Movie and Wine with a Beer Chaser

Lori and I went and saw the movie “Chef” yesterday. Fun movie, and I’ll pass along the advice we received from everyone else: Don’t go hungry! The food in the movie looks great.

One interesting thing in the movie was the choice of wine. To set the scene, Dustin Hoffman is playing a restaurant owner, seemingly a relatively high end place. Oliver Platt is a reviewer, who has given the restaurant a lousy review, and is now back for a second review. Jon Favreau, who was the chef, has quit the restaurant after Dustin Hoffman made him cook the same old menu for the first review, instead of the innovate menu Favreau wants to cook. Dustin Hoffman offers the reviewer a glass of “2009 BV”, saying that this was a gift from the winery. I’m sure BV (Beaulieu Vineyards) paid for the product placement, but irrespective of which winery it was, a 2009 is a subtle choice. It’s a very good year for Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon wines like BV, and while it should taste good now, it will taste better in a few years. If Hoffman was a really good restauranteur, and wanted to impress the reviewer, he should have better (more drinkable) wines to offer. But Hoffman is not that good, just thinks he is, and the choice of wines subtly reinforces the point made in the movie. Nothing against BV, as their Tapestry blend is one of my go-to wines (can’t go wrong if you choose this wine) on restaurant wine lists, just making the point that this was an unusually perceptive choice of prop for a movie.


After the movie, which we saw at the Vine in Livermore (great theater), we headed back home. Except that on the way home we saw a sign for a brewery, and it was a hot day, and we were thirsty, and that was about all the excuse we needed to follow the signs. Eventually they led us to Eight Bridges Brewing in Livermore. Their brewery and tasting room is located in an industrial park near the airport in Livermore. We found a nice crowd inside, drinking beer and playing bar games. We joined in on the beer drinking, trying everything except the stout. Lori’s favorite was the Golden Nektar, a Bavarian style pilsner. While I enjoyed the Red and the IPA, my favorite was the Fyrst RIPA. As explained by George, behind the bar, this was originally supposed to be a Red. However, by the time they got their permits, they couldn’t get all the original ingredients, and when it was done it seemed a cross between a Red and an IPA. Thus “RIPA”. Seriously good, nicely balanced beer. I’ll be coming back for more. Try it out for a break from wine tasting.

First the samples, then the empties.


Larry Lapides

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