Tag Archives: Stout

Pretty Things’ Babayaga Stout & The Blair Witch Project

Hey there Drinkers,

Tonight we take a walk in the woods with Pretty Things’ Babayaga Stout and the 1999 horror film The Blair Witch Project while I’ll be doing my best to avoid witch jokes. Which jokes? Witch jokes. (okay, it’s out of my system now). So hang on to your wool hats, lace up your hiking boots and grab a glass. Let’s get started.

In 1999, the low-budget horror film The Blair Witch Project hit the scene and blew everyone’s mind. Well, everyone but mine since I didn’t watch the movie until this pairing. But that’s beside the point. While the film is not the first to use the now obnoxiously ubiquitous found-footage style, it did help popularize the format. More interesting though is the general consensus that The Blair Witch Project was the first film to fully utilize the power of the internet to generate interest. At the time, the online marketing campaign was so original and engaging, many viewers truly believed the film was real and not a work of fiction. They were wrong but it is interesting to see how much we’ve grown as cinematic and online consumers in the past 15 years. But now let’s talk about the movie itself.

Not having a good night

Not having a good night

Shown through the camera lenses of three amateur documentarians, The Blair Witch Project is, in essence, a film about getting lost in the woods. And a damn terrifying story at that. And just like feeling lost in the woods, the film does little to orient you.  The camera whips around casually and dips into long bouts of complete darkness after the sun has set. Unlike more recent found-footage films, TBWP does little to gloss up its look or clarify the setting. Rather, it just dumps the viewer out in the woods alongside the characters. A side effect of this is that the audio is inconsistent and we rarely see who speaks. Our heroine director Heather quite literally lives behind her videocamera, a realistic touch that also has major character and story relevance.

Lot's of looking at people's backs

Lots of looking at people’s backs

And for scares, this movie is of the slow-burning terror variety. What makes this movie so successful at making our skin crawl is that we never have more information than the characters. We see only what they see which, more often than not, is nothing. And we hear only what they hear, which is typically distant and indistinct. It’s a sense of removal, anxiety and complete ignorance that freaks us out more than any monster or blood ever can. I’m just impressed that the actual filmmakers avoided using classic jump scares or spooky monsters at all. Instead, we never really see much of anything. Just some creepy twig sculptures and a bloody tooth. That’s it! And I’ve never been more scared!



And our spooky stout? So good! Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project is a small brewery based in my home state of Massachusetts. So when I saw their Babayaga Stout in my local beer shop here in Los Angeles, I just had to buy it. For those who are wondering about tonight’s connection, Babayaga is a supernatural creepy woman from Eastern European mythology. As for the beer itself, my bottle was labeled as having been bottled in 2011 so I assume some aging had taken place over the years. But when I opened my bomber, I immediately got hit with a delightful wave of coffee and malt aromas. With a pour, you’ll find that it has a dark brown-black color with a thin, chocolate-colored head. When I first tasted it, I double checked the label to confirm that this was indeed a stout because it was much lighter-bodied than I was anticipating. This made it easier to drink and highlighted the lovely malt, molasses and chocolatey flavors in the beer. It wasn’t as roasty as other dark beers which made it perfect for the warm LA summer. Overall, a really outstanding stout.

So there you have it folks, a night of witches and their brew. We had a genuinely scary movie that has held up over the years with a delicious beer that had been bottled in 2011. Thanks for reading and always feel free to suggest pairings for future BAAM posts.

And as always keep drinking, my friends.


Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
Pretty Things’ Babayaga Stout:
-Deep, rich dark pour
-Lovely malty aroma without much roast
-Lighter bodied than other stouts

The Blair Witch Project:
-Simple, smart & effective
-Scary without classic scares
-The first true internet-era film


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Christmas Crossover Special: Black Christmas, Black Phoenix & The Beer That Saved Christmas

Hey there, Drinkers!

Tis the season for gift giving, sleigh bell ringing and black beer drinking. And once again in celebration of the holidays, I’ve teamed up with Anne from We Recycle Movies to watch some terrible holiday-themed slashers while drinking a few good beers. Since Anne’s blog is all about sequels and remakes, we watched the two iterations of Black Christmas while sipping on Bootlegger’s Black Phoenix (it’s black…and phoenix’s live again…nevermind) and also The Beer That Saved Christmas (aka the beer that saved us the pain of watching these movies). So sit down, enjoy those chestnuts roasting over that open fire and prepare for a black Christmas!

