Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Ölmönger Special: Destroying beer advent calendars

To make it clear from the start: I don't hate Christmas or December. Christmas is a rare season of peace and solitude. Something that the Modern Man doesn't value the way he should. And December is a month. December is. I find it hard to actually hate things that just are and don't do anything: weather, time, distances and the mayors of Finnish cities.

But I hate Xmas. The commercial shit that runs over us from the end of September and starts a week-long preparation three months too early. People start the yearly (Russian?) gift roulette, overcrowd every shop, mall and supermarket and empty even the web shops from crap you don't know that even exists. In the Xmas rush people actually show more hate towards each other than during the rest of the year altogether, fighting over the last piece of whatever is the G.I. Joe action figure, PS4 game, must-have knick-knack in cooking or other completely useless hit item this Xmas. And it's peace we're celebrating, right?

But, in the morning of the 1st of December kids get to open the long anticipated first door of their advent calendar. In the simple and smart versions of calendars there are only season-related drawings and possibly short texts i.e. verses of poems or songs - no crappy toys, no cheap chocolate, no stupid lotteries. The idea of the calendar is to make kids prepare and get anticipated for the highlight of the season, maybe even the year. Calendars aren't supposed to be symbols of commercialization or simple-minded people's craving of material like they usually are.

It's exciting to wait for Christmas...
Anyway, whatever the advent calendars are like, they're fun for the children. But alas, some stupid motherfuckers have ruined the innocence probably with this kind of chain of anti-Heurekas: "Hey, the kids have fun with their calendars. We, adults, don't. But we don't care about toys or chocolate. Hey, there are seasonal beers. Yeah, we could smash the bottles on our heads... (Until this things were fine, but:) Or we could put 24 beers in a box. And have them randomly. Or in any order we like. Hey, but that would be... a beer advent calendar!" And so, as useless invention as life consults, mindfulness and virtual democracy was born once again.

Roughly divided, there are two kinds of beer calendars, do-it-yourself and commercial versions. The idea of a DIY calendar is simple: you have different beer bottles or cans, 24 altogether, you put them in order from 1 to 24 and then you pick one from the 1st of December until the Christmas Eve. If you select the 24 beers and put them in order by yourself, as they usually do, well... The element of surprise - you know what you get each day -  is kinda ruined, isn't it? You could get more surprised by going and picking a random bottle from the store each day. Just a thought about personal excitement, but never mind.

Of course you could have someone else select the beers or just put them in order for you. But then again, in the first case the beers could be nothing you actually wanted to have (as warm-up for the wife's or/and girlfriend's actual christmas gift, eh?) and in the second case at least the cinnamon-cardamom-spiced plum-pudding-flavoured sherry-barreled barley wine would come out the first Monday - not the last Saturday - and your Christmas would be ruined. Tricky, isn't it? You either know what you get or you get what you don't want. Well, it was you who chose to make an advent calendar, so life sucks and then you die, as they say.

The second type are the commercial beer advent calendars. Let's say from a web shop or a single brewery. For the web store a beer calendar is a handy way to get rid of the beers that are getting old in new year or represent the seasonal spiced shit that only sells for poor stupid bastards once a year. "But you get 24 beers in the price of 36. If you check the prices in January. But hey, only once a year we can charge idiotic prices for anything. They call it the Xmas industry, ya know?" The other option is that you buy a calendar from that dumb Swede... sorry, the Dane that walks around his flat naked or in underwear writing recipes for the monkeys who do all the brewing labour. That friend of yours, that Mikkel-whatever.

Anyway, you buy this calendar and savour one of that so-called-brewery's brews every day for 24 days in December. Every day until Christmas Eve you get a new one from Horse's Ass Sweat Brewery. Every frigging day. After a week you'd crave for something good. After two weeks you'd get happy for a can of Bud Light or Koff III behind the next door. If you wouldn't... Have you ever thought about watching the grass grow in summer? Or listening to alarm clock or your phone ringtone as the only noice you hear for a week? Damn, that would be life. I honestly envy the excitement you probably face every day. "But, hey, every beer is great if the label says Mikk..." And bollocks.

...especially when there would be a much cheaper 24-pack available.
The saddest thing is - once again - that there are beer bloggers who ruthlessly try to bring our holiday spirit down and turn the light of Christmas off in the middle of the darkest winter. They start their yearly series of Mr./Mrs. Pig Vomit's Blog Advent Calendar on the 1st of December and torture their readers with daily "I got this behind.../ With anxious excitement I opened.../ Oh, boy! Look what was in... the Nth door." Most of the brews presented are either crap or seasonal crap but every bottle or can gets a shitload of undeserved praise. The long shock therapy ends with mental crucifixion - "That's an Easter thing, not Christmas, you ignorant bastard!" - on Christmas eve: a vanilla-cocoa flavoured Imperial Stout, a German smoked ale or a seasonally cinnamon-spiced Belgian. Goddamn, even Waldo couldn't hide behind that surprise.

All the time the readers are thinking: "What have we done to deserve this nonsense: a grown-up traveling back to his or her childhood excitement - which, by the way, is absolutely alright and sometimes even good for you - but by playing the childish calendar game with alcoholic beverages?" I bet you won't be able to combine a pure childhood experience and drinking beer in any kind of point. Nope, sorry, don't waste your time trying.

So, if you're thinking about making or buying a beer advent calendar or - in the worst case - publishing daily blog entries about one, make the right choice: forget it. Now. If you have already bought one, be a smart dickhead: open every door at once tomorrow and let the world know what you found. And let yourself and us have a merry three-and-a-half-week period before Christmas!

