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Stone’s Old Guardian Barley Wine & The Cabin in the Woods

Hey there, Drinkers!

Today we’re getting Ancient with Stone’s Old Guardian oak-smoked barley wine style ale and the 2011 sci-fi horror/slasher Whedonverse film The Cabin in the Woods. It’s a big, bold pairing filled with blood n’ booze! And while that sounds like any episode of Game of Thrones, I promise that this combo is something special. And equally badass. So let’s get started, shall we?

The Cabin in the Woods is, interestingly enough, a film nerd’s dream. Created as both an adoration and parody of the horror/slasher genre, Cabin is pretty much a wall-to-wall cinematic reference. From the broad strokes of genre trope (abandoned cabin, young people, zombies, etc.) to technical details (camera references to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre)Cabin in the Woods expertly walks the line between satire and cliche. I won’t discuss much of the plot, but suffice it to say that at its core, the film is every horror movie ever made. Young, attractive people wander off the beaten path, display risque behavior and suffer the horrifying consequences. But where many other filmmakers have just stuck to the formula, Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon have bent those genre stereotypes into something new and utterly self-reflexive. Without revealing too much, Cabin is built on a premise that explains and/or justifies every horror movie ever. The cliches of movies past become the narratives hooks that drive the story forward without patronizing the audience. Rather, they became the moments of levity that make an otherwise gruesome film completely HILARIOUS!

Shot-for-shot lift from the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Shot-for-shot lift from the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre

There are actually a lot of things I want to point out about this film but since I am a wordy writer, I figure a list will be more efficient. Let’s go!

-Before Chris Hemsworth was Thor, he was a Sociologist major jock. Though this film was released after Thor, it shot a few years before. Hollywood be crazy!
-When this came out in theaters, it was the first film I saw on the big screen in over a year. (I was unemployed at the time). My friends and I laughed at all the movie references while the rest of the audience was dead silent. Aaawwkkward.
-Joss Whedon’s dry sense of humor is SPLATTERED all over this film. If your unfamiliar with his writing style, watch anything of his. Literally anything.
-A Firefly Reaver can be seen during the monster massacre scene. How awesome is that?!
-Boobs are acceptable in this film because they make a statement about the use of female nudity in this genre…what am I talking about?! Boobs are always great!
-Character stereotypes exist for a reason. Because they prevent the end of the world.
-If you think it’s Sigourney Weaver’s voice, it probably is.
-All in all, this movie is actually quite well shot and well acted. Who knew?

But seriously folks, this is one of those movies that exists for pure entertainment. Even if you’re not a big horror fan or into blood n’ guts (I’m not), this film is actually quite good fun. Yes, it does get a bit bloody at times but for the most part, it all serves the purpose of parody. You don’t even have to know most of films Cabin references to enjoy it. It is so intelligently constructed that any viewer should be able to identify it as both parody and reverence for one of the most overwrought genres in cinema.

References on references

References on references

And Stone’s Old Guardian Oak-Smoked Barley Wine Style ale(that’s a mouthful)? Well let me tell you, it is quite the beer. As with everything that Stone brews, it is a BIG beer. Pouring a beautiful, deep amber color with a tan head and remarkable lacing (the foam left behind on the edge of the glass), the Old Guardian is a beer to behold. While the nose is fairly mild, hinting at rich barley and refined hops, the beer itself is quite potent. With your first taste, you’re hit with substantial malty flavor. Toasty deliciousness fades into a respectable hoppiness that is prominent without overpowering the palette. It finishes with a bitter, boozy bite brought on by the 11.5% ABV. As with most Stone beers, this is not for the feint of heart. The Old Guardian is a powerful beer that is complex and yet thoroughly enjoyable. Not to mention quite pretty to look at. In the end though, it left with me an impressive buzz. In short, this beer is not to be underestimated. Maybe try it with a friend. Or don’t be a lightweight like me. Either way works.

So in case you haven’t figured it out, today’s thematic link was the Old Guardian protecting us from the Ancient Ones from The Cabin in the Woods. If that doesn’t make any sense whatsoever, go watch the movie. And pick up this beer. I promise that the fun (and blood) will complement the alcoholic haze of this tasty brew. Truly a wonderful pairing that I would recommend to both the casual consumer and the seasoned connoisseur…though maybe the beer isn’t so casual.

