The Movies: Romantic comedies, some very predictable (but that’s part of the fun!)
The Beers: Tangy-tart Sour Ales and other beers with delightfully mouth-puckering ingredients.
‘How Stella Got Her Groove Back’ and 903 Island Time Slushy
How Stella Got Her Groove Back has all the hallmarks of a feel-good rom com. The 1998 flick has budding romance, the supportive-yet-sassy friend, a woman with a successful career, and even a trip to a beautiful location! But where Stella separates itself from the crowd is the exclusion of the genre’s more cringeworthy tropes.
Angela Basset’s Stella may be looking to get her groove back, but she’s a woman in full control (unlike so many rom coms which just give their female characters the illusion of it). She’s a powerful exec whose raising her son alone, and she takes a first-class vacation to Jamaica because, A) she deserves a break from regular life, and B) she’s earned her own money and prestige, and she totally can! She’s also in her 40s, and she goes on to have a fling with a man some 20 years younger than her (hellloooo young Taye Diggs!)
It’s all surprisingly good fun and a nice departure from the regular same-old, same-old. That’s why my craft beer pairing for this movie is Island Time from 903 Brewers. They’re down in Texas, but this Fruited Berliner Weisse sure does taste like a beachside cocktail from the Caribbean. It’s brewed with real pineapple, coconut and orange, and it’s wrapped in a 6.35% ABV. Fun fact: the beer actually used to be called “Pain Killer Slushy” because of its flavors inspired by the tropical cocktail of the same name, but apparently, the government made them change it since the beer isn’t proven to actually kill pain (yay bureaucracy). Stella’s a stockbroker, but I bet she could have put a stop to that nonsense.
‘My Best Friend’s Wedding’ and Crooked Stave Sour Rose
What kind of rom-com list would this be without any nod to a Julia Roberts movie? The queen of romantic comedies of the ’90s, Roberts somehow managed to make even the most ridiculous plot lines watchable. While I was tempted to go with Pretty Woman here, I decided instead to pick 1997’s My Best Friend’s Wedding.
Nevertheless, the entire thing manages to redeem itself in the end because Roberts’ character gets a rude awakening as to how bonkers she’s been acting, she doesn’t get the guy AND her actual best friend shows her that things are going to be totally okay even if she stays single for the rest of her life – “Maybe there won’t be marriage, maybe there won’t be sex, but by God there will be dancing!”
Since it’s still a wedding movie though, watching it puts me in the mood for light and sweet-tart – like Sour Rose from Denver’s Crooked Stave. This baby clocks in at a very easygoing 4.5% ABV and sips down ethereally with juicy-jammy notes. But, if you let it linger on the tongue, there’s a surprising depth to it. That’s because the brewers fermented this Wild Ale in oak feeders on raspberries and blackberries, so there’s a certain layer of woody funk amid the fruity whispers. Just like the movie, the finish is very satisfying and leaves you feeling refreshed.
‘How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days’ and Gruvi Non-Alcoholic Sour Weisse
I was 13 years old when How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days hit theaters in 2003, and it was THE MOVIE all the girls at school were watching. I admit I liked it too – it brought that comforting rom-com formula perfected in the 1990s to the new century, and both Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey carried a certain level of charisma. Nevermind the fact that, at the end, Hudson’s character basically gets convinced to not follow her dreams and give up a new job to be with a guy she’s been with for literally 10 days. Yep, re-watching this movie as an adult in 2021 sure shines a different light on it.
So, I’m actually going to go with a non-alcoholic Sour Ale for this movie. Surprise!
Gruvi is a craft brand based in Denver that focuses on entirely non-alcoholic beers. I’ve only tried a few, but the few I’ve had are actually pretty darn drinkable. For today, I’m thinking their Sour Weisse. This particular beer is citrusy tart and packs just the kind of pleasing flavors I’m looking for – kinda like when I’m in the mood for a predictable rom-com and throw on How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.
‘Drinking Buddies’ and Revolution Rosa Hibiscus Ale
Yay, a movie about beer! Okay, Drinking Buddies is actually a 2013 romantic comedy-drama about two brewery employees and the romantic tension, but still!
And maybe I’m biased because of the beer element, but of all the movies listed here, this one is among the best in terms of realism and basic storytelling throughout. Co-workers Kate (Olivia Wilde) and Luke (Jake Johnson) have a lot of chemistry and spend their days working at a craft brewery, but they’re both attached to others. Things get complicated from there, and it’s actually not too predictable, which is nice.
When it comes to suitable beer pairings for this flick, it’s worth pointing out that Kate and Luke work at the real-life Revolution Brewing in Chicago. So, an ideal choice for a viewing would be a beer from Revolution itself. Since it’s Valentine’s Day and all, I’m going with their Rosa Hibiscus Ale. This one pours a nice pinkish-red, and it’s infused with 12lbs of hibiscus flower, plus a bit of orange peel for a whisper of citrus rind. The brew is officially classified as a “Herbed / Spice Beer” and has a Golden Ale base, but it brims with refreshing floral tartness.
You know what? In the spirit of Drinking Buddies, Valentine’s Day doesn’t always have to be about romance. Today is a time to kick back with a fun movie, pop open a good beer, and just love life. Cheers!