Showing posts from December, 2014

Smuttynose Shoals Pale Ale

The guy at the distributor spoke very highly of this beer. A friend said the name and then giggled. I had never heard of it before, but the guy at the good distributor (I was VERY happy to finally find a good one) said there were a lot of requests for it. I hope the people who made the requests knew what they were talking about.

It's got heavy carbonation to form a nice, creamy, sticky head. The color is an orange so dark that it's turning brown. The aroma reminds me of a Farmhouse Ale I recently had - earthy and a little spicy with oranges or lemon squirted in for good measure. The head leaves considerably lacing on the sides that has the tenacity of a dog on a chew toy.

First sip is delightful as just a sip. All too often, a sip is too complex to really take in as an effect of the overall beverage. In this case, the taste is simple enough that it doesn't overwhelm the tastebuds. American Pale Ales might be my favorites because of their honest character.

A proper swig bri…

Yazoo Americana Fest Ale

Yazoo is a local Nashville brewer who has brewed perfectly tolerable, yet unremarkable beers. I understand that this is a limited edition beer, and I don't know if that means that it's experimental and might be terrible or that it's the best that the brewmaster can do, and he has convinced the bosses to let him release a limited run of it. Let's find out.

The color is a semi-cloudy deep golden amber. The head is awful frothy. I don't mean that it's awful, but that it's very frothy. It sticks to the sides like one of those rubber sticky frogs that slowly cralws down a wall when you throw them. The aroma is floral hops and spices with a hint of citrus and very, very light malt that smells of bread.

First sip is really different that what I expected. It's sour at first, but then it turns into something else. I'm not sure what that something is right off the bat, but it's not unpleasant. I think this tastes like a wheat beer rather than an ale. I don…

The Expendables 3 (2014)

I freely admit to having liked the first Expendables movie. The second movie wasn't as good, but they both had mindless violence and ludicrous villains with outrageously off the wall stories that combined to be the epitome of what action movies were like during the heyday of great bad movies in the 80s and 90s. I had lower expectations for this movie based solely on the buzz that surrounded it.

This movie was made PG-13 to try and get a larger theater audience, and that means that the main reason to watch the movie - simulated violence and excessive gun play - all get neutered. Now, the animated blood from some of the Statham knife scenes was pretty terrible in the first couple movies, but at lest they tried. In this movie, they really don't do that, even though the introduce Wesley Snipes as another blade-wielder who gets in a bit of a rivalry with Jason.

Let's talk about the sheer number of people in this movie - it is unbelievable. I'm shocked that I recognize most …

Rhinelander Mystical Jack Traditional Ale

Named after the mythical jackalope, this beer comes from the midwest's Mecca of beer, Wisconsin. It comes from Monroe, so it's not from the heart of midwest brewing, Milwaukee, but it can claim some beer lovers around itself. The 7% ABV is high for a beer, but it is certainly not high compared to most of the beers I've had lately.

There is substantial head on this one. It froths its way out of the bottle as soon as you open it, and I'm not sure it ever really settles. Eventually, it starts to lose its energy to stay afloat and leaves heavy, heavy lacing on the sides of the glass. It is so strong and wonderful that I'm thinking about making it into a wallpaper for my guest room. The color is a deep mahogany (almost black). The aroma is strong - malty, smoky and nutty.

The first sip is smoke and mirrors. Well, maybe not mirrors, but it has a noticeable metallic taste along with a bit of nuts and raisins, and this makes it a very interesting beer. The label calling it…

Sloan's Batch 8 Fall Pumpkin Mead

This is not beer. I don't know why I expected mead to be more meaty, cloudy, and it should probably come with a viking horde to quaff it all over the place. This one didn't come with any of that. It's more wine-like in its presentation, and Robert Sloan, brewer of this beverage, insists that this is the way it is intended. We shall see if the way it is intended is the way it should be, or if beer is the natural progression that we should not allow regression from.

The color is that of a white wine. It is clear as a bell with absolutely no head. I have poured flat Coke, Pepsi, and even a beer or two, and I can tell you that this beats them all with its flatness. The aroma is an odd one. It smells more like wine than anything, but there is more... it's got a spiky sweet smell that adds more thickness to the aroma.

First sip is very sweet with a definite pumpkin husk overtone. It also has a distinct grainy taste about it that I might attribute to yeast. What is odd is the…

Sugarlands Shine Butterscotch Gold Moonshine

Let's face it, I'm not a moonshine guy. I farm out the reviews of rum and pretty much any other liquor that I can get to my friend Will. The moonshine results have been almost entirely negative. The only bright spot has been the FireFly Apple Pie, and that was pretty good. Will I find another diamond in the rough?

The color is essentially apple juice from concentrate. The aroma is strong, as I expected from another moonshine. It's actually a lot more gentle than others that I've encountered. The butterscotch is very noticeable, and the traditional 'shine smell of nail polish remover is definitely stinging my nostrils. But, my new friends at possibly the best liquor/beer/wine store in the world insist that this is a very drinkable beverage.

