Showing posts from June, 2015


You have to love Cammo Brewing. Cameron (sole owner and brewmaster) puts a lot of thought and effort into his brews, and he allows me to sample them, even though he knows they often get low scores. He takes the feedback and tries to improve his methods - which is a win-win for me. Today's beer is an alphabet soup of an IPA. I'm told that IPAs are the easiest and most forgiving of the beer types, and I wonder if this will be better than his Watermelon or Headless Monk.

The beer is brown and it is topped with a steadfast and frothy head that speaks ill of other, less industrious heads loudly and with an air of derision. I don't know what it dies down to, as I've waited long enough, and this thing is like a wad of marshmallow topping in its staying power. The aroma is not particularly hoppy, despite being an IPA. It smells a bit citrusy and grainy. I think there is floral hops just dancing around the edges of perception. Now that I notice them, they are more pronounced th…

The Double (2013)

This movie was fairly loosely based on a novella by Dostoyevsky. In this movie, the director, Richard Ayoade, builds a world that I personally feel is hauntingly similar to the word created in the cult classic Brazil. The kind of dirty, dark, and dank world that everyone lives in without ever actually progressing or enjoying themselves at any time is the kind of depressing world that we all imagine ourselves slaving away in. The direction and art direction, then, are good.

Jesse Eisenberg plays a working stiff who sits in a very emotionally draining cube, working a thankless job with people who barely notice him. Eventually, someone comes along who everyone notices immediately, but it turns out to be his twin. The new guy makes friends easily, talks to girls with ease, takes control, and is generally more assertive and decisive. Jesse finds himself sinking even deeper into obscurity when he's around the magnetic version of himself.

The most important person not noticing him is Mia…

Mayday Ozzy's Special Barrel Aged

I'm used to boutique beers. The Cammo beers that I get are so small batch that I'm pretty sure Cameron can lift the whole batch and carry it across a parking lot in one go. This one was reportedly delivered to my favorite distributor by the owner of Mayday brewing personally. It's not available anywhere else nor is there even a bottle for it. Instead, it comes in growler form with someone else's label on it. I've had Mayday beers while I was out before, and it's a local Murfreesboro, TN brewery. I'm hoping they do the local town proud.

The tempting beverage is so deep brown that it might be easily mistaken for black. The head is full and mighty, and it declines to a thin veneer of tiny bubble floating on top with not a care in the world. The aroma is dark and suspicious malts with a nutty overtone. There's something thick and potent hiding underneath with an orange rind wrapped around it like a protective cloak.

First sip means a big old blast of nutty …

The Dark Valley (2014)

This movie was humorously described to me as "Tarantino meets The Sound of Music." Don't expect either constant swearing and use of the "N" word or needless singing and dancing. Instead, you get a gritty and cold Western that was shot in Austria. If I were to describe it as a combination of movies, I would go with High Plains Drifter meets a German version of The Village. It might be important to some people to know that this is a German-language film, so you have to read the dialog (unless you know German).

Sam Riley comes into town as The Stranger. He's got a German name, but the story keeps referring to him as The Stranger, so that's what I'm calling him. This is a tiny little town in the middle of a big valley on top of a mountain, and the locals don't particularly like strangers. It turns out, a bag full of gold is enough to make them change their minds - briefly. They ask him why he's there, and they don't let us know his response,…

The Lazarus Effect (2015)

Olivia Wilde is both very pretty and talented. Her choice of movies has been kind of a mixedbag. She has performed well in pretty much all of them, but that doesn't mean she can pick which movie is the right one to apply her talents to. In this respect, she reminds me of Cuba Gooding Jr. I wonder which side of 2.5 (the middle of the road for my scores) this movie will land on.