Ölbeat

Now, this is a good question for all people who are enthusiastically, hands shaking waiting to get to cork their calendar. Well, do you? In fact, the song reminds us about the idea of Christmas. Even though, like every charity song before and after, the music has the certain mandatory artificiality and the lyrics are somewhat corny and unimaginative. Not a great song but made to serve a great purpose.

Band Aid: Do They Know It's Christmas? (YouTube)

Published in a single in 1984, the song was written by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Skitbit Nov 2016: Olvi Black IPA

Brewery: Olvi
Country: Finland
Style: India Black Ale
Abv: 4,7 %
@RateBeer
What about the beer?
Colour is black with a large natural white head. Aroma has ash, coal and burned wood. Taste begins with ashy and coaly harsh bitterness. Salty ashy bitterness dominates with heavy roast. Dry charcoal flavour is added to the mix near the finish. Aftertaste is harshly bitter and roasty dry.

No, no. There's no trace of fresh bitter citrus flavours. The roast is actually unclean and harsh ashy charcoal. Total disgrace for India Black Ales and total waste of money. Don't try to do it if you can't do it.

Ölbeat

This brew took the style to the extremity. Of how bad Black IPA you can get if you really try. One Finnish so-called rap artist takes things to many extremities in the same way in the music business. That's what I learned from this anyway.

Cheek: Äärirajoille (YouTube)

Published as a single in 2014, the song was written by Cheek.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Ölbeat 144: Ôllenaut Must Eksport

Brewery: Õllenaut
Country: Estonia
Style: Baltic Porter
Abv: 8,3 %
@RateBeer
What about the beer?
Colour is black with just visible thin beige crown. Aroma has sweet roasted malts, luring coffee and vanillaish chocolate note. Taste bites first with sweet alcohol. Roasted malts and sweet coffee with a dark chocolate twist take over. Sweet bitterness with dark fruit and chocolate notes rises near the finish. Aftertaste has roasted malts, sweet coffee and alcoholic bitterness - and it lasts long.

Magnificently tasty Baltic Porter. Delicate sweetness is dominant but flavours under it vary from roast and coffee to chocolate, fruits and bitterness. Definitely more complex than classic Finnish Koff Porter. Even slightly more delicious?

Ölbeat

The beer feels smooth and silky, though the flavours are strong. This time I connect the brew's colour with a smooth English singer. The mellow mood of the song matches the dark and bitter liquid. Sadly, Colin "Black" Vearncombe passed away in January 2016 after being in a traffic accident.

Black: Wonderful Life (YouTube)

From the 1987 album Wonderful Life, the song was written by Colin Vearncombe.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Ölbeat 143: Vaat Jailhouse Brew

Brewery: Vaat
Country: Estonia (brewed in Belgium)
Style: Imperial Stout
Abv: 9,1 %
@RateBeer
What about the beer?
Colour is black with a finger-thick dense beige head. Aroma has roasted malts, black coffee and brown sugar. Taste starts with strongly bittersweet roasted coffee. Charcoal roast takes over with sharply bitter coffee and dark chocolate notes. Towards the end heavy bitterness and gentle dryness rise. Aftertaste has malty bitterness and roasty dryness.

Damn delicious Imperial Stout with nothing but simply strong flavours. Heavy roast, thick malts, black coffee and untamed bitterness. Great brew that catches and incarcerates you with its grip.

Ölbeat

Don't think that Mr. Cash had this brew in his mind when he wrote this legendary jailhouse song. However this has the similar firm and strong grip as the beer does.

Johnny Cash: Folsom Prison Blues (YouTube)

This version from the 1968 live album At Folsom Prison (originally recorded in 1955), the song was written by Johnny Cash.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Ölbeat 142: Tanker Masinaôli

Brewery: Tanker
Country: Estonia
Style: India Black Ale
Abv: 6,6 %
@RateBeer
What about the beer?
Colour is black with an overwhelming light beige bubbly head. Aroma has lemon-grapefruit, roasted malts and rye. Taste hits first with heavily roasted bitterness. Charred bitter and strong grapefruit takes over. Near the finish the taste turns roasty, a bit piny and extra-dry. Aftertaste has roasty dryness with bitter grapefruit.

Super-hardcore India Black Ale. Untamed roast and grapefruit flavours crash together with huge force. The result is more than just the sum of separate flavours. Delicious beer.

Ölbeat

Heavy machine-themed black brew has to be paired with industrial dark-themed rock. No apologies, no explanations, just waiting for the mercy. Perfect.

Linkin Park: What I've Done (YouTube)

From the 2007 album Minutes to Midnight, the song was written by Linkin Park.

Ölbeat 141: Tanker/Van Moll Animal Instinct

Brewery: Tanker (Van Moll)
Country: Estonia (Netherlands) 
Style: India Pale Ale
Abv: 6,2 %
@RateBeer
What about the beer?
Colour is fuzzy golden orange with a small white head. Aroma has grapefruit, lemon and yeasty funk. Taste starts with yeasty fruity bitter sourness. Fresh softly sour lemon takes over with a funky hayish countryside flavour. Towards the end citrus turns to gently bitter and tart grapefruit with some pine. Aftertaste has bitter-sour grapefruit with dry pine.

Bruxellensis Truis clearly brings the sour-tartness here. It cuts the bitter edge smoothly, enhances the citrus flavours and adds some funky yeast to the picture. Wild and tasty.

Ölbeat

This one offered a bunch of options from Maroon 5 through Def Leppard and KISS to Blackie Lawless fucking like a beast. Boring. Wanted something actually untamed and aggressive. Well, we're close with this.