Let’s begin at the beginning. The original Black Christmas was released in 1974 and subsequently….actually I don’t think it did anything after that. To horror fanatics, I think it ranks as a sort-of spiritual predecessor to Halloween, as the films are surprisingly similar (albeit that Halloween is a much better film). But beyond that, the film doesn’t hold much water. Or blood. The film, which follows the deadly targeting of a sorority house, very rarely elevates itself beyond creepy but usually relegates itself to the mundane. The film slowly meanders between its uninteresting characters and largely ignores the murders, which is very odd for the genre. Occasionally the film veers off-course entirely and does very little to reincorporate itself into the central plot. The scariest parts of the movie are actually its phone calls. A’la Scream, the girls of the house are harassed by unnerving, sexual and animalistic calls that the police generally disregard until the end of the film. For the most part, there is very little that really captivated me with this movie but there are two points that are worth mentioning. One, the film very directly deals with the issue of abortion. Our heroine finds herself unintentionally pregnant and makes the difficult decision to have an abortion, a conviction she firmly holds on to throughout the film. Second (SPOILER ALERT), you never find out who the killer is. There a few suspects but they are all cleared/killed by the end of the film, and with only two shots of the killer himself (all shadowed and highlighting only his eyes), you never actually learn who the killer is or his motivation. A fact that I found infuriating. But maybe some people find that genre-defying. I found it lame.

One of two shots of the killer

One of two shots of the killer

And the 2006 remake of Black Christmas? Yeah it’s pretty terrible. In this version, the film takes the mythology of the original and over-explains everything. See in the original, the mystery killer keeps mentioning the names “Billy” and “Agnes,” two characters we never meet. In the 2006 version we know right away who our killer is: Billy. Billy is a yellow-skinned cannibalistic killer who is raped by his mother, who gives birth to his oddly man-like daughter Agnes. Oh and Billy made Christmas cookies out his mother’s skin. Whatever. Anyway, all of this story is WAY over-explained in stupid flashbacks that mostly serve to gross us out while cheaply delivering plot. The rest of the film follows the various murders of these sorority sisters and the occasional douche-y boyfriend that gets caught in the way. And while this film provides our bad guys with “motivation,” the film really isn’t any better than the original. Actually, it’s probably worse. The acting is terrible, the kills are kinda silly and the bad guys are just really lame. It does feature Katie Cassidy before she was Laurel Lance on Arrow (great show, not a good actress), so that’s a fun fact. And finally, it’s simply not scary. Yeah it’s a little gross but that’s only a small factor when it comes to successful horror movies. Overall, I’d say don’t waste your Christmas on these movies. Maybe watch something a little more wholesome.

blah blah this movie blah blah

blah blah this movie blah blah

And ours beers? Pretty solid actually. The first we had was Prairie Artisan Ales’ The Beer That Saved Christmas (that’s a mouthful) . This brew is an Old Ale, a style of beer I didn’t even know about. Apparently, these beers can be very fruity and malty, which is pretty much how I’d describe this one. Pouring a deep, almost rust-colored brown, you’ll get a sweet, malty nose and lovely tan head. When you taste it, you’ll get a very interesting and bright pop of flavor. I tasted a nice mix of cherry, red wine and oak barrel (this beer is barrel aged). What is most interesting is that big splash of character almost immediately disappears into a smooth, light finish. And for a 10% brew, you get almost no booziness. It’s hard to say that this beer was extraordinary but it certainly was interesting. If you’re looking for something different this holiday season, I’d say give this one a shot.

As for Bootlegger Brewery’s Black Phoenix, this brew held up as a solid coffee stout with a nice little twist of chipotle spice. Pouring a deep black with minimal chocolate-lacing, you get a well-balanced mix of roasted malts, coffee flavor and a hint of chipotle. None of these flavors hit you over the head and the 6.7% ABV keeps this beer under control. For a beer with some many potentially big flavors involved, I found this coffee stout to fairly mild-mannered and easy to drink, which makes it a good alternative for those looking for something a little lighter when you’re perusing the stout aisle at your local beer store.

So there you have it, Drinkers! A Black Christmas! As per usual with these holiday specials, the movies were pretty awful but the beer and the company really made the night a winning combo. Be sure to show Anne some love and check out her review of the movies which will probably hold the same level of disdain as my own review. Thanks as always for reading and have a happy holiday season!

