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Craft Artisan’s Nebulous Imperial IPA & Interstellar

Hey there Drinkers!

I know it’s been awhile but let’s dive right back into the BAAM groove. In today’s pairing we’re talking about SPPPAAAACCEE (space)! As some of you know, space is my favorite because it is, quite literally, the best. Which is why I was so excited to pair Craft Artisan’s Nebulous Imperial IPA (galaxy hopped…get it?) and 2014’s space adventure Interstellar. So fire up those rocket boosters and let’s count down to liftoff for the glorious return of beer and a movie!

Now I assume most of you have seen Christopher Nolan’s 2014 space odyssey Interstellarso consider this review a free-fire zone when it comes to spoilers. Briefly (which this movie is not), Interstellar is the story of a father’s journey through a wormhole in order to identify a potentially habitable planet for the residents of a dying Earth. The film is slightly more complicated than that, what with the time-bending singularities, supernatural future ghosts and SCIENCE but the the heart of the film is about fatherhood. And the film uses fatherhood as a prism through which we can understand the struggle for humanity’s continued existence. In this regard, the film is actually successful. At every stage, we see our hero Cooper (played by a one Matthew ‘Texas Twang’ McConaughey) as a father. Not a pilot or intergalactic traveler or a scientist, but a father who is fighting with everything he has to protect and return to his kids. And it’s sweet and powerful and genuine. In a lot of ways, the film feels like an attempt by writers Jonathan and Christopher Nolan to understand their own role as parents in a world that is increasingly dangerous and complicated. So kudos for ironing out your issues with us!

Space Dad is go for liftoff

Space Dad is go for liftoff

But where the film starts to flag (aside from its almost 3 hour running time) is its confluence of science and idealism. Not that the two are mutually exclusive by any means, but the movie struggles to reconcile these two primary driving forces. The first through-line of this film is hard science. Faith in fact and discovery, which the film convincingly relies on for most of the film. But as the movie progresses, that foundation of science is replaced by loftier, harder-to-pin-down ideas like love and time and transcendence. Which generally is fine but when it tries to conflate the two, the movie just gets…confusing. The film is truly beautiful and powerful from a distance, but once you start to pull on the threads a little, certain things don’t really add up or mesh. Like the urgency of Cooper’s mission or why this data they so desperately need isn’t really needed in the end or why surprise Matt Damon’s feels the need to just straight up murder everyone. I get it…but at the same time I don’t. I think, at times, Interstellar gets a little caught up with itself and, as a result, loses itself in its own grandiosity.

Space is real purdy

Space is real purdy

All that being said, the movie is still an incredible, visually exquisite ride, a true testament to Christopher Nolan’s confidence and craftsmanship. If you can find the time to just the film wash over you, you’re going to have an amazing experience. Also, quick shoutout to the best character in the film: TARS.

Hero bot!

Hero bot!

And our beer. Was it equally grand and cosmic in scope and scale? Unfortunately not really. The Nebulous Imperial IPA from Artisan Craft Ales is a solid DIPA but it does little to elevate itself. Pouring a hazy gold, you’ll get aromas of pine, resin and grain, fairly standard DIPA notes. You’ll get the same notes when you taste it, but with a little tart citrus thrown in the mix. The 80 IBU’s definitely stand out but the beer is still decidedly malty too, which is a little odd. With it’s medium body and nice lacing, the beer is definitely solid but nothing extraordinary (definitely almost wrote extraterrestrial…).

So there you have it, Drinkers! We’re back (from outerspace) with a mixed bag of a movie and a mixed bag of a beer. Definitely a good pairing, I just wanted a little more clarify from Interstellar and a little more individuality from my Nebulous Imperial IPA.

Thanks for reading folks and as always keep drinking, my friends!

CRA_Nebulous

Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
Craft Artisan’s Nebulous Imperial IPA:
-Hazy, golden wheat pour
-Lots of pine on the nose
-Average DIPA flavor profile

Interstellar:
-Visually awe inspiring
-Some cross confusion in the end re. science/love
-A strong, beautiful film overall

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Abita’s Purple Haze & Dazed and Confused

Alright alright alright, Drinkers!

