Tag Archives: zombie

Clown Shoes’ Undead Party Crasher Imperial Stout & The Night of the Living Dead (1968)

Hey there, Drinkers!

Today’s pairing is all about the LIVING DEEAADDD. No, not zombies. Just the dead coming back to life and eating people. That’s right folks, we’re watching the original The Night of the Living Dead while sipping on a beer from Clown Shoes’ Undead Party Crasher (repping my Massachusetts upbringing). So grab your blunt objects, aim for the head and start drinking!

In 1968, George A. Romero’s The Night of the Living Dead shocked and horrified audiences across America. For its time, Night was incomparably gruesome, violent and explicit. Aside from the fact that it was, for all intents and purposes, the original modern zombie film (which we’ll discuss that shortly), the film was one of the first to display gore and cannibalism. By the standards of the time, this movie was sick. It was gross, disturbing and altogether horrifying. And it’s still pretty gross.

They're coming for you Barbara!

They’re coming for you Barbara!

The most important thing to remember while watching this film is to forget everything you know about zombies. Forget about eating brains, hitting them in the head or viral outbreaks. Everything you know about modern zombies can be traced back to this movie. Prior to this film, the term cinematic zombie was typically reserved for a sort of voodoo-induced-hypnosis. You can watch films like White Zombie or I Walked with a Zombie for reference. What Romero did in The Night of the Living Dead is create an entirely new monster: a reanimated corpse with a hunger for human flesh. In fact, the term zombie is never used in the film. Rather, the monsters are referred to mostly as murderers, cannibals, ghouls or ‘those things.’ Moreover, these zombies are smart. The use weapons, open doors and cut power lines. They are proto-zombies.

He's (kind of) a ZOMBIE!

He’s (kind of) a ZOMBIE!

Oh and they were most likely created through exposure to radiation from Venus. Whatever.

But the movie itself is also interesting to watch. The film is claustrophobic, grounded and steeped in mistrust. All of the characters, who have found themselves trapped in a house, struggle to work together. Heightening the drama is the unsaid racial tension between the film’s resourceful hero Ben and the white Harry who tries to wrestle power from him. Now I’ve heard that the script was not written with a black protagonist in mind, but the underlying power struggle between these two men serves as a fantastic microcosm for the issue of race in 1960’s America.

Accidental racial politics

Accidental racial politics

There’s a lot to say about this relatively short film but what I really want to say is that you should see it. For anyone who is interested in the history of cinema (or zombies), this is oddly enough an important chapter. Check it out!

So did our beer crash this zombie party? Not at all! Clown Shoes’ Undead Party Crasher was actually the perfect accompaniment to our evening. This Imperial Stout pours jet black with a thin, brown head. Off the nose you’ll get tons of roasted malt backed up some of that 10% ABV booziness. When you sip, you’ll get a quick flash of roasted malt and chocolate with a hint of sweetness. All of those flavors dissipated quickly into smooth, light carbonation with an alcoholic finish. For an Imperial stout, the beer is not nearly as heavy as you would expect, which makes it easier to drink. Especially considering the high ABV. Definitely a winner from Massachusetts brewer Clown Shoes.

IMG_0595

So there you have it, Drinkers! A night of great beer and the undead! I’m really happy with how this pairing turned out. We had a great, easy sipping but complex beer to go with an engaging and fun cult-classic. Thanks as always for reading and don’t hesitate to suggest beers or movies you want to see me pair.

And as always keep drinking, my friends!

Clown-Shoes-Undead-Party-Crasher

Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
Clown Shoes’ Undead Party Crasher Imperial Stout:
-Jet black pour
-Huge roasty aroma & taste
-Boozy throughout

The Night of the Living Dead
-The original zombie movie
-Slow burning intensity
-Interesting racial politics

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Dogfish Head’s Noble Rot & Shaun of the Dead

Hey there, Drinkers!

