November 30, 2011

Anthony1138's Pumpkin Brown Ale

Anthony1138's Pumpkin Brown Ale (2011)
Homebrewed and Bottled by Anthony1138 over at Eat the deaD!
Home Brewed.
12 fl. oz. / $N/A USD / 4.9% ABV

About: Movie fiend. Beer fiend. Fiend in general? General Fiend... All salute! Generally Fiendish in nature... but all around a cool 80's kid who knows what's worthwhile in life. What can I say about a guy as laid-back cool as Anthony, from the blog Eat-the-deaD? I can say that we've got a lot in common. We were both born in the same era. We both love pumpkin beer and Italian horror films (particularly the one's of Fulci and Argento, and of course Burial Ground[who doesn't love that flick?]... oh, and Jean Rollin too!). We're both necrophiliacs who love jello shots out of the ombligos of sticky stiff girls. And we're both completely in of our fuckin' minds!

Thoughts: Poured a dark, dark brown with a small fizzy off-white head that dissipated quickly.

Smells really good. Very natural and nothing off about it. It also seems pretty mellow. Cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon are all in harmony here. Nothing overpowering the other in terms of scent. Smells a little malty as well. Getting some allspice once it warms up, little bit of a Chinese five spices thing going on.

Well the taste is certainly more powerful than the smell. It seems to change flavors as you drink it. Along with the heavy clove and nutmeg, I'm getting a little black licorice and a faint taste of coffee. There's a slight smokey flavor and just a drop of sour mash in there. Cinnamon takes a back seat to the malt and very light hops.

Mouth feel is about a full medium with very minimal carbonation. It's a little filmy, like silk, and not as grainy as I usually like. It's a little watery, but it doesn't feel like water. I can't recall the carbonation, and that's the hardest thing I've had to think about with this one.

This is a brew along the lines of Post Road's Pumpkin, or a lighter version of Dogfish Head's Punkin. It's not a sweet brew at all, but it is spicy. Bitterness is pretty light and well evened out. It's a very good spiced beer, that isn't subtle at all. For me, it could use another pound of earthy pumpkin... and I wonder what it would have tasted like if Belgian Candi Sugar was incorporated. I say go all out next time and go Pumpkin Pie flavor all the way.

I'm not really good with Brown Ales. Don't know why, but out of the few that I've been trying lately, I've not had the best of experiences. For this one though, I'd like to thank Eat-the-deaD for giving me my very first taste of a home brewed beer. Hop-fully, someday, I'll be at your level!

Anthony1138's Pumpkin Nut Brown Ale 2 (2012)
Home Brewed.
12 fl. oz. / $N/A (Gift) / 4.9% ABV

About: "The pumpkin is the same basic recipe as last year, but it's all grain this time. I cut down the chocolate malt and used more pumpkin. Also, I used a different yeast that's better suited for nut browns. It's from Yorkshire, some say it's Sam Smith's strain or close to it. I personally like this year's better, but would like to try dialing in the spices better next time around."

Second Thoughts: Poured a dense, foggy dark brown with a one finger bubbly light-tan head that popped away after about a minute. Looking at the top of the beer I notice a lot of small bubbles popping once they reach the surface.

The scent is definitely amped up from the last time. Tons of allspice in the initial smell when that cap popped off. Massive amounts. Chinese five spice blend comes through in a flood, nutmeg and cloves, a lot of licorice on the back of it. It starts to smell like a mischievous root beer after a few minutes of leaning in and out.

The frosty dark malt base slowly floods in and it's pretty heavy. Way in the background there's a prickly fruity note and something like a creamy sugar. A lot of tickling hazy spices roam around the tongue before slowly fading away and leaving a blast of black licorice, allspice and nutmeg. Ginger is hiding out in the background, as is the attributes from those hops that hit just right at the last second. This isn't a sweet beer at all, but there's a hint of it here. Not sour at all, but fairly bitter all around. It's very earthy, raw, a little grassy, with a heavy touch of smoke and what seems as if there would be a dry haze but it's not drying at all. A little bit of roastyness in the aftertaste.

Mouth feel is carbonated and puffy at first, and then afterwards leaves a silky like film all over the inside of your mouth and teeth.

A real big shoutout to Anthony, wherever he is. The dude is amazing and truthfully nobody has ever done something this cool, sending me beers these two times like this. I appreciate your work my fiend. Thank you.

November 29, 2011

Skulls on Shirts! Wal-Mart keeps 'em coming.

Check this bad boy out! Muauahahahahhaha!!!1 Just another of the latest editions from that utterly wretched and delightfully horrid place known as... the Wal-Mart!

I wasn't sure at first... but I just couldn't resist it. Look at that fucker. He's a schemer! Check out that pudgy face, sinister grin and those (weakly done) hands of his: as if he's saying to himself, "Yes! Yeeeeessssssss!!" It may not be the best artwork in the world, nor the most original of designs, but damn does it do the job of looking cool as shit mister. Those sticker-bush designs go all the way down the short sleeves, across the shoulders. Oh, and it's pretty damn comfortable too.

Red Hook Treblehook Barley Wine Ale

Red Hook Treblehook Barley Wine Ale (2009)
Limited Release (as it's written seven times on the bottle and once on the cap)!
22 fl. oz. / $6.29 USD / 10% ABV

About: "Malts: Pale, Caramel, Special Aromatic, Flaked Barley, Black, Melenodin / Hops: Cascade, Palisades, Chinook, Simcoe / Awards: Gold Medal 2008 Great American Beer Festival, Silver Medal 2009 Great American Beer Festival. Dry-hopped vigorously throughout the six-month process, and patiently aged with aromatic malt and spicy hop notes. Treblehook’s strength comes from its ability to have a strong hop flavor while still allowing the malt characteristics to shine through. We spent time getting the subtleties right, balancing the malts with a strong hop backbone to create Redhook’s take on the style.”

Pre-thoughts: I guess the question is, should I drink this? I noticed the liquor store going through boxes the other day and suddenly this was on the shelf with all the specialty bombers. Never seen it there before and trust me I've looked around. So was it in a box this whole time? Did the box have a goblet in it that I got fucked out of owning? Am I going to die if I drink this? These are the things crossing my mind as I sit here... now drinking this. 

I read that it can be aged one to three years (it was bottled Sept 08'th, 2009 - Approximately two years ago), but it states that it should be "cellar aged" and that the "shelf life" is one year. The bottle is pretty damn dark and unlike many other bottles it's got a thick, dark film from the printing all over the bottle which I suppose may help keep out light anyways. Meh!

Thoughts: Light orange, amber color with hardly a bubbly head that fizzed itself away super fast. I hope those things floating around towards the bottom are good for you like those active live cultures in yogurt. This is the lightest barleywine I've seen thus far (Cross that - Sam Adams Griffin's Bow just got the title).

Sweet malts flow throughout the nostrils as I think to myself, yeah, me happy.

I'm hit with bitterness, both of malts and hops. There's a bit more hops than I've been used to in barleywine with this one. Maybe they're just coming through with the age (or not?). It's a little like a stale bitter coffee with a bit of a citrus tingle on the back of the tongue. Still pretty sweet though with some minor chocolate notes, and after warming it tastes a lot more of caramel. But still I've never had a barleywine with so much of a hop profile before.

It's smooth, and full flavored. Little bit of smokiness coming through later on taking over the initial cold bitterness. All around it's sweet, savory, and has that hop tingle to it with the uproar of malts.

I don't really got an overall for this one. I think I only drank one Red Hook in my life (a bottle out of a six pack) and it was whatever their standard brew was in the freezers at the time. Don't remember. In regards to the other barleywine ales I've recently tried this one is my least favorite of the bunch. It would be good to be able to find some info on these sort of things (it's very lightly funky). There's a lingering thickness on the tongue and really no aftertaste. It was OK while it lasted.