And as always keep drinking, my friends!
Prairie-The-Beer-That-Saved-Christmas-Oak-Aged-Old-AleTonight’s Tasting Notes:

Bootlegger’s Black Phoenix Chipotle Coffee Stout:bootlegger
-Clean black pour
-Very malty, nice hint of coffee
-Spicy little twist

Prairie’s Beer That Saved Christmas:
-Big, bright opener
-Mild, smooth finish
-Surprisingly not boozy

Black Christmas (1974):
-No killer reveal
-Shag carpets

Black Christmas (2006):
-Too much exposition
-Gratuitous grossness
-Sad remake to a sad original

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Avery’s Out of Bounds Stout & For Your Eyes Only

Hey there, Drinkers!

It’s almost Thanksgiving so that means it’s time to completely ignore it and watch a random movie! In today’s BAAM, we’re continuing on our unofficial quest to review every James Bond movie ever with For Your Eyes Only and Avery’s Out of Bounds stout. The connection? Skiing! Yes, another James Bond/beer combo tenuously held together by skiing. Some readers may remember that I recap-reviewed this stout a long time ago but I figured it was time to give this bad boy its own post. Also, I just found a liquor store that sells lots of Avery brews out here and I got a little excited. Deal with it.

So let’s hit the slopes, shall we?

For Your Eyes Only (1981) is Roger Moore’s 5th Bond film and is generally regarded as a “return” to Bond basics after the 1979 release of Moonraker (spies in space!). And while nothing about the Bond franchise is truly basic or simple, For Your Eyes Only does have a remarkably simple story and a noticeable lack of fancy gadgetry. Sure there are still motorcycles with machine guns, remote-controlled helicopters and Dick Tracey-esque watch-phones (I guess Galaxy Gear would be a more up-to-date comparison), but more often than not Bond relies simply on his wits and his trusty Walther PPK.

In this film, Bond is tasked with tracking down a British missile control code machine from a sunken ship before it can be sold to the Russians. That’s actually it. Just a good old-fashioned Cold War plot. But like any self-respecting Bond flick, the narrative takes us through the beautiful backdrops of Cuba, Greece and the Italian Alps. And also like any self-respecting Bond flick, the movie features car chases, ski chases, ski jumps, submarine fights, scuba fights, cliffside fights, shark attacks, hockey fights (don’t ask) and, of course, crossbows. I think the main reason this film gets away with such a stripped down plot is simply because the film is largely action sequences. Yes, story is peppered throughout the explosions and chases, but mostly it’s just visual candy. And it’s some sweet-ass candy, if I do say so myself!

Motorcycle ski chase shootout. All done for real.

Motorcycle ski chase shootout. All done for real.

Of course there are the usual logic and emotional bumps along the way. Like why Bond’s enemies always choose the most outlandish and least-effective methods of killing him. Or why a Greek smuggler allies with Bond so readily. Or why a really young figure skater wants to bang every older man she can get her hands on (and why is she even in the film at all?). Or, most importantly, why Bond lets  a Russian general, intent on buying a piece of valuable British military hardware, just turn around and fly home? WHY?! But you really can’t let yourself get bogged down in these kinds of questions of logic or reason or sense, otherwise you’d never enjoy the movie. And Bond movies, at their core, are simply meant to be enjoyed. Nothing more, nothing less.

When movie posters were blunt

When movie posters were blunt

And how about our Out of Bounds Stout from Colorado’s own Avery Brewery? Was it similarly action-packed? Well, it was definitely malt-packed (that’s a thing now, go with it). Pouring a gorgeous chocolate-colored two-finger, this stout is black as night! I held it up to a light (as I usually do) and barely any light passed through. With a sniff, you’ll get strong notes of chocolate, coffee and toffee that will have you drooling. And you’ll get those notes again when you sip, but they’re remarkably well-balanced. Moreover, the mouthfeel is super smooth. Combined with a low ABV 6.3%, the result is a delicious beer that is easy drink and will be reliable over two or three bottles. Definitely a winner.

So there you have it, folks. An out of bounds pairing with For Your Eyes Only and Avery’s Out of Bounds Stout. A big, punchy combo that goes down easy and is perfect for these chilly nights (by Los Angeles standards).

And as always keep drinking, my friends.

Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
Avery’s Out of Bounds Stout:
-Deep black pour
-Bold, delicious malt flavor
-Easy to drink despite the body

For Your Eyes Only
-So much crazy action
-Simple story
-Good fun but not a Bond-best

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Alesmith’s Speedway Stout & Senna

Hey there, Drinkers!

Put down your drinks and put the pedal to the metal, because today’s BAAM is all about that checkered flag (also because drinking and driving is illegal & super dangerous)! We’re sipping on Alesmith’s delightful Speedway Stout and watching the 2010 racing documentary Senna. So let’s hit the pavement and roll right into tonight’s BAAM! (so many racing puns!)