Tonight we’re kicking it back and taking things slow with Dazed and Confused while sipping on a tasty Purple Haze from Louisiana’s Abita Brewing. My memory may may be a bit hazy (I had to, sorry) but I think tonight was quite the success. Let’s find out why, shall we?

The 1993 cult high school movie, Dazed and Confusedis one of those movies that I think most people saw when they were too young to really get what was going on. Or they know about it, never saw it and pretend like they have seen it. Or maybe that’s because they got a contact high from the film strip and forgot it all but that’s another issue. Directed by Richard Linklater (I reviewed his famous Before Sunrise about a year ago), Dazed and Confused is at once a typical coming-of-age high school flick and a confounding piece of cinema. Most obviously confounding is the cast. This massive ensemble film includes many actors that we have come to know over years including Ben Affleck, Milla Jovovich, Park Posey, Joey Lauren Adams and Matthew McConaughey, who literally hasn’t changed in 20 years.

But what struck me more was the lack of a structured narrative. In fact, the film is actually quite directionless, which seems fitting. Taking place on the last day of school for a group of rising freshmen and seniors, the audience is tossed into a world of incredibly high teens who seem to have some weird aggression problems, all of whom really have no plan for the future.

Milla has zombies in her future. Lots of zombies.

And while focus-less films typically frustrate me to no end, I wasn’t as bothered by Dazed and Confused. I think what it came down to for me was that this film didn’t try too hard to look like it wasn’t trying too hard. If that makes sense.  Let’s make a comparison, shall we? The Big Lebowski is ostensibly about nothing, right? Well the Coen brothers, as brilliant as they are, tried very hard to create a plot about nothing (don’t hate me, Dudes). And while some people love this film, I tend to disagree. The opposite can be said of Dazed and Confused. This is a movie about a bunch of teens with nothing to do and just enjoying it. And the film itself reflects that. We weave in and out of characters’ lives, there is no major problem to be resolved and not everyone has to get the girl at the end. It’s kind of cool actually. Yes, this film is a bit…meandering but it works. For me. And while my high school experience was is in no way represented in this film, I did feel a certain kinship with most of the characters as they fail to figure out what their lives are all about. I also have to say, briefly, that this film is reminiscent of many of Linklater’s other films. From Before Sunrise to A Scanner Darkly, Linklater seems to be interested in characters that are floating through existence, occasionally searching for something more. Dazed and Confused is no different.

Oh and I also have to point out this one line where a female character compares decades:
“Maybe the 80’s will be like radical or something. I figure we’ll be in our 20s and it cant’ get worse.”
Oh it gets worse, darling. It gets worse.

Kind of how you feel after watching this movie.

So we were dazed, confused and hazy? Sure! Why not? Tonight’s tasty beer was brought to you by the Abita Brewing Company and it actually matched the film quite well. As Abita explains on the label, their Purple Haze is a wheat lager with an added raspberry puree that goes into the brew after filtration. When you crack open the bottle, that added raspberry is immediately apparent in the nose. You get a nice sweet, tartness that excites your palet. But what’s cooler is that when you give this beer a pour, you can actually see a slight purple hue in this otherwise light-golden beer. With that first sip, you get a nice balance of light wheat flavor and subtle fruitiness. And on top of that, it’s really just a refreshing beer. Maybe the kind you want one or two of when school gets out for the summer (Just kidding kids! Don’t drink until your 21!). But seriously, Purple Haze is a nice clean, crisp beer for those toasty summer nights.

So there you have it, folks. A hazy but enjoyable evening. We watched a not-too-serious and heavily substance-abused (on screen, not me) reflection on high school while sipping on a sweet little raspberry beer. Neither tries too hard to be anything other than it is and, in the end, that helps them both. Rather than hitting us over the head, both pieces of entertainment leave us with enough room to breath. To think, or not think, about the choices we make and the future that awaits us this summer.

Thanks for reading and as always keep drinking, my friends.

Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
Abita’s Purple Haze:
-Strong raspberry aromatics
-Subtle purple hue to the pour
-Refreshing, not-too-fruity taste

Dazed and Confused:
-Lovingly irreverent of high school
-Kids in the 70’s drank and smoked…a lot. Should I be surprised?
-Tons of stars before they were stars

 

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