Streaming and Suds #22 – To The Exxxtreme

Triple Barrel Big Bad Baptist - Epic Brewing - Streaming and Suds

Having recently tried Epic Brewing’s Big Bad Baptist, and enjoying it quite a bit, I thought I’d give one of its two other variants a shot. The one I went with was the Triple Barrel version. I quite like big beers, and the use of whiskey and rum barrels were enough to sell me on it. Now, what kind of movie would I pair this with?

I thought about something religious (given the name), but wanted something to match the feeling of this bold beer. Something extreme. At last I found something that somewhat piqued my interests: xXx starring Vin Diesel. Triple Barrel meets Triple X.

I’ve never really been drawn to Vin Diesel’s output as an actor. There are movies he’s in that I love (or enjoy). Iron Giant gets me every time I watch it, everyone loves Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy, and Saving Private Ryan set a precedence for the visual storytelling of war films. I have little to no interest in cars so The Fast and the Furious franchise never struck a chord with me. When you think about it, this is an actor that is involved in four film franchises. Shocking.

Vin Diesel, while well-meaning and earnest, comes across as an existential buffoon (hat tip to Vince Mancini of FilmDrunk). Mancini describes an existential buffoon as someone who “espouses deep thoughts that seem a lot deeper if you’re kind of an idiot.” There are plenty examples of Vin Diesel exemplifying this trait, as well with many other actors (exclusively male). This is an actor that wore stilts to prepare for the voice acting role of a CGI character.

Triple Barrel Big Bad Baptist - Epic Brewing - Streaming and Suds

Triple Barrel Big Bad Baptist: The Basics

Triple Barrel Big Bad Baptist: The Details

There was a slight hesitation in selecting this beer because of its use of coconut. Triple Barrel Big Bad Baptist ages coconut and Colombian coffee beans in whiskey barrels to go along with the stout aged in rum and whiskey barrels (with cacao nibs). Coconut is one of those tastes that by itself I deeply disagree with…yet, if it’s in a beer with other flavor profiles I can find it enjoyable (or tolerable). I had nothing to worry about with this beer.

This beer has an inky black body that produces a minimal reddish-brown head. The head fizzed before dissipating. There is a reddish tint around the edges of the beer. TheTriple Barrel Big Bad Baptist - Epic Brewing - Streaming and Suds nose was more spectacular than the appearance. As if the beer was toying with me and my issues with coconut the first note I noticed was the exotic drupe. After that I was hit with boozy rum notes, dark chocolate, and roasted coffee. All these notes meshed together to create a smell that is reminiscent to those of Samoas, those coconut Girl Scout cookies.

The nose was a step up from the appearance, and the taste is several steps up from olfactory. I would say this is a rich beer, but decadent might be a better descriptor. This is like a dark German chocolate cake soaked in alcohol (just in liquid form). Vanilla, coconut, and dark chocolate notes hit on the first wave. This is followed by my first notice of whiskey, and rum to create an oaky molasses note. The roasted coffee comes on strong in the aftertaste. As the beer warmed I detected some slight hints of dark cherries.

This beer has sweetness to it, but it is balanced out in the finish that is slightly astringent and chalky. There is some heat, but the 12% ABV is hidden pretty well. The mouthfeel is little thinner than I like for my imperial stouts. It is slick and has some chewiness to it.

xXx (2002)

xXx - Streaming and Suds

  • Director: Rob Cohen
  • Genre: Action
  • Total Running Time: 2hrs 4mins
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Avaiability: Netflix

Rob Cohen, creator of The Fast and the Furious, re-teams with Vin Diesel for a movie that screams early 2000s. Clocking in around two hours, this has to be one of the slowest paced action movies (ever?). I was shocked to see how long a movie like this was. Those two hours felt like four.

Vin Diesel stars as Xander Cage, an extreme sports athlete and political activist who gets recruited by the NSA to take down Russian terrorists known as Anarchy 99 in Prague. In all honesty, Cage is kidnapped by the NSA and forced into this whole ordeal. We’re first introduced to Cage as he steals a Senator’s car, and records a message for the people about the dirty politician before jumping the car off a bridge. The scene is oddly behind and ahead of its time. It has a Jackass feel to it, and yet the recorded confessional is several years before YouTube would become a thing. Xander Cage was a prototype for the annoying YouTube star (Whaddup fam? Hit the “Like” button!).

For a movie whose main character is an extreme sports athlete that can do anything, this movie has some truly lackluster action scenes that are trying really hard to be extravagant. One scene has Xander riding a motorbike and magically flying over vehicles and barbed wire fences while being shot at, or using a serving tray to grind down a railing to escape from a sniper, and out snowboarding an avalanche. The Bourne Identity came out the same year, and it’s action sequences were much more minimal in scope but much more effective. xXx is a 007 movie, without the wit and charm, for those who subsist on Mountain Dew and Monster.

Never one to turn down a role, Samuel L. Jackson plays the disfigured NSA agent who recruits Cage (think of it as practice for his turn as Nick Fury). Asia Argento is thexXx - Streaming and Suds head terrorist’s girlfriend who falls for Cage, and has her own secrets. In what, I guess, was a move to establish some credibility with the X Games fans Tony Hawk, Matt Hoffman, Carey Hart, and Rick Thorne make cameos early on. Eve, the rapper, also has a small role as Xander’s friend or agent. There’s also Danny Trejo as a Colombian drug lord.

The soundtrack is, well, eclectic to say the least. Rammstein appear in the opening scene performing at a club. Songs from other musicians of the time such as Gavin Rossdale (of Bush), Moby, N.E.R.D., The Chemical Brothers, and Queens of the Stone Age get some play. But when I heard the lyrics “Let the bodies hit the floor!” early on I knew what kind of movie I was getting. The only thing that was missing was a song from Marylin Manson, Korn, or Limp Bizkit. If you ask me, it could have also used some OOOH WAH-AH AH AH!

Plus, there were soooooo many close-up shots of Xander’s xXx tattoo on the back of his neck. Once would have sufficed.

Overall

Triple Barrel Big Bad Baptist is pretty damn perfect dessert beer. It’s not too complex, but has enough going on to keep things interesting. This would be great for sharing with others. It’s also not too boozy for one to enjoy by themselves over a couple of hours. I guess it’s time for me to check out Big Bad Baptista to formulate my rankings.

I’m still trying to process how xXx became a franchise. It has a 48% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and finished 15th at the box office for the year. Not staggering results that called out for more. The sequel didn’t even have Vin Diesel in it (Ice Cube would take on the starring role). I wish I felt the effects of Triple Barrel Big Bad Baptist’s 12% ABV. It might have helped make this movie a little more entertaining.

Adam M. Bruns

About Adam M. Bruns

Adam M. Bruns is an award-winning filmmaker (it was a short about a puppet who wants to get a sex change) with an MFA in Motion Pictures and Television from the Academy of Art in San Francisco. Besides craft beer, his hobbies include film, TV, comic books, writing, drawing, cooking, and feeling the constant, crushing sense of disappointment from watching his favorite sports teams (the Buffalo Bills, the Baltimore Orioles, and Syracuse University Basketball). Some have called him a modern-day Renaissance Man…ok, that was just his mother.

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