As much as BAAM is about watching terrible movies in which many things explode, every now and then it is truly refreshing to engage in a film that captivates and mesmerizes. And it is only more invigorating when that film is an artfully done documentary that so beautifully captures, represents and respects its subject. Senna, the 201o documentary from filmmaker Asif Kapadia, is a loving remembrance to one of Formula One’s greatest legends: Brazilian driver Ayrton Senna. For the sake of disclosure, I have zero interest in auto racing and barely see the appeal of the sport. But regardless of you fall into that same disinterest category, the beauty of Senna is that it makes the viewer understand and feel the sport. The doc does a wonderful job of capturing the romance of auto racing.  The beauty, the glamour, the politics, the danger. All of it exists in this film and all of it is grounded in the painfully human story of driver Ayrton Senna.

So thoughtful. So beautiful.

So thoughtful. So beautiful.

What is most remarkable about this film is how unbelievably true it all is. As I told my roommate, Senna’s story is something you see in the movies because it is too perfectly dramatic for real life. The young upstart driver forces his way into the Formula One scene. With his first big break, he is disqualified due to a BS technicality that seems orchestrated by his calculating rival/teammate (who happens to be French). Yet despite the adversity, Senna becomes a three-time World Champion, an international celebrity and a hometown hero. And, on top of all that, he’s a God-fearing hottie! It is literally too good to be true. But it’s all true. I’m not educated enough to decry spin or slant but to my untrained eye, the film seems objective, honest and respectful of the facts without opinion or angle. Ultimately, Senna is an exceptional film about an exceptional man.



And could Alesmith’s Speedway Stout keep up with Senna? Short answer? Yes. END OF REVIEW!

Just kidding, Alesmith deserves more than that. This Speedway Stout, brewed with coffee for extra speediness, is a jet black (oil black, if we’re keeping with the racing theme) brew with as much character as Ayrton Senna. Pouring a deep black with a modest caramel head, Speedway gives off strong notes of caramel, chocolate malt and coffee. The taste brings more of the same but despite it’s heavy color, the mouthfeel is surprisingly mild. Speedway is supremely smooth and the carbonation is mild, making this the ultimate sipping beer. That and the 12% ABV. I mean, I’m not a fast drinker by any means but I was still drinking this 2 hours into this bomber. Big beer and big alcohol require a more leisurely pace, in my opinion

So while drinking a stout in a warm Los Angeles spring may not be the best idea, this beer ended up being the perfect companion to Senna. Both are rich in character and best enjoyed slowly. You don’t have to like Formula One racing or stouts to get into these bad boys either. While they offer something to the seasoned fanboy, they area also wholly accessible to the casual consumer. Maybe Senna is more easily accessible than Alesmith’s Speedway, but that’s mostly because driving really fast will always be more awesome than anything. Other than spaceships. Spaceships are the best.

So there you have it, Drinkers. A night of speed! Of action! Of character! But seriously, all joking aside, tonight was thoroughly enjoyable. And after nearly two years of BAAMing, I have to say that Senna was one of the few breakout surprise hits I’ve had the pleasure of viewing. Good thing it’s on Netflix!

And as always keep drinking, my friends!

Tonight’s Tasting Notes:Speedway-Stout
Alesmith’s Speedway Stout:
-Brewed with real, locally roasted coffee
-Deep, dark black pour with caramel head
-Strong notes of caramel malt, coffee & chocolate

-The glamour & drama of Formula One racing
-An accessible film to an elusive sport
-A story that defies the “too good to be true” label

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Ballast Point’s Indra Kunindra & Sita Sings the Blues

Hey there, Drinkers!

Tonight we’re getting cultured with the crowd-funded animated film Sita Sings the Blues while sipping on a delightfully unusual Indra Kunindra. Since there’s a lot to talk about, let’s just dive right in, shall we?

First off, I can take no credit for choosing tonight’s film. My dear friend Anne over at We Recycle Movies suggested I check this film so all the credit goes to her and her expansive mental library of movies. Secondly, this is not a film that people have heard of it. As far as I know, it had almost no theatrical distribution and has probably made zero money. A big reason why that’s the case is because Nina Paley, the filmmaker who pretty much did everything on this project, released the film for free under the Creative Commons. You can actually watch it right now here. And I’d recommend doing so. Once you get past the first few weird minutes, you’ll find yourself deeply in love with this insightful, heartfelt and funny semi-historical film. As a frame of reference, the film is divided into three different animation styles, each of which is responsible for a portion of the narrative. One tells a breakup story of the filmmaker. Another is an interesting history lesson in the Indian story the Ramayan, as narrated by three hilarious shadow puppets. The third informs the previous two through musical acts set the beautiful music of 20’s blues singer Annette Hanshaw. As disparate as they are, the three stories and visual styles all blend together beautifully. The visual imagination of Nina Paley, combined with some fantastic storytelling and some truly wonderful music creates a movie-watching experience that is simply a delight.