Disturbed: The Animal (YouTube)

From the 2010 album Asylum, the song was written by Dan Donegan, Mike Wengren and David Draiman.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Ölbeat 140: Ôllenaut Lumelausuja

Brewery: Õllenaut
Country: Estonia 
Style: Foreign Stout
Abv: 7,9 %
@RateBeer
What about the beer?
Colour is black with a tiny vanishing beige head. Aroma has sweet roasted malts, coffee and dark chocolate. Taste starts with roast and smooth bitterness. Roasted caramel and chocolate malts take over with a decent espresso note. Black coffee with little sugar and gentle bitterness comes through near the finish. Aftertaste has roasted malts and sweetish bitterness.

Excellent roasted stout with malts strongly in front. Sweet coffee and bitter flavours supporting the malty character. Really tasty brew.

Ölbeat

The song has literally nothing to do with its title. Probably chose this one because of the calm feeling it gives. Peaceful and harmonic describes also the 'snow whisperer' brew perfectly.

Red Hot Chili Peppers: Snow (Hey Oh) (YouTube)

From the 2006 album Stadium Arcadium, the song was written by Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Ölbeat 139: Pühaste Hôbevalge

Brewery: Pühaste
Country: Estonia
Style: Old Ale
Abv: 8,0 %
@RateBeer
What about the beer?
Colour is reddish brown with a 2-finger thick natural white head. Aroma has sweet malts, raisins and banana. Taste begins with sweet, gently bitter bite. Fruity caramel malts take over with some wooden raisin and cherry flavour. Oak-flavoured bitterness grows towards the finish. Aftertaste has oaky dryness and fruity bitterness.

The sherry oak chips give this old ale a distinctive aged flavour with raisins and cherries. The gently bitter hops fit perfectly together with the wooden character of the brew. Excellent malty and fruity matured beer.

Ölbeat

The beer's name is probably based on Estonian folklore, not quite sure what it means, though. The label picture shows an old white spirit in an oak tree. Also the beer style steered the song choice towards folk music. What I selected went pretty far from the brew's origins. 

Xavier Rudd: Follow the Sun (YouTube)

From the 2012 album Spirit Bird, the song was written by Xavier Rudd.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Ölbeat 138: Tanker Hallucination

Brewery: Tanker 
Country: Estonia
Style: Imperial Pils
Abv: 7,6 %
@RateBeer

What about the beer?
Colour is hazy cloudy yellow with large lasting white head. Aroma has strong sour lemon and some malts. Taste starts with fresh bitter-sour lemon-grapefruit juice. Sour lemon and bitter grapefruit go strong hand in hand with a tiny note of malts. Towards the end bitterness takes the upper hand and some dry pine and lemon peel shows up. Aftertaste has strong sour-hinted citrus bitterness with piny dryness.

Heavily hopped strong lager should taste like this. Strong citrus flavours are held up by a solid but untasted malt base. "But it's so IPA'ish", might a beer snob scream but in space you can scream as loud as you can: no one will hear you, mate, neither listen to you. Superb brew.

Ölbeat

The beer didn't cause any kind of delusions - I think - like the name promised. I feel obliged to bring some odd chemical to the picture. A song from the 1960's short-lived supergroup gives the brew some boost to the right direction.

Cream: Strange Brew (YouTube)

From the 1967 album Disraeli Gears, the song was written by Eric Clapton, Felix Pappalardi and Gail Collins.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Ölmönger Special: Interview with The Flying Dutchman Ronald de Waal

So, last week in the blog was a week of beers with unusually abnormal names. They all were from The Flying Dutchman Nomad Brewing Company: one saison, one amber, one stout and three hopped ales (1, 2, 3). So now we take a closer look at the brewery and the brewer.

I was one "player" in a Tweet thread that started playing with the names of the beers that The Flying Dutchman Nomad Brewing Company should brew. The brewer himself - Ronald de Waal - took nicely part in the game, as "the referee". I think we finally got something like 15 new names for his brews, most of them unfortunately uneligible for commercial use.

After the first set of the word game I asked Ronald for an interview, and got an immediate "yes". We planned to have a real face-to-face interview but couldn't get our calendars matched. So the interview was made in the clumsy way - by e-mail. But the answers are still great. For those who want to know more about The Flying Dutchman, I recommend reading Ronald's story and getting to know his brews.

The brewer at work. (© Ronald de Waal)

Who is Ronald de Waal? How did you end up in Finland and being a nomad brewer?

Interesting opening question: Who is Ronald de Waal? :) Ronald is a Dutch guy who has always been curious about life, cultures and people. I ended up in Finland because of love. I went to Spain on holiday and walked into a Finnish blonde. Before I knew what had happened, I was already moving to Finland.

I studied food technology in Holland, one part of which was brewing technology. After my graduation I got a job as a brewer in one of the first craft beer breweries in Holland. So some years later, after walking into that Finnish blonde, I gave up my job and went on an adventure trip to Finland. This was in the year 1992. Finland was in a deep recession that time and work was hard to get. Did all kind of jobs and the funniest experience was being a mermaid in Planet FunFun.

After meeting Juha Lehto who had just opened the first two Kala restaurants in Helsinki we decided that I would brew a house beer for his bars. I would brew them in Holland at my old workplace. The beer I was brewing at that time was a 10 % barley wine which was in that time the strongest and hoppiest beer in Finland. So that was my first gypsy brewing project in the year 1994. In that time not even the word gypsy brewing existed.


What do you enjoy most in being a professional brewer? Are there any downsides?

I enjoy working with passionate people and creating new ideas and products. So to work on ideas and to realize them - and after some time you really see that people are drinking your beers and enjoying them. That is such a great feeling.

The downside is maybe the pressure of having enough time for selling work.


What do you love doing when you're not brewing great beer?

Enjoying the small things in life. Like when you have your coffee and you really go into the moment of joy. Having good conversations, have quality time at home with your loved ones. Go into the forest, walk with the dogs. Love to travel with the camper van and explore nature and different cultures. Then my other passion is coming up: photography.