Ever see Flatliners? Imagine mixing that movie with the sci-fi movie Event Horizon, and you get some idea of the plot of this movie. A group of scientists working in research for a university are testing a new serum that allows them to restore life to a corpse (hopefully). And they quickly test it out on a dog that comes back. They really don't know why this special serum is acting the way it is, and they have absolutely no experience with this particular dog, so rather than have the pup under lock and key and 24 hour video and the watchful eye of trained scientists, they take the dog home.
It's this…

Founders Dissenter Imperial IPL

Founders has put out some damngoodbeers. I have had experience with IPLs, as well, and they have not particularly sparked my interest. If there is a beer company that might be able to put a good beer in this bottle, I would expect Founders to stand as good a chance as any. Time to pour.
The beer is a hefeweizen cloudy yellowed gold. Maybe it's not quite orange enough for a hefeweizen, but the fairly sticky head leaves a goodly amount of lacing on the sides while the aroma seems unfettered by a simple fluffy pillow of suds. The pine and floral hops lead the way, but other, more interesting ingredients intermingle in the undercurrent. I can smell orange and lemon and even some bread in there. 
First sip is very much not what I expected. The label says IPL, the smell said IPA, but the taste says, wha? I taste a bitter kick and a sourness that doesn't seem like it's coming from the hops. There is a metallic taste in there that throws things off a bit as well. This is not a si…

Southern Prohibition "Jack the Sipper" ESB

Cans are rare on this site. The ones I try tend to actually be prettygood, despite the fact that I ofwen taste the metallic remains of the can. Still, I try to avoid them in general, but when the guy at City Sliquors tells me I should try it, then try it I do. Giving a beer a cute name is fine, so long as it doesn't outright offend or confuse, so I can accept the odd name. Can I accept the beer?

I'd call it the color of rust. The stark white, foamy head is a dramatic contrast and is as sticky as I've seen in a beer. Lacing is substantial, and the nose is greeted with fresh bread malt and floral hops with orange around the fringes. It smells delightful, and I have high hopes, even though the only previous ESB that I've had on these pages was only slightly better than average.

This is billed as a sipping beer, and I can say for certain that it is a good sipping beer. It's not overpowering - it's almost lazy in the way it wanders down the gullet. It's like a U…

Terrapin So Fresh & So Green, Green

Early in this blog's life, I tried a Terrapin beer, and I was not a fan. Nevertheless, I much later tried the fantastically named Moo-Hoo and it was definitely better. Some people may be confused by a 2.25/5 beer being decent, but those people haven't read my guide to my ratings. I'm a little concerned that the printed label says that it has an 8.6% abv, but there is another sticker that has the correction to 6.6% on it. However, this beer has hops written on the front label, and I like hops. It also has a stupid, stupid name on the front, but what's in a name? Let's drink some beer.

The color is that of an amber beer. I've had amber beers that called themselves amber that were not as amber as this beer. The head dissipates to a thin veneer over the top of the beverage. This head is sticky, and it leaves a good attempt at lacing on the sides of the glass. The aroma is floral hops and very light citrus. The hops almost overwhelm everything else about the beer, a…

Howe Sound Pothole Filler Stout

The previous Howe Sound beer was pretty damn spectacular. I was actually in the process of checking out at City Sliquors the other day when the owner told me that I needed to try this beer. As a result, I knew two things: it was probably expensive, and it was probably excellent. Not one to dismiss his recommendations, I grabbed a bottle immediately and checked out before he could point out another.

Blacker than the blacktop that it is compared to in the name, this head-heavy beer smells of cherries and smokey malt. The smoke isn't all that strong, and I might be convinced that actual cherries were involved in the manufacturing of this beer. I may also be convinced that a little bit of chocolate had been added to the beer, as the sweet malt gives the impression of chocolate, as well.

First sip is a malty and overwhelmingly rich beverage. It is thick with smoke and bitterness, which is surprising, as I expected quite a bit of sweetness with the addition of molasses. Instead, there is…

2 Towns Ciderhouse Imperial Hop and Stalk

I didn't look hard at the label. This was another gift from my brother on the left coast, and I had some very, very good experiences with some of his choices thus far. I glanced at the bottom and saw the "Hop & Stalk" and kind of assumed this would be an IPA or the like. It was when I poured it that I realized that this was a cider. I'm not stranger to ciders, and I have found a few that were excellent, so let's see if this matches them.

