I’m pretty certain that most of you reading this are aware of Belgium lambics. Those sometimes tart fruity beers where whole fruits are added after fermentation has started. The most commonly used fruits are cherries, raspberries, peaches, and black currants, but many others fruits can be implemented. The ones with cherries are known as a Kriek, and the raspberry ones are called a Framboise. And this, folks, is how we come to this week’s highlighted beer: Friek from Odell. Friek is a blend of a traditional Kriek and a Framboise. As stated in their video about the ale, the original mashing up of the names resulted in Kriebroise. I think it’s safe to say they made the better choice going with the second option. There’s also another meaning to the name. Letting your freak flag fly. Be your true inner weirdo.
I went with a slightly different direction with the overall theme for this week. Although there is some connection to Odell’s second meaning. I went with something a little more naughty (or sexual). I’m talking about stripping, and more specifically male stripping as seen in the movie Magic Mike. Stripping and other forms of sex work are heavily looked down upon by society, yet there’s a market for it.
When I lived in San Francisco I was at the edge of one of the seedier parts of the city (drug dealers hanging out at the bus stop), and there were several strip clubs (or gentlemen’s clubs) in the neighborhood that I would walk past on my way home from work. There was one right down the block from my university’s library. If you’ve ever been to Portland (the Portlandia one) you would see that there are more strip clubs per square mile than there are Dunkin’ Donuts in Boston. They’re not an exclusively urban thing. I’ve seen them on the side of the road in the mountains of Pennsylvania. Wherever you find people living you’ll find a strip club. No matter how much people want deny it, it’s part of our nature.
The director of Magic Mike is Steven Soderbergh, who has previous experience depicting sex workers with 2009’s The Girlfriend Experience. He is a director I have a ton of respect for. His resume is varied. He can bounce from the independent world to Hollywood (he brought us the Ocean’s Eleven franchise), and his films don’t have a distinctive look (ala Tim Burton). This is a director who had two films nominated for Best Picture at the 2001 Academy Awards. Soderbergh acts as his own writer, cinematographer, and editor (while using various pseudonyms). For a man who retired a few years ago he’s still churning out material (he was the cinematographer on the sequel to Magic Mike and directed this past summer’s Logan Lucky). It’s easy to see while cinephiles and aspiring filmmakers cherish him.
Friek (2017): The Basics
- Brewery: Odell Brewing Company (Fort Collins, CO)
- Style: American Wild Ale
- ABV: 6.9% (nice)
Friek (2017): The Details
Friek was first introduced to the Colorado craft beer community in 2010. The sour ale blend is a blend of Krieks aged in oak barrels from different years. Sweet Colorado raspberries are added just before the final blend to help balance out the tart cherry flavor.
My pour produced a very minimal head that was gone in a minute or two. A nice ring of lacing was left behind. The color and first smell of this wild ale was reminiscent of Jell-O based on a red fruits. It’s a darker red with some pinkish hues. Almost like cranberry juice. The nose is full of tart cherries and woody oak. There is a funk to it that is pleasant and brought back memories of Elephunk. Underneath that was the sweetness of raspberries, and a hint of cranberries.
The tartness of the cherries is upfront on the tongue. Not enough to make you pucker up, but just enough sour to make your tongue twinge. After the quick hit of tartness comes a wave of sweet raspberries and malt. The cherry tartness soon comes crashing back. This time the taste buds are a little more adjusted. The cherry flavor really pops in this blend of two styles. The barrel aging adds some oak and vanilla notes that help smooth things out.
There is some acidity present. Despite the lack of head the carbonation pricks at the tongue. While there is sweetness at the beginning, this light-medium bodied beer finishes dry. The flavor doesn’t really linger. The aftertaste of oak and cherry is a whisper that creates a craving for another sip.
Magic Mike (2012)
- Director: Steven Soderbergh
- Genre: Comedy/Drama
- Total Running Time: 1hr 50mins
- Rating: R
- Availability: Netflix
Magic Mike is something magical. (Sorry.) It’s the movie that showed the potential of Channing Tatum and not just as some hunky joke of an actor (21st Jump Street from the same year also helped). The movie was also a catalyst to the McConaissance. Matthew McConaughey would follow-up with his role in this with Dallas Buyers Club (which he won an Oscar for), The Wolf of Wall Street, True Detective (time is a flat circle), and Interstellar. Based on Tatum’s real life experiences as a stripper in Tampa, Magic Mike takes a peek behind the curtain of male strippers. Doesn’t hurt to have a talented filmmaker behind the wheel.
Tatum stars as, well, Mike, a man on the hustle. When he’s not entertaining the ladies at night he’s working in construction, runs a mobile auto body shop, and has a dream of starting his own custom furniture business. On a construction job he meets Adam (Alex Pettyfer), a lost soul who’s crashing on his sister’s couch. Mike eventually pulls Adam into the world of tear-away pants, g-strings, and oiled up bodies. Mike is looking to get out of the lifestyle, and Adam is the one who gets sucked into it. Club owner Dallas (McConaughey) promises a life of bigger and better things.
The film has a nice pace to it. It is always moving forward, but finds the time to take a breath every once in a while. The dance sequences are pure spectacle with humor laced throughout. Tatum is no joke in this. While he may be popping, locking, and gyrating on stage (with no body double), he is able to dig beneath the surface of a female fantasy.
With Soderbergh behind the camera the visual language of this film is dynamic. Day-time Tampa is washed in a urine-yellow palette (probably what being in Tampa is like), and the nightlife scenes are bursting with neon colors. He is able to master the staging and choreography of the dance sequences with inventive camera set-ups and editing.
Do you like cherry pie? Then Friek is for you. (If you don’t, what is wrong with you?) The blends of different aged Krieks with the addition of raspberries create a nice balance of sweet and tart. It does lean more towards the tartness of cherries, but without the other elements Kriek might be too sour to handle. The oaky notes add some nice, subtle layers to the beer.
There’s the aspect of Magic Mike that many might be able to connect with. Who hasn’t gotten stuck in a job while planning and waiting for the next big thing, yet the goal line keeps moving farther and farther away. There’s the part of getting sucked into something until you’re in too deep before you even realize it. The film doesn’t tie everything up with a perfect bow, but also doesn’t treat the subject matter like a melodramatic Lifetime movie.
It’s not a perfect film. Mike’s romantic relationship with Adam’s sister, Brooke (Cody Horn), is a little underdeveloped. Yet it also doesn’t feel rushed. And for someone who’s always talking about making furniture we rarely see Mike working on the craft. There’s also moment involving drug dealers that tips towards predictable.
As I’ve mentioned earlier, this film does have a sense of humor. Matthew McConaughey is blast to watch playing on his public perception. There are some great visual gags, too. During the group dance sequences keep an eye out on WWE legend Kevin Nash. Nash plays Dallas, a grizzled veteran of the strip club circuit. There’s also a scene with a penis pump in the foreground that has to be one the best gags in the film.