You've started brewing in the 1990's in Holland. You also brewed Bergzigt for Finnish audience in 1994. What has happened in the beer scene in Holland and in Finland in a little over 20 years? From your point of view, how would you describe the beer culture in Finland now?

There has happened a lot during the last 20 years I would say, especially in Finland. In Holland things have been on hold for a long time. After the Belgium beers arrived in the 80's, not much happened anymore. Only the last 4-5 years Holland has started to open up for other beer styles than only those Belgium ales.

Finland has changed really much. From a very depressed society in the early 90's with not much of a beer selection and people drinking the cheapest beers they could find, to a very vibrant beer booming culture. Finland has a very good beer selection with beers coming from all over the world. Very few countries have this kind of amazing selection. And the Finns are very open now for every beer style. Drinking habits have drastically changed from drinking as much as possible to tasting fine quality products!


You launched The Flying Dutchman project last year and the first beer came available last autumn, right? Can you describe what's "The Flying Dutchman factor" in beer?

Yes, company was launched in July last year and first beer came out in the end of September.

The Flying Dutchman factor is indirectly linked to the old ghost ship which was sailing on the seas forever, by some legends for a seven-year period after another. Traveling, exploring and bringing the stories back to land. In this brewing project I would like to share my stories and act as the Flying Dutchman, brewing in different breweries.

The Flying Dutchman ship was a ghost ship, something you can't put into a box and label it. So it is about myself. As the Flying Dutchman I can't be put into a box: A Dutch guy with a Finnish company, brewing in Belgium - can we make it more complicated? :) So I love the international way of living. Open-minded going through life. Like a wanderer.

The captain and the crew with "Bad Guy" make-up... (© Walt Disney Pictures)

After roughly one year's presence, there are ten beers in The Flying Dutchman's commercial selection. The selection includes brews for many kinds of tastes: there's something for a hophead, something for a sour lover, something for friends of mild pales and something for dark beer hedonists. But every brew has a long, unique and hard-to-remember name. What's the story behind the brews' names? And when can we taste the Chilli Stout that already has a hot name? :)

That is a long process. We are thinking of ideas that are fitting the beer. The name should tell something about the beer. And we try to do it with a smile. We reflect to real life situations. So many breweries are going for the dark and aggressive attitude. We wanted to have a different angle, lighter and happier.

Love the Chilli Stout idea and especially the name! We should play with the idea.


Your Tree-Hugging IPA and Girlfriend Stout - won't repeat the complete names here, sorry - were chosen the best in their styles from Belgium in the World Beer Awards 2016. Congratulations! However, some people might get confused because you're Dutch living in Finland and brewing in Belgium. Of course, since you have lived in Finland for two decades now, people here hopefully recognize you as a Finn-brewer. Are your brews Dutch, Finnish or Belgian, or would you like to throw away the country category?

Thank you! To keep the answer to the question very short: we prefer to keep it open and flowing. :)


Probably the most known brewers in Europe without an own brewery are the Danish Mikkel Borg Bjergsø behind Mikkeller and his "protegés" Tobias Emil Jensen and Tore Gynther behind To Øl. It's told that Mikkel just e-mails recipes to the breweries without taking part in the brewing process in any way. How does it really work between a brewery and a nomad brewer? How do you choose the breweries you work with?

There are so many different ways of brewing beer or being a nomad brewer. Which way you choose is very personal and what fits you most. Rumors are rumors and there will always be rumors how people do their job. I think it has more meaning to look what people like Mikkeller and others have been contributing to the beer culture. Without the nomad brewers we wouldn't have such extreme beers as we do have now. They pushed the limits even further and took the other brewers with.

So some nomad breweries are really doing all the brewing work themself, others do only recipe planning, for some it's a mix of both. Still I don't think this is so important. It's the same when you look to a famous Chef Cook. This famous Cook is thinking and creating idea's. Testing, preparing and trying. Then he comes out with a perfect recipe and he will guide other cooks to prepare the dish under his guidance. It's architecture work.

The breweries with which I partner are carefully selected. I have had a cooperation with De Proef brewery already since 1997. I was in that time with my former company Diamond Beer, one of their first customers. So we have a long history and I know the brewery very well. I like their flexibility to do all kind of batch sizes and their top of the art brewing equipment. The other brewery I use is also very flexible and has also the right size of batches. Both deliver top quality.


For some years there's been a discussion in the beer community about bulk beer vs. craft beer and bad beer vs. good beer. What do you think about the discussion? What is the difference between a bad beer, a good beer and an awesome beer?

I think it has not much meaning to discuss bulk vs craft beer. Every beer is brewed for different groups of consumers. Bulk beer - or let's call them the big lager beers - are skillfully brewed. To brew a clean lager and also of the same quality is difficult task. So if you are into craft beer with much flavour that is fine. If you want just fresh and easy tasting lagers, that is also fine. We need them both.

Taste is very personal. Of course you can talk about good or bad beer when the quality of beer is not as it should be, infected or contaminated beer for example. Otherwise good or bad beer is a question of someones's personal taste and preference.


By the way, what's your personal favourite beer and why? (This is the easiest question in the world for a beer lover, I know ;) ) 

Haha, yeah, easy question. :) Pfff. Impossible to say. Like you know as well, I'm sure. It depends on your mood, feeling, season, if you are in love or depressed. So every moment has another favourite beer which is just for THAT moment the best.

I know you don't want to hear this kind of answer. I can tell you something else. After tasting many different beers and going from a great Stout to a great IPA to a great Sour, there's one beer style I really like to go back to. And that is British ale. Nicely hopped and a balanced malt body - always a great pint!

... and the captain with the usual good guy look. (© Ronald de Waal)

How are your experiences with Finnish beer and breweries? Are the Finnish breweries in general bad or awful?

