Movies and beer go amazingly well together. In some cases, drinking enough beer can make a movie which would otherwise be a steaming pile of cow dung, absolute poetry. In other cases, though, finding the perfect beer that compliments a film can help shed new light on it by allowing not only your senses of sight and sound to experience it, but your sense of taste as well. Having had this epiphany, I thought it only prudent to share my vast knowledge of brews and movies through a beer and movie pairing.
That’s right, folks… beer pairing ain’t just for food anymore.
1554 Enlightened Black Ale with Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory
1554 pours dark amber to brown in color with a beige head. It has a malty, lactic aroma like Whoppers Malted Milk Balls. At first sip, 1554 tastes sweet and chocolaty with some caramel notes and then finishes with a subtle hop bitterness.
All of the elements that make this beer great are echoed in the film Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory.
We all love chocolate. Well unless you’re insane or allergic to it, in which case my heart goes out to you. For the rest of us, chocolate is a wonderfully decadent treat that can bring a smile to the grumpiest person’s face. That’s why Willy Wonka has chosen to mass produce it in several different delicious confections for the adults and children of the world alike. Whether its a plain old Wonka Bar or a Scrumdiddlyumptious Bar, chocolate is the main component. Drinking 1554 throughout the film will satiate the chocolate craving that it can cause, and also help you better understand the obsession that propels much of the story.
Though Willy Wonka is ostensibly a kid’s movie, it definitely has its dark moments. One that comes to mind is the ride on the now infamous Wonkatania. Willy takes his five lucky Golden Ticket recipients and their guardians on a little boat ride that starts out innocent but turns into a nightmare reminiscent of a bad acid trip. To this day, that scene still makes me a little uncomfortable. Thank goodness I have this beer here to dull that feeling. The dark hue of the brew will also be a reminder of the dark undertones during the lighter majority of the film and perhaps you’ll see it in a way you never have before. I know I did.
By the end we find out that Wonka was looking for someone to take over his factory and the utmost quality of character was needed. Charlie Bucket had the right stuff and he made it all the way through the factory tour which turned out to be a front for a series of tests. We see the handing over of an eccentric man’s legacy to a bright eyed child full of wonder which to me is a little bittersweet. Even though Wonka was sure he had found the right boy for the job, there had to be some sadness behind his eyes that this was the beginning of the end of his chocolatier endeavors. The slightly bitter finish of every sweet gulp of 1554 helps you feel and understand the bittersweet conclusion to Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory.
Don’t take my word for it. Pick up a six-pack of 1554 at your local grog shop, put on the flick and see what you come up with. I hope this will help you all see Willy Wonka in a new light and has opened your eyes to the unexplored frontier of beer and movie pairing. This is the first of many so keep an eye out for my next entry!