A good cross-section of this film's artistic style

A good cross-section of this film’s artistic style

What I think I liked most about this film was its playfulness. What could have easily been an esoteric history lesson is transformed into something fun, understandable and relatable. Our shadow puppet narrators navigate their way through the story’s inconsistencies for us and turn our questions into humor. And it’s so effortless! On top of this, there’s even a three minute intermission just when your brain needs a micro-break from the oddity that is this film. Finally, it’s great to know that this film was crowd-funded. In both the opening titles and closing credits, the filmmaker goes out of her way to thank everyone involved in making this project come to life. And as someone who contributed nothing to this project, it feels great!

Sita being all pure n' stuff

Sita being all pure n’ stuff

And the Indra Kunindra? Well, as it turns out, I clearly can’t stay away from Ballast Point Brewing Company since this is my second in a row here on BAAM. But I really do love this brewery and this beer is a major factor in that. The beer’s label classifies this brew as a “India-style export stout” which I guess explains it but fails to fully encompass what it really going on in this beer. So let me break it down for you. Take an export stout (i.e. a stout that is super dark, malty and high in ABV) and throw in a host of spices. I’m talking curry, coconut, cayenne, cumin and so many more. It’s kinda crazy. The beer is still super smooth but it has this tiny kick. You so clearly get the curry and cayenne but they never overpower that solid, chocolately malt backbone. It’s quite impressive. And you don’t even realize that this beer is 7%! Bonus! To put it in perspective; this is only the second time I’ve had this beer and it easily ranks up in my top three favorite beers. It’s so good that I’ve even written about in previous posts from about a year ago. And the impression that it made!  Anyway, If you see an Indra Kunindra at your local beer shop, I demand you buy. DEMAND!

So there you have it, folks. One of our more legit, classy BAAM combos. We had an accessible art film with an accesible crazy-spicy stout. I truly enjoyed this pairing and I recommend to everyone to check out both of these bad boys. Whether together or separate, they’re sure to put a smile on your face.

And as always keep drinking, my friends!

Tonight’s Tasting Notes:image[3]
Ballast Point’s Indra Kunindra:
-Rich, malty stout backbone
-Complex, layered spicy flavor
-Surprisingly easy-to-drink

Sita Sings the Blues:
-Beautiful animation
-Fantastic music. Perfectly integrated.
-Crowd-source FTW!

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Dogfish Head’s Bitches Brew & The Cotton Club

Hey there, Drinkers!

Tonight we have a great beer, a terrible movie and a few chuckles in between. In celebration of the history of jazz, we’re drinking Dogfish Head’s Mile Davis tribute beer Bitches Brew with the 20’s throwback film The Cotton Club. If there’s only thing I impart on you tonight, it’s that tonight’s pairing is indicative of how beer (and friends) can make the world a better place. My friend Mike and I sat down with what turned out to be a terrible movie but through the power of beer, friendship and force-of-will, we made it through. And now it’s time to share that experience with all of you! Let’s get swinging!

Tonight’s film had so much promise. Directed by the legendary Francis Ford Coppola, the 1984 The Cotton Club sports a tremendous cast that one would assume could act. One would be mistaken. I’m almost tempted to not say much about this film because I truly have no idea what happened and it really doesn’t dignify discussion. But I’m going to talk about it anyway. Here’s what I gathered on the plot: I think Richard Gere gets involved with a Harlem mob boss (or mob bosses?) and I think there’s also some drama with some tap dancing brothers. Honestly, that’s about as much I got out this film. It has no narrative, no structure, no character development and, most importantly, no purpose. Characters and scenes seem to be thrown together almost arbitrarily. We’re not sure of the connection between each story line or why we should even care about any of the characters. On top of that, many of the actors seem to be reading their lines directly from the script, with almost no thought or care. Some of them try to put on a 1920’s gangster air, but even that seems like they stole their characterizations from other, worse films. Notably, Nicolas Cage (right?!) mumbles and laughs his way through at least three different accents. And then you have Diane Lane showing up all pouty and getting Richard Gere’s man-panties all in a bunch FOR NO DAMN REASON! GAH THIS MOVIE MAKES ME SO ANGRY!

