Tag Archives: Michael Keaton

Rogue’s Dead Guy Ale & Beetlejuice

Hey there, drinkers!

Now that I’m back from the East Coast (aka Sixpoint Brewery and Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project drinking-trip) and have somewhat reliable internet,  BAAM is back! Tonight’s combo actually comes from a friend of mine.  A few weeks ago, a good college friend came down to Los Angeles with a “thanks for letting me crash at your place” gift of four bombers of Rogue brews (she’s from Portland).  The only condition of her lovely gift, other than being able to stay at my place, was that I pair the beer with the uniquely bizarre 1988 film BeetleJuiceSo, being the awesome friend that I am, I happily drank all 22 ounces of the beer with a quizzical smile on my face as I tried to figure out what Beetlejuice was all about. So shall we?

Tim Burton’s 1988 Academy award-winning film (it won for makeup, but a win is a win!) is, simply put, the story of a dead couple trying to rid their home of new, obnoxious tenants. Unsure of what to do, they kinda-sorta ask this weird dude named Beetlejuice to help them out. Michael Keaton, in one of his most bizarre roles (other than Batman…thanks for that one, Tim Burton!), performs some low-grade shenanigans and the two previously frustrated parties make amends. But the plot is mostly irrelevant as that’s not really what the movie is about. Sure, the movie makes a hint of sense, but the film’s primary purpose is to serve as a forum for Tim Burton’s now tired but distinct visual style. Using asymmetric angles, bright colors and creepy stop-motion animation, Tim Burton successfully creates a thoroughly realized world that we can all appreciate for its quirkiness. But really, the movie has almost no point whatsoever. It’s mostly just an expensive way for Tim Burton to show off his artistic sensibilities. The supposed danger that is Beetlejuice is never explained and he does not serve as the focal point of the film. He’s mostly there to be silly, like most other parts in this film. For example, a young Winona Ryder plays a My Chemical Romance-esque goth girl and Alex Baldwin is skinny. Catch my drift?

Academy award nominee Winona Ryder!

It’s all just too weird to handle. For me, Beetlejuice is one of those films is that mostly remembered for being stylish. If you’re really in the mood for some Tim Burton, go watch The Nightmare Before Christmas or Edward ScissorhandsDon’t even both with Mars Attacks!I already took care of that one for you.

This really explains nothing about the film.

And our other Dead Guy? Well, this isn’t BAAM’s first rodeo with Rogue. In fact, this is BAAM’s third booze-fueled rodeo with the Portland brewery, so I guess they’re doing something right. The Dead Guy Ale pours a very nice honey/amber color with about an inch of head and smells pretty much like how it tastes. With a strong, malty backbone, the Dead Guy is actually a remarkably well-balanced beer. It’s quite smooth and easy to drink despite holding onto that distinct malty flavor. The fact that it’s 6.5% ABV (just above average) also helps to make this beer a real crowd pleaser. I found that it wasn’t too dark to keep casual drinkers away and wasn’t too light to earn condemnation from beer snobs like myself. And so, despite its name, I found the Dead Guy to be quite lively…I couldn’t help myself. I’m sorry.

So that’s it, drinkers! A baffling, if not stylish, film and a simply tasty beer to help you get through it. The quiet buzz I got from drinking 22 ounces by myself helped wash down this bizarrely empty film. And before any of you Burton-lovers come down on me for being a hater, I invite you to take a look at his next film. Frankenweenie. Or Planet of the Apes.


Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
Rogue’s Dead Guy Ale:
-Appealing, amber color
-Very well-balanced beer while still remaining “dark”
-Easy-to-drink & approachable

-Beetlejuice (Michael Keeton?)
-Betelguese (Winona Ryder?)
-Betelguise (What just happened?)


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Rogue’s Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout & Much Ado About Nothing

Good tidings, imbibers!

That’s really all I have for my Shakespearean writing for tonight. I’m not that talented/esoteric/confusing to do this entire post in Shakespearean English, so you all will have to to deal with my modern colloquialisms. Anyway, tonight’s delightful duo is Rogue’s Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout and the Kenneth Branagh adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic comedy Much Ado About Nothing. Brief warning: I never read Much Ado About Nothing and have somehow avoided to learning anything about it at all, so I’m sorry that my analysis will be somewhat stunted.

The 1993 film version of Much Ado About Nothing was adapted, produced, directed and starred a certain man by the name of Kenneth Branagh. Mr. Branagh, who you may recognize from random roles in Harry Potter or Wild Wild West, is actually more famous for adapting a number of Shakespeare’s plays for the cinema. Much Ado About Nothing, a story about how people can be tricked/coerced into love and non-virgins should be killed, is one of Branagh’s many adaptations which stars a surprising cast. Denzel Washington plays the only black person in the entire film for no reason, Keanu Reeves plays a dick for no reason and Michael Keaton occasionally shows up for no reason. The film also features Emma Thompson, who is lovely in every role she takes on and, randomly, Kate Beckinsale (Underworld, anyone?) is also one of the leads. For what it’s worth, the cast does a pretty good job despite the clunky language. Keanu Reeves and Denzel Washington are the most ill at ease with the script but they really do make a good effort. As can be expected, Kenneth Branagh is really the scene stealer, filling every minute of his screen time with sharp wit and big personality. And while it is very easy to see the “acting” in this film, the nature of Shakespearean language allows the audience to cut them some slack.

"I'm in a Shakespeare movie. Wow."

Another feature of the stage-to-screen adaptation is that it needs to be visually fleshed out. Since one of the most boring things you could possibly do is to watch a recording of a play, Branagh takes this opportunity to broaden the visual scope of the story. Though he regularly utilizes longer takes, honoring the difficulty of performing Shakespeare live, he also indulges in massive, sweeping shots that are, for lack of a better word, cinematic. We fly above the lush gardens of the Italian villa on numerous occasions, as well as view scenes from multiple points of view. This blending of stage performance and movie-scale scope actually works quite well.

Remind me why Denzel Washington and Michael Keaton are in this movie again?

You know what else works well? Beer. More specifically: beer brewed by Rogue. These guys are awesome. And while their Juniper beer was “meh,” everything else they brew is always fantastic, including their Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout. This big beer, with its strong aroma of chocolate and roasted malt is actually quite mild mannered. It sports a tame 6.1% ABV and is remarkably easy to drink; something not all stouts can claim. This is mostly due to the inclusion of oats into the brewing process. The oats help to smooth out the bitterness of the malt, making it very easy to drink. (On a similar note, I’ve been trying rye beers recently. The addition of rye has a similar, smoothing effect. Try it!). I can’t believe I’m saying this but I would actually recommend this beer to fairly casual drinkers. I realize that most people are wary of dark beers, but I think most people would find this oatmeal stout pretty appealing. In the unlikely case you don’t like it, just hand it over to me and I’ll finish it off for you.

So there you have it, Shakespeare lovers. A tale of confusion and love paired with a rich but not overwhelming brew. Both are appropriate for both the casual and the elite consumer, making it a worthwhile evening for anyone looking to kick back, relax and wonder what the hell Michael Keaton is talking about.

Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
Rogue’s Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout:   
-Lovely nose of chocolate & roasted malt
-Remarkably smooth, thanks to the oats
-A great, easy-drinking beer for any drinker out there.

Much Ado About Nothing:
-A strong film adaptation from a not-so-easy-to-adapt playwright
-Mostly strong cast, with a few exceptions
-Actors were definitely “acting,” but who can blame them?


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