Showing posts from December, 2015

Stella Artois Cidre

The first Stella I had was middle of the road, and that was very disappointing. Ciders have not been great across the board. That all said, even the crappiest brewer can produce awesomeness, and some ciders are very good. Let's look at this with fresh eyes and a soul full of hope.

She's a golden beverage with a white head that runs away like a hunter when he finds out there is a sale on ammo at Wal-Mart. The aroma is decidedly more wine-like than most other ciders I've had. It's a bit floral and, not too surprisingly, apple.

First sip is like a very mild apple wine. It seems to have a bit of a bite at the front end, then it gets all apple and such, and then it has a bit of a carbonation burn to remind you that they were really trying to make something interesting when they made this beverage, so you just shut the hell up and enjoy it. After all, this is the beer maker that refers to chalices in their ads, so they know what they are doing better than you do, dammit! Let…

Bell's Kalamazoo Stout

My second Bell's beverage, and the first was sensational. This particular beer says that it uses licorice in the process, and that really can't be a good idea. Seriously, just start brewing beer with good ingredients that are supposed to be there. Once you have established a fantastic regular stout, move onto more experimental beers. Nevertheless, this may surprise me. After all, their Two Hearted Ale was really damn good.

It's a deep brown with a sandy tan cap. Lacing is impressive, and the aroma is heavy. It is filled with chocolate and licorice and heaps of freshly brewed coffee. The effect is to make the mouth water, but there is a bitterness in both the chocolate and coffee that taints the smell, but it also makes the beverage more alluring.

First sip is very strong coffee. The coffee overwhelms pretty much everything else. If you told me that this was a version of iced coffee, I wouldn't argue with you. I have no particular love of coffee, but I have learned to a…

Atari: Game Over (2014)

This game is a love letter to nostalgia. It reconstructs the early years of Atari and the dawn of console gaming in the home and it builds this story around ET, the main pedestal-worthy game that embodies the same issue that modern movie-offshoot games have with a driving force of time over substance. Like the theme, the movie itself is more style over substance, but I get ahead of myself.

We follow a man's quest to locate and dig up the rumored millions of ET cartridges that were dumped in a land fill after a terrible debut and massive returns of the horrifically bad game. The idea is that the game was so bad that it single-handedly brought Atari, the mega-mothership of video gaming at the time, to its knees and ultimately killed the company. The director then uses this mission of gathering crappy old games as a centerpiece for explaining how important Atari was and how they became so profitable and so powerful until ultimately being put out to pasture.

The issue that I have with…

Dumplin Creek Bonfire Cinnamon Moonshine

I've been to Sevierville, but I've never been to this... Dumplin Creek. Sounds like... well, it sounds like something you would find in the foothills of Tennessee, and that's exactly where it sits. This moonshine is 90 proof, and I think the only thing I have had on this blog that was stronger was the white lightening, and it was undrinkable lighter fluid. This stuff? I guess I'll find out.

The color is more like a burned orange than a red, and I really expected red. The aroma is pervasive and is unmistakably moonshine with a very heavy kind of old wood and heavy, heavy cinnamon. I mean, they really seemed to have piled the cinnamon on pretty high to get this thing smelling like it is. Maybe that's to mask the gasoline-esque taste of moonshine, and I hope they succeeded at least as well as the butterscotch stuff I've had a few times (which gets better with exposure to it).

First sip is alcohol burn right in the nose before the liquid even makes it to the lips. …

Stillwater Artisanal Cellar Door American Farmhouse Ale

My first Stillwater beer was very good. As for farmhouse ales, they can range from not great to really good and right smack dab in the middle. As Stillwater's first beer was good, I have quite a bit of hope that this one is, but I'm still sort of put off by the "artisanal" label. I don't know why, but it just bothers me. I'm not going to dwell on that, though, I'm going to give this the most honest shot that I can.

The straw yellow beer loses the head pretty quickly, and it leaves no lacing on the side - just a soft, creamy 1/8th inch or so across the top of the beer. The aroma is bright, musky yeast and citrus. It reminds me of the blondes or... yes... the Belgian beers I've had lately. It kind of smells like they sifted it through an old sock or something.

