I was just about six years old when the original Star Wars movie was released, and it made a big impression on me. I collected the figures, coveted the playsets, and marveled that I could have actual images from the big screen in my pocket (I had complete set of trading cards). The movie was so well-balanced; it had an epic storyline and blockbuster special effects, set against flawed characters that were complex enough to make you feel like what you saw on the screen was meaningful. I was all-in with Star Wars as a kid, I even enjoyed the Ewoks.
Then George Lucas had to go and break my heart with The Phantom Menace. Sure it sounded good on paper – the prequel to the original Star Wars Trilogy, where we’d get to see Vader’s origin story, witness the Clone Wars Obi Wan was always going on about, etc. Even better, it was an opportunity to spend more time in the Star Wars universe I so adored as a kid. What could possibly go wrong?
Jar Jar. That wooden boy who one-noted his portrayal of Anakin. The fact that they killed off the hotter of the two Queen Amadalas (the decoy played by Keira Knighty). The battle where the Gungans fumble their way to victory. All that Senate talking. All that other Senate talking. More Senate talking. It was worse than bad – it was totally out of whack. The balance and humanity that made the original so engaging was totally absent.
Which brings me to Deviant Dale’s. I finally got my hands on a four pack of this stuff, eager to taste the pumped-up version of my favorite Pale Ale. The reason the original Dale’s has taken up permanent residence in my beer fridge (and my beer geek heart) is because of its spot-on balance. It’s hoppy for sure, but there’s a perfect malt backbone that adds a fullness and sweetness to the brew that makes it a treat every time I crack open a can. No matter my mood or what my palate desires, Dale’s always finds a way to please me. Like the original Star Wars films, it always brings me to my happy place.
Deviant Dales does not – it only disappoints, just like The Phantom Menace. Both are off balance, in the case of Deviant Dales, it’s all the hops they cram into the thing. It’s kind of like drinking a slightly more pleasant version of stomach bile. The hops are so acidic and biting, they totally overpower the malts in the brew, making this beer more of an assault on your senses than an awesome beer turned up to 11. I’ve had a number of well-balanced, super-hoppy Imperial IPAs that I’ve enjoyed immensely, but unfortunately this is not one of them.
Every time I watch the Phantom Menace, I grimace at how bad the film is – my downgraded expectations don’t make it any better. The same is true for Deviant Dale’s, even after I adjusted my preconceived notions of the beer, each of the four cans I sampled over the course of a week still made me wince a bit upon that first sip. I know some people love this beer (you can also find rave reviews of The Phantom Menace on the interwebs), but for me this one’s a flop, made worse by the fact that it’s the sequel to something I hold dear.
I guess you can’t win them all, but in the case of both Deviant Dale’s and The Phantom Menace (and the two movies that followed it), I have a simple question for Oskar Blues and George Lucas: Why are you messing with a classic?