Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Ninjas VS Zombies and Southern Tier Creme Brulee

I got a third straight night of zombie movies.  Lucky me and subsequetially.....lucky you.  It looks just terrible.  It reeks of sub par acting and bad CGI.  But the idea is so terrible, so stupid, so half drunk middle school sleepover that I must see it.  I went with what I can only imagine is another knock out beer from a kick ass brewery.  Southern Tier has cemented themselves in my top ten breweries in the country.  I think I've wrote before that if a brewery doesn't brew an imperial stout then they probably suck.  Here Southern Tier makes something like 4 or 5!  This looks like a serious dessert beer!
So the movie starts off by pissing me off.  This nerdy dude is holding a seance to bring back his dead brother.  Yes, the zombies are a result of magic.  There's reference to Dungeons and Dragons, and numerous poorly acted movie references.  Not only are the zombies a result of magic, but there's a king zombie that can talk, fight like a ninja, do magic, and control the zombies.  So Captain King Fucking Zombie (Eric) goes around eating people's souls (not the people themselves......just the soul) in the most corny and overacted way possible.  The movie drags for the first bit trying to do some character development.  Each person is unique in the way that they're all sort of the same and someone you think you might know.  The dialog is absolutely terrible.'s sort of growing on me......and I sort of like it.  Things are starting to heat up and I'm warming up to this terrible movie.
So I pour the beer into the snifter and it's dark black.  It's thick and viscous and browns out at the edges.  It leaves a thick brown head that floats like melted marshmallows.  The first sniff is intoxicating!  I can't believe how much this smells like real Creme Brulee!!!  There's sweet vanilla and burnt sugar dripping over chocolaty notes and rich cream.  It's like your about to drink a gourmet milkshake.
 (Picture thanks to!)
The flavor matches.  It's smooth and creamy with a thick mouthfeel.  It's oily and slick and screams milkfat.  It's loaded with lactose that's for sure, giving it a sweetness that lingers long after your finished sipping.  Their is layer after layer of goodness here.  Vanilla and burnt sugar, layers of caramel and frothy cream, then your hit by the slightest acceptable bitterness and the coffee and chocolate notes from all that malt.  I also happened to have some 64% cacao nibs from our local chocolate shop.  The bitter of the chocolate mixed with the sweet of the beer to create a flavor more powerful than the both.  Don't buy Riesling or port wine.  Don't break out some dessert liquor.  Buy this beer and slap it in the fridge.  It can also be drizzled over high quality vanilla ice cream for a super beer treat.  This beer is one sided and not very drinkable.  But it's exactly what it means to be;  a cap at the end of the night, a finish to a holiday spend gorging yourself and watching football.  It's a beautiful beast and deserves all of our respect.
So the more I watch this movie the more I love it!  But, before I tell you why I love this movie let me tell you a little bit more about why I hate it.  The dialog is horrible.  Especially the guy who summons his brother.  I think his name in the movie was Randal but I think we should just call him wizard boy.  He's so terrible.  But it's so terrible it's awesome.  There's a lot of references to other movies; Army of darkness, Evil Dead, Star Wars, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles just to name a few.  I hate the fake CGI fireballs that wizard boy and his brother king fucking zombie hurl at each other in the final battle scene.  I hate the way that king fucking zombie overacts every single line and every expression.  He comes off so cocky and talentless that it's hard not to hate him.  The fight scenes are terrible and soooo slow.  All that being said this is probably the BEST B rate zombie movie I own.  It's an all around instant favorite.  Why?  Because it's original, and it's funny.  It feels like you made the movie with a group of your friends and as you watch it your reliving the good times.  Unlike Living a Zombie Dream and I, Zombie which are so bad....they're terrible, this one is so's awesome!!!!  I would go ahead and say this should go on your must see list.  It's even got a squeal out "Ninjas Versus Vampires".  I am not a fan of vampire movies but i might have to make an exception for this one.
Even if you don't like imperial stouts and b rate horror (which i find hard to believe) you should still buy this beer and rent this movie.  Because even if you don't love it, in fact even if you hate it, i guarantee they will be unforgettable!

The Beer:
Aroma – 12/12
Appearance – 3/3
Taste – 18/20
Palate – 4/5 
   Overall – 9/10
Total = 46/50

