Streaming and Suds #29 – Whoa, Black Phillip (Bam-Ba-Lam)

Ecate - TRVE Brewing Co. - Streaming and Suds

I have yet to really venture into the Denver beer scene. There are still so many breweries in Northern Colorado that I have yet to visit. But that won’t stop me from picking up some bottles while I’m perusing a beer section. Just before the holidays I was at store that was having a sale. My eyes were immediately drawn to those select beers. The artwork on a few particular labels was amazing, and stood out from everything else (plus being on sale didn’t hurt). As I was reading the description of the beers I was beginning to notice a pattern that they were predominantly wild ales. Distinctive artwork and intriguing ingredients left me no option than to pick up some bottles from TRVE Brewing.

I have become familiar with TRVE Brewing while researching can’t miss breweries in the state, but I am by no means a metal head when it comes to music.  There were some bands that I listened to that had roots in the genre or incorporated a fusion of metal into their sound. But overall I never really connected to the genre and its many subgenres. Yet I can appreciate some of their aesthetics for the dark arts, and especially the fans love of horror films.

That’s why I thought it would only be appropriate to pair Ecate from TRVE Brewing with The Witch (or as originally titled The VVitch: A New-England Folktale). Ecate is an Italian translation of the ancient Greek mythological goddess Hecate. Hecate, in Greek mythology, was associated with witchcraft as well as some other things; crossroads, entrance-ways, light, magic, knowledge of herbs and poisonous plants, ghosts, necromancy, and sorcery. She was also one of the main deities worshipped in Athenian households as a protective goddess. Plus there’s a billy goat on the label and one in the movie that has an integral role.

Ecate - TRVE Brewing Co. - Streaming and Suds

Ecate: The Basics

Ecate: The Details

Ecate is a golden mix cultured ale aged on grape pomace. I was very unfamiliar with the term pomace, so I went digging around TRVE Brewing’s site and came across a blog posting. Pomate is the solid remains of a fruit after it has been pressed. That means the skins, seeds, and stems. This is slightly different than grape must, which has all those things but also contains juice. According to the February 2016 post, the pomace used in the initial batch came from Leap of Faith Winery and were of the Cabernet Sauvignon varietal. The pomace is added to a stainless steel tank then their golden sour base beer, MegaTherion, is added and let to age until deemed ready for consumption.

This beer has a gold-pinkish hue that is very similar to a Rosé. Just a bit darker and murkier. Bits of sediment swirled around and collected at the bottom of the glass. TheEcate - TRVE Brewing Co. - Streaming and Suds bright white head quickly receded to a ring of lacing. The nose has a golden sour smell that is recognizable on the first sniff. But then it morphs into something more wine-like. There is a slight vinous sweetness mixed with a musty funk. The tartness is there but it is subtle. There are hints of cherry and white grapes, and for some odd reason hard cider. As the beer opened up it became very floral. Like those first few days when the flowers bloom and the sun is shining.

This is refreshing beer to drink. The sourness of it isn’t going to make you pucker up. It tingles at the sides of the tongue, and lingers at the back of the tongue before fading away. The tartness highlights the fruity notes. There is an earthy Brett funk that is balanced very well. This funk cut back on the sweetness. It does this without distracting from the grape and cherry notes.

Ecate has a light-to-medium body that is clean and dry on the finish. The carbonation is at a nice medium level, and combined with the low tartness TRVE Brewing has made a smooth drinking sour. The flavors are complex but don’t overwork your tastebuds.

The Witch (2015)

The VVitch - Streaming and Suds

  • Director: Robert Eggers
  • Genre: Horror, Mystery
  • Total Running Time: 1hr 32mins
  • Rating: R
  • Availability: Amazon Prime

The Witch is a satanic horror film set in the 1630s. Several decades before the Salem witch trials in colonial New England. A rare period film where the actors don’t put on some silly English affectations (some of the actors are British). They really go for it with all the thys, dosts, and thees. Putting on the subtitles might be beneficial, but you can get a hang of it without them.

The story is about Puritan family forced out of the colony and sets out to make it on their own in the wilderness. Thomasin (Anya Taylor-Joy) is the oldest daughter and audience stand-in, and who remembers life back in England. She has to deal with her humorless, gravel-throated father and shrew of a mother (Ralph Ineson and Kate Dickie, both from Game of Thrones), her hormonal brother Caleb (Harvey Scrimshaw), and delightfully evil younger twin siblings, Mercy and Jonas.

Life is pretty rough for Thomasin as she has to watch the twins, take care of the live stock, and do other chores around the house as her mother takes care of a new baby boy.The VVitch - Streaming and Suds But things get more dire when her infant brother disappears on her during a game a peek-a-boo. Soon the children are forbidden from entering the woods, family members lie to each other, and the twins begin to have foreboding conversations with Black Phillip, the billy goat.

There is sense of doom and eeriness from the very beginning. The drab color palette of earthy colors and gray forbid any sense of hope or light. Added on top of that is the score of orchestral strings and unearthly choir that’ll send chills up your spine. Even without the satanic flourishes, the tense environment of hysterical religious doctrine and the unknown nature around them alone would be one of dread.

In one tense scene Caleb, through a fit of tears, questions his father on where his baby brother has ended up; heaven or hell. In the Puritans’ eyes they are all born sinners, and Caleb can’t bear the thought of his brother being in hell when he is only a baby and has done nothing to receive such a punishment.

This is a film that doesn’t play coy about about the evil lurking in the forest. The witch in this movie isn’t some idea that looms over the family and dictates their actions. She is real and makes several appearances in many guises. But that doesn’t lessen the creeping horror that builds throughout the film. And this is a tight film. There is no fat to nibble on. Even the long shots used serve a purpose.


Ecate is a nice little wild ale that would be a great introductory beer for those new to the style. I tend to like my sours with a little more oomph, but it’s always nice to have something that isn’t going to strip the enamel off your teeth. This is a sour that goes down so easily you could have a couple of glasses of at the bar (with some heavy metal cranking out of the speakers). If you have some wine friends I’m sure they’d appreciate this one too.

The Witch is an admirable film from first-time writer/director Robert Eggers. Through his use of historical accuracy, production design, period-specific wardrobe, and musical accompaniment he is able to craft a horror film that feels real. The ending, depending on your view, might not work, but the rest of the film relies on the sinister rather than shock. This is the kind of movie that I wish M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village had the potential to be before it went off the tracks.

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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