[AUTHOR’S NOTE: The post is part of my NOCTOBER series. A group of posts I’ll be writing throughout November that are about subjects I would have written about in October if I hadn’t taken several weeks off to focus on Halloween. ]
When I first grabbed a bottle of Evil Genius Beer Company’s Trick or Treat, Chocolate Pumpkin Porter; I thought, “SCORE!” I mean, what better beer to review during the Halloween season than one named Trick or Treat, and what better brewery for that beer to come out of than one named Evil Genius? This was a slam dunk I thought as far a blog post was concerned because after all, evil geniuses are common place in the landscape that is horror movies and saluting some of them during this review seemed appropriate. That is until I actually started my research for this post – and found out that many of them are simply getting by on their reputations.
When it comes to evil geniuses in the horror world, Doctor Frankenstein should immediately come to mind, and it is true that in several movies he’s pretty villainous. However in Mary Shelly’s classic novel, the Doctor is actually more of a morally straight forward, momma’s boy who embarks on a quest to circumvent the laws of nature when his mother dies of scarlet fever. Throughout the novel, Doctor Frankenstein’s motives are generally good, oh yeah there’s that whole “grave robbing thing” but lets be honest, that was so common place back then that I often wonder why they even bothered to bury people in the first place. The story ends up being mostly about the good Doctor’s attempts to destroy his creation, which totally tanks his EG cred.
Then there’s Griffin, AKA The Invisible Man, who’s been played in classic movies by the voices of Claude Rains and Vincent Price. Griffin is a successful scientist in the field of refraction who discovers a way to change the skin’s refractive index to that of air, rendering himself invisible. And although that should certainly qualify you as a genius, the lack of forethought about the consequences of being invisible add serious penalties to his EG score. Like the fact that you’re basically going to be running around naked in Southern England during the winter months, and all that amazing covertness you were trying to obtain from invisibility will go out the window when villagers see a heavily bandaged man (or just a single waist-high sock) walking down the street. In fact, H.G. Wells paints Griffin as a man who clearly can’t grasp the grand scope of the possibilities of his invisibility, to the point where at the end of the story, just as he’s finally beginning to formulate plans for a “reign of terror” against the nation; he’s subdued and killed by local villagers. A man who was invisible. Kill by a bunch of sheep herders. Not genius.
Dr Jekyll and Mister Hyde? Yes! Now we’re talking. The internal struggle between good and evil that exists in every man. But Robert Lewis Stevenson’s tale of caution actually has a subdued context when it comes to evil. True, Doctor Jekyll found a way to transfer himself into Mister Hyde, allowing Doctor Jekyll to indulge in vices that would be unseemly to a man of his social ranking, but Stevenson never mentions what these vices are although the social morals of the time of the story could indicate that they were things like carousing in seedy taverns and fraternizing with morally questionable women – or what my friends and I used to call ‘Saturday night’. In fact the only crime Hyde commits openly in the book is a murder during one of his last transformations, which is horrible, don’t get me wrong, but not “I want to rule the world” bad. And Genius? Jekyll dispatches himself when he realizes he can not recreate the formula that keeps him from turning into Hyde. Evil geniuses never give up.
No, sadly some of the most iconic figures in classic horror aren’t the evil geniuses I originally thought them to be. And the ones that are present don’t equal any where near the number you find in comics, TV or cartoons – genres of entertainment that the evil genius truly thrives in.
People like Lex Luthor, Doctor Doom, Sideshow Bob, Gru and of course my absolute favorite:
*FACEPALM* NOOoooo. Ok…..maybe a little…but put up the other picture anyway…
So can Evil Genius’ Trick or Treat rekindle my belief and faith in the “Evil Geniuses” of the world? Let’s Taste.
THEM: ToT is built on a grain bill of 2 Row, Crystal malt, Chocolate malt, and Roasted Barley. It features Warrior and Tettnang hops to the tune of 35IBU and is fermented to 7.8% ABV. From the website, “Our Chocolate Pumpkin Porter melds together rich chocolate decadence with fall spices. Notes of cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg collide with a delicious chocolate flavor to create a whirlwind of flavor in your glass“.
ME: Oh Hello! I drank half of this before I even typed one letter of this review. The nose is bursting with chocolate, a slight touch of malt and memories of sticking my nose into a carton of malted milk balls. After a bit I begin to pick up subtle spices in the mix which puts me in mind of that designer chocolate you can buy now different spices in it. The flavor is more kick ass chocolate with hints of dry cocoa all of which end pretty neutral in the back. There’s a touch of syrupy sweetness in the end, but it’s not over powering.
The pumpkin aspect of this beer is rather subdued. I can catch some of the spices in the nose and every now and then I believe I can pick out the pumpkin, but to be honest if you gave this to me blind I probably would have never pulled the pumpkin out – not that this is a bad thing. To be honest I’m glad that the spices and pumpkin weren’t so prominent that they distract from the fact that, at its heart, Trick or Treat is all about being a very good chocolate porter first, and a seasonal pumpkin beer second. At least that’s the way I see it.
Genius? I’ve always maintained that the subtle use of flavors like spices, coffee and bourbon in a beer usually is.
Evil? Absolutely. In the best way.
Time for another beer….