The Drinks of Hollywood Blvd, or TCM 2013: A Booze Odyssey

Booze and the movies go way back. From the self-medicating part-time hooker heroine of 1931′s “Safe in Hell” — a highlight of 2013′s Turner Classic Movies Festival — to the lovable dipsomaniacs of “The Thin Man” and “Harvey” and on into more recent times with such frequently soused superheros as James Bond and Tony Stark, the movies have glamorized alcohol. When the movies wanted to, they could make habitual drunkenness charming, funny, and, of course, sexy.

While the movies once celebrated cigarette smoking as well, modern day Hollywood Boulevard makes it tricky for smokers to indulge in their passion, give or take some hookah bars and a medical marijuana “clinic.” Booze, however can be obtained with great ease. All you need is plenty of ready cash to afford the inflated prices or a clean credit card or two and you can have your fill of cocktails.

And that’s exactly what I did between classic, near classic, and merely really interesting movies the weekend of the 2013 TCM Fest. What follows is a (relatively) brief journal of the drinks I found going up and down the boulevard we call Hollywood the final weekend of April.

Now, I should add that this listing is my no means exhaustive and is, with one exception, limited to cocktails one can purchase on Hollywood Boulevard proper, no side streets allowed. They can all be obtained within a fairly easy walk of Sid Grauman’s old Chinese and Egyptian Theaters and the legendary Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, the heart of Hollywood and the home base of the TCM Fest.

And so we begin our journey across the street from the Egyptian at what is still Los Angeles’s most famous bar.

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A holiday beer doesn’t make the cut

Our beer reviewer, Mike Barkacs, wasn’t too impressed with Delirium Noel.

I tried to love this beer. I just can’t. I try it every year, hoping the otherwise fabulous Brouwerij Huyghe can get it right. I love Delirium Tremens, and anybody that can come up with that obviously knows everything about brewing beer. How can they possibly get their Christmas beer wrong? It’s meant to be a gift to all their loyal beer loving customers. Not that it’s awfu — I doubt they could make an awful beer even if they tried — but this Christmas Ale falls so far below expectations that you may just want to re-gift it to the crazy uncle.

It looks, and smells, like it might even surpass expectations. And the 10% alcohol could make for a very merry Christmas season. It’s a deep reddish amber, but not as dark as many big Belgian dark ales. The head fades quickly to lacing, but that’s not unusual in most Christmas beers. While not being clear, it would be hard to call it cloudy. Maybe a thin, sedimentless fog. The aroma is both complex and entirely unusual for a Christmas ale. You expect to find a load of spices, tons of alcohol and plenty of malt. Those are there, but they are way back behind an almost saison-style earthiness. Then a load of strange fruits for a Christmas beer, the most prominent being banana, of all things. None of this is the least unpleasant. Unusual for the style, maybe, but very promising.

But that’s the point where the Noel loses me.

You can go read the rest of the review here.

Here’s one site’s recommendations on the 10 best holiday beers.

  

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