Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Sessio #6 (Mar 2018): Bands and beer brands

This post is a part of Sessio, Finnish beer bloggers' monthly posts on the same topic. The topic is selected by a monthly changing host. This topic was selected by Loppasuut, who will wrap up the Sessio posts in their blog. I will take part in Sessio whenever the subject feels nice and I have time to write a post.

The topic of the month is "Bands and brands". The host gave us some ideas, e.g. to wonder, if a culture or sport brand - an artist/a band or a club, even a movie? - affects the beer's taste, or to write about the rockstar of the beer world, whoever that may be. Thanks for the ideas - I'll follow none of them, because digging deep into the background of the motives behind, say, rock band -labeled beers is far from what I call fun, interesting or meaningful. Most of the band branded beers are made so that the brewers can be laughing on their way to the bank. Examples of those beers can be seen on the photo collage of the assignment post. And that's my five cents on that part of the subject.

Almost. One case seems to have some credibility against almost all others' none. In California, San Diego -based Belching Beaver Brewery and Sacramento-based alternative metal band Deftones have "collaborated" with two India Pale Ales. First one, Phantom Bride, was published in August 2016 and it has become part of the brewery's core range. Second one, Swerve City, saw the light of the day in June 2017 and according to the brewery's pages comes out seasonally. Since the beers haven't been actually available for me, haven't had a chance to taste either one. But they're not just lame lagers or British bollock ales like the usual band-related stuff, are they?  

But what if I could plan a beer for one of my favorite artists? Or even a complete line of beers that actually pays homage to the band? Of course, in that case the branded brews would be top notch hipster sipper stuff, not something you would forget in five minutes. Of course, the band's songs couldn't be stuff that you want to forget immediately if it ever catches your attention. You've probably dropped Maku Brewing as a brewery and Amorphis as an artist from the carriage, haven't you? If not, you didn't understand the two sentences starting with words "Of course".

This blog's most frequent artist choice is Black Sabbath with a total of 12 Ölbeats - 13 songs, because of the two songs with Hel & Verdoemenis - so far. No Skitbits on the list, because I respect their music from both the original lineup (with 12 songs on the blog) and the Dio period (one song on the blog) so much, that I forgive their sometimes complete misses of other singers and lineups. With two exceptions all the beers paired with Sabbath songs are dark, and with two exceptions all beers are "double" or "imperial" level heavy, i.e. higher than 8 % of abv. Mostly dark and heavy with Black Sabbath - call that the element of surprise a lá Ölmönger.

From up left clockwise: Osborne, Iommi, Butler and Ward.
So I select Black Sabbath as the band of my beer brand. The timing is perfect, since the band has officially and permanently disbanded in February 2017. Three questions arise:
  1. What are the means for selecting a beer or a line or series of beers - and the name(s)?
  2. What kind of beer(s) should be brewed?
  3. Which brewery in the world would I select for the job?    
And the three short answers are:
  1. The core series would consist of four beers named after the original members of the band: singer Ozzy Osbourne, guitarist Tony Iommi, bassist Geezer Butler and drummer Bill Ward. The beers' names would include the band members first name or the nickname, and a reference to one song by the band.
  2. Stupid question. Dark and heavy, of course.
  3. Since this Danish brewery has already branded something strongly associated to the music of the selected artist - that something being The Seven Deadly Sins as The Sinner Series - and since with their brews the brewery has proven to actually pay respect to the people they've worked with (like this one), my first choice would clearly be Amager Bryghus. They also usually brew great tasting big beers in big bottles and belong to my top-something-less-than-seven list of breweries, so I believe I wouldn't be unhappy with the outcome.
If there would be time for occasional experiments later, it would be great to get something connected to the albums or the songs, like Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, an Imperial Red IPA brewed with blood oranges and passion fruits, or Master of Reality, a Wee Heavy aged partly in Hendrick's gin barrels and partly in Aberlour whisky barrels. Sounds strangely attractive, doesn't it? But first, let's introduce the ideas and get the development of the core beer recipes started in the Copenhagen-based brewery.

Bill The Supernaut
(drummer Bill Ward & song Supernaut)

Imperial Cascadian Dark Ale (> 8 % abv) with gentle roast and sparkling citrus fruit presence 

Bill Ward was known as an unorthodox drummer with strong jazz influence, which showed out as not just giving a beat for guitar riffs but rather dancing around them and adding power to the gloomy musical landscape.