Weyebacher Heresy

Weyebacher Heresy - Imperial Stout aged in OAK barrels (2009?)
Rotating Schedule - February (Limited Release)
22 fl. oz. / $7.99 USD / 8% ABV

About: "This is an incredibly intriguing ale is made by aging our Old Heathen Imperial Stout in oak barrels that were used for making fine Kentucky bourbon! The result is an extraordinary, dark, and mysterious stout whose very essence has been enhanced. The aroma is filled with vanilla, cocoa, and roasted coffee beans. This silky-smooth brew has notes of oak, whiskey, roasted barley and vanilla that meld together on the tongue to create an incredible sensation."

Thoughts: Poured a super dark black with shades of brown around the edges and an ultra frothy tan head that just... wouldn't... die!

It's got a wonderful smell. Chocolate and coffee scents blend well together with a little tingling of the alcohol striking a nerve. It doesn't smell crazy strong, but rather a low flow of chocolate milk for the grown ups.

Tastes of the smell, then the malt, and afterward the coffee slowly creeps in for a while before the swallow, and afterwards, it completely obliterates the palate and takes over! Damn. Let me try it again without swallowing. Yeah, I know how that sounds! Malty. Sweet. Seemingly well balanced as those hops try their mightiest to come out but just can't seem to make it. It's got the toffee of a Heath bar with a nice zing of alcohol and the finish is a bit woodsy. I've noticed that I tend to like the alcohols that have been aged in oak barrels. Is that a "who doesn't?" sort of comment? Well, if so then why aren't they all?

Mouth feel is a bit watery. But there is trickery afoot as it does come off as rather thick. I've noticed this with quite a few brews actually, so maybe I'm not the authority on the feel of mouth... but to me, it all changes within the span of twenty seconds.What am I supposed to do? Keep it in my mouth and let it break down or just chug it once to decide how the mouth feel is? Not every brew does this, but many of the heavier ones do. Just as the scent and taste go through changes, so does the feel of it. So I guess that makes this one thick and watery.

There's a little smoke in the aftertaste. Which I like in this kind of brew. And I don't know but it seems a bit fruity too. Don't know if that's the pussycat on my tongue or what, but it's kinda like... strawberries. Mary Jane's lip gloss, really. As I swirl my glass and stare down into this magnificent alcoholic galaxy of light foam, I know that I've had too much to think comprehensibly. For a 2009 bomber that's been who knows where, it's pretty awesome...

Left Hand 400 Pound Monkey IPA

Left Hand 400 Pound Monkey India Pale Ale (2011)
Brewed and Bottled by Left Hand Brewing Co., in Longmont, Colorado. USA.
Year Round (Standard Release)
12 fl. oz. (x2) / $4.00 USD / 6.8% ABV

About: "Malts: Pale 2-row, Crystal, Munich, and Malted Wheat / Hops: Magnum, Boadicea and Sovereign. Why does the world need another IPA? Because this one ain't like them others. We use hops of a different color, earthy and herbal, well-balanced by bready malt. The result? An English-style IPA that separates itself from the ubiquitous bunch. Cartloads of bitter monkeys flinging wasteful amounts of bananas into the jungle ...we're so done with that." 

Thoughts: Poured a very light amber orange with a small bubbly white head that left a light film around the top of the glass.

Smells of sweet floral hops, and it's pretty damn malty for an IPA too. Strange.

Initial taste is hops. There's orange peel and it's a little grassy. The malts flow through shortly afterwards. So basically it tastes just like it smells. Well... it's a good tasting brew. There's a little sour bite towards the end, but it's very well balanced altogether. Aside from that, there doesn't seem to be much going for it. It's not tasting good enough for me to fawn over it, and it's not horrible in any way for me to dismiss it.

Mouth is light and fizzy. Goes down smooth enough.

Finishes really dry. 400 Pound Monkey is a very approachable English style IPA with pretty artwork that will give some non-adventurous couples on a date night in something easy to go along with their P.F. Chang's or not delivery DiGiorno's. According to this beer is meant to bring the IPA back to a time where it was "sessionable and balanced." This is my first brew from Left Hand (I was intrigued by the artwork obviously), and it may not be my last, but I don't plan on going out and buying a six pack of this.

November 28, 2011

Samuel Adams Third Voyage

Samuel Adams Third Voyage - Double IPA (2011)
1'st Batch Special Edition - Rotating (depending on sales) (Limited Release)
22 fl. oz. / $5.99 USD / 8.0% ABV

About: "Hops: Cascade from UK and New Zealand, Simcoe from U.S. / Malts: Two-Row Harrington, Metcalfe and Copeland Pale, Caramalt, Honey Malt. This unique double IPA takes the style’s origins a step further.  IPAs were born out of making an ale that could sustain a long voyage.  For our take, we were inspired by the indomitable Capt. James Cook whose 3rd voyage made him the first to navigate a treacherous route from England to New Zealand to the Pacific Northwest. Using Cascade hops from each of these regions we crated a a brew that’s citrusy, earthy, and full of bold character."

Thoughts: Poured a light amber, vibrant red with a with an eggshell near pinkish head that stuck it out for a while.

This doesn't smell as strong as the Tasman Red. Strange. I figured this one would be stronger in all areas. Instead it's a lot milder in terms of the hops. Sweet smelling, nonetheless. I don't know if it was malted out to hide the hint of strong alcohol, but it seems like it. Upon the second pour, and warming, there's a bit more hop notes.

For an IPA that's an 8.0% ABV this one sure is on the malty side. I'm hardly getting any hops in the all around flavor, only getting lingering notes of hop on the back of my tongue once the brew is swallowed. The malts are overwhelming, with the hops coming in only at the last moments. I'm a bit confused. The honey and caramel do a really good job of making this strong brew more accessible to the majority of drinkers, but for an Imperial IPA it seems a bit toned down for me.

It's very smooth and easy to drink. The alcohol is well hidden, but can hit you in short blasts if you're seeking it out.

I wondered why in this Small Batch Series of four brews they'd put out two IPAs. It seemed a bit suspect to me, and a bit overkill, or perhaps they were trying to prove something in terms of which one will get chosen. Though I've been on a serious Imperial kick, I'm rooting for the Tasman Red IPA. The taste and sensations from that brew are just far superior to this one's.

Samuel Adams Tasman Red

Samuel Adams Tasman Red - Red IPA (2011)
1'st Batch Special Edition - Rotating (depending on sales) (Limited Release)
22 fl. oz. / $4.99 USD / 6.75% ABV

About: "Hops: Topaz, Galaxy (Imported from Tasmania) / Malts: Two-Row Harrington, Metcalfe, Copeland Pale, Special B, Caramel 60, Roasted Dehusked. This wily red IPA gets its character from the Tasmanian hops that are full of grapefruit, pine and earthy notes creating a bold flavor that threads throughout the taste. The hops are balanced by a core of roasted malts that give this brew body and richness with hints of toffee."

Thoughts: Poured a dark amber out of the bottle that developed into a deep red inside the glass. The foamy head is very frothy looking and going nowhere fast.

First scent is hops, obviously... little bit flowery. This smells really, really, like utterly sweet though. Very nice.

Through there's a distinct hop flavor throughout the entire flavor of the brew, malts come flowing in like sets of waves hitting the shore. These hops from Tasmania must be pretty damn strong that they'd have to use so many different malts to offset it, and even then the hops are the main thing going here. The malts are doing a nice job of balancing things out here, with a bit of a roasted nut flavor and those Cella's goo-filled chocolate covered cherries, only with less emphasis on the chocolate.  

Bitter citrus on the back of the tongue. There's a bit of a peppery spice, though very mild.

The super malty backbone they've got here really tries to hold back what most surely would be a huge snap of these hops, so I'd say that's fairly well done. It sure does feel malty, but those hops just cannot be denied here! This is a really good, and very hoppy beer. And these hops taste awesome.

