This past Sunday was International Left-Handers Day, and I have a confession to make. I am one of those that make up 10% of the Earth’s population. Some of you might have antiquated ideas about left-handers, like how we’ve been touched by Satan, but I promise you that we’re all not that bad. We struggle daily in your right-handed world with things like desks, scissors, spiral notebooks, binders, can openers, computer mouses, sitting to the right of you at a meal, and our handwriting gets smudged leaving ink and pencil stains on the sides of our hands.
Some reports say we are more susceptible to mental health problems, learning impairments, being moodier, shyness, and earning less than righties. We are also prone to drink more often (but not excessively). Lefties are known for their creativity (righties, please don’t point that out as we’ve heard it before), and some might say we’re smarter. It’s a blessing and a curse.
I have somewhat adapted to the world around me. Using a mouse with my left hand feels extremely awkward. I throw/shoot hoops right-handed. I imagine I look like an extraterrestrial wearing a human flesh suit while throwing left-handed. I’ve even tried to write and draw with my right hand, but it turns out looking worse than the work of a pre-schooler.
I used to take boxing classes, and one day I decided to switch up my stances. One round of exercise I would go with an orthodox stance (right-handed), and the next I would go to the unorthodox stance (left-handed). The exercises were easy enough, but it was an interesting challenge for the brain to reorganize and coordinate my appendages.
I know the bare minimum about the art of pugilism. I can appreciate the sport from time to time, and do I enjoy really good read about the sport. It seems to be a dying sport, but I’ll take it over MMA. At the end of this month there is a real big fight featuring a misogynist and batterer of women versus a racist that’s not even a boxer. There will be no real winners at the end of this fight. While I have some disgust and lack of interest in this upcoming event, I do enjoy a good boxing moving. There are some classics and duds. I happened to notice that Southpaw (Hey! Like me!) was streaming on Netflix, and decided to pair it with beer from a brewery I should probably buy some gear from for obvious reasons.
Milk Stout Nitro: The Basics
- Brewery: Left Hand Brewing Company (Longmont, CO)
- Style: Milk Stout
- ABV: 6.00%
Milk Stout Nitro: The Details
I worked at a liquor store for some time when I lived in San Francisco. At some point, I took over the beer section. It was predominantly beers from California, but I tried to bring in as many intriguing beers from across the country and the world that I could. The most popular question we got was, “Hey, do you have any Pliny?” I’m sure you’re familiar from that oh-so-desired, legendary double IPA from Russian River Brewing. Well, we didn’t carry it (it’s a long story). After that, the most popular question was, “I was just in Colorado, do you have any Left Hand Milk Stout?” Sorry, again. I tried my best to make recommendations on the stouts we did carry. But now I don’t have to worry about that.
As a name for a brewery, I can get behind that for simple, personal reasons, and for my first taste to be a stout…oh yeah! I tend to prefer Russian Imperials or barrel-aged stouts, but after hearing so many former customers ask about it I had to give it a shot. I knew that Left Hand’s Milk Stout had a great reputation and is well loved locally, and the nitrogenized version was the only one offered when I went to the store. Nitrogen introduced to beers gives it a more creamy feel compared to the more lively beers using carbon dioxide. That seemed appealing.
As instructed on the label I used an angry pour. What followed was a cascade of bubbles that formed an everlasting, thick, khaki head. After settling down the head remained about a pinky width throughout the whole experience. The blackness of the stout was of a substance that sucked in the light and never let it out with a reddish hint towards the bottom of the glass. The smell was of roasted malts, semi-sweet chocolate with a little bit of milk chocolate, a touch of coffee, and hints of bitterness that clung to the insides of my nostrils.
The nitrogen lent itself to the velvety, smooth texture as it entered my mouth (my friend finds beer reviews very sexual and this probably won’t help). It was like drinking chocolate milk but sexier. A sweetness hits the tongue but not in a cloying fashion. What follows are notes of the roasted malts: dark chocolate and coffee, with slight hints of vanilla and cream. At the back end, you get the bitterness of the hops and roasted malts, but I was surprised to find the sweetness from the lactose to peak its head back up. The mouthfeel is a little chewy but light and creamy overall. There is a miniscule amount of heat from the alcohol as it goes down the hatch.
