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Golden Road Brewery’s Wolf Among Weeds & The Wolf of Wall Street

Hey there, Drinkers!

Are you ready to get a little crazy? Maybe do one to eight different drugs at once? Then you’re in the right place because today we’re watching Martin Scorsese’s drug-and-money-fueled film The Wolf of Wall Street while sipping on a particularly potent Wolf Among Weeds from local beer giant Golden Road Brewery. For the astute reader, you’ll know I reviewed this beer last November. But since tonight is all about self-indulgence, I’m re-reviewing it. So there! So grab your penny stocks and come join me for a wild ride. Let’s get started!

Martin Scorsese’s 2013 The Wolf of Wall Street is, for the uninitiated, the dramatic retelling of a real stock broker’s epic rise and fall through the corrupt avenues of Wall Street in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Our protagonist, Jordan Belfort, is played by a particularly committed Leonardo DiCaprio and is surrounded by a superb cast which includes, but is not limited to, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie, Margot Robbie’s breasts, Rob Reiner (huh?) and Matthew McConaughey (for 5 minutes). From scrappy broker to young upstart to bacchanalian ‘Wolf,’ the film follows every stage of Belfort’s decline as he ascends the ladder of American wealth. As portrayed by DiCaprio, Belfort’s pathos is both disgusting and weirdly comprehensible as we see a man who truly believes that money can buy happiness. All the while we see him ruined by that same belief. More than anything, it’s a fabulous character study on the addiction of greed and a raucous expose on the nature of extreme wealth. And while the fantastic acting and absurd displays of wealth keep this movie engaging, the film ends up collapsing under its weight.

So I heard this movie addresses wealth & greed...

So I heard this movie addresses wealth & greed…

Simply put, the film is just too long. The Wolf of Wall Street runs for 2 hours and 59 minutes. For most people, that’s just an insane amount of time to watch one film. But the real tragedy is that the movie really only needs to be about 2 hours long. The film, its characters and its story are all frenetic, a reflection of the insane amounts of cocaine shown in the film. But what Scorsese repeatedly does throughout the film is let captivating character moments extend well beyond what they need to be as actors superbly improv long scenes. The result is simple conversations which in turn long back and forths about nothing. And depictions of epic party insanity last way too long without informing new characters or advancing the plot. The true big narrative turn of this film clocks in just under the 2 hour mark. The net result is that as good as this movie is, you can’t help but feel like it’s unending. In every regard, this movie seems to take the adage ‘too much of a good thing…’ to heart.

Cheers, bitches.

Cheers, bitches.

And in keeping with the spirit of selfishness, excess and indulgence, I’m re-reviewing one of my favorite local IPA’s: Golden Road Brewery’s Wolf Among Weeds.

So what about our Wolfy beer? Wolf Among Weeds is a powerful double IPA that is not for the feint of heart. Pouring a hazy golden amber with a modest, fluffy head, Wolf Among Weeds never tries to hide what it is. Off the nose you’ll get strong notes of pine, resin, hops and citrus. IPA through and through. And when you take your first sip, you’ll get all of those flavors mixed together just right. It’s bitter, piney and citrusy without much sweetness. And it’s a bit boozy too. You won’t feel it at first but about halfway through your pint, you’ll realize the Wolf packs an 8% ABV punch. While this DIPA may not be for everyone, it’s a fantastic brew for West Coast IPA true believers.

So there you have it, Drinkers. A wild movie that is simultaneously fantastic and disappointing with an unrelenting and unabashed brew. Thanks for reading and stay tuned over the next few days for another Holiday Slasher Special for Christmas!

And as always keep drinking, my friends.

Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
GRB’s Wolf Among Weeds:
-Hazy gold pour
-Super piney bitterness
-Heavy hitter at 8%

The Wolf of Wall Street:
-Stellar acting all around
-Fascinating and disgusting look at excess
-WAY too long. Unfortunately.

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Golden Road’s Wolf Among Weeds DIPA & The Wolf Man

Hey there, Drinkers!

Sorry for the long pause between posts recently, I’ve been crazy busy at work and have not had time to watch many movies. Plenty of time to drink my stress away though (just kidding, that’s not a healthy way to cope). ANYWAY! We’re letting the wolf out for today’s BAAM with Golden Road’s Wolf Among Weeds DIPA and the 1941 werewolf original The Wolf Man. So grab your beer and any silver you can lay your hands on. Let’s get going!