Samuel Adams Griffin's Bow

Samuel Adams Griffin's Bow - Oaked Blonde Barleywine Ale (2011)
1'st Batch Special Edition - Rotating (depending on sales) (Limited Release)
22 fl. oz. / $6.99 USD / 11.5% ABV

About: Malts: 2-Row Harrington, Metcalfe, Copeland pale malts and Paul's Caramalt / Hops: Nelson Sauvin Hops from New Zealand and Zeus Hops / Aged: in Toasted Oak. "Golden in color and wine-like, Griffin’s Bow is characterized by a surprisingly smooth balance of fruity notes, hop citrus, and warming strength. Flavors of honeysuckle and grapefruit are layered with toffee, vanilla, and the distinct character of toasted oak. A beautiful pairing for strong aged cheeses, Griffin’s Bow cuts through and contrasts the strong flavors of washed-rind cheeses with accompaniments of nuts, honey and dates to complement the beer’s inherent flavors."

Thoughts: Poured an orange, hay-colored amber with a frothy white head of varying size bubbles that stayed in clumpy areas.. I've never seen a barleywine this light before, should I be skeptical?

Smells awesome and rare. Sugary grapefruit hit me first, it's not sour at all, and it smells extremely fresh. It's really strong too. As if I had just cut one open and it was right in front of me. Cool! Once the beer started to warm I got a bit more of a toffee scent, that evened out with the citrus. There was a light honey and pineapple aura around the second pour, but that was after I had already tasted it.

Wow! This is one neat tasting brew. Sweet caramel malt circling around that piney, grapefruit hop taste. Like a swirl of taste sensations. Once the fizz settles down, you get that brown sugar barley malt taste, with a backbone of what I must assume to be those New Zealand hops. I stopped a fourth of the way through to just let it linger in my mouth and that toasted, oak taste started to resonate. Absolutely wonderful and complex. I'm impressed. It's different.

It's slightly heavy, tingling, a bit fizzy and filling. I'm halfway through now and I am feelin' it! Aftertaste is a bit buttery.

Thus far the best Samuel Adams brew I've ever had. This was of course the first one I picked up out of the four in the series. I had to, it was the highest ABV and Oaked Barleywine. I actually didn't pick up on the Blonde part (aside from the yellow label) until I poured it. But it's cool. It's a really sweet and very slightly bitter beer. When I hit the stores these last two days I noticed that all of them were sold out. I guess I should have tried this sooner, as I may have just gone out and got another bottle saved it for a year (yeah right!).

Samuel Adams The Vixen

Samuel Adams The Vixen - Chocolate Chili Bock (2011)
1'st Batch Special Edition - Rotating (depending on sales) (Limited Release)
22 fl. oz. / $5.69 USD / 8.5% ABV

About: Malts: 2-Row Harrington, Metcalfe, and Copeland Pine Malts, Munich, Caramel 60, Roasted Demashed Malt / Hops: Hallertau, Mittelfruh Noble Hops / Spices: Chilies from Mexico, Cocoa nibs from Ecuador, Cinnamon from Southeast Asia. "The Vixen is smooth and rich with an enticing touch of sweetness and ends with a spicy heat. For this unique brew we used carefully roasted malts and dark cocoa nibs for a full bodied and slightly sweet flavor. To this roast and chocolaty base we added an element or warmth and spice with cinnamon and chilies. Dark and alluring, the brew will keep you captivated. "

Thoughts: Poured a dark hazy brown with a frothy, bubbly tan head that lingered for a long, long time.

First smell was obviously chocolate up front, then the slightest hint of cinnamon crept in. Still a little cold and that's what I'm getting. Tasting now.

Alcohol and Cocoa. I'm letting it warm. Toasty and malty. I was really expecting this to be a major chili beer. I hadn't tried one before so I was really going crazy to do so for the first time. The chili essence here is extremely light. It does give a distinct flavor to the brew, but it's still pretty light. I'm used to eating extremely hot foods so maybe I've spoiled myself with expectations. The taste is good enough, and it's certainly interesting with the chocolate and chilies together. Still, I was looking forward to more of a less chocolatey and more chili pronounced spiciness.

Very frothy and creamy. Afterwards there's a bit of mild but tingling chili pepper spice at the throat, but for someone like me who's used to it, it's really hard to notice. For all I know someone else's throat could be on fire, but with the overwhelming chocolate, I doubt it. And even then, the cinnamon may perhaps be helping it out which means less chili than chili. It's a Chocolate Bock with some Chili added. Not a Chocolate Chili Bock.

Well, I like it. It just didn't meet my expectations. It's actually pretty good, though it starts to get a little watery as you finish it off. All of the chili flavor is aftertaste, and I don't really mind it that much since it's gone down. But for me, it should have been more up-front! That's all.

Sierra Nevada Tumbler

Sierra Nevada Tumbler - Autumn Brown Ale (2011)
Autumn Seasonal (Limited Release)
12 fl. oz. /  $1.69 USD/ 5.5% ABV

About: "Sierra Nevada uses malt within days of roasting at the peak of its flavor to give Tumbler a gracefully smooth malt character. Two-row pale, crystal 40, chocolate and smoked malts give it a malty complexity. Challenger hops in the boil add balancing bitterness, while more Challengers and some Goldings give just enough hop flavor in the finish to balance all that malt."

Thoughts: Poured a dark hazy cherry red, medium brown with a light brown bubbly head and a little bit of frothiness.

Hmm. Well, it does smell like autumn, fallen leaves actually. I'm getting very light malt characteristics. Kinda chalky, but everything seems so faint.

The taste is a little more like it. It's not as good as their Pale Ale, and if it were like that brew it would be a lighter version. There's a hint of the recipe in there, but this one is more nutty and toasty. Gets a little bit sour towards the end. It's not really caramel or toffee and not coffee even... brown sugar perhaps, but very little of it. It's smokey and mild.

Seems medium but it's rather thin and very drinkable. There's not much of a tingle from anything factoring in.

It's all very mild. All of it. The smell, the taste, the feel. Until now I haven't met a Sierra Nevada that I've been particularly displeased with. It's not a horrible beer by any means, but it's not up to par with their other brews that I've gotten used to. Hopefully they'll be reworking this next year, or the year after to give it more of a lasting impression. In the end, for me, it's a bit too "gracefully smooth".

November 27, 2011

Sierra Nevada and Dogfish Head Life and Limb 2

Sierra Nevada and Dogfish Head Life and Limb 2 (2011)
A Sierra Nevada / Dogfish Head Collaboration!
Brewed and Bottled by Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., in Chico, CA. USA.
Rotating Schedule (Limited Release)
25.4 fl. oz. / $10.29 USD / 10.2% ABV

About: "Our decision to make this ale together comes from a shared passion for bringing natural beauty into the brewing process. Both of our families own and operate independent breweries and our co-workers, who share this passion, are an integral part of our extended family. / LIFE - For the living brewer’s yeast in every bottle working in vibrant unison to enhance complexity, refinement, and to encourage aging. LIMB - For the two syrups used in making this ale (maple and birch) which contribute to its unique flavor profile and symbolize this collaboration between Sierra Nevada and Dogfish Head. / This ale is dedicated to the family of craft-brew drinkers worldwide who continue to support the little guys, iconoclasts, entrepreneurs, and pioneers who risk life and limb to shape the craft-brewing community. We are proud to share our two branches with the thousands of other vibrant branches – those of fellow brewers – who collectively comprise the craft-brewing family tree. Sincerely, Sam Calagione and Ken Grossman."

Thoughts: Poured a dark, dark brown almost black with a huge fluffy dark-eggshell head that nearly overflowed.

Nothing's really jumping out at me. Very light zingy malt. Caramel and very bitter unsweetened chocolate. I'm getting some fruity undertones, but no real syrupy scent. It's a little woody and grassy, but that's about it. Let it warm because only then will you get the brew's true scent, which is actually pretty good yet still, so very hard to acquire. You've got to breath in through your nose continuously for a while before it really starts to sink in.

