Tag Archives: Los Angeles

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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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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Beer and an Outdoor Screening Special: Eagle Rock Brewery’s Populist & Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Hey there, sportos, motorheads, geeks, sluts, bloods, wastoids, dweebies and dickheads!

Tonight we’re doing something different and headed out on the town to an outdoor screening here in Los Angeles. There are a number of outdoor series running throughout the city, but tonight’s festivities were provided by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, also known vaguely as “the Academy.” Yes, that Academy is now offering outdoor movie screenings on its property in Hollywood for the delightfully Summery price of $5. From what I gather, they’ve recently redone their property and now there is a beautiful lawn that’s just perfect for screenings. Not to mention the bumpin’ surround sound. But enough pimping the Academy, they don’t need the free publicity. For those of you who are interested in future screenings this summer, check out their site for more information. But for now, let’s talk about the evening.

Tonight’s “theme” really is about doing it local. Summer is all about getting outside, spending time with friends and exploring the world around you. For me, that means hitting up local screenings and drinking some of the finest local beer you can get. So I grabbed a rare bottle of Populist, made by the beautiful people at Eagle Rock Brewery and got cozy with my fellow Angelinos for Ferris Beuller’s Day Off. So let’s cut class and see what we have in store.

Sadly, we didn’t have string lights but it was still a sweet venue

For the zero of you who have never seen the 1986 John Hughes mega-classic high school film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, I ask how you have survived so long without this cinematic gem. I’m not going to go into the plot too heavily or overstate it’s humor, because I think that’s familiar territory for most of you. But I haven’t seen this movie in a number of years and I was struck by how fresh the film still felt. The jokes were still on point, the characters still nuanced and playful, and Charlie Sheen still looked strung out. Of course over the years, you forget a lot of the little moments that make the movie so wonderful, like the little looks and faces the actors give one another, as if egging each other on in their roles. And while you could break down and quantify why this film is still so beloved, its standout feature is its earnesty. Sure the characters are a bit exaggerated at times, but at their core, each of the principle characters is deeply uncertain and scared. In  a sense, the film really ends up being more about Cameron, Ferris’s BFF, as he is really the only character to undergo a major change. For the angsty that still lives inside of all of us, Cameron is our point of contact throughout the film and can’t help but fall in love. This ability to play with humor and angsty universal truths is writer/director John Hughes’ trademark and, for me, Ferris Bueller strikes just the right balance. Not to mention it features arguably one of the greatest movie sequences of all time.

And it’s about time I got around to Eagle Rock Brewery. I’ve been coming to this place for a little over a year now and I still can’t get enough. Housed in a small, nondescript warehouse just off the freeway near where I went to college, this local brewery was one of the catalysts that sparked my interest in craft beer. And their West Coast IPA, the Populist, is the IPA that re-introduced me to the style. Tonight was the first time I had tried the bottled (they only recently started selling bottles, so until this point I’ve either had this at the tap room or out of my growler) and I still loved it. Populist manages to capture that bright, hoppy flavor of IPA’s without any excessive bitterness. The result is a hazy orange beer that is piney and floral. What I love most is that it retains that big, bold flavor without feeling heavy or too intense. And with a well-masked 7% ABV, this is a great beer to have with dinner or to slowly sip under the stars and in front of the silver screen.

Drink local!

So thanks for joining me on this unconventional BAAM tonight. There really was no question that tonight’s combo was going to be a real winner. Great local beer? Check. Timeless teen comedy? Check. Enjoying an evening under the stars with friends? Check. For those of you who do live in Los Angeles, I highly recommend you check out both of the places I’ve mentioned here. The Academy screenings go all the way through August and it’s a cheap way to have a great evening (plus free parking!). As for Eagle Rock Brewery, why wouldn’t support a local business that’s making great products? And for those who aren’t in LA, just grab yourself a local beer, find Ferris Bueller’s Day Off on Netflix and have a great night.

And, as always, keep drinking my friends.

Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
ERB’s Populist IPA:
-Big, hoppy flavor
-Not overly bitter
-The IPA that started it all for me

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off:
-Timeless humor & high school sentiment
-Subtle & loveable characters
-Most kickass German heritage parade of all time

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Allagash Dubbel & Double Indemnity

Good Evening Drinkers,

Tonight we’re in for some double (dubbel) trouble with Allagash Dubbel Ale and the 1944 Billy Wilder classic noir Double Indemnity. A duo that makes you sit up, pay attention and appreciate the finer things. So let’s get started.

For those who are unfamiliar with the specifics of Double Indemnity, I wouldn’t worry too much. While the narrative is fascinating and deserves multiples viewings, the film’s  entirety serves as the archetype for all noirs, making it easily recognizable to any viewer. The stark black and white contrast, the slick voiceover, the beautiful femme fatale; Double Indemnity has all the tropes of a good noir because it’s one of the best. To summarize, this film follows an insurance salesman by the name of Walter Neff (“with two F’s, like in Philadelphia, if you know the story”) as he records his confession in helping a sexy (and deranged) woman kill her husband for the insurance money. The entire film is a flashback and the audience is only briefly reminded of this fact as Walter’s confident voice easily carries you from scene to scene, immersing you in the past. Not to mention the dialogue is very sharp and deeply layered with sexual tension as Walter Neff fires off a stream of superb one-liners. Now a lot of people have this sad assumption that older movies (re: black and white) are either dry or boring, in both story and style. However this is not the case for Double Indemnity. I’ve already mentioned the that story is captivating, but I also have to mention that the lighting design of this movie is equally incredible. Without the distraction of color, it is remarkable what one notices in terms of light. Every scene is deftly composed to underscore what the narrative. Neff’s troubled thoughts as to his crime are reflected in the half-shadows that cover frequently his face. Our femme fatale, however, is often shown is complete darkness, revealing her malevolent inner nature. If she is not the darkness, then she is lit gorgeously, projecting that outward air of beauty. Now I don’t mean to bog you down with these film-major details, but these are things worth paying attention too, especially in a classic like Double Indemnity. Oh also, it might be of interest to fellow Angelinos that this movie makes great use of the city’s geography. Without the traffic. And it rains.

These are my Los Angeles murderin' glasses. Do you like them, Mr. Neff?

So let’s talk about the other part of my dubbel-feature. Now for the sake of honesty, I’ll let you know that I will pretty much drink, and enjoy, anything that Allagash brews. I’ve had maybe six or seven of their beers and they have all been stellar. I’d try more of them, as I have with Sam Adams, but the price tag for Allagash beer tends to run a little high. But despite that, I picked up this Dubbel and it did not disappoint. For those unfamiliar with the many different genres of beer, a dubbel is a Belgian style that trends towards a brown ale with an average ABV of about 7%. To that end, Allagash’s Dubbel fits the bill quite neatly. It has a nice, brown color, a mild malty flavor and hints of that easily identifiable Belgian yeast (bananas, remember?). For a beer with a higher-than-average ABV and malty character, I was surprised at how easy it went down. In fact, I ended up finishing it faster than I intended, leaving me to wish I had a second in the fridge to carry me through the rest of the movie (not that the movie needed any help). But alas I only had the one, which means that I’ll be back at the store to pick up another one of these tasty beers. And as a general rule of thumb, if Allagash is the brewery, it’s good.

So that was my double trouble night. If I were feeling like a baller I would have done two movies with two dubbels, but I’m not that awesome. Maybe some other night. But I will say that this was one of the more complimentary combos I have done so far. A strong, thoughtful movie with a smooth but surprising beer. Not to toot my own horn, but I’m really happy with the combination and I would recommend that all of you give it a whirl sometime.

Keep drinking my friends!

 

Tonight’s Tasting Notes:

Allagash Dubbel:  
Very drinkable despite 7% ABV
Rich, brown color
Hearty, malty aroma and taste

Double Indemnity:
A classic noir by which many others are compared
Sharp writing and beautiful visual style
A great history lesson in LA geography (also watch Chinatown if you’re interested)

 

 

 

 

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