Beer and a Movie Marathon
We are lucky enough to live in a day and age, where the greatest drink known to man is readily available in a variety of styles and variations. Of course I am talking about beer; gone are the days of the watery mass produced swill that many were forced to cope with. America’s craft beer explosion has brought a renaissance in brewing. Here at the House of Geekery, Jamie Z. regularly gives us an excellent series entitled Disney Dinner and a Movie, which has inspired me to write my own variation on it. Upon consulting with the owners of my favorite bar, Hammer and Ale here in Memphis, Tennessee, I came to the conclusion that beer is best enjoyed with an entire marathon of movies. As such I have picked some of the greatest film franchises around, and picked which beer is best enjoyed with a marathon viewing of them. So fire up the Blu-Ray Player and grab yourself a growler or six-pack of this brewed treat from the Gods. And remember if you need to get back home, or anywhere else for that matter, after a long night of chugging beers and enjoying these movies, arrange a safe ride and do not get behind the wheel of a car yourself.
Die Hard (Yuengling): Detective John McClane is the ultimate blue-collar action hero (ignoring the terrible latter installments). Lacking the physique and bravado of John Rambo or Conan the Barbarian, McClane saves the day through ingenuity and know-how. Because McClane is the ultimate American Average Joe, I am going with a truly blue collar American beer, Yuengling. Brewed in the working class city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Yuengling is a perfect example of a classic pilsner something I’m sure this character enjoys after a long night of battling Hans Gruber.
James Bond (Harp/Guinness): Agent 007 has been killing bad guys and seducing women for decades now in the name of Queen and Country. Many actors have portrayed the most famous agent of MI6, but for moviegoers it is the tenures of Sean Connery and Daniel Craig which are the most prominent. Due to their drastically different takes of the character it seems only appropriate to choose two drastically different beers. The Connery era was typified by more lighthearted adventures and colorful villains; to best go with these films a few pints of Harp would be the brew of choice. Harp is a light and enjoyable beer which has an undeniable smoothness to it which fits perfectly with this Scotsman’s interpretation of Ian Flemming’s hero. For modern fans of Bond, Daniel Craig is the best actor to ever play the part due to his faithfulness to the darker nature of the source material. If you feel more in the mood for Casino Royale, go with a Guinness, like Harp, Guiness is notably smooth, but it has a dark edge to it that the previously mentioned beer does not.
Halloween (Jack-O-Traveler): Every year, as kids run around in costumes and strangers hand out candy, Michael Myers stalks his victims with an almost supernatural obsession. John Carpenter’s horror classic, Halloween, has forever become associated with the holiday it is named for. Just as a certain orange gourd has become forever associated with this holiday, the pumpkin. Every year as the leaves whither and fall and a chill enters the air because darkness falls sooner, people utilize pumpkins in just about every food and drink they can. Naturally the best brewmasters are not above this trend as they churn out refreshing pumpkin ales for this time of the year. The standout when it comes to pumpkin beers is a relative newcomer to the craft brew scene, The Traveler Beer Company with their Jack-O-Traveler. The Jack-O-Traveler is a unique spin on the drink as it is made in the style of a shandy, throwing in a slight hint of citrus to truly bring out the full pumpkin flavor. This beer will put anyone in the mood for a dark autumn night watching Michael Myers slash his way through the holiday.
Star Wars (Black and Tan): One of the most beloved space operas of all-time, is the epic trilogy Star Wars. A battle between good and evil spans across a galaxy far far away in a war between the heroic Rebel Alliance and the evil Galactic Empire. If you are reading this site and do not know how the story breaks down, then you may need to reevaluate why you are here. In choosing the proper brew for this film I cheated a bit and chose a classic beer cocktail, the Black and Tan. For those of you who are unaware, this is a beverage made by pouring half of a pint glass full of a lighter beer like a lager or pale ale, often Harp or Bass Ale is used for this step. You follow this up by putting a downturned spoon over the rim of the glass and pouring a layer of Guinness to top off the other half. The end result is a pint glass which holds a balance between the two beers, perfectly illustrating the balance between light and darkness which Luke Skywalker struggles with throughout the Star Wars saga.
Pirates of the Caribbean (Avast! Pirate Porter): Much like my pick for the Halloween films, this seems like an obvious choice to go along with these particular films. Starting off with one of the best fantasy films in recent years, few can deny that this swashbuckling saga has gone downhill in quality ever since, but they still make for good popcorn fare. You do not need a Phd. in maritime history to know that pirates enjoy booze and what better way to get into the spirit of these pictures than to partake in this beloved pirate tradition. From Memphis, Tennessee, a city that is no stranger to attacks from buccaneers; comes a beer as dark as Davy Jones’ Locker from the Wiseacre brewery aptly named, Pirate Porter. Utilizing flavors reminiscent of the tropical islands like; allspice and orange and blending them with molasses they have created a beer that Captain Jack Sparrow would happily chug.
The Dark Knight Trilogy (Lagunitas NightTime Ale): In 2005 acclaimed filmmaker Christopher Nolan began an epic trilogy which enraptured filmgoers as they watched; Bruce Wayne fulfill his destiny by becoming the Batman; face his greatest challenge in the Joker; and finally save his city from utter destruction. Nolan’s Batman was the hero Gotham deserved, and proved it by descending into the darkness and channeling his rage and guilt over what happened to his parents into fighting the cowardly and superstitious lot that threatened his city. This means the ideal beer to enjoy while watching this trilogy has to be dark and bitter, and a dark IPA fits this bill perfectly. Not only is Langunitas’ NigthTime Ale one of the best dark IPA’s around, but its very name is fitting to the style and tone of the Dark Knight trilogy. This is definitely not a drink for the weak as you get the full hoppy punch with every sip.
The Hunger Games (420 Extra Pale Ale): Based off the best-selling novels, the Hunger Games saga features Katniss Everdeen, a normal girl who unexpectedly finds herself as a hero to a revolution against a brutal dictatorship and establish a new way of life. In the early 1990’s two guys in Atlanta, Georgia, also found themselves bucking the system to bring about a beer which has become beloved throughout the American South and found themselves at the forefront of the craft beer renaissance. This duo created 420 Extra Pale Ale, the drink that would be the flagship beer of their SweetWater Brewery. It is a crisp and refreshing beer which, like Katniss, creates a major stir every time it is introduced to a new market. Ironically this beer is brewed in the region where much of the filming for these movies takes place further tying them together. Many have pointed out that what sets the Hunger Games movies apart from most of the other blockbuster film franchises is the use of a female lead character, which proves that the filmmakers are following the SweetWater motto “Don’t Float the Mainstream”.