Friday, March 16, 2012

Quarantine and Dogfish Head's Midas Touch

Welcome to the review of the biggest “one watch” movies I own, Quarantine.  What’s a “one watch” movie you ask?  Well, it’s a term I invented to describe a movie that’s pretty good the first time you watch it, but you never really want to see it again.  This term can cover all genres.  Perhaps there’s a Mr. Bean movie that you giggled at and sat through but would never watch again.  Or maybe more realistically it was the time you decided to get more cultured and watch Schindler’s List.  Beautiful movie.  You were in tears.  But you’re not going to pop that one in on a Saturday night with a bowl of popcorn and a beer.  Such is Quarantine, the American remake of the Spanish movie REC (see last blog post).  It casts Angela Vidal (Dexter’s sister) as the lead screamer…ahem…character….in a very close remake of the Spanish version.  The lucky beer for tonight’s movie is Dogfish Head’s Midas Touch!!!  Due to the high cost and availability of Dogfish beers (other than the 90 min IPA which is everywhere) I haven’t reviewed many of their beers.  So here is one of the best genre breaking beers out there!
I saw Quarantine in an EMPTY theater in Virginia when it came out.  Some scenes were so scary that I literally jumped out of my seat!  And that never happens.  But the scary parts were all “one watch” scary.  Like a guy slamming into the floor in front of you after a three story drop.  It’s only good for one go around.  Like that damn youtube video where you watch the car driving along a country road and some shit pops out at you.  I’m getting a little ahead of myself.  So starting the same as REC the news crew is following a group of fireman on a normal night of work when they’re called to assist a medical situation in an apartment.  The American version of this movie was a little more obvious with the sexual tension than the Spanish film.  Us dirty Americans are real classless dogs.  Regardless…when they enter the apartment things get wild.  There’s some fighting, biting, throwing people off balconies, and then angry cops being angry cops (shooting people and going to blows with local media).  After the initial horror the next few minutes are a lot of people arguing and a cop telling everyone to be quiet and calm down and stay in the entryway in one group.  As things take a lull I’ll get into the beer.
Dogfish Head Brewery is one of my favorite breweries in the world.  I would drink lots more of their beer if I was Mit Romney but because I don’t have millions I’m forced to indulge only on special occasions.  Dogfish Head has grown from a tiny brewery run on a 10 gallon system to the #19 largest brewery by volume (  I mean....they've got a fucking TREE HOUSE!!!  LOOK!!!
And that’s going up with the big guys (Bud/Miller/Coors).  I try to stick it to the man by supporting local businesses rather than the giant conglomerate, but what do I do when the little guy becomes “the man” I’m trying to stick it to?
Maybe it’s okay to be big….as long as you keep your soul!  From everything I’ve seen that’s exactly what Sam Calagione has done at DFH.  He has a great business giving full benefits to happy employees, and produces some of the highest caliber beer on this rock.
Midas Touch Golden Elixir is said to be crafted from an ancient recipe that was scientifically derived from ingredients found in 2,700-year-old drinking vessels from the tomb of King Midas.  The label says the beer was brewed using barley, white Muscat grapes, honey, and saffron!!  It’s 9% ABV and a low12 IBUs.  I gently poured the beer into my Great Divide chalice and admired the absolutely stunning gold color.  It pops like a mini sunshine explosion in my glass.  It’s definitely the most brilliant colored beer I’ve ever seen.   But I don’t really care about appearance.  It could look like a cup full of dead cats as long as it tasted good.  The beer definitely has a grape aroma in the front.  It’s like a chardonnay or a Riesling with a sweet malty hue.  Slight hints of honey and at the end there’s a flowery smell I can only believe is the saffron?  And the taste…..oh boy oh boy!
It’s full and sweet.  Elixir is a fitting label for this.  It’s sweet but it doesn’t fall flat on its face.  It’s not flabby and oily like some high alcohol sweet beers.  This one has a light crispness to it.  There’s grape and honey in large doses with a smooth clean yeast finish.  There are flowers and bits of fresh baked white bread.  There’s a high alcohol slap on the tongue that rounds everything out and slams it down your face.  It’s like getting dunked on by Shaq, like fighting a “pre-Lennox Lewis” Mike Tyson.  This beer is one of a kind and original in a way that few are.  It’s like reinventing wheel, only this wheel is not just a wheel, it’s a luxury muscle car that drives itself while pouring you a beer and giving you a little pat on the ass.  It’s like that.
Now the movie is really good.  Now that I’ve had some beer I’m going to elaborate on why exactly this film missed the mark with me.  It’s Angela.  I’m sorry lady but there’s a limit on how much screaming you can put in a horror film before people start rooting for the monster to kill you.  You sped by that line like a drunk Lindsay Lohan.  I think at this point we can just say Lindsay Lohan and assume the drunk part is understood.  There’s so much screaming in this movie that you’ll have a headache.  And it’s the hysterical crazy.  There’s no turning point where the woman finds her inner strength and triumphs over evil.  No this movie is following a hysterical, screaming white girl for an hour and a half until she’s finally dragged off into the dark.  At which point you probably cheer, pop a couple of aspirin and burn the dvd.  I feel bad she’s driven me to this extreme because other than that the characters are very believable and relatable,  the zombies (rabies infected people) are terrifying, the special effects are top notch, and the story is original (other than the fact it’s a remake).  If they muted fifteen minutes of her audio on the final cut of this movie it gets 4.5 dead hands.  But with screaming intact I just can’t justify that kind of score.  It was a valiant effort and a great film, you just need to watch it with the volume on low.

The Beer:
Aroma – 11/12
Appearance – 3/3
Taste – 19/20
Palate – 5/5 
   Overall – 10/10
Total = 48/50

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


  1. I too wish I was as rich as Mit... but I'm not. Therefore, I reserve the Dogfish head for those special occasions. I love your writing style... entertaining and fun! So now I gotta try Midas Touch. I shall my friendly brew companion... I shall!

  2. Thanks Ken! I have my birthday bottle of Dogfish's Nobel Rot still sitting in my fridge waiting for the right moment. It needs to be special. Keep drinking and keep watching terribly awesome zombie movies and i'll try to keep up the awesome!