- Director: Antoine Fuqua
- Genre: Sports Drama
- Total Running Time: 2hrs 4mins
- Rating: R
- Availability: Netflix
Before I get started I want to talk about the background of the film because I found it more interesting than the actual film. The initial idea for the film was to be an unofficial sequel to 8 Mile with Eminem returning to the big screen. That idea was eventually scrapped and evolved to what we have here with Eminem still onboard for the lead role. Eminem ended up pulling out to focus on his music career, which lead to Jake Gyllenhaal taking over the role. The title Southpaw came from Eminem being left-handed, but the story had to be reworked since Gyllenhaal is right-handed. Now to the review.
Oh boy! Another movie about a white boxer from the streets fighting for respect and redemption! Haven’t seen enough of those. From a script by Kurt Sutter (Sons of Anarchy), Antoine Fuqua (Training Day) tells the story of Billy “The Great” Hope who rose from an orphanage in Hell’s Kitchen to a 43-0 record and four straight light heavyweight belts until tragedy strikes. Gyllenhaal plays Hope as a mumble-mouthed boxer whose anger drives him to greatness, and has a wife (Rachel McAdams) who worries he’ll be punch-drunk in a couple of years. At times there are hints of Eminem that slip in his portrayal. His promoter (50 Cent) pushes him to sign a lucrative contract with HBO just after his recent win.
Tragedy strikes Hope when a fracas breaks out a charity for underprivileged children. Hope spirals out of control unable to deal with his grief. He loses his money and mansion and his daughter gets taken away by Child Protective Services. Foregoing to sign the contract because his wife didn’t agree with it, Hope finds himself down on his luck again.
He takes a job cleaning a boxing gym under the strict eye of Tick Wills (Forest Whitaker). When Hope isn’t mopping the floors he’s in court fighting for the custody of his daughter, visiting her, and working out in the gym on his own. Seeing how Hope is trying to get his act together Tick decides to train him for one last fight. The Wills character could be viewed as the racist, cliched magical black man trope.
Hope gets his daughter back just in time for his big fight against Escobar, the up and coming Colombian boxer, who now has Hope’s old trainer and promoter in his corner. (They couldn’t come up with a better last name than the one of the infamous drug lord from Colombia?) Escobar played a role in Hope’s grief, and Hope seeks vengeance. But will he adhere to the wise words and tutoring of Tick, and not let the anger wash over him? You can probably guess how this one ends.
Left Hand’s Milk Stout Nitro wins this one by TKO. Milk stouts are a little sweeter than I tend to go for and lighter in mouthfeel than I prefer, but this is a really solid beer. I can see why so many people requested it. The nitro gives it a chocolate milk vibe that is delicious. The sweetness and bitterness from the roasted malts and hops commingle well to create a nice balance. This is a really easy drinking stout that you could have several of and not regret it later. I keep thinking about the head of the beer. It never dissipated and stayed the same size throughout as the rest of the beer disappeared from my glass. This makes for a good introductory stout. It’s not as heavy or potent as a Russian Imperial and has a slight sweetness that’s not rich and overbearing.
Southpaw is a generic and trite film. Jake Gyllenhaal and Forest Whitaker do their best with the material they are given. Besides the eye-rolling last name of Hope, Gyllenhall gives a fiery performance even if you can’t understand most of what he’s saying. You should check him out in Nightcrawler if you haven’t done so. He plays creepy so well. The title itself is so misleading. They show Hope training to master the left-handed jabs and punches, and he uses a left-handed uppercut in the final fight for a big blow, but they never once showed him in the unorthodox stance of a left-hander. The boxing scenes are well done but lack a certain sense of drama and tension to pull you in. It’s come to a point where all movies about white boxers tend to bleed into each other. If you’re jonesing for some boxing I’d recommend Creed (Amazon Prime), a quasi-sequel to the Rocky franchise. Its story is somewhat contrived but I found it more entertaining and better executed. I also suggest the FX series Lights Out on Netflix.
PS – I was really hoping Left Hand had a witbier so I could title this The Great Wit Hope.