Who are you and why are you in this movie?

The only positive thing I can say about this movie is that the costume design is impeccable. As I told my friend while we “watched” this “film,” I got the sense that Francis Coppola got so involved in his costume design that he forgot about the rest of the film. While the action on screen bored me to death, I thankfully had some pretty sweet outfits (and hats…so many hats) to ogle. But seriously, that’s the only good thing about this movie. Hats.

Did I mention the hats?

So thank God I had some Bitches Brew from Dogfish Head to keep me happy. Brewed in honor of the 40th anniversary of the Miles Davis album (yes I know it’s a different era of jazz but just cut me some slack), this tasty imperial stout is infused with honey and gesho root. The end result? A deep, black beer with a dark chocolately head. A beer with classic, smooth stout flavor but sweetened ever-so-slightly with honey. It’s a big, bold flavor that finishes smooth and carefully masks the 9% ABV. It really is a great beer. I’d say it’s a stout for real stout lovers. For newcomers to the genre, it may be a bit overpowering but it’s definitely worth at least a taste.

So there you have it, folks, beer to rescue! An honest-to-God awful movie rescued only a great beer and a good friend (the better to lambast the film with!). Steer clear of this movie, but be sure to pick up the beer. I think it’s only a limited release each season, so get to your local purveyor of booze and grab a bottle or two! But seriously, this movie was so bad. I really regret it. I’m so sorry everyone.

Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
Dogfish Head’s Bitches Brew:
-Deep, dark pour with rich, chocolately head
-Great roasted malt flavor with a hint of honey
-Big n’ bold. Not for the mild-mannered drinker

The Cotton Club:
-Good cast, terrible acting
-Utterly incomprehensible

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North Coast Brewing’s Old No. 38 & Back to the Future Part III

Great Scott, Drinkers!

BAAM is back…to the future…yeah. Let’s just roll with that one. But yes! Another beer and a movie combo is rolling into station (I should just stop now) with North Coast’s Old #38 Stout and the third installment of Back to the Future trilogy. So let’s fire up the engine (okay I’m stopping now) and get into tonight’s review!

As a fair warning, I will announce that the entire Back to the Future trilogy made a formidable impression on my childhood and I still regard the entire series as one of my all time favorites. That being said, Back to the Future Part III was never my favorite. I was always more partial the second movie since there were flying cars and the like. But that’s besides the point. What I’m trying to say is that I may have difficult separating my childhood memories from tonight’s viewing but I’ll do my best to remain as professional as I always am in these reviews.

Now for the sad, lonely few who haven’t seen any of these films, the third one will pretty much make no sense whatsoever. While the film does attempt to refresh the audience’s memory as to the characters, events and “science” of the previous films but the trilogy’s history is not Part III’s primary focus. And I make that pun deliberately. As can be expected from a movie about time traveling to the old West, there are some historical inaccuracies that will nag you but, in general, they won’t bother you enough to detract from the entertainment of the film. Besides, it was the 80’s and no one cares anyway.

Flying steam-powered, time-traveling train from the late 1800’s? Check!

I have to say that one of the major differences in watching this film as a 20-something as compared when I did as an 8 year old is realizing that this movie is not about Marty McFly. Unlike Part I and Part II, this film is much more about Doc Brown in terms of both conflict and character. Where in the first film Doc Brown was the amusing, scientifically informed sidekick to our hero Marty, Part III is more interested in learning about who Doc Brown really is. What happens when he falls in love? What happens when his head and heart are conflicted? What happens when he drinks? Unlike many other trilogies that try too hard to keep their protagonists fresh, Back to the Future changes course and allows another character to take center stage. Of course Marty McFly is still important and serves as the grounding story for the complete trilogy, but he acts much more like an audience interpreter this time around. To a fault, actually. Many of Marty’s lines seem to knock the audience over the head with obvious facts or serve to remind the audience of what is at stake. More often that not, Marty spends his time pointing out the not-so-subtle connections between past, present and future. You’re my great-grandfather?! You’re Mad Dog Tannen?! It’s a refrigerator?! The unfortunate side effect of making Doc Brown the primary character in this film is that Marty McFly is forced to play second fiddle. A position that he doesn’t seem all too comfortable with.

The name’s Eastwood. Clint Eastwood.

