Beer Review: Mango Magnifico [Founders Brewing Company]

Mango Magnifico

Mango Magnifico
Brewery: Founders Brewing Company (Grand Rapids, Michigan)
Style: Fruit Ale
ABV: 10.0%

I would like to think I have tried most of what the beer world has to offer, but every now and then I find something new that catches my eye. Last night, I discovered the latest entry in Founders’s Backstage Series, something so off-the-wall that I had to pick up a 22 oz. bomber.

This bizarre beer, Mango Magnifico, is a “mango ale brewed with a hint of habanero.” Although I’m usually not a fan of fruit beers, that combination sounded too intriguing to pass up. The Founders label and 10% ABV were just the icing on the cake.

Unfortunately, this is one brew that might have been better off staying on the drawing board.

When poured into a glass, Mango Magnifico has very little head but has a nice, clear look to it. The smell brings out a bit of the mango sweetness, and the fruitiness is right at the forefront during tasting. However, this is quickly eviscerated by the spiciness of the Michigan-grown habaneros. The “hint” of habanero, as described by the label, is actually quite overwhelming. The heat from the pepper lingers afterward, delivering a very strong aftertaste. Fans of spicy beer may appreciate this, but I was hoping for more flavor rather than just a strong burn.

Mango Magnifico has a suggested retail price of $12.99, but my local shop is selling it at $14.99. Bombers are being distributed through many different states, so it may be available in your area. This could very well be the first Founders beer I didn’t love — Dirty Bastard is still my go-to scotch ale, for example — so this was a bit of a disappointing purchase for me. Still, it might be worth a shot if you have an affinity for spice.

6/10

 
* Also, it should be noted that my beer-snob girlfriend (as she likes to be dubbed) LOVED this. She’s shocked that I didn’t give it a glowing review.

Movie Review: 30 Minutes or Less [2011]

30 Minutes or Less [2011]

30 Minutes or Less [2011]
Director: Ruben Fleischer
Genre: Action/Adventure/Comedy
Language: English
Country: USA

Everything about 30 Minutes or Less is just twisted. How much you enjoy the film rests largely on your morals.

The movie is based on a bizarre and horrifying true story about a pizza delivery man who was allegedly forced to rob a bank by a couple of thugs who strapped a bomb on him. In reality, the pizza guy died after the bomb detonated while he was surrounded by police. His death makes this disturbing story a tragic one, and it blows my mind how someone decided to turn this into a dark comedy.

That’s where 30 Minutes or Less comes in. The movie isn’t entirely accurate in regards to the real-life event, but it is strikingly similar.

Jesse Eisenberg, fresh off his stirring lead performance in The Social Network, amusingly takes on the role of Nick, the pizza delivery driver. Nick is a 20-something with seemingly no direction in life. He pisses off his best (and only?) friend, Chet (Aziz Ansari), after telling him that he slept with his twin sister. Things aren’t going well for him already, before the kidnapping even begins.

30 Minutes or Less [2011]

On the other side of the spectrum are Dwayne (Danny McBride) and Travis (Nick Swardson), a couple of redneck thugs who clean Dwayne’s father’s pool for $10/hr. One day Dwayne gets the idea to hire a hitman to kill his father, thereby granting him his inheritance. The problem is that the hitman costs $100,000, and the duo have nowhere near this much cash. This is where they come up with the fucked up idea to kidnap a complete stranger (in this case, a pizza delivery guy) and force him to rob a bank by strapping a bomb to his chest.

After Nick is held hostage, armed with the bomb and told of the plan, he turns to Chet to help him with this insane dilemma. Chet agrees to look past their differences in order to help his friend in need, and the movie quickly becomes a buddy action-comedy.

At a brisk 83 minutes, 30 Minutes or Less is a wild ride. The action is brash and in-your-face, and the comedy is dark and oftentimes hilarious. Eisenberg and Ansari are a surprisingly great duo, as they feed off each other nicely, with Ansari in particular delivering some great zingers. McBride and Swardson also play a formidable tandem, with the former channeling his inner-Kenny Powers to full effect. Michael Pena also has a surprisingly great role as the hitman, often stealing the scenes he is in.

30 Minutes or Less [2011]

I was initially intrigued by this movie partly because of its location. 30 Minutes or Less was filmed in Grand Rapids, Michigan, which is my old stomping grounds. I actually used to be a pizza delivery driver a little north of there, too, so I totally understand the feeling of dealing with shit customers (advice: don’t order delivery if you can’t afford a tip!). It was pretty cool to see the area again, even if the movie didn’t paint the city in the friendliest light. For that, check out the YouTube-famous Grand Rapids Lip Dub.

The bottom line here is this: if the idea of a real life tragedy being turned into a comedy upsets you, then obviously this movie isn’t for you. I found the movie to be a blast (no pun intended, I swear), even though I felt it started to fall apart near the end. Funny, profane and ridiculously fast-paced, 30 Minutes or Less is a joy ride well worth seeing.

7.5/10

Beer Review: Centennial IPA [Founders Brewing Company]

Centennial IPA [Founders Brewing Company]

Centennial IPA
Brewery: Founders Brewing Company (Grand Rapids, Michigan)
Style: American IPA
ABV: 7.2%

As a lifelong citizen of the Midwest (so far), I am a very big fan of the craft beer scene here. When I lived in Michigan, I had two “go-to” breweries: Bell’s and Founders. The latter, Founders, is located right in the middle of my old stomping grounds, Grand Rapids. Their Dirty Bastard Scotch Ale is one of my all-time favorite beers, and pretty much anything they release is of high quality. Tonight I opted for their Centennial IPA, which I am giving a fresh take on thanks to my new-found love of IPAs.

The first thing I noticed about this beer was its 7.2% ABV label on the bottle. This added kick is quite noticeable upon the initial tasting. In contrast to many American IPAs, Centennial is more complex. My first two tastings were surprisingly underwhelming — something was different about this, but I couldn’t place my finger on it. On the third taste, everything clicked. The citrus notes came rushing through, with grapefruit leading the charge. The floral hops made an appearance and lingered on the tongue. There was slight bitterness, but it was kept to a minimum.

I’m not sure what put me off of the initial tasting, but this beer certainly got better over time. While the hops are always present, it seems that the malt prevents them from exploding the way one might expect. Still, this is an eminently drinkable beer, a nice smooth offering that packs a little extra punch. This is a strong effort from Founders, and a great summer beer.

8/10