The Wolf Man (1941) exists amongst the canon of the classic monster movies that helped define the rules of decades of subsequent films. The film centers around the return of Larry Talbot to his ancestral home (castle) in an English village which holds a rich folklore of werewolves. There, he quickly falls for local beauty Gwen after a really creepy, semi-rapey courtship which involves him spying on her through a telescope. As the film’s name suggests, Larry is attacked by a werewolf, becomes one and then terrorizes the town while slowly uncovering the truth about himself.

While the film is, at its most basic level, about werewolves, it is more accurately a film about psychology, schizophrenia and the duality of man. The poem that locals recite about werewolves is less about turning into a wolf but more about how good-natured men can hold evil within themselves. And that’s much of the point of the film. While Larry is a “good man” (I say that in quotes because, by today’s standards, he kinda stalks Gwen and breaks up her engagement) who quite literally has a beast inside of him. The film spends a significant amount of its dialogue on trying to understand the pseudo-psychology of Larry, of breaks with reality, schizophrenia and other personality disorders. While none of the discussion is particularly scientific and is very on-the-nose, it does allow for a world in which “normal” people can have very real mental disorders, which I think is something worth noting.

Sad Wolf Man is just having a split with reality

Sad Wolf Man is just having a split with reality

Aside from the surprising mini-discussion in psychology, the film is….well it’s fine. It’s hard to watch these old movies as a modern viewer with modern-viewer expectations. It can be a challenge to turn off that part of your brain and watch as an audience member from 1941. The townspeople are unimaginably stupid and both the doctor and Larry’s father generate such absurd “rational” explanations for Larry’s behavior that it’s laughable. Moreover, the wolf transformation is inconsistent. The original werewolf, played by the legendary Bela Lugosi for five minutes, turns almost instantly into an actual dog whereas Larry very slowly turns into an exceptionally hairy man. But those gripes for today. For the past, the film is kind of fun. You have some creepy gypsies, some scary monsters, a beautiful lady and incredible superimposition work to tie it all together. While not a particularly engrossing 70 minute movie, it’s still a fun trip down cinematic memory lane.

When the Wolf Man attacks he...dips you?

When the Wolf Man attacks he…dips you?

So what about our oddly named Wolf Among Weeds DIPA from LA’s own Golden Road Brewery? Well, first off, apparently the beer pulls its name from the Latin translation of one of the beers signature hops. Who knew. Second off (that’s not an expression but whatever), I have to disclose that this beer was poured from a can. I typically try to stay away from canned beers, despite the growing movement amongst craft brewers to use cans over glass, but I guess I’m just a snob. Anyway, GRB only cans its beers, so this was the only way to enjoy the beer at home without a growler (a purchase I am thinking of making). That all being said, the brewery is quite explicit in its decision to only can their beers, so I respect them for their conviction. But let’s talk about this beer.

The WAW DIPA (as I’m calling it) is a beer in the tradition of most west coast IPA’s: big hop-forward flavor, tongue-buckling bitterness and high ABV. Pouring from a 16 oz. can (a full pint! woooo!), this brew is a slightly hazy yellow/gold with a clean one-two finger head. The nose gives off strong notes of pine, hops and bitter citrus. When you sip it, you’ll mostly get that big hops flavor. Pine and grass come through the bitterness, as well as hint of sweetness from the citrus fruits, but really you’re just going to steam-rolled by the bitterness. That bitterness was fine for someone like me who enjoys that but I can imagine that most casual drinkers would find the overpowering hoppiness a bit off-putting. Moreover, the beer can be a little one note over the course of the pint. But overall, it’s a great DIPA I’d recommend to any hop-head that’s in the greater LA area.

So there you have it, Drinkers! A night that left me with a wolfish grin on my face. An original monster movie with something surprising to say and an LA original DIPA that will blow you away with its hoppiness.  Overall, I call it a successful night.

Thanks for your patience while I find the time to get these out. And as always keep drinking, my friends.

Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
GRB’s Wolf Among Weeds DIPA:
-Light straw color
-Lovely, multi-note aroma
-Huge hop flavor

The Wolf Man
-Everyone is kind of stupid…
-Larry, our hero, is a little rapey
-Actually discusses mental illness

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