So far for this month of Spooktober, I’ve reviewed a pumpkin ale and a bloody sour. I was trying to think of what to taste next. Perhaps a fall seasonal, a red ale, a brown, or something darker? Then I saw it on the shelf. Odell Brewing Company had recently released Whiskey Barrel Aged Lugene, a chocolate milk stout. I never turn down the opportunity to try a stout…and any from Odell.
Stouts, in general, seem like a good pairing to sip on while taking in a horror film. They’re an inky black, like that shadows from which the monster/killer will emerge from. At times, they can be foreboding, like a scene where a young woman says she going to check on that noise coming from outside (she’s not coming back) but you’re apprehensive because of the booziness, and they can be thick and viscous like the ooze left beyond by some terrorizing swamp creature.
They can also go well with a psychological thriller. The darkness of the brew matches up with the tense mood and inner working of a character’s mind.
Whiskey Barrel Aged Lugene: The Basics
- Brewery: Odell Brewing Company (Fort Collins, CO)
- Style: Milk Stout
- ABV: 10.5%
Whiskey Barrel Aged Lugene: The Details
Prior to its release, I had seen postings about the beer on social media which led me to eagerly awaiting the moment to pick up a bottle. Since I live not too far from the brewery, I knew the wait wasn’t going to be that long. Maybe a couple of days at worst. When I arrived at the liquor store they were getting ready for GABF by stocking their shelves with hard to find beers from all over the country. There sat Whiskey Barrel Aged Lugene being overlooked by those snatching up out well-regarded IPAs from Vermont and the Midwest (I’ll admit to grabbing a couple for myself). I felt a tinge of sadness seeing the beer getting passed over.
This is a thin looking beer as it poured out of the bottle and into the glass. It has a very dark, chocolate-brown appearance. The khaki head is minimal that gives way to a thin ring with nice lacing. The nose is very upfront with its whiskey (Woody Creek Rye barrels were used), but then it’s followed by predominantly chocolate cake then roasted coffee, vanilla, and a woodiness. The chocolate notes would flitter between dark and milk.
I haven’t had the original Lugene, which is now retired, but this is a rich beer. It’s just as chocolatey as the nose. The roasted coffee notes are more subdued than on the nose, but that leads to the vanilla shining through more. There is also some fruity dark cherry notes that show up as well as a touch of molasses. The whiskey is there but not as potent as the smell. The subtle spiciness of the rye creates a nice base and balance so the sweetness doesn’t completely overwhelm you. On the other hand, the heat from the alcohol is very prevalent.
The thin look of the beer transfers over to the mouthfeel, yet it is creamy from the lactose used. There is also a slipperiness to it that glides over and coats the tongue. The boozy burn is warm at the back of the throat. Taking into consideration the rich chocolate, sweetness, and heat, this beer is a sipper.
They Look Like People (2015)
- Director: Perry Blackshear
- Genre: Horror/Psychological Thriller
- Total Running Time: 1hr 20mins
- Rating: NR
- Availability: Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and iTunes
Many horror films and psychological thrillers deal with characters suffering from a myriad of mental health issues. Think of some of the classics from the genres: Psycho, Halloween, The Shining, Silence of the Lambs, and the list can go on and on. Many of these films, while good, stigmatize the perception of mental illnesses by creating a world where those who struggle with these issues turn out to be violent and perverted. While this might be true in a small sample size, there are plenty of serial killers to read about (I highly recommend checking out Mindhunter on Netflix), movies tend to warp our understanding of mental health disorders.
They Look Like People is one of the few horror films/psychological thrillers that tries to approach mental illness in a realistic manner that we can understand. Wyatt suffers from schizophrenia. He believes that the human race is being taken over by some malevolent force, be it aliens or demons. The mysterious phone calls he receives warn him of a war that is coming. Because of this, he has withdrawn from society and left his fiance fearing that she is now one of them. He suffers hallucinations during the day that carry over into his nightmares where figures are hidden in shadows. The buzzing sound of insects rings in his ears whenever he’s around someone he perceives not to be human.
His old childhood friend, Christian (who looks like a mash-up of Peter Gallagher and Chris Pine), that he bumps into on the streets of New York is also struggling with his own issues. His girlfriend left him, which left him contemplating suicide. He’s thrown himself into getting buff, listening to inspirational recordings, and adopting a machismo personality to overcompensate for his insecurities. He is also trying to kindle a relationship with his new supervisor at work.
Christian invites Wyatt to crash at his place for the night, and the night becomes several days. At first, the two appear to be old, dear friends that have grown and changed over time and no longer have anything in common. Bit by bit they start to reform their bond over games they created as kids. While Christian is away at work Wyatt, is out shopping for weapons and prepping for the battle of humankind.
Wyatt slowly reveals pieces of what is going inside of his mind, not sure of how his friend will react. Christian suggests seeing the therapist he went to, but Wyatt blows it off. Christian finally learns what is going on inside Wyatt’s head and he puts his faith in following him to get ready for the war. The tension heightens in the climactic scene as the two friends prep in a basement for the oncoming invasion. Wyatt has his jugs of acid ready, it’s the only thing that can destroy the invaders, as he has a trusting Christian tied to a chair. He is unsure if that is really his friend.
Whiskey Barrel Aged Lugene is truly a dessert beer. It could be dessert itself. The heat on this one comes off stronger than the ABV states, but isn’t something to be wary of. It’s warm and inviting, and comes off almost like a chocolatey whiskey. A bottle that would be perfect for the upcoming months.
Perry Blackshear took on a lot of roles in making They Look Like People, his thesis film for NYU. It’s an admirable debut that is not only a psychological rollercoaster that deals with mental health issues in a light that doesn’t stigmatize them, but also showing a male friendship that is endearing and full of trust and love. Using a character like Christian this film also comments on the toxic masculinity that many men get wrapped up in. I have a love for Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and its many interpretations (good and bad), and this film takes an interesting spin on it.