It's got a good balance of hops and malt. Little heavier on the malt. I'm not getting straight up Maple Syrup that I've read about. Really I was expecting this to be full blown insanity of maple syrup taste, but it's not at all. It's instead rather earthy, and sappy. Not like some store bought sweet syrup aura you'd expect on waffles, ham or bacon. My big ass neighbor must use about a gallon of maple syrup every weekend morning because I walk out into the hallway and I'm nearly sandblasted by the stuff. I thought a bit of that smell would be in this brew, but it's not. Truth be told, I'm not really a Syrup kind of guy. I don't eat pastries, the last time I had a waffle it was blue, and though I recently visited the Indian reservoir Maple Syrup capital of the northeast US, I partook in nothing more than eating steak and eggs, smoking from a peace pipe and fondling various animal skulls. That being said, it still is a very sweet ale with nearly no bitterness at all.

Alright, so by now I let it warm up. This beer was never meant to be consumed cold. Do it room temperature. Don't even question the thought, as coldness hides every single aspect of Life and Limb. It smells and tastes more like syrup, and still with very earthy overtones. It's still not raging with Maple Syrup, but rather dark fruits like plum, prune and black cherry. The sappy, bittersweet syrup comes through in a seemingly dancing rhythm. Aftertaste is a bit of grapefruit citrus, and lemon zest. Not too dry, but a little drying. Kinda sticky and lingering. There's a boozy feel with each gulp. It's warming. It's a stark contrast to how it was when so cold.

I guess I let expectations get the better of me this time around. I was expecting something so utterly strong and dominating, that when I was hit with all but hidden flavors and scents from a brew too cold, I nearly had a mini freak-out. "What the fuck am I going to write!?", I thought. I've been looking forward to this for so long. Well, it turns out that everything went pretty well in the end. Overall, a fine, fine brew. Spicy, malty, thick, tingling, bittersweet, warming, and the slightest bit astringent. I remember tasting tree sap when I was younger, and this reminds me of that a little bit. Just don't go in expecting Mrs. Butterworth's.

Sierra Nevada 30'th: Imperial Helles Bock and Imperial Stout

Sierra Nevada 30'th Anniversary: Charlie, Fred and Ken's Bock - Imperial Helles Bock (May 2010)
Extremely Limited Release
25.4 fl. oz. / $10.49 USD / 8.3% ABV

About: "Charlie Papazian and Fred Eckhart are the men who launched a thousand breweries. Their writing on the art of home brewing and steadfast promotion of beer culture helped propel the craft brewing movement. Charlie and Fred agreed to work with us on this special ale in honor of our 30th anniversary. This Imperial Helles Bock is a testament to the ever-evolving brewer’s art. Bold yet balanced with distinct toasted malt character, moderate sweetness and clean and floral hops."

Thoughts: Well this one certainly poured lighter than the others. A golden straw-yellow color, almost a little bit orange once it's in the glass. Big foamy head as usual.

Smells citrusy. A little light, especially after the other 30'th brews there. Getting some lemon. Tangerine peel. Low creeping malt and hops.

It's got a zesty sting. Tastes a bit of floral hops. Sweet and bitter are both on the same level, with quite a well done balance overall. Somewhat tart. Not overwhelmingly tart mind you. But that's the main backdrop in flavor one it goes down. Doesn't really have the bite of an 8.3%.

A little fizzy, smooth and very easy to drink. Not terribly exciting unfortunately though.

Overall a very, very mild Imperial. The lightest I've ever tasted so far actually. For all that it's worth though, it still does taste damn good. And the warmer it gets, the sweeter is gets.

Sierra Nevada 30'th Anniversary: Fritz and Ken's Ale - Imperial Stout (March 2010)
Extremely Limited Release
25.4 fl. oz. / $10.49 USD / 9.2% ABV

About: "First of the series. Fritz Maytag, owner of San Francisco’s Anchor Brewing Company, is regarded as the founding father of the craft brewing movement. Frtiz agreed to guest brew this very special ale with us in honor of our 30th anniversary. As a nod to the dark ales and stouts that seduced both Fritz and Ken in the early years, we bring you this pioneering stout, a rich and roasted ale, perfect for aging, and worthy of your finest snifter."

Thoughts: Poured a midnight pitch black, with a dark chocolaty head that appeared to lighten into a soft fluffy whipped topping.

Heavy on the chocolate and coffee. It's not leaning towards one or the other. Both seem to be represented quite well.

Bitterness, alcohol tinge, major coffee... gonna let it warm a bit. Very malty, strong and runs through the sinuses. The alcohol notes are pretty strong in this one. It's not affecting the mouth feel, but rather the taste a bit. It's definitely more coffee than chocolate, in fact, the chocolate seems to all but disappear after a while. Only a peppery cocoa lingers. It's still there if you stop and search for it, but tangy coffee alcohol pretty much sums this one up. I'm getting some earthy tones on the finish too. Bitter, grassy and a little bit smokey.

It's a little bit thick, but yet again, just like the rest it goes down smooth. Not really a sipping brew though as it's a bit filmy, your best bet would be to chug this fucker down and run for the hills.

This one is a little bit more funky than all the rest. A lot of smoke aftertaste. A lot of smoke period. It's kind of like drinking a few shots of coffee brandy after eating some Chocolate Rice Crispies while standing over a bonfire and breathing in some of the embers. Yeah, kinda like that.

Sierra Nevada 30th: Black Barleywine Ale and Grand Cru

Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary: Jack And Ken's Ale - Black Barleywine Ale (July 2010)
Extremely Limited Release
25.4 fl. oz. / $10.49 USD / 10.2% ABV

About: "Jack McAuliffe was the first American "micro" brewer. His tiny New Albion Brewery in Sonoma, California inspired countless dreamers to start small-scale breweries of their own. Jack agreed to guest brew this very special ale with us in honor of our 30th anniversary. This Black Barleywine Ale is a nod to the legendary ales New Albion served at their legendary summer solstice parties. Rich with bittersweet and roasted malt flavors, balanced with whole-cone 100% American Cascade hops, this robust ale should age gracefully for years."

Thoughts: Popped the cork and it came out a smokin'. Poured blacker than the night. Looks absolutely gorgeous, with a dark-tan brownish head that took about five minutes to fade (the mustache helped a bit though).

Raisinettes! Heh, I love it. I'm smelling raisins, chocolate, little bit of coffee. This smells warm and inviting.

Oh, so rich. Savory. Strong. Chocolate milk, then a slight alcohol tingling. Then fruity tones come in, there's cherries and raisins, and a also a little bit more of that coffee taste that rounds out the finishing touch. Aftertaste is a little like grapefruit, and kinda grassy. You can tell it's got that signature Sierra Nevada yeast.

Little bit frothy, slightly heavy, but goes down damn smooth. It's bittersweet, but the bitter is so subtle aside from that grapefruit in the aftertaste. Drinkability is way above average, especially for such a strong ale. This is a downright beautiful brew that would be a damn shame to pass up. I'm glad I didn't.

Sierra Nevada 30'th Anniversary: Our Brewers Reserve - Grand Cru (October 2010)
Extremely Limited Edition
25.4 fl. oz. / $10.49 USD / 9.2% ABV

About: "Brewers Reserve is a special ale highlighting our pioneering history and the innovative spirit that has carried us through all these years. Is is a marriage of our three most acclaimed ales: Oak-aged Bigfoot, Celebration Ale, and fresh Pale Ale blended together and generously dry-hopped.  Come join us in celebrating thirty years with this most special brew. Drink it now, or save it for a future anniversary of your own. Note: 22% ALE AGED IN BOURBON BARRELS, 78% ALE"

Thoughts: Poured a very dark amber, light reddish-brown with a dark eggshell head that stayed forever.

Smells pretty spicy. Malty and sweet. Almost indescribable. I think I'm in love actually! I want to have this scent forever. I've said that about one other mind altering substance, but not too often about a brew. Toffee ice cream, or rather, like a Heath Bar. Only drowned in superb alcohol.

