This week for Sips & Spoilers, I decided to get into the spirit of Halloween with a scary show and a scarily good beer.
The show: American Horror Story
A quick summary: It’s hard to sum up AHS in a paragraph, given the anthology medium to which it subscribes. Each season is its own story arc, although Ryan Murphy is starting to overlap characters. So I’ll give a one -sentence summary of each season.
Murder House (Season 1): The Harmons, a dysfunctional family from New England, take up residence in LA and battle nosy neighbors, a haunted mansion and their own personal demons.
Asylum (Season 2): Journalist Lana Winters’ worst nightmares are realized when a story about Briarcliff Mental Institution turns into a horrifying experience with evil, supernatural and extraterrestrial forces.
Coven (Season 3): A dwindling witch coven in Louisiana adopts an “us against the world” mentality as they are faced by enemies on all sides…including some within.
Freak Show (Season 4) Elsa Mars leads one of America’s last freak shows in 1950’s Florida while a quiet, but deadly force watches from the outside.
The show can be a bit campy at times, but it’s never uninteresting. It also features some of television’s strongest performances season by season. (See: Jessica Lange, Evan Peters, Sarah Paulson, Kathy Bates, Zachary Quinto, etc.)
The beer: Quantam Weirdness (Home brew)
Quantam Weirdness is a a fascinating brew. Brewed by a friend of mine, it’s a wonderfully tasty saison. However, it’s not quite as fruity as a saison usually is. Instead, it reminds me of Boulevard’s Tank 7 Ale: bitter, but lots of flavor.
I admit I was drawn to this pairing mostly because of the names. Quantam Weirdness is a goofy, fitting name for the brew. And American Horror Story is nothing if not weird. But the pairing works better than I expected. One of the most refreshing aspects of AHS is the dialogue. It’s not always written to its highest potential. But the aforementioned talent of the cast gives every bit of script an extra bite. It’s often quite funny in a dry style, just like the dry palette of the beer.
Both are also surprisingly refreshing. Given the dark and sometimes gory nature of AHS, it can be hard to see how it could be considered refreshing. But American Horror Story is a TV novelty right now. There’s nothing quite like it. That alone gives it a relieving feel. When I watch my shows each week, I always look forward to seeing what new, crazy twists AHS has for me, even if I know it’s not technically as good as some of my other favorites. Quantam Weirdness accomplishes the same task. Just the fact that it’s a home brew makes me like it a little more; there’s an extra sense of labor I can almost taste whenever I drink it. And it’s outstanding to drink: incredibly smooth and wildly tasty.
So here’s to originality. You may not be able to drink Quantam Weirdness (yet), but you definitely can watch American Horror Story: Freak Show on FX Wednesdays at 8 p.m., central time. (Warning: AHS can be quite violent and gory. Some seasons also feature strong language and content of a sexual nature.)