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Sierra Nevada’s Ruthless Rye IPA & Ruthless

Hey there, Drinkers!

Tonight we get ruthless with our BAAM combination. Nothing says Friday night like drinking a beer by yourself while watching a random 1940’s version of Wall Street...right? Maybe? Anyway, while little about this evening was particularly ruthless, there’s still a review to write! So let’s get to it!

(that may have been the least enthusiastic sounding intro I’ve ever written…but onwards!)

Tonight, for your viewing pleasure, we have the 1948 film Ruthless. While I promise I was mostly paying attention to this, I have to admit that I don’t understand what most of this movie was about, what happened or why. In the vein of Citizen Kane, most of this film is told largely through flashbacks that skip years and traverse the entire lifespan of one Horace Woodruff Vendig. It begins when Horace escapes from his broken home and is taken in by a wealthy family and follows Horace’s story of consumption and greed. A brilliant investor and manipulator of the stock market, Horace’s insatiable desire of wealth bleeds over into his personal life as he collects and discards female companions. Generally speaking, Horace is not a good guy and we don’t like him. Which, among many other reasons, is why I didn’t particularly like this film. Horace really has no redemptive moments and never fully learns his lesson (a conclusion we as American-moviegoers have come to expect). Rather we spend two hours learning about the life and times of a vulture-capitalist we largely understood from the get go. There is little growth in the film beyond the women Horace spends his time with and the diminishing respect from his best friend Vic. And from the perspective of plot, it’s just hard to stay engaged. A number of the more heated bits of dialog center around Wall Street deal making that is never well explained. With an influx of lingo I didn’t understand, I found myself tuning out and caring less about the events on screen.

The mustache means he's bad

The mustache means he’s bad

All of this isn’t to say that the film is bad. To its credit, it is shot well and the acting is solid. Sadly however, the pacing if fairly slow and there is little development or forward momentum to keep the viewer engaged. Rather it feels more like an extended character-study of a stoic Gordon Gekko predecessor. And while I should point out that (sadly enough) many of the film’s concerns about shady stock market dealings still ring true today, the film is mostly a slow slide into boredom rather than a biting criticism of greed.

I guess this poster is accurate...sort of

I guess this poster is accurate…sort of

So was our Ruthless Rye IPA as timid as our film? I don’t think so, but maybe ruthless was the wrong adjective. With such a strong name, I was expecting a beer that would knock me on my ass with big flavor and bold hoppiness, neither of which are characteristics I attribute to rye beers. Typically speaking, based on my limited experience, rye beers are smooth and a bit grainy. But not this beer. For one, this is a rye IPA, meaning that it presents a bright, piney bitterness that comes from hops just like any other IPA. But actually I found this hoppiness that was a bit biting at first but mellowed out as the beer warmed. And while I got a little bit of that rye smoothness at the finish, I wouldn’t  describe it as a standout note for this beer. If I hadn’t seen the label, I might have even simply called this beer a solid IPA. Don’t get me wrong, Sierra Nevada brews some great beers, but I just don’t think this one did anything special for me. However, it does make me want to try other rye IPA’s so I can speak more intelligently about the genre. So there’s that.

So there you have it folks, not a particularly ruthless evening but nevertheless enjoyable. I think both of tonight’s selections struggled a little with defining what they were about, but that is not to say that they are bad or not worthwhile. I say if you have the time or the curiosity to give them a try. What’s the worst you could happen? Lose a little time and drink a beer? Doesn’t sound like  a bad Friday at all to me!

And as always keep drinking, my friends.

Tonight’s Tasting Notes:2012-01-24-RyeIPA
Sierra Nevada’s Ruthless Rye IPA:
-Clear, amber pour
-Strong, bitter hoppiness at front
-Slight rye finish but lacking

Solid film, just not too engaging
-Hard to follow timeline
-Little growth in primary character

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Bootlegger’s Rustic Rye IPA & Hook

Hey there drinkers,

Off the fantastic suggestion from my brother (accompanied by an appropriately amusing reddit thread), tonight’s film is the childhood throwback Hook. And while tonight’s Bootlegger beer was initially going to be paired with another pirate-themed movie, Hook just seemed like too good of an opportunity to pass up. So let’s fly into tonight’s combo, shall we?