The head was very light and went away as quickly as it was poured, as would be expected if I had known that this was a cider. The color is a pale yellow, but it's not the most yellow cider that I've seen. I found that - generally - the more golden that the cider is, the more I like it. The aroma is sweet apples and a slight floral scent.

With the sip comes a tart taste of under-ripe apples and flowers. It's a very interesting take on a cider, and it really seems bold and different. I can't actually say if I li…

Chappie (2015)

Do you remember the movie Short Circuit? In that movie, a military robot gets hit by lightening and winds up developing human emotions and - ultimately - a soul. It was a good movie only in the same way that the original Red Dawn was a good movie: if you were the right age at the time it came out, it was the best thing ever, but if you make the mistake of going back and re-watching it now, you'll realize how bad it is.

Well, this movie takes the basic formula and replaces the relatable Johnny Five with Chappie, a child-like robot who is easily tricked into doing things because he doesn't know any better. Think of him as the metallic incarnation of Jar Jar Binks; he has about that much personality. They just try to make him cute by having him rush his lines all the time, and it doesn't really work.

Chappie is a lot like the Transformer movies in that I don't really understand who the target audience is. If there wasn't constant violence, swearing, and glorification …

Hop Valley Citrus Mistress IPA

This beer had a cap with a picture of a hop on it. The label has a giant hop on it. The brewery is named Hop Valley Brewing. I expect this IPA (possibly the hoppiest of the hopped beverages) to be teeming with hops. There are times when that will really hurt a beer, but they usually don't get that far. This beer, with it's added grapefruit, might actually be too hipster for its own good and will result in an unpalatable mess. We shall see.

The deep and murky orange amber ale beckons with its stark white head that leaves enough lacing to be dangerous. The lacing looks almost like a first attempt at a doily by someone really, really keen on getting things right. The aroma is mostly the two expected ingredients: hops and citrus. The hops are kind of piney and still a little floral, and the citrus is grapefruit. Beyond that, I would be venturing into lesser aromas that I can't be very certain of. I'll sort those out when I taste it. First, a sip.

The sip brings a whole lot…

Welcome to Me (2014)

When I saw the Skeleton Twins, it changed a lot of what I thought about Kristen Wiig. I had seen her on Saturday Night Live, and she had really seems very constrained by her characters. They all seemed very much the same - the awkward outsider who didn't really understand social conventions and ignored them as a result. But they all really seemed unimaginative deep down.

The Skeleton Twins convinced me that she had depth and breadth that she had not previously tapped into, and now that she was free from the shackles of SNL, she could let the talent flag fly free. That was why I approached this movie with such high hopes. Unfortunately, this was an SNL sketch that had no live audience, and they would not have laughed for most of the film, anyway.

It's a dark comedy (just like The Skeleton Twins) so it's not that surprising that it's not laugh-out-loud funny, but it's just more sad than anything. And it's not sad in the way that it was intended - as we deal with a…

Widmer Brothers Hopside Down IPL

Another beer that was a gift from the Northwest of the US. This one joins us from Portland, and I am nearly giddy after the last West Coast IPA that this IPL might be a rare 5/5 if they can get just that little bit better than the last one - which is a difficult enough beer to match, as time has told me. I can't say IPLs are my favorite style, but they certainly aren't my lest favorite, and even my least favorite have stand-outs that shine about other, more established styles.
The beer is a clear golden amber with a strangely thick and thin sticky, big-bubbled head. The reason I say thick and thin is that it's very patchy. It piles high at the beginning of the pour and runs away from part of the top while thickly covering the other parts. Lemons and light hops mingle with baked bread to form a tempting aroma that beckons to be imbibed. Far be it from me...
First sip is not the IPA I had expected it to taste like. Instead, it is malty with a splash of hops and added citrus…

Elysian Dayglow IPA

Another beer from my brother. This one sports a kind of insane, hallucinogenic tiger with rainbows coming out of its eyes. It's an IPA, so it already has a better shot at winning my heart than the coffee-based Survival Stout that I had yesterday. I certainly like a good IPA. West coast IPAs seem particularly good.