Finnish breweries are in general great. We have seen a big increase in breweries last couple of years. Much passion going on and very creative beers have come out. I have found several breweries which I really like and which I can really trust on quality.


If you could choose any brewery from Finland for one collaboration brew, what would the brewery be and what kind of beer would you like the brew with them?

I have a few ideas with a some breweries in Finland. So far I just haven't had the time to go deeper into this. My focus has been first to get my basic selection of beers ready. We have come out with ten new beers in just ten months now. That was a great pressure in that short time. Hope that next year we will have more time to think about those ideas in detail.

The beer style which could be brewed is very depending on the brewery where we do it. So I really can't speculate about this before we really know more where the beer will be brewed.


What can we wait from The Flying Dutchman next? Bergzigt 2.0, perhaps? I wasn't into beer in 1994 and would have been underaged then, so at least I'm waiting for the comeback.

I'm working a few new ideas. We will have some new sour beer next spring. We are doing some very interesting research work on the moment to find the right lactobacillus culture. I can tell you more about this in the beginning of next year.

Bergzigt. Many people ask after it. Every beer festival I visit in Finland, there is always somebody asking when it will come back. You never know. Maybe one day.

I have been thinking every now and then about Bergzigt. In that time it was very special. Something we hadn't seen before. Nowadays it wouldn't be that special. Our taste buds have developed so much and we have tasted so many great beers. But it could return to showcase a classic style from the "old" days. Not an extreme beer for today but brewing the beer to show that this beer made a change in the early 90's.


Could you select a song for Ronald de Waal and The Flying Dutchman Nomad Brewery? Can you tell us, why this song is your choice?

I like your questions. The song is actually easy. It's a song from the band Mr. Big and called Goin' Where the Wind Blows. This song is very special for me and represents a lot of feelings and experiences I've had in life. Every time you make a big change in your life you need to trust on the fact that the only thing you want to follow is the wind. And the wind will always bring you to the right place.

Also during the period in my life when I was traveling a lot, I felt very free and literally went where the wind was blowing. That was such a wonderful feeling. This song is just so beautiful! And funny enough it really fits to the Flying Dutchman as well.


Thanks for a nice interview, Ronald! We'll keep in touch.

Thanks for your support, Janne. I love your way of writing and the humor you use in your articles. That's what we need in life. That's what our message is about: Hoppiness is a way of life.

Ölbeat & Brewer's Choice

There are so well-grounded arguments behind Ronald's own choice that I don't bring Richard Wagner's The Flying Dutchman or even some other piece very distantly, if at all, connected to the legend available as other options. They will be available for later purposes*.      

Mr. Big: Goin' Where the Wind Blows (YouTube)

From the 1996 album Hey Man, the song was written by Jeff Martin and André Pessis.

* E.g. as the background music for the immediate shaving of all male readers' idiotic Movember fish sticks trying to act a moustache. Do it, now!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Ölbeat 137: The Flying Dutchman Nuts Freezing Frost Biting Tongue on Frozen Pole Winter IPA

Brewery: The Flying Dutchman Nomad Brewing Company
Country: Finland (brewed in Belgium)
Style: India Pale Ale
Abv: 6 %
@RateBeer
What about the beer?
Colour is cloudy copper orange with a large white head. Aroma has grapefruit, pine and a herbal scent. Taste begins with superfresh bitter grapefruit. Piny grapefruit takes over with steady malt flavour in the background. Towards the end some sweet orange and sour lemon rise to the taste. Aftertaste has grapefruit bitterness and piny dryness.

Really refreshing and citrus-dominated India Pale Ale. Fresh bitter grapefruit has the starring role, but is backed up by malts, pine and citrus. I don't taste the traditional seasonal elements here, which is a good thing in the end. However, the winter is present with biting freshness. "Splendid, sir!"

Ölbeat

Sorry, guys. Didn't find any humorous songs about freezing nuts or getting one's tongue stuck on a pole, so I went for this serious heavy rock ballad. I got stopped by and stuck in the lyric: "My heart's an endless winter filled with rage / I'm looking forward to forgetting yesterday." Beautiful poetic description about what's a common "heart failure" with people today.

Five Finger Death Punch: Cold (YouTube)

From the 2015 album The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell, Volume 2, the song was written by Ivan Moody, Zoltan Bathory, Jason Hook, Jeremy Spencer and Kevin Churko.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Ölbeat 136: The Flying Dutchman More Complicated Than Your Girlfriend Stout

Brewery: The Flying Dutchman Nomad Brewing Company
Country: Finland (brewed in Belgium)
Style: Stout
Abv: 8 %
@RateBeer
What about the beer?
Colour is black with a finger-thick beige head. Aroma has coffee, alcohol, roasted malts and chocolate. Taste starts with sweet roast and spicy bitterness. Roasted malts and slightly sweet coffee take over with a distinctive bourbon vanilla note. Near the finish bourbon flavour, bitter hops and chocolate malts come in front. Aftertaste has lasting roasted coffee and vanilla-flavoured bitterness.

This hits my "happy" button. The bourbon, coffee and cocoa flavours step out from the solid stout base just like they should. Brewing with special ingredients can be tricky but Ron found the perfect pitch in this one. Incredibly delicious beer.

Ölbeat

We'll continue following the beer's name more than the beer style. Someone would probably put here a black metal song about the singer's live hamsters eating and demonically roaring girlfriend, but I selected between "complicated" and "girlfriend" from this artist. Choice was easy - the other song sucks. This one tells that the complications aren't always the features of the girlfriend. At least I'd love to think whether it's me or my girlfriend who's complicated. (My wife wouldn't probably support my thoughts.)