Flavors bounce all over the place, and flows of different tastes that roll about in the mouth. This is insane. Caramel, and a bitter candy-like sweetness for the most part. It's a little bit peppery too. I sneezed once. Black cherry, raisin, half-cooked dough, white pepper, brown sugar, very light malt vinegar.

A little bit frothy, tingly, and yet goes down so damn smooth. Impossibly smooth even.

Not really getting too many fruity tones in the aftertaste. It's very woody. The bourbon flavor, to me, is pretty light, but the oak and sweetness of it really comes out on top of everything in the finale and it is applause worthy. It's like a deliciously Evil caramel liquid candy that kicks your ass sideways.

November 26, 2011

A Very Harold and Kumar 3-D Christmas (2011)

A Very Harold and Kumar 3-D Christmas (2011)
[Rated R: for strong crude and sexual content, graphic nudity, pervasive language, drug use and some violence.]

Six Years after Harold and Kumar escaped from Guantanamo Bay, the two have drastically grown apart. Harold (John Cho) is more than happily married with Maria (the incredibly hot Paula Garcé) while Kumar (Kal Penn) has been left by Vanessa (Danneel Ackles) and does nothing but sit around his dirty apartment smoking weed and watching television (in today's case: A Christmas Story). When a mysterious package addressed to Harold arrives at Kumar's place, the two are reunited and Maria's father's prized Christmas tree gets inexplicably burnt down. So ensues another wacky adventure of miss-mashed events while the two go searching for a replacement tree.

I loved Harold and Kumar go to White Castle. Let me just get that out of the way. There were so many great scenes: the two of them whispering in Freakshow's truck, the Burger Shack employee talking about the secret sauce, the way they laugh during that PSA spoof, I got to see Malin Ackerman topless, Ali Larter and Rachel Nichols got it on in a nasty wet lesbian scene (wait, no... my mistake, that's just what I wanted this year for Christmas!), the animated burger land sequence that ends in Kumar licking Harold's face, the chubby extreme-velociraptor punk, the rabid raccoon, ect. The dialogue was all good and none of it seemed awkward aside from the "fuck it" kissing scene at the end. And it wasn't trying too hard (maybe the BattleShits scene). Then the sequel came and for half of it I just couldn't give a shit. I wasn't really into that whole "Hunting the terrorists" plot and I don't really care too much for Rob Corrdry. Those scenes were more of an annoyance to me, as was smoking with George W. I did like the John Reep scene about "whooping your little cyclops ass!", and the KKK stuff, the bottomless party, the more gentler scenes about Kumar's past smoking weed with Vanessa.

But the problem arises with the film trying too hard to be obscenely gross or super funny, when it shouldn't, and isn't. The same thing goes for the third film, Harold and Kumar Christmas. They went way overboard with the Neil Patrick Harris stuff, first of all. He's like in one-third of the total film, it's ridiculous. I didn't need to see him do an entire song and dance routine in 3-D. He was good in the first film, and even OK in the second, but this was too fuckin' much. Harold and Kumar both have new best friends in this one (played by Thomas Lennon and Amir Blumenfeld) and thankfully their scenes aren't nearly as annoying as the side scenes from part two involving the Government. I liked the running gag with the baby girl that keeps getting fucked up on various drugs.

There's a really awesome Claymation scene where the two are seriously tripping out on spiked egg nog and have to escape a giant, sinister snow man that's destroying the city. We even get our first shot of genitals here (Kumar's humongous 3-D clay dick in your face!). It keeps coming back to reality and showing how insane they're acting even though to them they're in a clay world and some crazy shit is going down. Then there's a little nod to A Christmas Story later on when Harold gets his dick stuck to a pole and Kumar decides that only his warm saliva can get it unstuck. "No! I don't want you spitting on my penis!" Aside from the more penisy scenes, we do get to (not) see NPH jerking off on a model's back while he gives her a massage, and a really nice ass shot from Maria (one which rivals the ass shot in Immortals). Nice!

Paula Garcé as Maria, who is perhaps the sexiest woman alive, gets a few more scenes this time around which I enjoyed. She's drop fuckin' dead gorgeous. And in this one she shows off her sex-craved side. The acting seems a little forced to be ultra naughty but I didn't mind. Danny Trejo play's Maria's Christmas tree sweater wearing father who seemingly wishes to disembowel Harold. The guy is dead serious about the trees that he grows (just check out that sweater!). Patton Oswalt plays the Mall Santa who of course, sells weed on the side. Danneel Ackles as Vanessa, was hardly in this movie at all (that sucks). Elias Koteas is here (Christopher Meloni couldn't make it) playing a Mob boss who wants the boys dead in a rather lame subplot involving his virgin daughter who can't seem to get fucked. His scenes are well done, but every scene with his kids are super annoying. Richard Riehle plays the real Santa, who again of course loves smoking pot out of his candy cane bong(!). I probably don't have to tell you how awesome this guy is in whatever movie he's in. He stole all the scenes he was in, playing probably the best Santa representation I've ever seen.

My favorite part of the whole film was the Nunspoitation scene. It's so good to see hot, nude, lesbian nuns soaped up and showering together in a mainstream film these days. I really appreciate the filmmakers for giving the nun-lovin' viewers something special. That, and any time I got to see Maria's face (or other parts) really left me with that warm Christmas feeling inside. I can see why they had to estrange Harold and Kumar, being it a major plot point of Santa's secret package that reunites them and saves their friendship. It was weird though, seeing them so distant and uncomfortable with each other. Guess it had to be done for the sake of the story and to introduce new characters. Side characters should stay side characters though, that's how I feel about it in these films. So, I guess I'd say that Harold and Kumar Christmas was a mixed sack. It's got a lot of small doses of truly funny moments, but a lot of the puns and dialogue with the lamer characters (mob kids, black guys selling trees, and new best friends to a lesser extent) are just kind of boring and tiresome. Something that plauged the last film, but hopefully not the next.

Note: Being that this film has 3-D firmly in the title and the films itself makes extremely obvious nods that it's in 3-D, make sure you see this in a theater with decent glasses and equipment. In fact, if you're seeing 3-D films in multiple theaters around your town it's good to find out which one does it best, don't keep switching it up if you have a bad experience in one. Always go to the place that plays it best if you're going to pay extra.

November 25, 2011

Mummy Raider (2002)

Mummy Raider (2002)
Starring: Misty Mundae, Darian Caine and Ruby Larocca. Directed by: Brian Paulin.

Misty Mundae stars in a film about, well... a Nazi bitch (Ruby Larocca) hellbent (that's way too strong of a word, curious is more like it) on taking over the world. To bring forth the Fourth Reich (wink), she'll need some Mummy bits (let's just say the dusty, bandaged wang of Egypt's knowledge) for some reason or another to wreak unspeakable um, evil. So she (zee Nazi slut, that is) kidnaps a chick (Darian Caine) and makes out with her in front of her tied up, researcher father in order to uh, revive the Mummy. Meanwhile, Misty (dressed identical to video game heroine Lara Croft, with pigtails, naturally) bursts into a warehouse, guns blazing, gets naked (Aw yeah) and blows... away Nazi cunt's henchmen goons with Uzis! Left with only one option to sway the Nazi harlot from her mischievous ways, the three girls engage in hot, (softcore) lesbian sex (what did you expect?) 

This movie left my cock stiff and dry like King Tut in his sarcophagus. That shot of Misty topless, arms spread and shootin' off Uzis was so damn good that they only ended up using it in the movie forty goddamn times. "Ok, now let's see it in slow mo.... thrice. Goooood." Now hit the credits and roll the movie. It was an awesome shot, sure.. but I mean, it didn't have to be padding. Isn't the horrifically long softcore lesbo sex padding enough? Wait a minute, what the hell am I complaining about? Honestly, I have no complaints about Mummy Raider. It's the feelbad movie of the... well, the last forty five minutes actually. Because that's just about how long the flick is. Let's check the stats: A two minute credit intro featuring the most popular shots from the film we've yet to see, thirteen minutes of sexy interrogation, eight minutes of blasting action (not that kind, yet!), seventeen minutes of blasting action (yeah, that kind), and a five minute end-credit sequence with sexy slow-motion flashbacks.

