This week we are dealing with giants: giants of industry (worldwide and locally), giant beers, actual giants, and quite possibly a big ol’ anti-Semite. What I’m getting at is that I’m reviewing Odell’s new triple IPA, Fee Fi Fo Fum, and Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The BFG.
While not having a large distribution across the states (not reaching either coasts), Odell is one the top 50 craft brewers in the nation. Its reputation is well-known, and has beer fans searching for their delicious ales. No offense to another Fort Collins brewery that is nationally known, but beer fans across the nation are really missing out. I understand that expansion can be troublesome for breweries. It can lead to some to “selling out” (see Lagunitas) just so they can reach a wider audience. Some locals that I’ve talked to are concerned about Odell getting too big or expanding their line. I can understand the sentiment of keeping something that’s theirs, and not wanting to see a possibly inferior product. But whatever system they have in place seems to be working out quite well for them.
The influence that Steven Spielberg has had on filmmaking and Hollywood is undeniable. Even non-film buffs can rattle off a list of his movies.This man was an inspiration and a hero to me as a child who instilled a love for filmmaking in me, and taught me to never lose my imagination or sense of wonder. Except something happened along the way. Seeing his name on a trailer or poster no longer has that same drawing power. Was it Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of Crystal Skull that did me in? I could go on how that film doesn’t fit into the narrative of the franchise, but I’ll spare you.
That was the last Spielberg film I saw in theaters. And that was 2008. He is still a technically sound director who embraces the ever-changing landscape of technology and special effects, but doesn’t let those advances consume him. *cough – George Lucas – cough* But there seems to be something missing, or maybe it’s me that’s changed? This past November a harsh piece about Spielberg popped up online that caused quite a tizzy on Twitter. There are some truths to it if you look past the blinding hate. Sometimes a filmmaker loses a step just like our favorite athletes.
Roald Dahl, on the other hand, is much more troublesome. The world-famous children’s author seems to have been more than just a curmudgeon that bristled at the idea of being known for writing children’s books. He is also known to have said some alarming things about Jewish people. It brings to question the act of separating the artist from their art.
Especially in recent times where we’ve dealt with the news about the likes of Kevin Spacey, Louis C.K., Jeffrey Tambor, John Lasseter, and Dustin Hoffman. Is the act of taking in their form of entertainment a sign of support, or do we completely ban it? I’ve been wrestling with this sense of guilt, and it bums me out that one of my favorite films, The Usual Suspects, has several despicable people involved (Spacey, and director Bryan Singer). Can we separate who they are with what they have given us?
Fee Fi Fo Fum: The Basics
- Brewery: Odell Brewing Company (Fort Collins, CO)
- Style: Imperial/Triple IPA
- ABV: 11.1%
Fee Fi Fo Fum: The Details
Onto the good important stuff like…beer. Fee Fi Fo Fum is a limited release triple IPA that came out in early December. I saw a few bottles around that first week, but I have seen many since then. It flew off the shelves. You still may be able to find some bottles around, or wait until next year to see if Odell releases it again.
Fee Fi Fo Fum pours a hazy orangish amber with a beautiful head. The color of this beer really pops. That beautiful head doesn’t hang around to long, but it does leave some nice lacing. The initial smell was of a tangerine candy with some other citrus highlights like grapefruit. I was getting some vanilla notes that gave this IPA a creamsicle vibe. After all that there were some hints of tropical fruits with some slight booze.
I found the flavor to be on the lighter side for a triple IPA. The citrus and tropical notes were a little more subdued than on the nose.The combination of hops and malts gave it a slightly sweet flavor of a melding of tropical fruits and citrus. The grapefruit notes were the most distinguishable amongst the malt backbone. What did stand out was the pine notes and resinous finish. At what first seemed like a pretty well-balanced beer after the first few steps, changed as the hoppy bitterness crept up on me. It’s not the kind of bitterness that is going to be there when you wake up the next morning. The malts and “fruitier” hops help keep the resinous finish from being overbearing.
The body wasn’t as heavy as some other triple IPAs (or even some doubles) that I’ve had. It was more of a medium body. Something you’d expect from a regular IPA but with a touch more heft. The beer is slick and slightly oily over the tongue even with a dry and bitter finish. There is a touch of heat with each sip that really warms up the body.
The BFG (2016)
- Director: Steven Spielberg
- Genre: Family/Fantasy
- Total Running Time: 1hr 57mins
- Rating: PG
- Availability: Netflix, Amazon, and iTunes
The BFG (the F stands for friendly) is the only movie that I know of that contains a fart joke involving the Queen of England and her corgis (the part with the corgis did make me chuckle). Besides that, the movie is about an orphan, Sophie, who suffers from insomnia, and on one night she witnesses a giant walking around the streets of London. Well, this giant catches her looking at him so he kidnaps her. BFG, as he will later be called, takes her to the island on which he lives. Sophie is terrified that the giant will eat her, but her assures her in his broken speech that he would do no such thing. It’s the other giants she has to worry about.
BFG is the runt of his pack, but also more distinguished. He wears clothes and can read, while his brethren wear animal fur, loin clothes, and are afraid of water…and eat people (or “human beans”). BFG is constantly picked on by the other towering giants, and he spends his nights collecting dreams from a magical dream. With only the good dreams in tow, he ventures into the city at night and blows them on the sleeping citizens with his horn-like apparatus. Sophie and BFG soon find out that the other giants are taking people from their homes at night and eating them. The two conjure up a plan to get the Queen and the British military to assist them in taking down the nasty people-eaters.
The BFG is well crafted. Spielberg takes the motion capture animation elements he used in 2011’s The Adventures of Tintin, and blends them with live action here. There are a few moments where the effect is a little wonky, but overall the look is seamless and doesn’t have the uncanny valley of something like The Polar Express. Mark Rylance, an Oscar winner from Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies, does a wonderful job giving life to BFG. Yet there is something missing that used to be there from Spielberg’s earlier family films. There really isn’t much to the story, the action scenes are limp, and the humor is like a wet fart.
I was glad I got to try this limited release. For a long time I was on an IPA kick, but I’ve been trying to shake things up. I still miss those West Coast IPAs, and I’m still looking for some local IPAs that clicks with me and Odell has had some intriguing offers. A triple IPA isn’t something I would drink all the time, but Fee Fi Fo Fum comes close. If you missed out on this one just pick up a sixer of Myrcenary. You can’t go wrong with that one.
With its length and bland story I fear The BFG might not grab the attention of kids. Sure, the fart jokes might give them a giggle, but is the one fart joke per hour ratio worth it? Spielberg used to be able to tap in to what it was like to be a kid, but not anymore. Maybe he has grown passed that stage in his life or maybe it’s declining skills? It’s been over a decade since one of his films really caught my attention. I hope he has few more punches left.