First sip is very assertive. It has spices and lemon and some very light grains (almost grassy) with the yeast seeming to be less intense than the nose made me expect. It manages to still be palat…

Old Shed Southern Pale Ale

Fresh from outside of outside of outside of Nashville, Tennessee, this beer claims to be a "Southern Pale Ale." I've been to Tullahoma, and there isn't a whole lot there. The fact that these guys went ahead and brewed a beverage makes me think that it might be a good one, if people outside the area have started packing and shipping it.

The beer has a very slight haze to it, but the amber glow is inviting as the white head dissipates into a sticky but uniform cap. Lacing on the sides is substantial and lovely. The aroma is more malty than I expected, with bread and yeast at the forefront. Hops are sitting there, as casual as they can be, letting you know that they aren't working too hard.

First sip is more malty and smooth, but there is definite hop bite on the back-end. It's an interesting character of the beer to have that bready caramel malt up front and the twang of hoppy bitterness at the end. It's like the profile of a race car - smooth in the front …

Ommegang "Game of Thrones" Iron Throne Blonde Ale

The first Ommegang beer was a very, very nice surprise. This is one of the other beers from the clearly brand-diluting "Game of Thrones" series, and the first one could have started its own "Game of Thrones" merchandising megaproperty. Well, maybe not a MEGA property, but it would have had its own merchandising opportunities.

The murky golden beer has a fairly sticky head that reluctantly leaves a bit of lacing on the sides. The aroma bites at the nose with Belgian spice and floral hops. The smell is very aggressive and it makes me want it and fear that it will be too much at the same time.

First sip is spices and floral hops and grains. Yeast is very noticeable as well, and the whole thing somehow manages to be sweet and soulful. There's citrus making things interesting and it is mostly rind, so it's caustic and unrefined, but that doesn't make the beer any less crisp. I'm going for the swig.

Tip-in is grain and flowers. Spices dance around a littl…

Blue Pants Candy Bar Pinstripe Stout

My second Blue Pants beer, and the first was very good. This was recommended by the resident experts at City Sliquors, and they pointedly described it as tasting like candy. I'm not sure if that's a good thing, but some could argue that the good hard root beers taste like candy, and I seem to like them.

It's too dark to be called really, really dark brown. I am sure I will get flak for calling it black, though. The head dissipates surprisingly quickly and leaves a scant lilypad across the top. The scent is coffee, chocolate, a smoky wood, and vanilla. The whole aroma is very sweet, and it's very inviting.

First sip is possibly the strangest beer I've had yet. I mean strange in a good way, not like HiCu or anything. It's dark chocolate around a roasted coffee bean sitting in a small drizzle of spilled vanilla milkshake. It's more than that, though - it's smooth and rich. For a simple sip, it's pretty good. As a full swig of beer, I wonder if it can g…

Resolution (2012)

Written by, directed by, edited by, and produced by Justin Benson. Who is he? No idea. What I know is that expectations for any movie that has one driving force behind it must be lowered. For every Steve Jobs-style driving creative force that works, there are a million guys who have a single-minded dream that they somehow get money for, and it should never have been allowed.

This is a story that reminds me of the movie Scenic Route in that other characters are there to prod the story or create friction between the two main characters, but these two main guys (played by Peter Cilella and Vinny Curran) and repairing their lifelong friendship is the focal point of the movie. Everything relies on these two guys talking to each other and working things out. The main difference is that there is something else going on in the area where they are doing all of this, and it appears possibly supernatural.

Peter plays the guy who got his stuff together in this crappy little town and moved the hec…

Stretch (2014)

Here's the thing about this movie - it has a bunch of big name stars in it, but I never heard anything about it when it came out. Does that make it a sleeper? Is it a snoozer? After watching it, I'd say it was just plain under the radar. I don't really know what its deal is - it's no blockbuster, but it's not exactly something destined to become a cult classic.