There are a lot of things I could point out, both good and bad, about this film but for the sake of time I just want to mention one last thing I found amusing. It seems that every character we’ve ever met throughout the series has some historical counterpart in 1885 Hill Valley. They all have the same last names, all act the same, say the same things and are all played by the same actors. And while this is mostly a cute wink to the audience, it makes you realize that no one has left Hill Valley in over 100 years. And that there’s about four or five generations of repetitive parenting trickling through the ages. Just some food for thought.

The end of an era.

And how about our Old No. 38 Stout from North Coast Brewing Co? Well, it’s still a bit too warm out to really be drinking stouts but I don’t really care so just sit down and keep reading. The Old No. 38, apparently named after a retired steam engine, pours a deep black with a thin chocolate-colored head. It’s actually quite a lovely black. I’d compare it to a few other dark stouts I’ve reviewed on BAAM like Old Rasputin or Old Engine Oil. Apparently in Beerland, old equals black. But where these two beers were big and rich, I found Old No. 38 to be a bit more mild mannered. You still get that great barley aroma and chocolate malt flavor like the other two, but this beer lacks a bit of a punch. Which is fine, in my opinion. It’s easy to drink and very smooth. The hoppiness is a bit a buried under the malt but all-in-all, the Old No. 38 is a solid stout. North Coast always makes great beer so I won’t be shying away from this one in the future….or the past!

So there you have it, drinkers. Back to the Future III and Old No. 38 Stout from North Coast Brewing. While neither is the best representative of their genre, Part III being the weakest film of the trilogy and Old No. 38 being a fairly tame stout, both are still easy to enjoy and are worth coming back to. And since I’m now tempted to go back (to the future!) to rewatch parts I and II (thanks Mom and Dad for your HBO Go account info!), I also find myself more interested in what North Coast Brewing has to offer.

Thanks for stopping by folks. And remember, keep drinking my friends!

Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
Old No. 38 Stout:

-Pure, deep black pour
-Classic, chocolate malt flavor
-Solid, go-to stout

Back to the Future Part III:
-Silly, but heartwarming attempt at a Western
-Finally Doc Brown’s turn in the limelight
-Still brings a smile to my face so many years

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Young’s Double Chocolate Stout & Chocolate

Greetings, Drinkers!

You ever get those irresistible chocolate cravings? Well beer drinkers experience this too and tonight’s review is dedicated to those who require the occasional chocolate binge. As such, we’re drinking Young’s Luxury Double Chocolate Stout (hailing from England) and watching the 2008 film Chocolate (which is from Thailand). Tonight’s combo was actually suggested, and made possible by my good friend/roommate/occasional beer buddy David. He picked up this beer a few weeks ago on our latest beer run and suggested I try it out while watching “this crazy martial movie.” David was even gracious enough to watch the movie with me, albeit he drank a Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ale and not the BAAM-approved stout. Regardless, this chocolate-lovers evening was quite interesting, so let’s get started.

For the none of you who have even heard of this movie, Chocolate has nothing to do with chocolate. Rather, it’s the story of the autistic love-child of a former Thai gangster and a member of the Japanese Yakuza. Zen, our autistic love-child protagonist, has the ability to absorb and apply any martial arts moves she sees in movies. Her only weakness? Flies. For no real reason. Joined by her joyfully pudgy friend, Moom, Zen sets out to settle her mother’s old mob debts in order to cover her mother’s cancer treatments. Crazy fights ensue. And for a girl with no actual martial arts experience or physical training, Zen totally kicks ass. Like Batman, she beats the crap out of everybody she meets without actually killing them. As she settles more scores, Zen peaks the interest of her mother’s old mob boss, a man with questionably long hair and a small army of trannys with guns. As such, Zen fights more people. She kicks more ass. Her mother dies tragically. Moom is shot and then disappears from the end of the film and Zen is whisked away to Japan by her previously aloof father. Between the fight scenes, the plot is told through montage (and in one short, animated dream sequence that was rather violent). The reason I’m telling you the whole plot is just to prove to you that this movie is not really worth seeing. Yes, the fight scenes are pretty sweet, but there are other great martial arts films that are more narratively cohesive and have logical titles. However, I would like to point out that all of the best fights in this film (both good and bad) are female. So that’s something, right? That and Zen fights a fellow mentally-challenged super kung fu expert. That was pretty awesome.

Were the swords necessary? I just wanted to know where you were hiding the chocolate!

