Music festivals have never appealed to me. Especially the ones that involve camping in the dead of summer. The bands that are booked for festivals either don’t register or elicit a chuckle. Being around hundreds to thousands of people for that long sounds like one of the ten Chambers of Hell not mentioned in Big Trouble in Little China. Not to mention chronic swamp ass for days.
Six friends are headed to the Free Love Festival nestled deep in the Red Wood forest. Samantha (Jamie King) is hoping to have a good time and put her psycho right wing ex-boyfriend, and bad acid trip behind her. Samantha is excited to spend the time Not everyone is thrilled about the annual freak show. While the Mayor (Rick Overton) is eager for the revenue to fill the town coffers, Sheriff Buzz Hall (Thomas Jane) smells a rat. And they don’t come any bigger than Festival organizer, Frank Baker ( Paul Reubens). It seems someone died under mysterious circumstances last year. Could it be the rednecks? Protective local weed growers? Samantha’s ex… or the guy dressed like Ronald Reagan who speaks softly and carries a big axe?
I was incredibly entertained the first time I saw The Tripper. And I’m happy to note it has held up to multiple viewings. There’s a lot going for it. A strong cast helps balance and give weight to the subplots. Along with the previously mentioned Lukas Haas, Jason Mewes (playing a caricature of himself), Paz de la Huerta and Balthazar Getty are standouts. Soundtrack is pretty good featuring an appearance and performance by Fishbone, and a well placed Reagan Youth song. The deaths are fun and quite gory. There is a lull between the onscreen kills, but then five characters are killed off in one scene(make sure you get the unrated cut). It’s almost like the director knew I was getting bored.
David Arquette co-wrote, directed and produced The Tripper. He even pops up as one of the rednecks. I’ve been a fan of his since Scream, Eight Legged Freaks and yes, even Ready to Rumble. His first stint behind the lens is incredibly confident. When his characters are high, Arquette’s camera goes psychedelic. Colors swirl, melt into one another and strobe, audio is distorted. And these kids aren’t your parents smoking pot and drinking beer at Crystal Lake. They drop acid, pop pills and inhale nitrous. I had a neighbor like these kids. He was, and is, a terrible human being. But that’s a story for another time.
Contact High is a hoppy Wheat Ale from 4 Hands Brewing Co. in Saint Louis, Missouri. The St Louis Metro area has experienced quite the beer renaissance in the last decade. 4 Hands was founded at the end of 2011 along with a handful of other breweries. Quickly becoming a staple on local taps, they’ve been going strong since opening and show no signs of slowing down.
Contact High is their spring and summer seasonal. It’s brewed with Pacific Northwest hops and then dry hopped with orange zest. The citrus aromas from the orange practically smack you in the face. It goes down easy with a slight dry finish, probably from the hops. This is a good beer to introduce to people that like wheat beers but are afraid of overly hopped beers. They make one hell of a beermosa, or just skip the OJ. All of 4 Hands products come with pairing suggestions on their label. That’s incredibly helpful to cooks of all skill levels. I used Contact High in a wing sauce. It helped dial down the heat without sacrificing flavor.
Usually available in 22 ounce bombers, 2014 marks the first time 4 Hands is canning their beer. Canning is catching on big time in the craft beer. Cans are cheaper to produce, weigh less and better for the environment. They protect against oxidation and light penetration. Two things that ruin beer quickly. Also, cans are able to go anywhere and they get colder faster. Oskar Blues Brewery in Longmont, CO was the first craft brewery to can. Now even longtime holdout, Sam Adams, is offering their brews in cans. I’m still on the fence if I like Contact High in a glass or out the can. The first six pack I bought this season I preferred a glass. But for this column I drank all out of the can. Apparently 4 Hands has canned in traditional pop tops and the newer “360 lid”, in which the entire top of the lid comes off and the can is more of a glass. That’s a great idea, it helps cut the CO2 levels without pouring the beer in a glass.
I had five Contact Highs before The Gipper caught up with me. The next time someone hands you a substandard beer in a can, Just Say No.