The hazy golden yellow beer has a nice head that loosely sticks to the sides of the glass and leaves a little bit of lacing to let you know it was there, but it decided to fall back into the liquid, and you should just deal with that. The floral hops put off a very faint aroma that is just about noticeable when you stick your nose right down in it. I expected a heavier hop smell from an IPA, but I won't let that put me off.

First sip is a healthy IPA. It's hops are very floral, and there is citrus there to balance things out a bit. The malt is cutting the bitterness with gusto while remaining in the background. There are hints of more complicated tastes, but the …

Hub Survival Stout

My brother and his lovely bride send me a care package from Oregon. I grabbed the first one that was on the shelf without looking, and I now see that it is a "malt beverage with coffee added." As a man who never acquired the taste for coffee, I hope I can still judge the beverage as a beer. I really like the name - Survival Stout. I'd rather that it be put on an oatmeal stout or something similar that has a lot of meat to it, but I get the fact that a lot of people are pretty well addicted to coffee. I will try to be objective here.

The color is a deep ruby to the point of near blackness. The sticky head recedes quickly enough that I can top off a couple of times before the beer is at the right temperature. The aroma is coffee grounds and malt (mostly coffee grounds). I think the reason I'm getting grounds instead of actual coffee is because the malt is very earthy in its own right, and it's playing with the smell quite a bit.

First sip is 50 shades of coffee gro…

Howe Sound Total Eclipse of the Hop IPA

I've never heard of Howe Sound before, but the delightful and knowledgeable folks at City Sliquors said that this is a good one, and I trust their judgement implicitly. I wish I could say that I know enough about beer to really distinguish an Imperial IPA from a regular IPA, but I just can't. Maybe I need to take some classes or help brew some beers.

The color is a murky maple wood brown with orange and red hints. The sticky, almost glue-like head is puffy and foamy and mouth-watering. The aroma only increases the watering of the mouth with hops and... yup, more hops. There is citrus in the background, but hops are front and center for this beer, and that is as it should be. I can't wait to try it... and I won't.

First sip is not the punch-in-the-gut that I expected. I really thought I was going to be dealing with straight hops and water, but this beer is much more tame than that. I wouldn't expect a very hoppy beer to be referred to as "mild," but I can&…

New Belgium Slow Ride Session IPA

New Belgium is a middle of the road brewery. A friend brought a couple of these to me and told me that I had to try them. Now, he doesn't actually drink, and he came with beer from a middling company who can't design a label for the life of them (although this label is not nearly as bad as some of the others). He swears that he knows people who drink beer, and they say it is the greatest. I certainly hope they are right about this.

The clear yellow beer has a very fluffy, sticky head that leaves a white sheen afloat. The aroma is a kind of stale hops and citrus. Okay, the hops may not be stale. I take a few more whiffs, and the hops are just really, really floral. I assume there is malt under there somewhere, but I can't actually smell it. Hopefully it will be enough to calm the hops down a bit.

First sip is WAY better than it smelled. It isn't nearly as harsh as the smell would have lead me to believe. It is arguably smooth. It really has to be the orange that is cutt…

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014)

Let's start off with the expected: like the two movies that came before it, this movie doesn't have enough original story from the book to fill all of the time. As a result, stuff has been added that is not from the original book, and it is not particularly good additional material. That said, we get hobbits and dwarves and goblins and orcs and wizards and elves, so we still have a lot of potential.

The entire first and second (mostly the second) movie was a build-up to the encounter with Smaug. This movie begins where the second left off - with Smaug deciding to destroy the crappy floating village of Laketown. Aside from the lost lives, one can't help but think that destroying that town has to be a good thing - there is very little that is salvageable from one giant slum. There are a few problems with this whole sequence, though.

First, we ignore the fact that the child would never have seen his father on the top of the bell tower, frantically shooting arrows impotently a…