A few months back, the Aleheads took on the finest show in television history…The Wire. We tried to find a beer analogue for every major (and some minor) characters on David Simon’s incredible series. It was a pointless, but entertaining exercise that allowed us to revisit a remarkable piece of popular culture. Today we tackle an equally important pop touchstone…the Aleheads take on The Big Lebowski!
The Coen brothers 1998 comedy is a shambling shaggy dog story that critics generally dismissed as a feather-weight trifle two years after the release of the Coens’ powerfully dark, Academy Award-winning, Fargo. But in the years since the movie’s release, Lebowski has become a massive cult film. It’s the favorite flick of both stoners and bowlers alike. It has inspired a large-scale annual gathering of fans (Lebowski Fest). It put Jeff Bridges in the “Best Actor Alive” debate. And most importantly…it may be the most quoted film ever made. The Coens have made a murderer’s row of great films over the years…but when they’ve eventually shuffled off this mortal coil, their eulogies will most likely consist primarily of Lebowski quotes. Although, I suppose that could be, just like, my opinion, man.
Anyways, we can all agree that the movie is spectacular, but is trying to find a beer that best represents all the major players in the Big Lebowski really a good idea? If you ask me, it’s a great plan. It’s a Swiss fuckin’ watch. And if you don’t agree with me…well…all I can say is that you are out of your element, Donny. Now on to the brews!
The Dude: Left Hand Milk Stout – The Dude is a genial, straightforward sort…just like the drinkable, forthright, Left Hand Milk Stout. Thanks to the Dude’s prodigious consumption of White Russians and cannabis, he assumedly always has a slightly smoky, slightly sweet, slightly coffee-ish aroma…just like the Milk Stout! The Milk Stout also has a cool, trippy logo that is highly reminiscent of the Dude’s various hallucinations throughout the film. And of course, Left Hand is the perfect name for a brewery representing a guy who still jerks off manually. The Dude abides.
Walter: He’Brew Lenny’s RIPA – The RIPA is huge-bodied and overwhelming with a surprisingly ass-kicking finish. Walter is also generously proportioned, utterly overwhelming, and just when you’re starting to think he’s all talk, he kicks ass in the film’s “climax” by single-handedly dispatching the nihilists. Also, like the Lenny, Walter constantly pays homage to his Jewish “heritage”…”three thousand years of beautiful tradition from Moses to Sandy Koufax! You’re goddamn right I’m living in the fucking past!”
Maude: Brouwerij Verhaeghe Duchesse de Bourgogne – Tart, sophisticated, vaguely European, aristocratic, red-hued, and possessed of an exceptional body. Wait…am I talking about the Duchesse or Maude? Don’t be fatuous.
Donny: Kona Longboard Lager – Low-key, kinda dull, one-note, can’t really stand up to the bigger beers…that’s the Longboard Lager in a nutshell. Pair it with the super-sessionable Left Hand Milk Stout and overpowering He’Brew RIPA, and you’d barely notice the Kona offering…just like Donny when he’s feebly trying to incorporate himself into Walter and the Dude’s conversations. Plus, he loved surfing! Shut the fuck up, Donny.
Jeffrey Lebowski: PBR – Jeffrey’s weakness is vanity. He hides behind a pretense of wealth, reputation and decoration, but none of it is earned. Pabst Blue Ribbon hides behind its false ribbons and medals (whether it even won its claimed “America’s Best” medal at the 1893 Columbian Exposition Fair in Chicago is questionable…although the beer’s inherent shittiness is probably what drove H. H. Holmes to murder so many people during the Fair). The beer has also developed a wholly unearned reputation as a “good” beer thanks to hipster douchebags everywhere. Behind the unmerited reputation and the bogus medals is a beer that tastes like a Chinaman took its legs in Korea.
Brandt: East End Monkey Boy – A shout-out to Slouch Sixpack’s local brewery, Monkey Boy is the perfect analog for Brandt who serves as the obsequious, sycophantic “monkey boy” for the Big Lebowski. The golden-hued hefeweizen is described as “doughy” and “biscuity” on BeerAdvocate which is a nice fit for the flaxen-haired, doughy-bodied, Philip Seymour Hoffman.
Bunny: Magic Hat #9 – Bunny looks and sounds very attractive on the outside, but deep down she’s vacuous and awful…just like the #9! And like Magic Hat, she’ll sell out completely for a little cash. In the case of Magic Hat, it was to the makers of Genesee and Labatts…for Bunny, it’s for $1,000 ($100 more if Brandt wants to watch).
Uli: Delirium Tremens – Uli believes in nothing…he seduces and deflowers naive young girls with his European cool and tries to steal money from strangers through criminal means. The Delirium Tremens has tricked many a potential Alehead into parting with their money thanks to its fancy European sheen and high ABV. But don’t let the surface fool you…underneath it all, the Delirum Tremens believes in nothing. It’s a shitty beer that “looks” like a great Belgian brew and it has seduced many naive beer drinkers into thinking that it’s what high-quality brews should taste like. Plus, if the film’s innuendo is accurate, the pink elephant’s trunk on the Delerium Tremens’s logo resembles a certain part of Karl Hungus’s anatomy.
Smokey: Wild Goose Hempen Ale – I know it’s a little on the nose, but Smokey kind of looks like he’s made of hemp. And I’m sure he smells just like this hempseed-infused brew. Mark it zero.
Jesus: Southern Tier Choklat – The cloyingly sweet chocolate aroma and picture of a candy bar on the label makes this beer dangerous to have around children…just like that pederast Quintana. But whatever dark secrets Jesus harbors, you can’t deny the fact that the creep can roll, man. And for all its sickly-sweet chocolate notes, the Choklat is a damn fine beer.
Liam O’Brien: Murphy’s – A boring ol’ dry Irish stout for Jesus’s unremarkable, Irish partner.
Knox Harrington: BrewDog Tokyo – It’s Knox Harrington, the video artist! Knox is a piece of Euro-trash who is apparently best known for his videos and quirky style. BrewDog is a Euro-brewery that is definitely best known for their marketing videos and quirky, clever packaging. Still no confirmation on whether the BrewDog brewers have cleft assholes though.
Jackie Treehorn: DFH 120 Minute – Jackie Treehorn had to do a lot of things he wasn’t proud of to get where he is …but now he’s got it made and he certainly holds a lot of water in his beach community. Dogfish Head had to make a lot of beers (Black & Blue, Fort, etc.) they weren’t proud of to get where they are, but the 120 Minute is a beast that definitely holds a lot of water in the beer community. Plus, a couple of bottles of the 120 Minute will have you feeling like the Dude after Jackie slips him a mickey.
Woo: Natty Light – A very minor character, but it just seemed appropriate to equate the carpet pisser with the beer that most closely approximates urine.
The Stranger: Sioux City Sarsaparilla – Look, I’m not messing with Virgil Earp. This is what the Stranger ordered in the movie, so this is what he’s getting.
And that’s the way the whole durned human comedy keeps perpetuatin’ itself.