Thursday, July 7, 2011

Pontypool and New Belgium Trippel

Slow and steady I've begun chipping away at more zombie movies.  This is my favorite zombie that doesn't really have any zombies in it.  It's held together by the compelling performance of Stephen McHattie who plays Grant Mazzy a big time radio host who after being fired finds himself working in small town Canada.  Fueled by early morning booze and coffee this edgy character is a believable radio personality.  He tries to spice up the news-less town with his wild rants.  But he gets a real story.  The beer i paired with this movie has no symbolic connection to it.  It was picked because it's getting into the mid 80's here in Seattle and that is something I am just not used to.  But I don't drink pilsners and a wheat doesn't pack the punch I was looking for so I was forced to look elsewhere.  There at my local grocer, slapped in the middle of what I have begun to call the "token micros" (Stone, Sierra Nevada, Pyramid, Widmer, Red Hook, Deschutes...etc), sat New Belgium's Trippel for only $6.50.  Done and done!  Aside from fat tire i had never tired any New Belgium beers so i was pretty excited.  Well here goes.
First a little brewery background.  In 2010 New Belgium was the 3rd largest craft brewery and 7th largest brewery in the country.  That's pretty good.  Outside magazine named New Belgium Brewery the #1 best place to work in the country.  They use efficient kettles and pay extra to ensure they are buying the cleanest energy possible.  They employ several woman brewers and are committed to the health of their workers.  They have a vast array of beers of all styles and flavors.  They have a Rye ale with juniper and a couple of Bret beers (Brettanomyces for those that don't know).
Now for the tasting.  It is a bright golden color with a foamy white two finger head.  With a gentle swirl and a sniff the Belgian character smashes through the glass and into your nose.  Some spice and noble hops push down most of the alcohol smell.  The first sip is crisp and smooth sweet malts.  It's complex and fruity with a touch of coriander spice in the finish. It's 7.8% abv is noticeable but not overpowering and the 25 IBUs puts just enough bitterness in the finish to balance this beast.  This one is smooth enough and light enough for the frightened novice beer drinker and complex and interesting enough for the thrill seeking sud master.
The beer kicks in as the movie heats up.  As Grant starts spilling the incoming story about a riot at a doctors office all hell breaks loose.  You don't see it, you hear it.  It's terrifying.  The traffic reporter is a guy in a car parked on a hill pretending to be in a helicopter.  As he reports the riot he starts screaming about an explosion and people being trampled.  You hear the reports of people being dragged from their cars and being eaten alive.  The terror that comes through in his account is blood chilling.  There isn't any on scene killings but what you get is much worse.  The series where Grant reports the deaths of all the people in the town.  The cinematography is original and compelling. 

It's hard to go through this film as the premise is pretty complicated.  It has something to do with a virus in language.  I repeat "It's a virus in language".  Caused by the words in the English language.  I don't fully understand how the virus works but it's scary as shit.  Grant begins to realize that his radio program and his talking could be infecting the entire town.  The radio station becomes under siege as the undead break though the windows.  I won't give away the end, you have to watch the rest for that.
Although this film has minimal gore, it is original and scary like few other films in my collection are.  The American parallel (remake, version, whatever) is called Dead Air starring Bill Mosley.  It pales in comparison.  If your a zombie purist who has put off watching this movie please give it a chance.  This movie will shake you!  If you've already seen it then tell a friend.  This movie is a hidden gem and a worth while watch!

The Beer:
Aroma – 7/10
Appearance – 4/5
Taste – 7/10
Palate – 4/5 
   Overall – 18/20
Total = 40/50

The Movie:
Production – 5/5
Plot – 5/5
Gore – 3/5
Zombies – 2/5
  Overall – 4/5


  1. I watched this movie twice (had to just to figure this fucker out) and loved it the first time, but was much harder on it the second time around. I REALLY want to love this movie, mainly for the stellar performance of Stephen McHattie, but I just can't get past the whole infected language premise and the ridiculous ending. That being said, this movie should be watched for the first time late at night with surround sound turned way up, it really does make for a creepy fun time. Another excellent review, sir.

  2. Thank you. I agree the end was really strange. I loved the part with the two on the couch just ranting but i don't know why. Surround sound is a must.