Friday, July 15, 2011

Mutants and Microbrasserie Charlevoix's La Vache Folle

So I don't know why it took the French 40 years to from when Night of the Living Dead was released to make a zombie movie but they have taken the genre by force.  First with The Horde and now with this weeks movie Mutants.  Not the 2008 Mutants about some synthetic sugar that makes people "Zombies"?  I've never seen it but the cover looks dumb.  And not The Mutant Chronicles starring everyone's favorite primate Ron Perlman.  I thought a Saison would be a good pairing....only because they're both French.  But then i realized that I had something deep in my fridge that would work even better.  On my recent trip from Alaska to Seattle I found myself in a beautiful little town called Jasper.  Jasper is buried deep in the heart of the Canadian Rockies this town is miles from anywhere.  Literally.  It's in the middle of Jasper National Park.  It's surrounded by green in the GPS.  They had a craft beer and wine store with a giant walk in cooler.  Deep in the back of the cooler I found two beers that I bought and managed to sneak over the boarded to where they now fridge.  The first is Black Albert.  My #1 beer ever and a beverage I'm saving for another post and La Vache Folle (Mad Cow), a French (Canadian) made IIPA.  I think due to the Frenchness of the beer it would make a good partner.
I have to tell you this movie starts off powerful right from the beginning.  The movie is shot with a dark, almost blueish lens that gives it this creepy feel.  There is a girl attacked in the woods but she manages to escape.  She keeps running until finally she reaches a "safe spot".....a highway.  She decides it would be a great place to catch er breath after the attack until.......WHAM she's exploded thanks to a ambulance careening through.  I'm not going to go scene for scene with this review like i do for most of my others.  Not because I'm lazy but rather because unless your French you've never seen this movie.  It's gory.  It's REALISTICALLY gory.  But it's also just a slight bit over the top in order to keep wowing you, the audience.  Gunshots spray blood and giant chunks of flesh.  There's no cut aways or wide shots either.  It's fast paced, in your face action.
Before popping this beer open I did my usual googling to shed some light onto the background of the beer I'm drinking.  This is especially important when I'm stepping into unfamiliar territory like i am now.  Come to find out the beer i had bought was a Columbus IIPA.  I didn't fully read the label when i bought it i guess. Microbrasserie Charlevoix puts out an entire series of single hopped Imperial IPAs.  How awesome is that.  I would love to watch the Return of the Living Dead series while tasting this Imperial IPA series.  According to there are 8 beers in this series all weighing in at 9% abv.  There's Armillo, Bravo, Centennial, Columbus, Herkules, Simco, Yeoman, and even a mystery hop beers.
Enough talk, I pour the beer!  It's a brilliant orange with a thick cap of off white foam.  I sink my nose deep into the glass expecting those greasy american hops.......but.......wait.........what the?  No hops!!  There's a nice malty, sweet caramel aroma, with just a slightly sour tinge.  I'm shocked.  In disbelief i swirl my snifter and try again.  There they are.  If you push past the bready malt aroma there is are flowery and slightly piny hops in there.  Oh good!  Now that I'm mildly prepared I take a taste.  It's surprisingly malty with a significant sweetness.  It's not what i expected but it's very good.  A lemony, grapefruit hoppiness cuts nicely into the sweet malt making a very balanced and enjoyable beer.  There's some bitterness but not the Chinook tongue piercing that i was looking for.  Moderate carbonation, moderate mouthfeel.  I liked the little heat that the alcohol brought on and enjoyed the complex flavors of this beer.  I will appreciate it even more the next time I try it.  Because I'll be drinking it for what it is, instead of what i think it will be.  I think it's a double IPA but it's definitely on the edges.  This is a beer all of it's own and one i highly suggest.
Back to the movie.  It's got a bit of a lull after the initial punch.  I would say that the first 15 minutes of this film are as compelling as the opening sequence of the Dawn of the Dead remake.  It's THAT good.  But then the film takes a turn for the I, Zombie path where it does a long sequence of the transformation of a person into a zombie.  However don't fret, the only similarity to I, Zombie is the idea of showcasing transformation, the transformation itself is WAYYYY more awesome.  I'm beginning to rethink how Zombie these creatures really are.  At first i thought they were absolutely zombies.  At the very least they might be 28 Days Later zombies (yea i called them zombies).  But towards the end of the film the disfiguring caused by the transformation makes some of the characters seem less human and more mutant.  The horror of the zombie movie is the striking similarity that zombies have to people.  There's always a strange conflict by their very being.  If you start making zombies into mutants the whole things gets dilluted and there's no connection.  That being said they were not over the top with most of the zombies and the zombie aspect shines through clearly.
While the end of the film turns up the same character types that seem to slosh back and forth across the vast sea of zombie moves, this movie was still rather interesting.  It's not a top 10 back breaker like i expected after the first 15 minutes but it's a solid zombie movie coming out of a sleeper of a country.  If you get a chance to watch this one get it in Blu Ray.  It's worth it!

The Beer:
Aroma – 8/12
Appearance – 3/3
Taste – 17/20
Palate – 4/5 
   Overall – 7/10
Total = 39/50

The Movie:
Production – 5/5
Plot – 4/5
Gore – 4/5
Zombies – 3/5
  Overall – 4/5


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