Something like that. Personally, I think Paulin got really lucky with this script he was given here (I don't actually mean the three page script, but rather the idea and whole Tomb Raider rip - It's one of their better ideas and he got the three best girls to boot). At first, after reading it he said "What the hell am I going to do with this?", which is a completely honest reaction. If you check out some of the words from Gregory Lamberson, you'll notice his obvious discomfort from the thought of getting stuck directing softcore films of these nature. And it's hard to disagree, though I actually do enjoy a lot of E.I. films (bad as they are, which is just what keeps bringing me back). I say Paulin got the best material and premise to work with in his first non-original film: Misty Mundae doing the Tomb Raider thing! And did I mention bravo on that slow motion topless shot? Whatever he decided to do with the film, he did it right. Keeping the run time lower than usual, he shot the film fast, efficient and well. And after all the cheesy lines are laid down, I'm proud to own it!

Misty Mundae (Sinful, Sick Girl, Bite Me!) is obviously the star of the show. She's got a young, natural beauty, a cute face with a warm, inviting smile and a cool attitude. Plus, seeing her in Nude Raider uniform is pretty much a pervert nerd's dream cum true. Ruby Larocca (Bone Sickness, Flesh For The Beast, Satan's School For Sluts) has always enthralled me as well. Aside from Misty, she's my other favorite of the E.I. Girls and has always kept me captivated whenever she's on screen. In this film she really hams it up and puts on one of the cheesiest German accents ever done. It's great. Darian Caine (Mistress Frankenstein, Lust For Dracula) also fares well as the damsel in distress, but let's face it, out of the three she's got the most total porn star look of them all. And it's hard for her to play so innocent when she's a secret naughty lesbo.

Director Brian Paulin (At Dawn They Sleep, Bone Sickness, Fetus) likes including a hefty amount of bonus materials on his DVDs. All of his films on DVD have commentaries, except for Mummy Raider, which is too bad. But Raider contains behind the scenes shots of Paulin directing Mundae, Darian Caine and Larocca. If you look close enough, you can see him giggling with glee. The lucky bastard! After he quietly says the word "Action", Mundae proceeds to slowly disrobe Caine and make out with her. "Sooo, after these come down should we go ahead and have sex?" Mundae asks. Yes yes yes. The behind the scenes featurette is really a great bonus, as are the outtakes and the Misty interview. The lady is adorable. I also like seeing Brian Paulin and his friend Rich George making their films. They're a great duo who have accomplished a cool series of interesting, incredibly violent, downright nasty, ultra low-budget horror films (expect reviews soon).

Mummy Raider, though padded out with an unnecessarily long softcore lesbian sex scene, still retains the charm of their other films. And yes, I count incredibly bad acting as charm! I like movies that many might consider "cheesy" or "bad". I've got a soft spot for the films of Misty Mundae. She's a remarkable young lady who happens to be incredibly beautiful and totally gets naked and makes out with other chicks all the time! I guess you could say that my soft spot is rather... a hard spot, after all. Har har. I've also got a certain fondness for Brian Paulin's films. He's passionate and ambitions, a true horror kid at heart, and sports some gnarly bangs. Visit his site at Morbid Vision Films.

Mummy Raider doesn't pretend to be something it's not. It's got a lot of the same, standard elements of Alternative Cinema's other films, except this time with a touch of low-budget class! If you're a fan of Misty Mundae, Ruby Larocca, director Brian Paulin, Independent Film, Softcore Lesbian flicks, Low-budget Cheese, or Lara Croft, then I can't really see any reason not to own this. Notes: This DVD currently is Out Of Print. A version of this film with scenes from William Hellfire's "Lust In The Mummy's Tomb" spliced into it, and labeled as the "European Cut", is currently available in "Misty Mundae: The Euro-Vixen 3-Disc Collection". I have not seen that version and thus cannot recommend it. As for the original version of the film? I say what the hell, you deserve to treat yourself to a guilty pleasure once in a while.

November 24, 2011

Dogfish Head SAH'TEA Ale

Dogfish Head SAH'TEA  - Ale Brewed with Black Chai Tea and Juniper Berries (2010?)
Brewed and Bottled by Dogfish Head Craft Brewing Inc., in Milton, DE. USA.
Occasional Rarity (Limited Release - May [when and if brewed])
25.6 fl. oz. / $12.44 USD (Came with Company Pint Glass) / 9.0% ABV

About: "A modern update on a 9th century Finnish proto-beer. Brewed with rye, we caramelize the wort with white hot river rocks, then ferment it with a German Weizen yeast. In addition to juniper berries foraged directly from the Finnish country-side we added a sort of tea made with black tea, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and black pepper."

Thoughts: Ultra light, yellowish amber with tea leaves(?) floating in time. There is stuff floating all throughout my beer. Huh. Is that sediment? I'm not quite sure (it's not on their list of Bottle Conditioned brews)... it could be tea leaves and bits of juniper berries? All I know is that it is not moving through the beer. It's in suspended animation, like bits of fruit in a jello. Crazy stuff.

Got some citrus as I was pouring. This is one of the most unique brews I've ever smelt. Strong tea and a little gin. Cinnamon, loads of Ginger, cloves and some pepper. There's that cardamom again. I had it in one other beer recently and there was something strange about it, but I remember this scent so that must be it.

It's a little lemony at first. Spices don't overwhelm at all, but it's got a taste that doesn't diminish at all either. It's very sweet, and a bit medicinal. Getting a lot of Rye as the main backdrop. Yeasty. Finish is woodsy and smokey. Little bit chalky. When I breath in I'm getting some banana as well. The spices and taste get more pronounced once it starts to warm. Also, the tinge of the alcohol that was hidden by the cold now starts to coat the mouth after each gulp, but wow it sure is subdued for a 9%. Everything is very well balanced and it's unlike anything I've ever tried.

Very soothing. Mouth feel is pretty thick, and lingering on the tongue. Little bit syrupy. More syrupy than other beers definitely.

I really didn't know what to expect going into this one. And really didn't know what to expect when it it smelled so good with all those bits and pieces floating around inside of it. Watching the making-of videos on the company's website made me appreciate the effort put into this brew even more.

It's a Sweet and Sour ale with more of a sweetness than sour, that isn't too intense, and one which I could see pleasing most specialty beer drinkers out there. My little girl spit it out, but hell, she's got no taste whatsoever. I'm very pleased that I tried this brew. It's most interesting, and I'm proud to have it inside of me right now. Little pricy though. The most expensive single bottle I've bought this year (so far). Though I have been eyeing that 74$ bottle of Mad Elf Ale that's like three feet tall. I'd have to be insane to lay down that kind of cash... at least on my own. Though, I have been told that I have split personalities, so perhaps that'll make it all ok.

November 23, 2011

Wychwood Wychcraft Blonde Beer

Wychwood Wychcraft Blonde Beer (2011)
Brewed and Bottled by Wychwood Brewery in Witney, Oxfordshire. UK.
Year Round (Standard Release)
16.9 fl. oz. / $4.29 USD / 4.5% ABV

Company: "WychCraft’s innovative new recipe includes adding three infusions of Styrian Goldings hops to the copper, to create a highly aromatic brew, bursting with succulent citrus and lime hop character. A light base of delicately flavoured English Fuggles hops, and the use of a lager malt, help retain the signature hop character and create a wonderfully aromatic and fragrant summertime beer. Beguiling to the end. Hops: Fuggles and Styrians / Malts: Lager and Caramalt."

Thoughts: Poured a super light amber with a huge puffy, slightly off white head that stuck it out.