Got no religion, don't need no friends
Got all I want and I don't need to pretend
Don't try to reach me, 'cause I'd tear up your mind
I've seen the future and I've left it behind

Geezer The Architecht
(bassist Geezer Butler & song Spiral Architect)

Imperial Brown Ale (> 8 %) brewed with coffee and cocoa beans

Geezer Butler was, in addition to a versatile and skillful bass player, the main lyricist during the 1970's - the genius behind legendary lyrics of songs like Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, Into the Void and Black Sabbath, among many others.

Of all the things I value most in life
I see my memories and feel their warmth
And know that they are good
You know that I should 

Tony the Lord
(guitarist Tony Iommi & song Lord of This World)

Imperial Stout (>11 %) with strong flavours, sharp edges and a high potential for aging

Tony Iommi was the only original member of Sabbath throughout the band's history, the primary composer of the band and, according to Ronnie James Dio, the ultimate riff master. Probably the most influential guitar player in the history of heavy metal.

Your world was made for you by someone above
But you choose evil ways instead of love.
You made me master of the world where you exist
The soul I took from you was not even missed, yeah

Ozzy the Warpig
(vocalist Ozzy Osbourne & song War Pigs)

Rye Wine (>10 % abv) aged in Jameson whisky barrels

Ozzy Osbourne was the band's voice of agony and desperation, a singer with a very unique and distinctive voice and ability to hit painfully high notes among soulful and credible interpretation. 

Day of judgement, God is calling
On their knees, the war pigs crawling
Begging mercy for their sins
Satan, laughing, spreads his wings


So, two of the citated songs (Spiral Architect and War Pigs) have already been paired with beers and other two (Supernaut and Lord of This World) will be left for waiting their turn with something excellent. I selected the song, that I'll hear in the background if any of these ideas will ever turn out as actual brews even close to the description. "Yeah, fairies wear boots and you gotta believe me / I saw it, I saw it with my own two eyes!" And my shrink will tell me: "Son, son, you've gone too far. / 'Cause smokin' and trippin' is all that you do."

Black Sabbath: Fairies Wear Boots (YouTube)

From the 1970 album Paranoid, the song was written by Geezer Butler, Tony Iommi, Ozzy Osbourne and Bill Ward.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Ölbeat 345: Orava Orwellian Nightmare 2018

Brewery: Orava Brewing (brewed at Cool Head Brew)
Country: Finland
Style: Imperial Stout
Abv: 10 %
What about the beer?
Colour is black with quickly vanishing head. Aroma has roast, espresso and dark chocolate. Taste begins with strong and bitter spicy roast. Bitter heavy roasted espresso and vanilla-spiced dark chocolate take over. Towards the end espresso, chocolate and spicy flavours are joined by dry oaky booze. Aftertaste has bitter dark chocolate and warm oaky-roasty dryness.

Spicy and bitter roasty Imperial Stout. Espresso and dark chocolate come deliciously out with roast, spices, booze and oak. Rich and very tasty, the squirrels (Orava means a squirrel) get the job done.

This beer was part of Alko's Finnish artisanal beer selection in spring 2018.


Propaganda, surveillance, misinformation, denial of truth, and manipulation of the past? Yep, that's Orwellian enough. A case for System Of A Down.

System Of A Down: Hypnotize (YouTube)

From the 2005 album Hypnotize, the song was written by Daron Malakian and Serj Tankian.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Ölbeat 344: Malmgård Imperial Oatmeal Stout

Brewery: Malmgård
Country: Finland
Style: Imperial Stout
Abv: 9 %
What about the beer?
Colour is black with a finger-thick beige head. Aroma has roasted malts, espresso and cocoa. Taste begins with bitter espresso roast. Strong espresso, bitter roast and dark chocolate take over. Towards the end charcoaly roasted malts and bitter dark chocolate get the strongest grip. Aftertaste has mocha chocolate, bitter roast and cocoa-flavoured dryness.

Charred and chocolaty Imperial Stout. Shortly put, a well-made coffee-chocolate-roasty by the book impy, no tricks. Fits my taste almost perfectly. But that's Malmgård.

This beer was part of Alko's Finnish artisanal beer selection in spring 2018.


Sadly, this majestic beer will probably not be added to the regular selection of Malmgård brewery but will only rule for the short availability period this spring. Almost similar case as their great Imperial IPA was, then. Or how will it be?

Battle Beast: King for a Day (YouTube)

From the 2017 album Bringer of Pain, the song was written by Battle Beast.