Hey there, Drinkers!
Now I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that I’ve thrown in the towel and am now just making arbitrary pairings. I mean, in what way is American Pie thematically linked to ERB’s Manifesto Wit? Was the beer just sitting in your fridge and you had no idea what to pair it with? Well I have something to tell you, oh ye doubters and drinkers of little faith: yeah you’re mostly right. There are only so many Soviet-era films that I feel like watching casually (none) and I’ve had this beer sitting around for awhile. So yes, today’s BAAM is a bit of a stretch but…there is a connection. I swear. Just bear with me.
So todays’ film is the 1999 modern raunchy teen classic American Pie. In the interest of full disclosure: I was watching the unrated version (oooo so bad!) which is slightly different than the theatrical release. I assume this just means there were more boobies and no major plot additions but I’m just trying to be transparent here. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the film, or just haven’t seen it in awhile, American Pie (at least in my mind) ushered in a new era of mainstream teen comedies around the new millenium. Gone are the John Hughes tropes of earnest teen shenanaginry from the 80’s. This is the late 90’s now and all this movie cares about is SEX. Launching the American Pie franchise and a host of lesser, sex-fueled teen comedies that dominated the early 2000’s, American Pie chronicles the lives of four highschool seniors who make a pact to seize their sexual destiny and get laid by prom. If the plot sounds a bit rote, that’s because this movie made it popular. Sure, prom has long been seen as the culmination of all highschool films, but the narrative focus on sex as a path to success and self-worth seems a bit novel at this point. And while this film is very (VERY) much about sex, and women as vehicles of sex, it’s also a lot more than that.
This may sound a little weird but American Pie is actually a good movie. Yes it’s crass and crude but it still retains that earnest clarity that we love in teen comedies. By the end of the film, our heroes seem to understand that while sex is important, it’s not as important as everyone makes it out be. What is important is that they are at a unique moment in their lives. A moment on the cusp of transformation and that they are entering this new phase of life (aka college) together as friends with no real regrets, knowing that they’ve embraced the present. Sure this seems a bit overblown for a movie in which one of our protagonists bangs an apple pie but it’s true. In a weird way, American Pie quite successfully captures what it’s like to be a teen at the end of the 90’s.
A few other quick things to note about this film.
1) It has a MASSIVE cast. So much talent with many faces that we still see on screens today.
2) It’s not really Jim’s movie. It’s Oz and Kevin’s.
3) It’s still horribly uncomfortable to watch.
4) It’s still funny and incredibly quotably.
5) It has a surprisingly accurate depiction of how webcams are now commonly in use today.
6) It includes the premise to Easy-A.
And our loosely-related Manifesto Witbier from Eagle Rock Brewery? It’s actually a pretty solid brew. I don’t usually drink wheats because they can be a bit one-note and light for my tastes but the Manifesto is actually a surprisingly fulfilling wit. It pours a very light golden color with a big, frothy head (no jokes guys) with lots of carbonation. It gives off strong aromas of wheat and grain with a little underlying hints of citrus and yeast. Many reviewers also taste notes of coriander but I’m either not that discerning or I don’t know what coriander tastes like. With your first taste, that wheat is going to hit you the hardest, with the citrus and yeast playing in the background to break it up, adding some nice complexity. For a fairly light beer, weighing in at 5.7% ABV, it’s still somewhat substantial and I found myself enjoying it slowly. So even with my general hesitance towards wits and wheats, Eagle Rock Brewery again proves to be deceptively delicious and ever-surprising (which is why they’re my favorite LA-based brewery).
So if you haven’t put the connection together yet, I’ll spell it out for you. The boys in American Pie make a pact. A solemn vow. A manifesto, if you will, to take control of their destinies and write their own sexual fates. So there you have it, arguably the biggest reach in BAAM history but you know what? WHATEVER! I had a great time watching a fantastically awkward teen comedy while drinking a surprising delicious witbier. So if you take issue with my pairings then go read your beer/movie combinations somewhere else!
Wait…I take that back….please don’t leave me.
As always keep drinking, my friends!
Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
Eagle Rock Brewery’s Manifesto Witbier
-Very pale & a bit hazy
-Big, frothy head
-A more complex & substantive wit
-A new, dirtier kind of classic
-Shockingly poignant…at times
-Good ol’ fashioned uncomfortably raunchy humor