On Tuesday, September 20, Milwaukee Record and WMSE’s Tiny Film Invasion will present a 20th anniversary screening of the Coen brothers’ stone-cold classic Fargo. Yes, the “based on a true story,” not-at-all-true story of ill-fated kidnappings, flustered car salesmen, and Mike Yanagita will light up the screen of Bay View’s Avalon Theatre beginning at 9:30 p.m. Tickets are only six bucks and you should totally be there.
To honor the occasion, Milwaukee Record‘s Matt Wild and Josh Hoppert, joined by The Tiny Film Invasion’s Blyth Meier (a North Dakota native) and Kristopher Pollard, recently sat down to taste four beers from the Fargo Brewing Company. Wind Swept (a Belgian witbier), Iron Horse (pale ale), Stone’s Throw (Scottish ale), and the delightfully named Wood Chipper (IPA) all made the cut. Instead of rating the brews on any type of semi-scientific scale, the group instead decided to compare them to Coen brothers movies—both personal favorites and least-favorites. We didn’t mean to sit here and debate, Jerry, but debate we did. And drink.
Josh: This must be Hail, Caesar! because I haven’t had it yet.
Kristopher: It doesn’t taste like much, so I’m going to say it’s The Man Who Wasn’t There. That’s not a comment on the quality of the movie, by the way, just the title.
Blyth: It’s a good summer beer. What’s the summery-est Coen brothers movie?
Josh: Maybe O Brother?
Blyth: Ten points!
Josh: I had to write a paper about O Brother, Where Art Thou? in college. I was so excited because I was a huge Coens fan. I worked on that paper for a solid week, which is rare for me, since I usually work on papers for six hours. I got a D. It was horrible. I was so excited to hand this paper in and the professor hated it.
Kristopher: Was it because the class was not about film? Was it a math class?
Kristopher: I love a pale ale. It’s hoppy! Creamy mouth feel! This smells like bananas.
Matt: We’re saving that for our Woody Allen taste test.
Blyth: For some reason I’m feeling Barton Fink. It tastes a little bit like that hotel room looks. A little funky. This could actually be the water that comes out of that tap.
Josh: Plus I think a dead lady has been in this.
Kristopher: Yeah, there’s a ghost in this beer for sure. I don’t like it. I don’t like any of it.
Blyth: To be clear, Kristopher doesn’t like beer.
Kristopher: This whole experience I would call Intolerable Cruelty.
Blyth: Ten points!
Blyth: My brother said this one was going to be bad. He said, “That Scottish ale, you might want to just leave the whole thing with them.”
Matt: I don’t know what’s going on here.
Blyth: It’s kind of burnt.
Matt: This beer would definitely be on The Ladykillers end of the spectrum.
Blyth: I thought I had erased that movie from my memory! It’s Tom Hanks playing Col. Sanders.
Matt: And yet I keep drinking it!
Matt: You’re a big fan of Fargo, aren’t you Kristopher?
Kristopher: I’m the only one in the country who does not like Fargo.
Matt: You don’t like beer and you don’t like Fargo…
Kristopher: But I like you guys, and that’s why I’m doing this.
Blyth: I love this one.
Josh: I’m immediately going to call this my Miller’s Crossing. It’s one that on any given day, usually I’ll consider it in my top couple, but every once in a while I’ll go, “It’s my favorite.”
Kristopher: This is the best of the beers. It’s the closest in my mind to soda. I mean, it’s no soda, but it’s tolerable. And not cruel.
Blyth: Could this be a Lebowski?
FAVORITE COEN BROTHERS MOVIE
Kristopher: Barton Fink
Matt: Raising Arizona
Josh: The Big Lebowski
Matt: It’s impossible to choose a favorite.
Blyth: It’s Sophie’s choice. Wait, is that a thing? Am I saying the right thing?
Kristopher: Yes, except in this scenario you’d have to murder one of these movies.