Okay so maybe the movie wasn’t all that chocolatey, but was the beer? Actually, the brewers weren’t lying. This beer is very chocolatey. Pouring a deep, deep black (like pitch black) with a modest two-finger head, this stout’s chocolatey aroma immediately hits you. When you sip it, you get a smooth, chocolate malty flavor that is not too sweet or heavy. For a stout, it’s actually medium-bodied which makes it an easy, casual beer which you can enjoy without thinking too hard. While the beer is nothing extraordinary, it’s still a solid beer. If you’re a bit apprehensive about trying heavier beers, give the Double Chocolate a shot. Though it’s black color can be intimidating, the flavor is quite tame.

So there’s our chocolate-lover’s evening. A double chocolate stout and a Thai Chocolate. A triple chocolate night, if you will. Sure, the film made no sense and had an army of non-tranny tranny hooker fighters, but it was fun. And that’s what BAAM is all about. As my buddy David pointed out, this film is supposed to be mindless and fun. He’s right, too. I think he and I pretty much joked our way through the whole movie but we didn’t miss much. The action was pretty sweet and that’s really the only reason you’re watching the movie anyway. In a way, the beer is the same. It’s not too complex, but it’s fun and easily enjoyable.

And as I’ve mentioned in the past and demonstrated tonight, I am totally open to suggestions for beer and a movie combos. You don’t even need to give me the complete pairing. Got a cool beer you want to tell me about? Let me know and I’ll pair it with a random movie I find on Netflix. Just saw an awful movie on the SyFy Channel? Tell me about it and I’ll find an appropriately high ABV beer to watch with it.

Remember, both beer drinking and movie watching are social activities, so hit me using social media (see what I did there?). Find me on Facebook or on Twitter @beerandamovie1 to share your ideas for future BAAM combos.

And as always, keep drinking my friends.


Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
Young’s Double Chocolate Stout:  
-Pitch black color
-Strong chocolate malt aroma & flavor
-Modest, medium-body

-Strings of fight scenes pasted together with montage
-Apparently autistic kids can learn to kick ass from watching too much TV
-Chocolate? I’m confused.

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Guinness Stout & The Boondock Saints

Hello Drinkers,

Tonight we’re spending quality time with three things I love: beer, movies and Boston. I’m from Boston and I always love seeing the city on the big screen, even if its depictions are a bit blood soaked. And since we watched an Irish movie with our last Irish beer (Smithwich’s Irish Ale), I figured this time around we’ll stick closer to home. That’s why tonight’s combo is the ever popular Guinness Stout and the 1999 film The Boondock Saints. I’m not talking about the recent remake that looked like crap, so don’t even ask even about it.

First and foremost, I don’t think I’ve ever heard the word “fuck” or one of its derivatives so many times in under two hours. According to IMDb, its used precisely 246 times. So if bad language isn’t your cup of tea (or pint of Guinness, as it were) then I suggest you find another movie. Oh and lots of people die, so that’s something else to consider. But in all seriousness, this movie is pretty solid. The story isn’t complex and doesn’t try to be, but the characters are strong, likeable and driven by a higher moral cause: bad people should die. But really the star of this movie isn’t either of the Boondock Saints, it’s Willem Dafoe’s FBI Agent Paul Smecker. Smecker, (or Dafoe, they seem interchangeable really), is a gay-hating gay who listens to classic music while puzzling out crime scenes. He is erratic, morally-confused and totally awesome. Yes he comes off a wee bit crazy, but he absolutely commands every scene he is in and makes the film 100% stronger because of it.

Because sometimes you gotta be a lady to do a man's job.

In all honesty, what hasn’t been said about Guinness Stout? Everyone knows it, most everyone drinks it and I’d imagine that anyone whose tried it has enjoyed it on at least some level. Guinness makes stouts accessible to everyday drinkers. Stouts, which are very dark, almost chocolately beers, can be very heavy, complex and difficult to drink for casual drinkers. If I ever have a stout, I typically struggle to have a whole pint because they can be so intense. But a Guinness Stout is very simple and smooth while retaining that class chocolate flavor and thick, rich body. For those who want to experiment with darker beers, there is no shame in starting out with Guinness as a gateway beer (and I mean that in the best of ways).

So all in all, tonight was all about sitting, relaxing and not thinking too hard. The beer, and the movie, are both very good and entertaining without making you work too hard. While The Boondock Saints may be a bit on the bloody side, and Guinness may be on the dark side, neither is putting on airs or trying too hard. Rather, they simply want you to enjoy yourself.

Tonight’s Tasting Notes:

Guinness Stout:
Deep, rich color.
Smooth, chocolate flavor.
Simple, for a stout.

The Boondock Saints:
Irishmen love their F-bombs.
Boston is a bloody place.
Willem Dafoe is, in fact, crazy.

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