Avril Lavigne: Complicated (YouTube)

From the 2002 album Let Go, the song was written by Avril Lavigne, Lauren Christy, Scott Spock and Graham Edwards.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Ölbeat 135: The Flying Dutchman Black Is Black And I Want My Baby Back

Brewery: The Flying Dutchman Nomad Brewing Company
Country: Finland (brewed in Belgium)
Style: India Black Ale
Abv: 5,5 %
@RateBeer
What about the beer?
Colour is black with a huge, quickly dissolving natural white head. Aroma has mainly bitter grapefruit, then some faint grassy hops and sweet fruit. Taste bites first with dry grapefruit bitterness. Juicy and heavily bitter grapefruit takes over with gently roasted malts in the background. Towards the end we get strong dry pine. Aftertaste has lasting dryness and roasty bitterness.

Delicious and powerful India Black Ale. Bitter grapefruit bomb explodes in the mouth in the start and levels down to fresh tasty juice. The finish shows the extreme dryness without running over the dominating bitterness. Pure, simple and superb.


Ölbeat

Picking the obvious choice, probably linked to the origin of the brew's name, the 1960's pop rock classic matches the mood quite well. At least it's lyrically more catchy than the Finnish version (Näen mustaa vain by Topmost, 1966).

Los Bravos: Black Is Black (YouTube)

From the 1966 album Black Is Black, the song was written by Michelle Grainger, Tony Hayes and Steve Wadey.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Ölbeat 134: The Flying Dutchman Tree Hugging Wood Chopping Mother-Nature Loving IPA

Brewery: The Flying Dutchman Nomad Brewing Company
Country: Finland (brewed in Belgium)
Style: India Pale Ale
Abv: 6 %
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What about the beer?
Colour is fuzzy orange with some sediment and a two-finger thick fluffy white head. Aroma has grapefruit, orange and mango. Taste starts with fruity and strong bitterness. Fresh grapefruit takes over with soft bitterness and orange peel. Towards the end dry pine and sour lemon show up. Aftertaste has dryness and bitter grapefruit.

Tasty citrus-packed India Pale Ale. Fresh, fruity, bitter and dry. Some special features but shortly and simply: easy-drinking, well-made and balanced IPA.

Ölbeat

I shouldn't match a beer with a folky children's song, should I? Well, there are several other things I shouldn't have done but already have. Actually, this one has the easy-going mood of the brew so I'm probably saved from the anger of child protection organisations.

Tom Freund: Hug Trees (YouTube, Live)

From the 2007 album Hug Trees, the song was written by Tom Freund.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Ölbeat 133: The Flying Dutchman More Dry And Sour Than Your Mother In Law Saison

Brewery: The Flying Dutchman Nomad Brewing Company
Country: Finland (brewed in Belgium)
Style: Saison
Abv: 4,7 %
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What about the beer?
Colour is hazy yellow with a large white head. Aroma has very tart lemon and salt water. Taste begins with salty sour lemon bite. Tart and yeasty lemon juice with some dry peel flavour takes over. Near the finish salty dryness gets through. Aftertaste has sour lemon, peel and dryness.

Very tasty mild Saison. Sour, salty and dry get mixed in balance, lemon and peel add freshness and a touch of yeast completes the experience. Despite the name, this one is a nice and easy acquaintance. Probably this brew is targeted to past, present and future daughter in-laws.

Ölbeat

I think Ronald "The Flying Dutchman" de Waal shares my thought about that it's never the son in-laws who think their mother in-laws are dry and sour. It's always the daughter in-laws who don't get along with theirs. If you disagree, just listen Ms James crying her soul out about her and her mother in-law's relationship.

Etta James: My Mother In-Law (YouTube)

From the 1968 album Tell Mama, the song was written by George David and Lee Diamond.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Ölbeat 132: The Flying Dutchman Flower Power Hippy Dippy All Things Pretty American Amber

Brewery: The Flying Dutchman Nomad Brewing Company
Country: Finland (brewed in Belgium)
Style: Amber Ale
Abv: 4,7 %
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What about the beer?
Colour is fuzzy orange with a large white head. Aroma has grapefruit, bitter malts and hay. Taste starts with sharp malty and dry bitter. Unroughly bitter grapefruit, rye-bready malts and gently dry pine fill the mouth. Towards the end piny dry bitterness gets on top. Aftertaste has gently piny dryness and grapefruit bitterness.

Nice and easy-drinking Amber Ale. For a low abv beer surprisingly solid malty base is combined with grapefruit and pine. Simple and tasty, no tricks, just good taste.

Ölbeat

Despite the name this brew rocks. Originally from the 1950's this often covered hit of the 1960's has the rock'n'roll of the brew.

The Georgia Satellites: Hippy Hippy Shake (YouTube)

Recorded in 1988 for the soundtrack of Cocktail, the song was written by Chan Romero.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Ölbeat 131: Bryggeri Wee Heavy

Brewery: Bryggeri Helsinki
Country: Finland
Style: Scotch Ale
Abv: 7 %
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What about the beer?
Colour is nut brown with medium-sized cream white head. Aroma has sweet apple, cinnamon spice and syrupy malts. Taste begins with gently hoppy sweet bite. Sugared oven-baked apples and sour fruits take over with some malt and cinnamon flavours. Yeasty and dry bitterness grows towards the end with sour sidetaste. Aftertaste has cider-like sour apple and dry bitterness.

Nicely spicy and fruity Scotch Ale. Sweet, sour, bitter and dry. Hops and malts are used like tools of art to brew this masterpiece. There's no doubt for me about the #1 brewery in the capital.

Ölbeat

As Wee Heavy is rising in the list of my favourite beer styles, it's great to taste mastery of this style in a Finnish brew. For that reason I pick one of my Finnish favourite artists who are trying to catch the mood of Highland fields as the song.

