Monday, April 18, 2011

Dawn of the Dead (remake) and Stone Double Bastard Ale

Tonight I am drinking the big brother of the legend, Double Bastard!  Most seasoned craft beer drinkers have experienced Arrogant Bastard at some point during their adventures.  Stone is one of my favorite US breweries.  Their beers are aggressive and full flavored.  These beers are angry, hoppy,  bitter beers that fear no man.  People SHOULD fear these beers.  The lowest IBUs (International Bitter Units) on a stone beer is 41.  That’s just under four times more than the average mass produced fizzy pilsner.  Most of Stone’s beers push the theoretical limit of how many IBUs you can get into a beer.  Thier goal is to blow your face off.  With the craft beer feeling an overall boost in production last year (11%), Stone Brewing Co. lead the way with a 17% increase.  They are a monster in the industry.
And for the movie Zack Snyder (300) has created a monster of his own.  The remake of Dawn of the Dead was the gateway movie for me.  It scared me for months.  Even now seven years later I still get chills when I hear the Johnny Cash song that’s played during the credits.  This movie is not for the faint of heart.  It is graphic and scary, with the first fifteen minutes being the scariest and most well crafted 15 minutes of cinema i've ever scene.
For those who see the original Dawn of the Dead as being the Arrogant Bastard of the movie world i think you'll agree that the remake would fit well as the Double Bastard.  More gore, more terrifying.  It's only fitt

And so we begin.  The scenes jump around in the hospital and I meet once again the main character, Ana.  I crack open the beer and pour it once again into my great divide tulip glass.  While I can’t find anything stating the style of arrogant bastard I’m pretty sure it’s considered an American Barleywine.  For those reading that don’t know what a Barleywine is….well you’re not fully living your life.  The beer pours a deep dark amber/brown with not a lot of foam.  After just a few minutes the foam is gone completely.  At this point the movie is 9 minutes in and Ana’s boyfriend has met his unfortunate fate.  It has begun!
The beer is thick and after a quick swirl the aroma is sweet bread, caramel, and hot alcohol.  The tempting and nostalgic scent draws me in for the first sip.  This beer truly lives up to its reputation.  After several years of serious beer tasting, reading, and training, I tend to think of myself in the upper tier of beer drinkers.  As such I recognize that Arrogant Bastard is cheap and widely distributed.  It’s the beer that non beer enthusiasts use to try and impress real beer enthusiasts.  Double Bastard has changed my opinion.  I sit here a humbled and foolish man.  The beer is slick and full.  It has a very husky, grainy fill, with a huge hop bitterness (as one would have to expect from Stone).  The beer is not as sweet as it smells and the caramel flavor is more muted than I expected.  Instead I taste the full fresh grain that I imagine is the Maris Otter that I’ve heard so much about.  It has a long finish and an aftertaste that lingers for minutes.  This beer has dominant flavor that would overpower all but the most rich tasting foods.  The popcorn I made for the movie does not blend well with the beer.
The movie is terrifying.  Every scene that scared me in that first viewing scares me even more now.  The director did such a wonderful job of getting the viewer to bond with the characters that I find myself hoping for those whose fate I already know.  I’ve read several reviews of both the original and the remake and I tend to agree with most of what is already written.  The remake has a lot owed to technology and cinematography  whereas the old version relied much more on character development and a single subplot that was played out almost to the point of exhaustion.  The cameos in this movie were hilarious…Tom Savini, Ken Foree, Scott Reiniger, and a less obvious tip of the hat to Gaylen Ross.

This movie was one of the first, and definitely the most well known, movie to use FAST zombies.  This broke the Romero mold set in 1968.  Slow zombies were terrifying, FAST zombies are hopeless symbols of the end.  I am grateful to Zack Snyder for not trying to explain the reasoning behind the zombie disease.  He focused more on how devastating it would be and how unprepared we are.  This movie also has a certain Hollywood touch.  There is that similar feel in characters and plot flow that you would expect from a major Action/Horror release.
I’m now halfway through my bomber.  This beer is truly wonderful.  And it’s the type of wonderful that you don’t need to break the bank spending $12 or $14 a bottle for.  If you’re a interested in an intense beer with punch in the face flavor for a fraction of the price of similar micro brews then you need to try this beer.  It’s also a beer that ages well.  I would suggest getting several bottles and saving a few for a year or two.  It will be worth it.
This movie was peppered with humor and irony that broke up the horror scenes and make each one even more compelling.  Shooting celebrity zombies on the roof was the ultimate in class revenge.  Those who held the positions of envy became targets for those to release their jealousy.
I would like to personally thank Ken Foree for taking his famous line from the original and rebirthing it into a scene that haunts me I’m sure many others who have seen the film.  “When there’s no more room in Hell, the dead will walk the Earth.”  The Horror, the horror.  This film is the gem of my zombie movie collection.  I’ve seen it more than 15 times and it is just as compelling each time.  For those who haven’t seen it I apologize for spoiling what you will see.  And for those who have I hope this inspires you to revisit the film (with a great beer) one more time.

The Beer:
Aroma – 8/10
Appearance – 4/5
Taste – 9/10
Palate – 4/5
Overall – 18/20
Total = 43/50

The Movie:
Production – 5/5
Plot – 4.5/5
Gore – 5/5
Zombies – 5/5
Overall – 5/5


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