Beer and film pairing: Night Stalker Imperial Stout and The Road

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[image-1]The film, directed by John Hillcoat, depicts a man (Viggo Mortensen) and a boy (Kodi Smit-Mcphee) traveling through a barren wasteland, with the hope of finding food, better weather and “good people” such as themselves. During there arduous and horrific journey, they must battle the elements, avoid being caught and eaten by cannibalistic tribes of road warrior-type of people, and constantly searching for fresh food and water; doing all this while holding on to ideals such as morality and humanity, or as they put it, “carrying the fire”. The bond that the father and son share and what they represent is very apparent throughout the film.

The man has a constant eternal battle going on within himself. He knows he must teach his son to appreciate life and never lose hope. He himself has become more and more cynical and cautious of his fellow man. Though he is slowly dying he is determined to keep fighting and living and make it to the coast and finish the journey they have set out on and not just sit, rot and die. The boy, on the other hand, represents hope, innocence and, above all, the future in this bleak world. While watching the film you do end up getting angry at the boy's lack of reality and urgency during situations. He carries the hope that humanity is not truly gone and that one doesn’t have just survive, but can actually live.

The film itself is a cinematically beautiful: From the wide landscape shots that help show how really alone the two are, to the amazing personal steady cam shots that give the viewer a voyeuristic feel -- as if they are stalking the two main characters themselves. The color and tone of the film helps increase the sense of loss and extreme helplessness the two feel constantly. The remnant of a past world are all but lost and what is left are gutted out buildings, dead forests, human remains and dark skies.

*SPOILER ALERT* The film's end can be interpreted a few ways. Though the man did get them to end of their journey, he has failed to find this Utopia he has built up for his boy and succumbs to the disease that has been crippling him for months. Left alone and scared, the boy is found by a man who also "carries the fire" and moves on with his new family. Sometimes things seem irreversible and hopeless, one stops and feels as if nothing good can happen ever again. Then comes a glimmer of hope and knowing that if you stay on the road long enough, good things will come.

Pairing a brew to a film with certain similarities that one can taste, see and feel make for a very enjoyable movie experience. Look for more movie pairing brew reviews to come and remember to live, taste, pair and continue to carry the fire.


Thomas Barris

The Wild Cicerone

“It’s the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine.” — REM, "It’s the End of the World As We Know It"

Today's society is becoming slowly more infatuated with the end of the world. The fear of the unknown has presented itself in human culture through different mediums throughout time. From art, song, written word and to film, the curiosity of what “the end” will be like is depicted in many ways, from aliens destroying us with a beam of light, to building a space ship in hopes of leaving earth and starting anew. The common apocalyptic thread in most cases is that we will end up destroying ourselves through war, disease or famine brought on by some cataclysmic event. Well I say as long as I have a good brew and a book, let it come!

Today I am pairing Night Stalker Imperial Stout by Goose Island with the movie The Road. When pairing anything, whether it be cheese to wine or a nice cut of meat to a scotch, one must take in count the subtle nuances that make both items a perfect match. Throughout this article I will review Night Stalker and The Road, listing the similarities between a cinematic masterpiece and the ominous Imperial Stout.

Night Stalker Imperial Stout is as dark as midnight. This stout is bitter as a cold, shivering morning and has a darkness that stares right into your soul, leaving you with a warm, boozy silk finish. At 11.7% ABV, one could cellar this for up to five years, even in less formidable conditions. This ale and the film share similarities as both are dark and haunting.

The new film adaptation of the novel The Road written by Cormac McCarthy, brings to light how life would be for the remaining survivors after an apocalyptic event.

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