Monday, April 18, 2011

Dead Alive and North Coast's Brother Thelonious Belgian Abbey Ale

This was a good week for zombie beer nights as I log yet another one “under my belt”.  I think that’s the phrase.  Tonight is decided to go for the gore.  For anybody who considers themselves a zombie movie fan you know what that means….BRAIN DEAD (AKA Dead Alive).  This movie was made in 1992 by none other than…(drum roll)…Peter Jackson.  The same guy that made the epic Lord of the Rings trilogy got his start making gory, over the top, B rate horror flicks.
I decided this movie would go especially well with North Coast’s Brother Thelonious Abbey Ale.  Victory has a slew of amazing ales that they send out all over the country.  I’ve had the privilege to drink a few of them.  The Old No. 38, Old Rasputin, and Bourbon aged Old Rasputin all are must tries of the adventurous beer drinker.  Brother Thelonious is a Belgian Dark Strong weighing in at heavy 9.4% abv with 32 IBU’s.  After taking a moment of silence holding the bottle up to the light to examine the hue that the dark liquid took within the dark brown bottle.  I pondered the possibilities that it held.  I popped the cork and poured half into my 22 oz snifter.  It foamed wildly as I expect from most Belgian ales.
The movie is just through the opening scenes where it plot of the entire movie is disclosed from the start.  A creature resulting from a monkey being raped by a rat was captured from the jungle in Australia.  I’m not going to even try to explain the jungle natives that chased the scientist out.  Let's just say it's not the most cultural sensitive thing I've ever seen.  Fast forward a bit and you meet Lionel our akward and insecure main character.  There’s a sort of Oedipus thing going on minus the whole kill your father thing.  When he goes on a date at the zoo Lionel’s distrustful, and overprotective/controlling/psycho mother spies on him.  In the process she gets bitten by the creature.  Let the zombies begin.
I take a few sips of the beer.  The aroma is full of ripe fruit and plumb.  You can definitely tell it's Belgian by that unique Belgian aroma.  It took two swirls to really to really foam up the beer and get the beer the breathe (yes I said breathe).  The first sip is less powerful than I expected.  It’s a soft mixture of Belgian yeast spice with burnt sugar and raisins.  This beer reminds me that there are times when my American tendencies to go for the biggest and most powerful of beers misses the wonderful experience of a balanced and well crafted one.  So as I sip and savor the quiet and well crafted beer that epitomizes what can be done with restraint and careful calculation the movie evolves into the over the gore fest that I expected.
Lionel pulls an entire German Sheppard our of his zombie mother’s mouth.  There is puss and blood in levels never before captured in one film.  Peter Jackson makes Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead look like a Disney movie.  Oh and to take it up a notch these zombie’s can’t be killed by destroying the brain like in most conventional movies.  No they must be completely destroyed.  A zombie priest has sex with a zombie nun who's head is hanging off the back of her neck resulting in an ugly zombie baby who causes havoc.  Lionel's love interest gets caught up in the mess and takes to shoving zombie limbs into a blender.  There are even a set of entrails that once ripped from the zombies body take on a life of their own attacking the living.  Yea so this movie departs from reality a bit.
There were so many great scenes that it’s hard to find just which ones I would consider the best highlights.  I will say that the priest who yells “I Kick ass for the LORD!” as he jumps into battle using his honed karate skills to dispatch a small group of zombies is my favorite character.  Nothing was taboo, the directer knows no bounds.  I warn you though.  The first time i watched this movie i became sick to my stomach.  There was so much blood used in this movie that the special effects people had to order it in 55 gallon drums.  That’s a lot of blood.   I mean there is a whole scene where Lionel liquefies hundreds of zombies with his lawn mower.
Do not watch this movie on a full stomach.  It will make you never want to eat pudding again.  I appreciate the over the top goofy humor that Peter Jackson mixes with violence in equal parts of ridiculousness.   Rent this movie and buy this beer!

The Beer:
Aroma – 8/10
Appearance – 5/5
Taste – 9/10
Palate – 4/5
 Overall – 19/20
Total = 45/50

The Movie:
Production – 3.5/5
Plot – 4/5
Gore – 6/5
Zombies – 4/5
Overall – 4.5


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