Pairing Mode is an attempt at blending the names of two beers in a cinematic (or punny way) while reviewing them & weaving a narrative through the two.
This edition Pairing Mode comes from my the "chillest" island in Hawaii & Southern California's iconic brewtopia. Maui Brewing Company's Pineapple Mana hits all the sweet spots that you want your Wheat beer to hit. Thankfully the pineapple is balanced enough to allow the wheat to "shine" through. Stone Brewing's Tangerine Express IPA on the other hand has a myriad of tropical fruits and citrus battling it out for your taste buds. Ultimately, citrus notes hit your tongue hard at first and ease off into a tropical medley. This is all contrast to the relatively bitter after taste that mixes with the tropical fruits. Luckily for Stone, this balancing act pays off for one satisfying IPA.
While I was doing the prep for this post - i.e., visiting my favorite local bottle shop in SE Portland, I had one mission: find a funny named beer that could go with "Pineapple Mana" since that was the beer that my roommate had leftover in the fridge. There was also Jubelale, but I was in a wheat style kind of mood. It took me a minute or two, but when I saw "Tangerine Express" in that glorious beer fridge I knew I had my story: where was I when I saw Pineapple Express for the first time?
The movie is now solidified as a stoner classic and a staple of the Seth Rogen/Judd Apatow bromance comedy films we've grown to tolerate - but mostly enjoy- over the years. The trailer used M.I.A.'s Paper Planes perfectly and it had the same people that made Superbad behind it- I had to see it opening weekend. Rogen had been in Knocked Up and 40 Year Old Virgin with roles that stood out more than most. I remember thinking during both of those movies and in the under-rated Undeclared, that guy is going to be a star.
Pineapple Express premiered August 6, 2008. The climax of summer break, and it wasn't just any summer. It was the summer between high school and college. Friends were starting to move away. It was a rough time as I was grappling with the fact that I elected to choose the affordable route: attend the local university and save on room/board by living at home for the first year of school. A choice I am thankful for as I see my student loan debt dwindle.
I had split a few weeks prior with my girlfriend at the time because she was going away for school. College. High school romances ending. All of this was swirling around in my head as I sat in the Regal cinemas for the premiere of this movie. Guess who walks in five minutes before the movie starts? The ex. We make slight eye contact as she refocuses her gaze on the dude she was holding hands with. My stomach turns into knots. I realize the amount of cheap whiskey my friends had snuck into the theater for all of us to share wasn't going to be enough for me.
The breakup wasn't messy. It was the right thing to do. Long distance relationships never work and we weren't that serious. You could barely call what we had a relationship. I still felt betrayed. We were together for almost 2 months, this was my record for longest relationship at the time. Who was this guy that she is seeing a movie with a week before she leaves to school? She told me she didn't want to do the long distance thing, did she just mean with me? Was this going on before we ended things? Did I know him? They walked in so fast, the angle was all wrong to really see. The trailers for "Curious Case of Benjamin Button" and "Marley and Me" were starting to show. The whiskey is gone. Seth Rogen witnesses a dirty cop murder somebody or something like that; the first few minutes were a blur but now the sound of the gunshot gets me out of the daze. I feel a buzz in my pocket. A text from her. The words illuminate the darkness of the theater as I work to dim the screen. I hate it when people look at their phones during a movie. "I'm sorry. Meet me outside in 5." Damnit. Of course she would wait until the plot thickens to text me.
I make her wait and leave my seat after 10 minutes or so. James Franco and Seth Rogen are asleep in the woods or something. I open the door of the theater to find her standing right outside. She explains that the guy is somebody she met at orientation a few days ago. She's excited to have a new friend. They are even assigned to the same dorm. I then remember that orientation wasn't a few days ago for her, it had been over a month ago. I tell her she owes me nothing and I'm excited for her. She goes back into Pineapple Express.
Dark Knight is playing a few theaters down. The scene where Bruce (spoiler alert: he's also Batman) has to decide who to save: Rachel or Harvey. An 18 year old Jake learns that we all have to live with the decisions we make. Bruce chose poorly. I chose to stay close for college. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Second best decision? Tangerine Express IPA.