Filed under Review

New Belgium’s Snow Day Winter Ale & Home Alone

BAAM! We’re back, Drinkers!

Now that Thanksgiving is over, it means that it is now unequivocally Christmas time which I, like most Americans, associate with snow. Growing up in New England, there are a few things that stick with me when it comes to wintertime. And while beer was not part of my childhood (because that would be weird and irresponsibly of my parents), the 1990 Chris Columbus directed, John Hughes written, Macaulay Culkin vehicle Home Alone ranks amongst the most memorable and formative pieces of my youth. And though my opinions, and tastes, may have developed a little over the years, I still get excited by the memory of curling up and watching a great movie on a snow day. So let’s get snowed in!

I actually haven’t seen Home Alone in quite some time but it’s incredible how many little details I remembered (and forgot). But what has remained the same is that this movie is still simply fun. Sure Macaulay Culkin’s character is inexplicably violent and kind of an asshole, but that doesn’t mean he and his home-defenses aren’t lovable. I mean, he learns to appreciate the importance of family and unconditional love, so we can forgive him for sticking a nail in a guys foot and lighting Joe Pesci’s head on fire. Right? Another thing that hasn’t changed over the years is how creepy this movie can get. Remember the furnace in the basement? That thing is terrifying! And it doesn’t help that the John Williams score is equal parts scary basement, happy childhood and Christmas hymnal. Truly eerie. To be fair though, the score is fantastic. For a 90’s kids movie, the music actually stands out and is worth paying attention to. Plus, there’s some polka music thrown in there just for good measure.

I also have a few final remarks that I feel just need to be said regarding this film.

1) The crooks in the movie are arguably the worst crooks ever. Ever.
2) Macaulay Culkin calls the cops only after he has tortured the home invaders.
3) I think every boy, at some point in his life, wished he could be this much of a badass.
4) This movie has an inexplicably good cast. Joe Pesci. Catherine O’Hara. John Heard. John Candy. Yeah, I know.
5) This is one of the few films I have seen that has convincing and realistic snow. I’m being serious. Home Alone got its snow right.

Don't worry, it's just a natural byproduct of understanding the importance of family.

Okay enough with the kids movie, let’s drink some beer! New Belgium describes their Snow Day as a  “Midnight Wheat” with some serious hoppiness. Now, I have no idea what a Midnight Wheat is (does that undermine my authority?) but I can tell you how I feel about this beer and its mad hops. This dark, caramel-y beer is a simple and hearty winter ale that would be perfect for a New England snow day. Like several other New Belgium brews, this beer is dark, bitter and hoppy but is still remarkably drinkable. While the hoppiness is the defining feature of this beer, you still manage to get some of those holiday spices filtering in underneath, which adds a nice layer of complexity to this beer. Sure it’s not the greatest winter ale ever but Snow Day is just another example of how New Belgium is able to make potentially difficult beers very accesible to casual drinkers. Now sadly we don’t get any snow here in Los Angeles, but if I never need a snow day, I think I know where I’ll turn. And if you’d like a second opinion on this beer, check out our friend’s review over at A Cap A Day. She does some great reviews and has some beautiful beer-related photography as well. Check it out!

And there you go. BAAM (yup, sticking with it) is back in action, so be on the lookout for some more combos. Home Alone and New Belgium’s Snow Day was a great combo to kick off our holiday season. Home Alone is still a good time and Snow Day is a solid beer to be drinking while watching a movie for kids…yeeaaahh….

Oh and I’m drinking IPA’s again. So that’s happening.
Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
New Belgium’s Snow Day Winter Ale:
Dark, caramel color
Bitter hoppiness as a primary flavor
Very accessible dark, winter beer

Home Alone
Still a classic. Can’t outgrow this one
Surprising and haunting score by John Williams
Macaulay Culkin’s character has some serious rage issues he  should address


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