Seminaarinmäen Mieslaulajat: Ylämailla (YouTube)

From the 2004 album Wunderbaum, the song was written by Sakari Antila, Pasi Pohjola and Juha Rouvala.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Ölbeat 130: Pyynikin Papan Vanilla Stout

Brewery: Pyynikin Käsityöläispanimo
Country: Finland
Style: Stout
Abv: 6,8 %
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What about the beer?
Colour is black with almost non-existing white crown. Aroma has charcoal roast, sweet black coffee and some fresh vanilla. Taste begins with gentle, slightly sweet roast flavour. Dark-roasted and slightly sweet coffee dominates the taste with malts and spices in the background. Towards the end chocolate malts and vanilla come through. Aftertaste has malty roast and some spicy charcoal dryness.

Deep and delicious Stout. Sweet roast and coffee, malts and vanilla. What's there to say? I'd love to drink this on every windy, rainy and cold autumn night. Excellent brew by the artisans from Tampere.

Ölbeat

Deep dark stout has to paired with southern state blues. This song is often interpreted to refer to SRV's personal, and eventually won, fight against alcohol addiction but others have thought that it's about living life to the fullest, moment by moment. Either way the song has similar positive mood as the brew gives.

Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble: Life by the Drop (YouTube)

From the 1991 album The Sky Is Crying (released posthumously, recorded in 1989), the song was written by Doyle Bramhall and Barbara Logan.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Ölbeat 129: Belhaven 90/~ Wee Heavy

Brewery: Belhaven
Country: Scotland
Style: Scotch Ale
Abv: 7,4 %
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What about the beer?
Colour is oaky brown with a small whiteish head. Aroma has brown sugar, sweet malts, strawberry and vanilla. Taste bites first with spicy sweetness. Fudge-caramel malts and dark berries with oak and vanilla bars take over. Near the finish syrupy bitterness comes through. Aftertaste has sweet malts and fruity bitterness.

Tasty Wee Heavy! Sweet malts, berry-fruity flavours and gentle bitterness make this a strong and rich one. Deliciously spicy traditional Scotch Ale.

Ölbeat

Wee Heavy by a Scottish brewery forces one choose a song from the Scotsmen. Instantly forgetting the bagpipes and searching for something more powerful I came across a band that had it's years of fame in my youth. This song shares sweetness and joy with the brew.

Simple Minds: She's a River (YouTube)

From the 1995 album Good News from the Next World, the song was written by Jim Kerr and Charlie Burchill.

Ölbeat 128: Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier Dunkel

Brewery: Bayerische Staatsbrauerei Weihenstephan
Country: Germany 
Style: Dunkelweizen
Abv: 5,3 %
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What about the beer?
Colour is murky brown with a two-finger thick white head. Aroma has sweet malts, plum, ripe bananas and spices. Taste begins with a sweet yeasty and hoppy sting. Fruity wheat malts and bananas take over with yeasty flavour on the side. Towards the end bitterness and sweet and sour fruits rise up. Aftertaste has sweetness, sour fruits and modest bitterness.

Extremely great Dunkelweizen. Wheat malts, fruity hops and yeast fit in the puzzle perfectly. Fruits get sweet, sour and bitter flavours that compliment each other. Once this traditional Bavarian brewery shows excellent brewing skill.

Ölbeat

Somehow I just can't get over the association of funk with German yeasty and fruity brews. So I'm just sorry to make you settle for this soul classic.

Curtis MayField: Move On Up (YouTube)

From the 1970 album Curtis, the song was written by Curtis Mayfield.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Ölbeat 127: Saimaan Brewer's Special Pacific Pale Ale

Brewery: Saimaan Juomatehdas
Country: Finland
Style: American Pale Ale
Abv: 4,7 %
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What about the beer?
Colour is cloudy light orange with a finger-thick white head. Aroma has lemon, grapefruit and hay. Taste wakes one up with heavy grapefruit bitter bite. Fresh grapefruit takes over with mild orange and lemon flavours. Near the finish modest dryness comes in the picture. Aftertaste has bitter grapefruit and light dryness.

Actually quite nice session ale. Simple and one-dimensional but the dimension tastes all right. Would nicely go down with BBQ or after sauna. Hopefully getting rid of my brewery allergy.

Ölbeat

The ocean theme and the picture in the label guided my choice with this one. We'll probably see the widow of the shark-eaten surf dude crying at the seaside. Then we'll take another sip from the can, leave the scene and get back in the sauna tent.

Amorphis: Weeper on the Shore (YouTube)

From the 1996 album Elegy, the song was written by Olli-Pekka Laine and Kim Rantala.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Ölbeat 126: Maku Black IPA

Brewery: Maku Brewing
Country: Finland
Style: India Black Ale
Abv: 6,1 %
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What about the beer?
Colour is black with thin natural white head. Aroma has sweet roasted sugar, candy and mango. Taste starts with biting bitterness and roast. Roasted bitter grapefruit takes over with mild malty notes. The taste turns burned and dry towards the end. Aftertaste has charred heavy dryness with lasting grapefruit bitterness.

Delicious marriage of roasted-charred dryness and fruity bitterness. Great piece from this unholy style of dark beers - India Black Ale worth every sip. Excellent work, Tuusula dudes!

Ölbeat

Something in the bottle label made me select electronic music to be partnered with this one. Neither bitter fruits nor dry roast are held back in this one, so a track that repeats "Don't hold back" suits the beer well.