Smells like a Lager. But nothing at all light a light one. We're talking heavy and strong. It's very citrusy, and quite hoppy too. With bitter malts that are hard to make out. It smells a bit like MGD. The smell takes me back to probably the first beer I ever bought and drank... in an old church playground late at night (a 32oz MGD which I had shoulder tapped when I was fifteen). But I haven't had a Miller in years so I don't know if they still smells like this.

Tastes just like it smells. The malt is a little heavier on the tongue, and it's got a Pillsbury Biscuit type aftertaste. Overall a fine tasting beer. I like it, but it's not extreme enough for me. Spiciness is almost non-existent. It would be nice if American Lager beers all tasted like this though, as it tastes very much what average beer should taste like.

Man... what is with that head!?
Smooth, goes down easy and is dry in the finish. For a 4.5% ABV this one doesn't feel light at all, not in the taste and definitely not in the smell.

I can't see any lover of beer not enjoying this. I'm looking forward to tying more from this company. Especially the Bah Humbug in December. Christmas brews, here I come! (I just hope they come to me). I, unfortunately and perhaps surprisingly, have not had any other of the Wychwood beers. Not even Hobgoblin. I've always meant to, and have always been intrigued by the artwork and the shape of the bottles/logo, but I suppose I was being a wee bit of a Nancy boy back then mate. No worries though... let's see what all the fuss it aboot.

Innis and Gunn Rum Cask Oak Aged Beer

Innis and Gunn Rum Cask Oak Aged Beer (2011)
Brewed and Bottled by Innis and Gunn Brewing Co., in Edinburgh, Scotland. UK.
Year Round (Standard Release)
25.4  fl. oz /  $7.99 USD  / 7.4% ABV

Note: I first heard of Innis and Gunn beer from watching Simon of "Real Ale Guide" (Review Here), a reviewer on youtube whom I subscribe to. He's a lively young chap from the UK and he's got a Wife as cute as can be. (Gotta admit too, Ive been watching her channel a little more than his lately). His enthusiasm for their special Canada Day 2011 brew got me desperately wanting to try anything of theirs. Unfortunately, I couldn't find anything in all the stores which I traveled... until Now! Just as I was getting ready to have the hooch dealer order me a few bottles, there they were on the shelf. Let's see if it lives up to the heavy expectation.

About The Brew: "Malts: Golden Promise and Crystal / Hops: Phoenix. "We are delighted to present this unique limited bottling of Innis and Gunn finished in oak barrels which previously contained navy rum. Maturation in special oak barrels imparts Navy rums with the sweet, spicy character for which they are renowned. Every single drop spent half of that time in American oak barrels before being refilled into selected navy rum barrels to finish the lengthy maturation. Once the beer had absorbed the unique character the barrels were emptied, the beer blended and then maturation continued for a further 47 days until all of the flavors had married together and mellowed."

Thoughts: Pours a dark auburn red with a 3/4 inch chestnut head that fades in about thirty seconds. Carbonation bubbles rise slowly.
Wow... that smells strong. Roasted caramel, very nutty, somewhat fruity. I'm getting a lot of that oak overall.

Maybe I haven't gotten around much, but this tastes like nothing I've ever had before. The oak from those rum barrels, not to mention the rum itself from inside that oak, mixes in here and damn does it ever come off sweet. There's mellow spices at the end of each gulp. Vanilla, toffee, caramelized fruit... this is a beautifully complex brew with different flavors bouncing all over the place and all of them taste wonderful. It's like one of those fruit and nut breads, or pies, only liquified. This is honestly one of the best beers I ever drank. 

Medium bodied, spicy on the tongue, goes down rather smoothly.
This is truly, a treasure to behold. Definitely a perfect score on this one. As it warms you get a lot more of that oak in the scent. As if you're drinking it straight out of the barrel. It kinda makes me wish they'd make their own brand of toothpicks out of one of them. I'd be sucking on one of those all day long. There's even the slightest hint at the end of chocolatey coffee beans. Overall it's a damn fine beer with a decent alcohol content that just tastes stunning. I can't wait to try their newer Cask blends which are coming out next year, and hopefully I'll get around to tasting more of their other brews that I've missed.

Wolaver's Oatmeal Stout

Wolaver's Oatmeal Stout (2011)
Brewed and Bottled by Otter Creek Breweing Co., in Middlebury, Vermont. USA.
Year Round (Standard Release)
12 fl. oz. / $1.75 USD / 5.9% ABV

About: "Three cheers for our Wolaver's Oatmeal Stout! This weekend we took 3rd place in the Stout category at the Great International Beer Festival in Rhode Island! You asked for it, so we're brewing it. Wolaver's first dark beer, this oatmeal stout is black in color, with a beautifully creamy head. This full flavored stout imparts hints of coffee, chocolate, and roasted flavors. It is being brewed with organic rolled oats, organic wheat, and of course organic barley and hops."

Thoughts: Poured near black with a tan, tan chocolatey head.

Smells of coffee beans, but it's not overpowering. Malty and chocolatey. It's got a bit of a chocolate chip granola bar thing going for it. Pretty cool.

Tastes like a solid, bitter semi-sweet chocolate. Like cocoa. The dark roasted malt flavor comes in after the initial coffee and chocolate flavor with a light zing of alcohol. It lingers around after the gulp. Coffee and bitter chocolate are very well balanced. The organic oats really bring out a nice fullness to the beer. If the alcohol content were higher you'd most likely not be able to get it so easily. 

It's as the bottle states: rich and creamy. And it goes down super smooth.

This is a lighter stout with a very good taste too it, and a very well accomplished overall beer. It doesn't feel light though, nor does it weigh you down. It's a very approachable stout with no real downside. Wolaver's gets my approval once again.

Check out those bubbles!!

November 20, 2011

Twilight 4 - Breaking Dawn: Part 1 (2011)

Twilight 4 - Breaking Dawn: Part 1 (2011)
[Rated PG-13: for disturbing images, violence, sexuality/partial nudity and some thematic elements.]

The film starts off with Jacob walking out the door into the rain, his race riddled with emotional pain as usual, before he tears off his shirt (again?!) to show his ripped bod and starts to jog. I really should have expected that.

We first get a glimpse of the White Wedding as Bella walks down the isle towards Edward, only for things to become surreal and uneasy once they kiss. She looks down to notice that they're now both covered in blood, and as the camera very, very slowly pans out, both are standing over the pile of all the guest's dead bodies. Nice! Once the real wedding begins, Bella stands there holding her father's hand nervously and asks him, "Just don't let me fall down." This is important to note as it is a recurring theme for Bella, and to remind audiences that she is indeed, on rather clumsy ass, dumb bitch.

It's a very, I guess pretty would be the word, wedding scene and up until this point nearly every character from the previous films has had at least one scene. As Bella is walking down the isle there's a slow, minute-long scene of the camera's transition down the back of her dress. It sure is one detailed and cool looking dress, admittedly. [I wondered why the shot took so long, (not that I minded, it was interesting I thought and added to the real time factor of an event like this) so I looked it up and found out that Stephenie Meyer had written some six pages detailing nothing but the back of that dress. Weirdly obsessive much?] There's some humorous bits thrown in with the toasts, and while it's all about true love forever and all that gushy business it doesn't go completely sappy as before. And so, they get married and tongue kiss for about five minutes straight while all the tween girls in the audience get wet.

Jacob shows up (with clothes on for once!) after the ceremony, standing in the woods, and seemingly unbitchier than usual. He seems to be finally coming into his own as a rightfully pissed off dude, and less of a crying, whimpering, shirtless and running, buff, teen-angst boy (Well except for that first scene, but I heard should have been towards the end of the third film actually). Anyways, he's manning up a bit. Even though, he's still majorly in love with this chick who keeps leading him on slightly, even though she just fucking got married! The two share a dance and some words together while everyone is still back at the party. When the honeymoon and subsequential turning get brought up, Bella tells Jacob that she will indeed be fucking Edward that night... but not as a Vamp, just as a mere, fragile human girl. Jacob naturally flips the fuck out, then storms off into the woods again crying like a little bitch.

