Put the Chocolate in the Coconut, Drink ’em Bot’ Up

by Jim Lundstrom

What have I done to deserve this? I am not worthy!
Oskar Blues Brewery of Longmont, Colo., calls its Death By Coconut an Irish-style porter, but there has never been a porter such as this one, so chock full of chocolate and lovely coconuttiness. No, never. Not even close. I don’t think they even have coconuts in Ireland.
This is some beer. It’s turned me into a raving choconut!
The bittersweet chocolate flavor is intense. (Suddenly I’m crowing like a bird brain.) Cacao! Cacao! Cacao! 
And then the coconut eases in on top of everything, so strong that I can almost chew it. Of course, I can’t really chew it, but that doesn’t stop my jaws from involuntarily working at the imaginary creamy coconut flakes in my mouth.
The rich chocolate flavor is produced with a liquid chocolate made from water, cacao and coconut sugar sourced from farmers in Ecuador. Raw, dessicated coconut provides the coconuttiness.
Simpson’s Extra Dark Crystal malt adds other subtleties to the flavor profile, including burnt sugar and dark fruits.
Calling this an Irish porter confuses my brain. But I guess you have to assign some style to a beer just to make it fit in somewhere. 
I find the assignation unnecessary. Call it a dessert beer. Even a coconutty brunch beer. But porter would never cross my mind.
To paraphrase founding father firebrand and anti-federalist Patrick Henry, give me a choconutty 6.5 percent beer or give me death!

“Damien! Damien! Damien, look at me! I’m over here! Damien, I love you.”
Those are the words spoken by Damien’s nanny in the 1976 film The Omen, just before she hangs herself in front of a group of party people.
I was a young movie fan living in England the year that came out. 
While I enjoyed it, I also felt it was trying too hard to upend earlier Hollywood stereotypes with Gregory Peck as dad and Lee Remick as mom. In my mind of the time, Gregory Peck was still Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird and Lee Remick, she was forever emblazoned in my mind as the brazen hussy of Otto Preminger’s Anatomy of a Murder, a murder mystery that takes place in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, with a soundtrack by Duke Ellington.

So the pairing The Omen did not compute for me.
But as moviegoers we are expected to suspend disbelief.
I did that, and realized he filmmakers were trying to ride on the shirttails of The Exorcist, which was released in 1973.
OK. I get it. 
I think William Friedkin’s The Exorcist is one of the great horror films of all time, and The Omen is a sad follower.
But there have been many more adaptations and continuations of The Omen. What does it mean? Who cares?
All of this comes to me as I drink a Damien Child of Darkness Ale, a small batch release from Surly Brewing of Brooklyn Center, Minn.
It’s a tasty 6.5 percent ale, but why Damien? I dig the label. It’s spooky. But I don’t get why Damien holds more cultural significance than Regan McNeil, the protagonist of William Peter Blatty’s The Exorcist.
Despite my problem with their choice of dark entities, it’s an excellent dark ale. With each sip, you try to reach the bottom of the darkness and then realize you never, ever will. It’s too dark, to deep. Try too hard and you will be lost.