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New Belgium’s Wild2 Dubbel (Lips of Faith Series) & The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

Hey there, Drinkers!

I see you made it past that mouthful of a title and are ready get a little wild! In today’s BAAM we’re headed west with New Belgium’s Lips of Faith Wild2 Dubbel and the classic John Wayne Western The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. So grab your spurs and sit down at the saloon. Let’s get it started!

In 1962, director John Ford released yet another Western with John Wayne. In all, the duo worked together on 24 films, which helps explain certain notions and archetypes we all take for granted regarding the genre. And in a lot of ways, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance is a classic Western. You have the balance between law and bandit, the specter of an encroaching railroad and the intersection of intellectual ideals with harsh, real-world practicalities. It has all themes and characters we recognize so easily. And even some of the sayings we all know…pilgrim. A large part of this comes from John Wayne, who seems to play himself more than he ever plays a character. And that’s not really a bad thing. He’s not exactly a great actor in this movie but his comfort in the role of the smirking yet troubled rancher is really all he needs to play off the more serious and idealistic James Stewart (who is always just awesome). And with a colorful (and wildly intoxicated) supporting cast of a tough-as-nails young woman, a drunken newsman, a cowardly marshal, a trusty black ranch hand, a heartless criminal and unnamed Mexicans, you really have all the makings of a classic Western.

That's a nice belt you got there, Pilgrim

That’s a nice belt you got there, Pilgrim

But really what makes this movie interesting, aside from the on-screen chemistry of John Wayne, James Stewart and Vera Miles, is how different it is from other Westerns. Most notably, this movie is told almost exclusively as a flashback. It’s actually quite Citizen Kane-y in that respect where the film is propelled by the mysterious return of a popular man who then must explain his past, shedding light on the man he is today. But aside from that structural difference, what makes this movie special is how morally and politically conflicted it is. While many Westerns are famous for their moral ambiguity, this movie takes another angle by pitting American democratic ideals against the iron of a handgun in a very literal, political fashion. James Stewart’s character relentlessly defends the law and promotes the strength of the democratic system, and yet he is utterly powerless when he tries to execute those laws. Meanwhile, John Wayne’s character embraces the DIY system of frontier justice and yet is never rewarded or recognized for his ‘just’ acts. It seems a bit standard nowadays but it’s quite unapologetic with its views. While the film generally supports the American ideals of liberty, voting rights and a free press, it regularly complicates and undermines these institutions.

And for what it’s worth, it’s also just a fun move that I recommend to any fan of the genre.

Eastern Man, Western Justice

Eastern Man, Western Justice

And our wild beer? The Wild2 Dubbel from New Belgium’s experimental Lips of Faith series is definitely an interesting brew. I poured from a 22 ounce bomber into a tumbler and was immediately impressed by the rich, dark golden brown color and the lovely, khaki head. Visually, it’s an appetizing beer. And with that pour, you’ll get some classic Belgian Dubbel hints of yeast and rich maltiness. And for the most part, that’s the taste you get as well. With a medium body, the beer is particularly malty with just hints of dark fruit and pepper. There’s a little odd spiciness in the finish that I can only assume comes from the schisandra with which the beer is brewed. Overall, it’s a solid dubbel. I’m not sure it’s as WILD as the Lips of Faith series generally promotes itself to be but really nevertheless a solid brew.

So there you have it folks, a wild night in the American West. A classic Western film and a Colorado brew all via a California palette. Thanks for reading folks and remember that you too can suggest pairings for the next BAAM!

And as always keep drinking, my friends.

New-Belgium-Wild2Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
Wild2 Dubbel:
-Gorgeous pour
-Classic dubbel profile with a little spiciness
-A solid dubbel, but nothing revolutionary

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance:
All the Western tropes we love
-Conflicted American ideals
-John Wayne as John Wayne, the cowboy


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Owyhee Amber Ale & Stagecoach

Good Evening Drinkers,

Now I know what you’re thinking, “Gabe, how can you pair the classic 1939  John Ford film Stagecoach, set against the striking backdrop of Monument Valley, with a beer made hundreds of miles away in Oregon? Well, tonight’s theme isn’t about spatial relations. Rather, tonight is more more thematic. Beer Valley Brewing Company has an Old West feel about it’s labeling and it seemed only fitting to step back in time with this historic movie. Besides, it’s my blog and I can do whatever I want.

For those of you who haven’t seen the original 1939 Stagecoach, which stars John Wayne in a role no different than any other role he’s played, it really embodies all of the tropes of a great Westen movie. There are cowboys, Indians, chivalry, guns, racism, sexism, whisky, strong Republican values (there’s discussion of tax and deficit reduction) and, of course, surprise births. But what is truly remarkable about this film it not its classic character archetypes or distinctive cinematography, but its subtle undermining of its own genre. Women’s opinions are valued, military authority is questioned and interracial marriages are discussed (sparingly). For these and a host of reasons, this movie stands out as truly an American classic and should be required viewing for any Western fan. In similar news, it probably has one of the earliest depictions of a lovable alcoholic.

What real men look like. Yeah I'm looking you Taylor Lautner!


So what about my Stagecoach ride down into Beer Valley? Well, it was first journey with Owyhee (Way-Hee? Oh-Why-Hee?) Amber Ale and I have mixed feelings. I was initially quite excited about this beer as it poured a deep, rich amber color and smelled faintly of chocolate. I was all geared up for a rich and flavorful amber and, at first taste, I wasn’t that disappointed. Despite fairly mild carbonation, the beer had a solid taste that was just barely bitter. But my real disappointment set in as the beer went down. Rather than a rich, lasting flavor that stayed with me, I was sadly left with a watery finish. There’s not really a better way to describe it unfortunately. The flavor just sort of died and I found myself taking another sip simply to keep the taste going. The upside is that I had a 22 oz. bottle so it lasted awhile and the 5.5% ABV had some time to work it’s magic.

So maybe Owyhee (Oh-Hee? Oh-Way-Hee?) Amber Ale didn’t provide me with the rough and tumble drink I was looking for. It wasn’t a bad beer, it just fell short of what it could have been. In contrast, despite Stagecoach’s vintage racism and lack of actual driving plot (seriously, the movie is mostly about people and places, not narrative), it holds up quite well. Stagecoach is definitely one of those movies you’re supposed to see and, despite the 5.5% ABV haze, I think I understand why.


Tonight’s Tasting Notes:

Owyhee Amber Ale 
Deep amber color.
Promising, rich smell.
Lackluster, watery finish.

An American classic.
Beautiful scenery and cinematography.
Geronimo enjoys mindless violence.

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