In anticipation of the upcoming U.S. release of The World’s Endand everyone’s love of zombies, today we’re celebrating Shaun of the Dead. And fitting with the British theme of beer consumption in this film, and all the other films in the “Cornetto Trilogy,” I’ll be sipping on Dogfish Head’s Noble Rot (got it yet?). So let’s get started, shall we?

Released in the U.S. in 2004, Shaun of the Dead is one of those rare movies that jumps from cult favorite to modern ubiquity. Starring a then largely unknown Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, Shaun of the Dead follows our unlikely heroes as they navigate a  sudden zombie outbreak. To call the movie a zombie-genre spoof though both denigrates this film and unreasonably elevates the genre. While Shaun of the Dead is ostensibly a satire, it is also a loving (and highly intelligent) homage to everything we know and love about the zombie genre. Romero and 28 Days Later  references aside, the movie takes pure joy in flexing the genre’s familiar muscles while also playing them for laughs. Even the visual style, which is remarkably distinct, has fun with the intensity and hyper-realism found in other zombie flicks.

Who knew the undead were so funny?

Who knew the undead were so funny?

There’s a actually a lot I’d like to say about this film but the sake of time and cohesion, I’ll try to remain brief. I do want to point out that there are few films that make you as keenly aware of the film’s planning than Shaun of the Dead. The film so expertly folds back in on itself, both in its writing and its visuals, that the viewer gets the sense that as silly as the film is, its creators took their jobs very seriously in the film’s making. From the mirrored, long single-takes to the secret foreshadowing drinking schedule of Ed, even down to the repeated little argument about whether dogs can or can not look up, Shaun of the Dead is a film that was clearly well-planned and expertly executed.

Do Cornetto's even exist in the U.S.?

Do Cornetto’s even exist in the U.S.?

Finally, I’d like to just make the point that this film is unabashedly British, which I love. Maybe this is because I’m an American and this film wasn’t made with the intention of being an international success, but Shaun of the Dead makes no attempts to Americanize itself in its language or humor. An obvious result of this is the ease with which the actors occupy their characters (also, they’re just good actors) and moreover, the comedy feels cleaner and truer to the tone the for which the film strives. Overall, Shaun of the Dead undoubtably ranks not only among my favorite comedies, but also among my favorite films.

It's not a spoof, it's Electro...prick

It’s not a spoof, it’s Electro

And while our zombies were rotting away on screen, how about Dogfish Head’s Noble Rot? To be honest, I didn’t really know what to expect from this beer. I think I bought it because of the label was cool and it seemed like a good fit for the movie. Also, I figured that a $20 bomber from the “off-centered” brewers of Dogfish Head would be a pretty good. And I guess my intuition was correct because this beer was CRAZY GOOD! Ostensibly a saison, this beer is brewed with grape must (unfermented wine grape juice) which makes it a magical beer/wine hybrid. Pouring a beautiful clear, light gold color with tons of tiny bubbles, you’ll instantly start making comparisons to champagne. With a powerful white wine nose, backed up with a little bit of wheat, yeast and fruit, the beer has a distinct and delicious aroma. With your first sip, you’ll get all of those flavors in a lovely, subtle mix. It has the body of a lighter saison, and that grainy flavor you’d expect, but the grape must adds this fantastically smooth and sweet white wine aspect that you rarely find in a beer. And even with a hefty 9% ABV, the beer never weighs you down or feels too boozy. Rather, you get that relaxing sensation that comes from sipping a cool glass of white wine on a warm summer evening. So overall, I consider this beer a real winner.

So there you have it, folks. A simply rotten evening. A truly unique and delicious brew with a fresh and engaging zombie comedy. I think it’s about as good as BAAM gets in my book. And while the beer was a bit pricey, having a friend to share the experience (and tab) would only make the evening a little sweeter.

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

Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
Dogfish Head’s Noble Rot:
-Beautiful, clear golden pour
-Perfectly balanced blend of beer & wine
-High ABV but super smooth & crisp

Shaun of the Dead:
Everything you love about zombie movies, but smarter
-Expertly written, shot & acted
-Both a spoofy & loving homage to the genre

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