Edward whisks Bella away to the mysterious vacation area of Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, where the two dance in the street for a short while amongst the local Asado-Grilling Muchachos and Gordita Putas. They share a few more kisses before taking a small motorboat out to a secluded island with an incredibly gorgeous and absolutely stunning looking summer home. Here we go, Edward and Bella finally get their fuck on! It's about time too. Bella's all nervous, brushing her teeth, shaving her legs and pumping herself up in the mirror while Edward decides to take a nude stroll out into the ocean. After coming to terms with the fact that she will indeed soon have Edwards wooden stake inside of her, she strips down and joins him in the water where they kiss for another fifteen minutes. There is a lot of goddamn kissing in this movie.

(This whole scene had to be shot just above nipples, so there's a whole lot of negative space with the sky in the background, and it looks just plain weird. The camera was too far out about half the time and it was distracting and downright infuriating to not see her boobs. It was far too lingering as well and the fact that I had to look at Edwards nipples didn't really help matters either!) It's actually pretty romantic this time around though, and a lot less (glaringly) cliche than the previous films. There still are some cheesy ass lines for those of us who so desire them, because come on, who doesn't love Meyer's groan inducing writing? I sure as fuck do! When Edward carried Bella to the bedroom to their honeymoon she gives him some shit, and he says "I'm nothing if not traditional." A major theme for Edward by the way who's a total old-school nerd of a virgin vampire. That line doesn't seem so bad written down, but in addition to his previous lines and delivery it's delightfully tacky.

Where was I? Oh right, the sex scene. It's a fairly quick scene (after all they are virgins), but it appears as if they go at it twice, with Bella mounting Edward the second time around. When Edward first slips inside of her sweet, pink little twitcher, he grabs the headboard, crushing it with his bare hands as he shoots his vampyric load prematurely inside of her. Smooth move. Bella later awakens with pillow feathers all over the place, the bed has been torn to shreds and the frame is busted all to fuck. There was a fun little scene later with the Spanish housekeepers, particularly the superstitious wife, when they walk through the house and that bed (whole room actually) is utterly thrashed! That next morning Bella stares at herself in the mirror for about five minutes and touches her face and lips for a while. Edward comes in and asks her how badly she's hurt. Yes, I grinned. He then opens parts of her robe to expose dark bruises all over her body.

Edward of course refuses to touch her shortly after that because he's so insistent on not ever hurting her. All the while she's pretty much screaming out "Fuck me! You idiot." He of course resists all of her temptations with the lingerie and blatantly rubbing her curvy ass in his face, instead opting to make her breakfast each morning and obliterate her at every chess game. She starts having bad dreams about never getting fucked again, one in which she finally wins a game of chess and then as compensation mounts him. Only to wake up and start crying as the dream was not real. How unfortunate! A few hours later Bella eats some slightly undercooked chicken and begins vomiting. When she notices that she missed her period, she checks herself out in the mirror and feels a violent trembling of a demon child. Edward naturally shits himself, panics and says they've got to get "that thing" out of her. Ouch!

Yeah, that's the look! Pants shat.
Talk about romantic, huh? The next half of the film deals with Bella's incredibly short and downright sickeningly-grim pregnancy. Arguments over "fetus" vs "baby" are had, and many of the family (including Jacob) want that fuckin' monstrosity out of her belly before it kills her. Bella insists that she's strong enough and Edward scoffs at the dumb girl's words. You, strong!? Que laughter. Nobody can sense the baby, or what it's like or what it wants until Edward reads Jacob's sarcastic mind that "it probably wants to come out so it can rip out someone's throat." Carlisle and the rest of them decide that the malnourished (and not to mention pretty fuckin' gross looking) young lass needs to Drink Blood(!) to feed the baby. Over the course of a few days, Bella goes through the family's lingering supply of Type O Positive blood pouches (drinking them with a straw out of Styrofoam cups). Soon enough, Edward discovers the error of his ways and comes to comfort his wife, telling her that he can now hear the baby's thoughts, that he loves the baby, and that the baby loves its mother. Aww.

With all well again in the Cullen family, Bella stands up and accidentally drops her cup, only to lean down and furiously Snap her spine in half! Dark lord. She screams in agonizing pain and goes into labor. As Dr. Carlisle, his wife and Emmett have gone out for more blood pouches (to accommodate the birth, nice timing), Rosalie, Jacob and Edward are forced to deliver the baby. After Edward slits Bella's stomach open with a scalpel, Rosalie's bloodlust takes control and Alice has to get her and Jasper the hell out of there before they eat her alive. The three of them go out to fight off the wolf pack, who are now focused on killing this baby as it is "too much of a threat to the world." Leaving Jacob and Edward both together once again in this dire situation. The fetus lining is too strong that the scalpel won't penetrate it, so Edward must bury his face into Bella's other slit and rip that fuckin' baby out with his own teeth! It's all pretty bloody disgusting actually.

Then she dies.

Yep. She's pregnant! I mean, It's totally obvious...
This film nearly got an R-Rating and had to be edited in two major spots. Personally this saddens the hell out of me and I hope that the home release will feature unaltered editing (though I highly fucking doubt it)! There were some strange cuts during the sex scene and also the birthing scene (far too many red lens and fades and shadows and disguise - I really wish they would have just shown more of the eventful gore). It was still nasty, and blood was all over the place, however. That being said, this film shows far more skin and blood than all the three previous combined. Not that that's really saying too much.

One of the main things I like about the film was how beautifully shot and composed everything is. All of the framing, set pieces, costumes, cinematography and timing are expertly handled. The music was distracting in only a few parts as it would start out of nowhere in the middle of dialogue, and I did notice one strange jump-cut between Carlisle and Edward's faces while in the doctor's office. But otherwise things flowed rather smoothly and scene transitions were often to some other spectacular looking location with some eventful bullshit building up. The whole first half of the film is so inviting and gorgeous. The last third of the film gets pretty damn ugly, especially in the case of Bella's walking corpse look.

Nearly all of the characters from the previous films all share moments together before Bella and her future sisters prepare for the wedding. The film takes its time to slow down and focus on a lot of the less dramatic scenes, where not much goes on aside from some dialogue and humorous, warm moments. It's nice that a lot of the smaller character development reminder-scenes were included in this split end-film, as not to compact and lose the  important stuff (Alright, let's get another shot of Jacob shirtless standing in the rain!). Bella's mom makes more of an appearance, her school friends aren't all dead after all, and the two least annoying siblings of the wolf clan (Seth and Leah Clearwater) get the most screen time from that bunch (which is good because I found all of the others particularly annoying!).

The werewolves actually speaking to each other was otherworldly and just plain weird. I know they communicate telepathically, but I just didn't see this coming at all. In the previous films it was merely suggested with eyes and understood looks, but here you flat out hear what they're saying. It was like a cartoon. The CGI of the broken spine and envenoming blood traveling through the body looked pretty cool, as did the self-stitching skin. There were some quick flashback sequences (and man do I utterly hate flashbacks), but they were mostly done in quick fashion and didn't end up bothering me too much.

It's hard for me to rate this one in comparison to the other films in the series based on two factors. One of the reasons I watch these are for Kristen Stewart. If I could dream at all, it would be about her! Unfortunately she looks pretty disgusting for a good part of this movie (and while relevant to the film, I gotta shake my head no). Then there's the lameness and cheese factor. The last two Twilight films have been stepped it up a notch on the serious meter, and this time it didn't come off a total giggle-fest. Luckily there was still just enough awfulness that I went away fulfilled. Did I mention that Jacob falls in love with and "imprints" on their baby at the end of this? Motherfucker's now a babyfucker!

My words are my own and as of posted from their creation forward I hereby claim originality to them. Pictures may prove to be promotional items and are the sole possessions of their respectful owners and/or companies. I do not sell, nor do I buy. I only rent, so therefore, nothing I own is truly mine.