Tonight’s Tasting Notes:IMG_79591-189x300
Stone’s Old Guardian:
-Beautiful pour
-Mild, malty nose
-BIG (and balanced) taste with significant booziness

The Cabin in the Woods:
-A nerd’s best friend
-A Whedon film to its core
-Surprising balance of respect and parody for the genre

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Stone’s Vertical Epic 12.12.12 & 2012

Good tidings, Drinkers!

In honor of 12/12/12, Anne from We Recycle Movies and I celebrated the only way we know how: drinking great beer while mocking a movie we’re barely watching. Great premise, right? And since the date was too significant to be subtle with our pairing, we chose Stone’s final Vertical Epic and the tidal wave of cinematic crap that is Roland Emmerich’s 2012. So let’s get crackin’!  (that’s a joke about 2012…because the planet’s crust cracks a lot and earthquakes happen…I’m funny, I promise)

But where to begin with 2012? How about 2009? Sure, why not. That’s when SCIENCE determeined the Earth was going to blow up or melt or split apart or whatever. Briefly, 2012 charts the Earth’s Mayan-fortold demise as told through the eyes of a bunch of random people we never really care about. I think the planet’s core is melting because the planets are aligned and thus the Earth’s crust is thinning and shit gets real…I think. To be fair, Anne and I were loudly ignoring this film and instead mostly talking about the new trailer for Pacific Rim (which I contend looks like a shiny version of Godzilla vs. Voltron). We also talked a lot about Zoe Saldana who, we later realized, was not in this movie. We’re not racists but in our defense, Thandie Newton really looks like Zoe Saldana. But I digress. 2012 has all the elements of a “good” disaster movie, such as explosions, famous landmarks being destroyed, conspiracy theorists, black actors, giant boats…. You know, the usual. However, I think Roland Emmerich got so caught up in his own delusions of Earth’s grand demise that he forgot to make the rest of the movie.

Rut roh!

Rut roh!

But to be serious for just a (brief) moment, I think the major failing of this movie is really its characters. I didn’t really relate to any of them or find them interesting. They felt more like characters I was supposed to like, not characters I actually liked. It’s an assumption that can really just hollow out a movie’s emotional core. Fortunately, the movie had plenty o’ splosions and other natural atrocities to compensate for my boredom. But even then, the over-the-top destruction of the planet is also distancing. I couldn’t connect. There are only a handful of moments when the destruction resonates on a personal level, making the “we survived!” conclusion even less compelling. Finally, as noble as Roland Emmerich’s “Africa-is-the-birthplace-of-humanity” overtones are, it’s so obnoxiously blatant that you can’t help but laugh. Well…continue to laugh, since I pretty much laughed at this whole movie.

The...drama?

Who needs human drama when you have SUPER VOLCANOES?!

Good thing we each had bombers of 9% ABV Vertical Epic to get us through the night! The last of the series, the 12.12.12 Vertical Epic does feel like a pinnacle of beer. It pours a deep, dark brown with a lovely mocha-colored head. While Stone’s label rattles off a host of spices brewed with this Belgian-inspired ale, the most distinctive notes I tasted were chocolate malt, all-spice and cinnamon. That last one really came out as the beer warmed, transforming the beer into something completely new by the end of the bottle. And although the beer was dark and strong (what other kind of beer does Stone brew?), I have to say that it’s remarkablely accessible. The beer was easy to drink, not too bitter and not too filling either. Sure, it’ll get you buzzed, but you won’t really notice the booze unless you’re drinking on an empty stomach (which we were….woops!).

Overall, I’m really glad I got to taste the final Vertical Epic. Sadly, I’ve missed the previous Vertical Epics but I don’t doubt that Stone has plenty of good beer planned for us in the years to come. Or days, if the Mayan calendar (or Roland Emmerich) is correct. Either way, you better make sure that you’re friends with a pilot. Or John Cusack. Either will do.

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

Tonight’s Tasting Notes:VE
Stone’s Vertical Epic 12.12.12:
-Deep, rich brown color
-Chocolate malt, cinnanom & all-spice
-Changes, and improves, as it warms

2012:
International cooperation! Form of: BIG BOAT!
-Hollow characters
-Roland Emmerich successfully destroys the world the for…3rd time?

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