Thursday, August 20, 2009
It's that time of the month again. No, not THAT time of the month. Sheesh! Seriously, there are some fine beers out there that just don't get their fair due. Beers created by artists, thinkers, craftsmen/craftswomen, and by people who really care. Skip the macro corporate brew slog, created for a bottom line. Drink well, and drink independent! Here are my samplings for this month, in no particular order.
ROLLING ROCK - Extra Pale (St. Louis, MO) - 1.0
A long, long time ago, I enjoyed an abundance of these with some friends on an out of town excursion. Don't ask me why, but I put it up to juvenile naivete. This is an awful beer. With a faint, weak/pale appearance, Rolling Rock pours like any other macro lager -- light and basically devoid of taste. The hint of fizziness/carbonation is appalling, and this tastes like a beer-flavored water beverage. Not even on a sweltering summer day while mowing the lawn would I ingest another one of these. Yuck.
BROUWERIJ DE REGENBOOG - T' Smisje India Pale Ale Plus (Brugge, Belgium) - 4.0
Ah, the anticipation here! I saved this one for last, as I have high expectations of most Belgian brews. A characteristic cloudy, golden appearance here, followed by an abundance of foam and thick lacing. Gives off a rich, yeasty, fruity scent, which bodes well. When it all subsides, the taste is a strong, hoppy, almost acidic flavor -- certainly not unusual for an IPA, though there are some odd fruit-like undercurrents which provide a more complex and characteristically Belgian profile. It's strong (10% ABV), rich, and really a lovely and memorable brew.
SIERRA NEVADA - TORPEDO EXTRA IPA (Chico, CA) - 4.0
Thick, full-bodied, and with nice retention here, and a robust, citrus-floral aroma. Goes down smooth, then a twisty, hoppy roll, and a complex, lingering bitterness with accents of pinewood, flowers,and a little citrus zing. Enjoyable!
THREE FLOYDS - Blackheart IPA (Munster, IN) - 3.0
Nice golden amber, scent of floral. Goes down easy, with a caramel-like hint and a pronounced hoppy bitterness. Smooth and tasty, and totally representative of a good, solid IPA. Not a groundbreaking or unique brew, but certainly solid and enjoyable.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Ah, the return of an old friend! It's been years (6 or so) since these influential Seattle-area crossover thrash/punk/metallers have shown their faces, and this is a welcome return. Boasting of 14 songs in a mere 29 minutes, guitarist Tommy Neimeyer (who gained some fame in the 90's with grunge band Gruntruck) and company (it seems he has drafted a whole new band) bring a fearsome and timeless attack on "Stomped To Death", which blasts it's way by without mercy, and puts many grind/death metal acts the shame. I'm sure the production (by Billy Anderson) helps, too, as he gives the band a raw and appropriately out-of-control sound, rather than an overly clean sheen. "Martha's Disciples" is a roaring beast of riff, every bit as heavy as Slayer and just as ferocious. "Avenue Of The Dead" is so spastic, it's almost like abstract metal. New vocalist Brad Mowen (also of Burning Witch & Master Musicians Of Bukkake) fits the bill perfectly, basically splashing/expelling his demonic vocals with reckless abandon. This is a hell of an album, and anyone who writes these guys off as irrelevant these days evidently hasn't heard much recent metal. I say, welcome back. (Southern Lord)
free mp3 of "Splatterbeast", courtesy of Southern Lord