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

Friday, February 3, 2012

The Walking Dead (Season 1) and Russian River Pliny The Elder

I was hoping to have this one out before the premier of season 2 but I went and had a second kid.  That has slowed down the whole blogging thing.  I found out about the walking dead about two years ago when a friend of my father told him about the comic (ahem....graphic novel).  It was so good that some of volumes actually made me lose sleep.  That's impressive.  So I was a little annoyed when AMC picked up the series.  I know I'm not alone.  I was hoping that HBO would throw down and give it all the uncensored carnage that we all would like to see.  It could have been worse I guess.  It could have went to USA in that time slot right after Monk.  AMC has some pretty great shows out right now with Breaking Bad and Mad Men so I gave it a chance.  I decided the best beer to pair with this series (yes six hours and one beer...well one beer six times) would be Russian River's Pliny the Elder.  Much to my amazement I found a couple bottles at my local supermarket.  I bought all they had!  I had never seen it in bottles before and thought it might be the last time.  For those of you who have never heard of Pliny the Elder it's the famous IIPA that has won TONS of awards!  I read a zymurgy in 2009 that had Pliny the Elder trading off with Dogfish Head's 90 min for best bear in the US for 3 year running.  Pliny the Elder (not to be confused with Pliny the Younger) also won Bronze at the Great American Beer Fest in 2004 and a Gold in 2005.  Pliny also won gold at the World Beer Cup in 2005.  All of these in the Double IPA catagory.  It's supposed to be epic.
So I started off with the first episode and was immediately impressed.  They weren't rushing things as I had thought they might.  And it stayed fairly close to the comic.  I'm not sure why it's so important to me that it follows the comic so closely.  Perhaps it's because the comic was so well done.  The character development in the the comic was so amazing that you actually felt like you knew each character.  You shared their joys, disappointments, and fears.  Each time they deviate from the comic or change any of the characters relationships or mannerisms I take offense.  "That's not how Sean would react!" or "That's not how Andrea is!"  Those are my friends!!!!  The opening sequence in the Walking Dead was spot on and almost frame for frame from the comic.  Except that with the magic of TV everything was even more frightening.  The initial scene where Rick awakens in the hospital and is trying to figure out what's going on captured hopelessness and horror even better than 28 Days Later!!!  And that's saying something.
The Walking Dead is instantly a classic in my collection.  It fills a gap between a gory raw classic and an easily accessible show even my wife will watch.  In that sense it's the perfect show for pulling a large audience into the world of zombie mania.  More people than ever will start coming up with their own zombie survival plans and wearing I (heart) zombie t-shirts.  This will inevitably lead (if it already hasn't) to a slew of watered down zombie flicks looking to cash in on the craze.  The same reasons i love The Walking Dead are the reasons I hate it.  It's beginning to take away something that for a while (at least it seemed) was deeply personal.
 I was lucky enough to be able to try Pliny the Elder once before.  When my wife and I were traveling from Boston to Anchorage we stopped in Santa Rosa to do some wine tasting.  I had heard of the mystique that surrounded Russian River beers but because they didn't distribute to Massachusetts so I didn't have a chance to actually try them.  We were just walking through downtown Santa Rosa when I saw it.  It was like a shinning star!  Russian River was right there in front of me.  I fell to my knees in amazement.  Was it fate?  I had they're amazing jalapeno pizza bites and a pint of Pliny the Elder.  It was a day I'll never forget.  If you ever go there you'll understand what I mean.

The Beer!  So my notes on this review became less and less coherent as the films went on.  Perhaps it was because by the end it was getting really late, or maybe it was the 5 Plinys that went with Season 1?  Go to (bastards) link for Pliny the Elder or the site and you will see that this a standard setter.  It gets a score of 100 across the board in 4 different categories (including a professional rating).  The beer pours a dark gold with hues of orange topped with a thick cream colored head.  The aroma is overwhelmingly awesome.  There is tons of citrus.  It's like pounds and pounds of grapefruit, apricot, orange peel and lemon.  There's also a bit or resiny bitter hops that push through the barrage of citrus.  With the first sip after sip of this beer continue to push fruit on fruit into your tongue.  There's a certain level of balance with the caramel malt backbone but don't be fooled, this beer is all hops.  The malt is simply there to sweeten your tongue and get you drunk.  The hops are the driving force here.  The hops are much like Robert De Niro in Ronin.
The first season was breathtakingly original.  And that's difficult for a zombie series.  The actors (and actresses) are talented and realistic and the plot is thrilling but believable.  Greg Nicotero is the head special FX guy and his work is inspiring.  He did Planet Terror, Diary of the Dead, and even Army of Darkness just to name a few.  He also did Transformers, Public Enemies, Minority Report, Book of Eli and like 1,000 other awesome movies.  He not only does that bang up job in makeup but he also stars as several zombies along the way.  He's the guy that bites Amy and the guy that kills the deer.  It's one of the reasons this show is so great.  the death just seems so real.
That's Greg!!

For those that live under a rock or in North Korea "The Walking Dead" stars Rick Grimes, a cop who awakens from a coma to find himself in a world of zombies.  I know i know "that's 28 Days Later"!!!  It is but i'm going to give them a pass because they do it differently enough as to not be considered cinematic plagiarism.  He finds his family who have set up camp in a band of survivors just outside of Atlanta.  The biggest problem I had with season one was the rapid deterioration of human decency that was somewhat more drawn out and deliberate in the comic. This was a bit rectified in the second season where things just drag for a couple episodes.  I guess they needed some balance.  The characters they cast in the show bear an incredible likeness both in appearance and demeanure to their comic book counterparts.  It's almost eery actually.  Glenn is the most obvious, but Dale is spot on as well.  This show is so well produced that my wife (who hates TV and horror specifically) gets so excited for Walking Dead that she won't let me watch an episode without her.  It's the real deal.  I can't say any more about  it.  You need to watch it and you need to read it.

The Beer:
Aroma – 12/12
Appearance – 3/3
Taste – 20/20
Palate – 5/5 
   Overall – 10/10
Total = 50/50


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