RUFIO! RUFIO! RUFIO! RU-FI-OOOOOOOO. Do I really need to review the rest of this movie?

Okay, fine let’s talk. I think everyone has a few formative movies from their childhood. For me, that list includes movies like Back to the Future, Hot Shots Part Deux (I know, right?!) and the 1991 Steven Spielberg Peter Pan re-imagining Hook. Not to be on-the-nose about these things (though the film is), there is something magical about Hook. It is so full of fun and imagination that it is hard to not fall in love. The make-believe feast scene is still arguably one of my favorite cinematic moments ever. You have Robin Williams (in one of his more bizarre roles) trading absurd insults with a 10 year old boy with a remarkable hairdo, followed by the flying of brightly colored mush food. It’s awesome. But seriously, there’s a lot to love about this film. Most obviously, at least as an adult, is the realization that Dustin Hoffman plays Captain Hook. Doesn’t that blow your mind? And really he’s the best part of this film. Hook is evil, funny, truthful, deceptive, paranoid, insecure and hawkish. Not to mention he desperately wants to start a war with a bunch of kids whose biggest crime is that they splatter the occasional pirate with eggs or with the aforementioned brightly colored mush food. And his sidekick Smee (Bob Hoskins) is also incredibly amusing and adds another layer of depth to Hook’s egomania.

Rain Man

And as much as I love this film, I feel like I should share a few of my complaints. For one, it’s really really long. Coming in at about 2:15 hours, the film trudges along at times. It doesn’t take long for us to realize that Robin William’s character Peter Banning is a terrible father, but it takes forever for the film to move beyond that. Also, the film takes forever to build up Banning’s transformation into Pan but the actual moment of change is shockingly fast. And no sooner does Banning become Pan than we’re suddenly at the climax of the film. As a result, it can get easy to tune out in the middle of the film as you wait for the more awesome scenes to come around. And finally, as I kind of mentioned earlier, the film is painfully on-the-nose with the Peter Pan references. While most kids probably don’t get the wordplay, the film’s dialogue is about 35% obvious foreshadowing (“Gotta fly!”), with another 10% revolving around the famous Pan line “to die would be an awfully big adventure.” As it turns out, life turns out to be a grander adventure but you get the idea. To the sophisticated (re: awake) viewer, all of the obvious referencing starts to grate on your nerves and can pull you out of the otherwise fantastic experience. But overall, these are minor gripes when you stack them against a film this is, for all intents and purposes, pure entertainment that really never gets old.

I should also mention this cast:
Robin Williams, Dustin Hoffman, Bob Hoskins, Julia Roberts & Maggie Smith
And cameos by Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Carrie Fischer, Glenn Close & a very young Gwyneth Paltrow

One of the most beloved side-characters of all time. And he barely speaks!

And our Bootlegger beer? Well this Rustic Rye IPA was actually pretty tasty. I was a bit full from dinner, so drinking an entire bomber by myself proved more difficult than anticipated but I don’t blame the beer, I blame my beer-gluttony. Anyway, for those who have never tried a rye beer, I suggest you give them a shot. Just like how wheat beers are brewed with a higher percentage of wheat to barley, rye beers are brewed with a significant amount of rye. The primary result of this added ingredient is unexpected smoothness while still upholding the original, intended flavors of the beer. Since this beer was technically an IPA, the final result is a very well-balanced beer that still retains that classic IPA hoppiness. Now obviously it can’t be as hoppy as other “truer” IPA’s, but you still get the effect, which makes it a good intro to the IPA genre. As an added incentive, this Rustic Rye IPA sits comfortably at 6.5% ABV, making it easy and socially responsible to drink…more or less.

So there you have it folks, an evening with everyone’s favorite bootlegging pirate, Captain Hook and his favorite bootlegged liquor: beer. Actually, I think pirates are more into rum but just work with me here, okay? Anyway, the movie is still a classic and is tons of fun even when you’re all grown up. And since you’re a grown up, why not reminisce about your childhood with a solid, smooth rye IPA? I can’t think of a good reason why not, so better get to it. Time is running out. Tick tock tick tock.

Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
Bootlegger’s Rustic Rye IPA:
-Golden orange color with modest head
-Aroma of hops, caramel & rye
-Remarkably smooth and well-balanced

-Beautifully and lovingly imaginative
-A bit long & bloated


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