The Chemical Brothers: Galvanize (YouTube)

From the 2005 album Push the Button, the song was written by Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Ölbeat 125: Bell's Expedition Stout

Brewery: Bell's Brewery
Country: United States
Style: Imperial Stout
Abv: 10,5 %
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What about the beer?
Colour is black with a tiny beige halo. Aroma has sweet roasted malts, coffee, chocolate and a note of alcohol. Taste lifts off with a sweet roasty bitter bite. Delicious combination of roasted malts and black coffee with dark chocolate and vanilla hints takes over. Near the finish sweet bitterness and alcohol bite come through. Aftertaste is rich & deep and has coffee, roasted bitterness and warming alcohol.

Incredibly savoury Imperial Stout. Perfect roast, coffee and bitter flavours. Strong and thick but still amazingly smooth and soft. I feel lucky to still have couple of these stashed.

Ölbeat

Now, we entered the area of personal favourites once more. Shortly, my choice is a heavy metal classic with a dark vision fot Earth and suberb melodic guitar riffs.

Black Sabbath: Into the Void (YouTube)

From the 1971 album Master of Reality, the song was written by Black Sabbath (Butler, Iommi, Osbourne & Ward).

Friday, November 4, 2016

Ölbeat 124: Thornbridge Saint Petersburg

Brewery: Thornbridge Brewery
Country: England
Style: Imperial Stout
Abv: 7,4 %
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What about the beer?
Colour is black with a finger-thick tan head. Aroma has ashy-roasted malts, espresso and bitter dark chocolate. Taste starts with strong charred-roasted bitterness. Ashy bitterness and charred-smoky malts take over with tiny hints of black coffee. The dark chocolate malts and bitter hops come clearer near the finish. Aftertaste has lasting strong roasted dryness and bitterness.

Roast and bitterness truly play the starring roles here. If we stare strictly at the beer style, this probably lacks some coffee from the flavour. But luckily this blog cares only for the taste - and it's pure, lasting and great.

Ölbeat

Once again, we'll find the original inspiration for the song choice in the name of the brew. Actually we chose the artist and the origin of the song after the name of the beer. The Russian city of Saint Petersburg was named Leningrad in 1924-1991, and the song was originally a Russian romance song. Leningrad Cowboys is a successful Finnish rock band that started its story from the 1989 Finnish movie Leningrad Cowboys Go America. The song can lead to thinking about the 18th century when the beer style of (Russian) Imperial Stout was brewed the first time in England. 

Leningrad Cowboys: Those Were The Days (YouTube)

From the 1992 album We Cum from Brooklyn, the song was composed by Boris Fomin and the English lyrics were written by Gene Raskin.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Ölbeat 123: Ruosniemen Parlamentaarikko

Brewery: Ruosniemen Panimo
Country: Finland 
Style: Abbey Dubbel
Abv: 6,9 %
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What about the beer?
Colour is hazy brown with a finger-thick white head. Aroma has sweet fruits, raisins and syrup. Taste begins with fruity and yeasty sourness. Sour fruit, sweet malts, raisins and some yeasty stuffyness take over. Towards the end sweet bitterness and sour lemon step forward. Aftertaste has bitter yeast and sour fruits.

Tasty and complex Dubbel with fruits, malts and yeast and sweet, sour and bitter flavours. Should have a taste of this later with an original Belgian one and compare. Very nice anyway.

Ölbeat

The name of the brew - Finnish word for 'parliamentarian' - steers the choice towards a politically oriented song. Well, at least this has a punk funk rhythm and lyrics from the mouth of an elite politician.  

The Clash: Know Your Rights (YouTube)

From the 1982 album Combat Rock, the song was written by Joe Strummer and Mick Jones.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Ölbeat 122: Top Fuel Weissmuller Wheat

Brewery: Top Fuel Beer Company
Country: Finland
Style: Hefeweizen (/Wheat Ale)
Abv: 4,7 %
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What about the beer?
Colour is cloudy golden yellow with a small white head. Aroma has yeast, banana and wheat malts. Taste lifts off with light hoppy sour and yeasty bite. Slightly sour yeasty flavour and wheat malts with a banana twist take over. Towards the end soft lemon sourness and gentle bitterness rise. Aftertaste has both sweetish yeast and dry lemon.

First thought was "what is this one trying to be?". Then the beer turned to a tasty mix of Saison and Hefeweizen. There's fruity sour yeast and wheaty banana. Nice and refreshing summer beer.

Ölbeat

This calls for a song about Tarzan. Yeah. A jungle song. Ok. An animal song. Whatever. Something simple and fun with a rock beat. 

The Presidents of The United States of America: Feather Pluckn (YouTube)

From the 1995 album The Presidents of The United States of America, the song was written by Chris Ballew and The Presidents of the United States of America.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Ölbeat 121: Mathildedalin Seppä

Brewery: Mathildedalin Kyläpanimo (in Finnish)
Country: Finland
Style: Stout
Abv: 7 %
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What about the beer?
Colour is black with a small vanishing beige head. Aroma has mild charcoal and some malts - surprisingly clean scent. Taste starts with heavy charcoal bite. First charred wood dominates, but after a short wait the taste gets depth: roasted sweet malts and hoppy bitterness come through. Some liquorice in campfire coffee is added near the finish. Aftertaste has medium sweet bitterness and gentle dry roast.

Fine quality stout from the village brewery. Strong ashy charcoal and growing richness in taste make this one a unique brew with a true artisan feeling: the Finnish word seppä means 'blacksmith'. This fairly young brewery has already gotten some fans. With this kind of beer it should definitely stay on the map.

Ölbeat

First thinking about the name of the brew and considering whether The Smiths would have a suitable song for this brew - or any other thing or situation - but no. Then chose this song that's about the direction where new breweries in Finland should go following the example of Mathildedahl: eteenpäin - forward.

Timo Rautiainen: Eteenpäin (YouTube)

From the 2006 album Sarvivuori, the song was written by Timo Rautiainen.