First sip does not burn nearly as much as others have. It's still not like eating a butterscotch candy or anything, but the burn is subtle. It hits the back of the mouth, and then the butterscotch soothes the throat as the me…

Angry Orchard Strawman Farmhouse Hard Cider

This is certainly not bottled like the other Angry Orchard ciders. The 750ML bottle has a natural cork and a whole lot more fizz than others of its ilk. The bottle is dark, and the scarecrow on the front is kind of creepy. The 10% ABV is substantial, and the wait is over. It is time to pour it.

The aroma is strong. It smells like apple wine - which I guess is what it is. It has more of a wine smell than any of the other ciders I've had, and I have had quite a few. The color is a hazy bronze/gold with a head that comes out pretty thick, but it dissipates about as quickly as a Coke does. The aroma has me put off a bit, as I'm not really a wine guy, and I'd say this smells like a white wine with apple juice added to it.

First sip is strong as hell. I mean, it's not a burning ball of fire like some of the moonshine that I've tried, but it has a very strong wine taste going on. I'm really surprised that apples can lead to something that tastes this much like wine. M…

Deliver Us from Evil (2014)

I wanted this movie to be good. It got better than 6.0 at IMDB, and that's why I gave it a chance. Look, it had Joel McHale, who I think has quite a bit of talent, Olivia Munn, who is similarly talented, and Eric Bana has been in some good movies - Troy, Munich, Lone Survivor, Black Hawk Down, Closed Circuit, and Deadfall. Yes, he was in that crapfest of a CG-enhanced Hulk movie, but we're going to ignore that for now.

This movie wasn't terrible. Eric is a cop - he's a super special cop - and his buddy is also a cop - another super special cop - played by Joel McHale. It's unclear where these guys learned their skills, but they clearly hold their own against seasoned soldiers, so they have to be pretty good, but it would have been nice to get more of their back story. I wish I could say why they are supposed to be so good, why they get their choice of assignments, or why Joel's character is obsessed with knives.

Olivia is Eric's wife, and she doesn't re…

The Homesman (2014)

This movie has like 50 producers and more importantly has an actor directing it. In fact, he wrote it, produced it, directed it, and stars in it. I normally refer to this as The Great Flaw, as it usually results in a movie that is too ambitious, and something suffers. In this movie, things suffer a little less, but things still suffer.

There is a mental illness that is afflicting women in the village that Hillary Swank is living in. Hillary, a lone woman with a farm and some cattle, winds up being saddled with the responsibility of taking the crazy women across the country during winter to a city where they can get help and (potentially for some) get reunited with family. Tommy Lee is just a guy she picks up to help her with the women for the trip. He reluctantly joins her, and he demonstrates a questionable morality.

Here's the deal with this thing: it's a well made, but tediously slow movie. It relies on very nice cinematography, good acting, and a very, very simple story. I…

Goose Island Matilda Belgian Style Pale Ale

I've had a few Goose Island beers before, and they've been prettygood. It made me choose to pick up this "high gravity" beer with a 7% ABV, a script that was meant to be on a wine bottle, and a label made from paper that I could use for a résumé. This is a very unusual beer from them, and a Belgian style is a bit of a gamble from most brewer.

A murky deep golden color is topped with a frothy head that leaves a good amount of lacing on the sides as it dies down to a thin blanket stretched across the top. The aroma is strong with this one. It's a spicy smell with pine and apple that puts me in mind of musty Christmas decorations.

First sip revels an echo of the aroma. As is often the case, the sip doesn't give a full story. When a beer is particularly complex, sipping it is just not enough time dedicated to letting the tastebuds filter out all of the complex tastes. The sip in this case is too much pine and I don't know where the musty taste is coming from,…

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

This movie has everything. It has action, humor, a solid story that is part of a much larger continuum, conflict, tough choices, and villains who seem unbeatable. I hate to start the review with such a glowing recommendation, as a lot of people will just read that part and not bother with the rest, but I'm willing to take that risk.

I didn't expect to like Chris Pratt in the role of Star-Lord, as I had gotten so used to him as the bumbling fool in Parks and Recreation. He never really had the physique to be the leading man, he didn't seem to have the presence, and he was hard to take seriously. How do you work around that? Well, you have him work out, give him a good character, and make the movie funny enough that his natural comedic ability has the opportunity to set the level.

Zoe Saldana takes a break from being awesome in so many damn movies to be an attitude-wielding bad ass in this one. From the drama of Out of the Furnace to the action of Star Trek and the wild ride…

Samuel Adams Double Bock

I had this beer a long while ago, and I remember really, really liking it. I started to drink it almost to the exclusion of other beers (much like what later happened with Guinness before they screwed it up.) This is a super lager, as far as I'm concerned. It takes the attributes of sweet malt and just piles it on more and more. It is to lagers what an IPA is to ales.

The beer is a very, very dark brown with an aroma that is strong and malty. It is a sweet and cherry malt, and the smell is so strong that it makes its way from the table beside me to my nose very nicely. The smell is growing on me. The head is pretty meager, and it goes down quickly to an incomplete blanket across the top. It leaves little lacing, but experience tells me that it used to be there.

First sip is as thick as a vault door. It is smokey and fruity with the cherry taste very noticeable. The malt is grainy and still really, really thick - like drinking a milkshake. Other flavors are too subtle for a sip, bu…