I would never have picked Patrick Wilson to star in my movie with this script, as he tends to be overshadowed in almost any role he fills. I don't know why, but he just doesn't strike me as the leading man that he clearly is. In the few movies I've seen where he stars, there's always someone bigger and better to steal the spotlight. The same is the case in this movie.

Patrick is a limo driver working for some yelling guy (Shaun Toub) and dispatched by Jessica Alba. They put her hair up, dress her in ill-fitting clothes, and give her glasses (did that trick even work with Sandra Bullock in Lov…

Bell's Two Hearted Ale

I've not had a Bell's beer before, but the guys at City Sliquors recommended it, and those guys haven't steered me wrong yet. They had just gotten this beer in for their growlers as well as bottles, but the tap was going to take a bit, as the beer had been jostled during shipping. So, I am stuck with a bottle, and that's just fine by me.

The beer is hazy and coppery in color. It's like a penny that's been sitting in a pocket for a few years, and that includes a few wash cycles. The significant head is sticky and leaves a nice lacing down the sides of the glass. The aroma is delightfully light and hoppy with floral hops and sweet, bready malt.

First sip is very unexpected and pretty goddamn good. It's WAY more mild than I expected. Normally, a hoppy beer tends to bite a bit with bitterness, and that's a very good taste when that's the kind of mood you're in. This one has the clear taste of the floral hops and it is cut just about perfectly by the…

Tallgrass Brewing Buffalo Sweat Oatmeal Cream Stout

I can't help but think of Booty Sweat from Tropic Thunder when I read this name. I'm not sure if that was their intent, but that's the effect. Obviously, they have a sense of humor, so it has a sparkle of creativity right there on the label. This is my first Tallgrass Brewing beer, and I am loving that I have found so many good beers lately.

It's a deep, deep brown with a tan head that dissipates nicely and leaves a shallow cap of head across the top to let you know this isn't a kind of soda - it's a grown-up drink. The aroma is dark and mysterious. It has smokey wood, bitter dark chocolate, and coffee. There is the undeniable smell of oatmeal, as you might expect, but it mingles with the smoke to make it seem overcooked.

First sip is sweeter than I expected. It still has the smoky malt and coffee, but it's cut with sweet cream to give a certain amount of lightness to the whole beverage. I can taste a bit of coffee and a gritty, earth taste like the coffee …

Skyfall (2012)

The third in the Bond filmes where Daniel Craig is the titular Bond, and this one is not a direct sequel to the other two. They are interesting in the way the first and second were dovetailed together, but this one really seems to fall back on a lot more of what made Bond films so memorable. What do we get that makes this different?
A deformed Bond villain (Javier Bardem) who is really over the top in appearance and character.More gadgets (with the introduction of Ben Whishaw as Q).Supporting characters such as Naomie Harris as Miss Moneypenny.A viciously overly complicated plot for the villain to get what he wants.Strange attempts by good guys and bad guys to make the villain seem more powerful than he could be.

When I say that the plot is overly complicated, it REALLY is. We have Bond who gets shot and presumed dead, but then he comes back when Judi Dench (as M) is threatened. He winds up in another casino (why does he spend so much time in casinos?) where he meets Bérénice Lim Marlo…

Quantum of Solace (2008)

It had been quite some time since I watched this movie, and I completely forgot that it was so closely tied to the previous movie, Casino Royale. I mean, yes, I knew that it had Daniel Craig as Bond again, and he was still doing interesting things with a Walther PPK and an attitude, but I didn't realize that they storylines were so closely woven together. I mean, we have Bond still pining over his lost love, and M still dealing with the fallout from killing the big bad guy. This is as direct a sequel as you can get.

So our Bond villain in this movie has no physical deformity. It's true! Mathieu Amalric is a small man, and he comes across as a kind of startled chipmunk most of the time, but he doesn't have a scar on his face, a streak of white hair going across his burned head, or even a facial tattoo. Instead, he is given the ironic last name of "Green" and the outward appearance of a man heading a philanthropic endeavor to ensure that everyone in the world gets …