Rock n Roll Beverage is taking an indefinite holiday but it may again return
SINGLE HOP SERIES No.1 – CHINOOK by WEIRD BEARD
EVERYBODY KNOWS WE GOT NOWHERE by THE HEADS
It’s Record Store Day so what else could I do but pair a beer with a musical purchase from this year’s (sort of) exclusive releases…
Weird Beard’s Chinook pours a sexy deep mahogany – the exact colour that we all dream Audrey Hepburn’s hair was – and it’s topped with an off-white head that instantly recalls Ernest Hemingway’s beard when he was at the highest peak of genius.
The nose is cherry lips, half an ounce of the finest freshly lit shag, the delicate but intoxicating scent of the person you’ve never met but you know you’d instantly fall in love with if you ever did and, understandably, Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
The taste is like a boring brown beer, which, if you believe the bottle blurb, was Weird Beard’s goal. But it’s a boring brown beer where the word boring has an entirely re-defined meaning. The taste is treacle & liquorice toffee mixed with figs soaked in rum complimented with a squeeze of blood orange and a drop or two of bitters and it’s all been deliciously squashed between a big fat slice of your granny’s home baked brown bread. In short: Weird Beard’s Chinook tastes like a fucking damn good pint in a fucking damn good pint. Delicious.
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Excuse the sexual cuss words but there is only one way to truly accurately describe Everybody Knows We Got Nowhere: It’s a heavy motherfucking cunt of a whore… but one that frequently displays an immense amount of depth and subtly and, more importantly, an excellent understanding of the underrated art of song structure. It’s a sublime riot of noise: Screeching psychedelic guitars that sound like they’re trying to commune with a devil or, at the very least, a Robert Johnson who has just discovered the true power of psilocybin; Throbbing bass that is only half an ohm away from splitting the San Andreas Fault; Pounding drums that must be trying to call forth the 17th apocalypse. It zooms along at super-sonic speed but even in those rare moments when it has to drop a gear so it can successfully negotiate a cosmic canyon bend it never really lets up and it keeps bombarding your heart and mind with guitar riffs that even the most skilled air-guitarist will never be able to truly master. But as you can’t master those air guitar moves you pretend your Loki and bust some moves that would have Freya smiling with eager anticipation. Everybody Knows We Got Nowhere does exactly what every good slab of music should. It makes you move. It makes you move in a cool and sexy way. It makes you move in a cool and sexy way even if you aren’t cool and sexy. If Valhalla exists this is the music that the Norse lords will be freaking out to every freaking night.
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… all photography by landells except Everybody Knows We Got Nowhere …
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… follow @WeirdBeard_Brew …
“The Session is a monthly event for the beer blogging community which was started by Stan Hieronymus at Appellation Beer. On the first Friday of each month, all participating bloggers write about a predetermined topic. Each month a different blog is chosen to host The Session, choose the topic, and post a roundup of all the responses received. For more info on The Session, check out the Brookston Beer Bulletin’s nice archive page.”
I have a friend who is a recovering alcoholic. He lost his job to alcoholism.
Even when drink had taken almost complete control of his life and he physically had to drink every single day I don’t think there was ever a month when I didn’t consume more alcohol than him. He’d rarely drink more than two litres of Cider a night.
William Burroughs said that ‘You don’t decide to be an addict. One morning you wake up sick and you’re an addict.’ He was talking about opiates but I’m sure the same is true for alcohol. So how come some people wake up an addict and others don’t? I believe that if you want to avoid becoming ‘an addict’ it is something that you have to work at. I certainly have to work at it. Ever since I was a teenager I’ve enjoyed getting pished. It’s actually something that I think I do pretty well. I fully admit that I drink more beer than is considered healthy. And then some. But I regularly have days when I don’t drink and sometimes I even have weeks when I don’t drink. Thankfully, when I do I have booze free days/weeks I don’t find myself needing a drink and struggling to get by without one. Yeah, on occasion I’ll find myself hankering after a nice and tasty beer but I never have a quick medicinal glug of cooking sherry when nobody is looking. But that doesn’t mean that will always be the case…
Alcohol is a great servant but one hell of a cunt of a master. And despite the promises it makes it is never truly your friend.
Back in December of last year I attended the CAMRGB Xmas Twissup and while there I met John & Becky of Art Brew. I’d previously had a few Art Brew beers so I was very glad to discover that not only are they great brewers they’re also great drunken company.
A few weeks ago Art Brew announced via their Twitter feed that they’d once again be attending the Three Brewers Lyme Regis Beer Festival alongside Mighty Hop and Town Mill. The Dorset coast is a lovely little corner of the world and even more so when great tasting beer is on the menu so the decision to pop down for the Festival wasn’t a difficult one.
It took two hours to drive from Swindon down to Lyme Regis. Then it took another 45 minutes to find a parking space – it seemed like half the world had chosen Saturday as their preferred day to descend upon the town. We’d inadvertently parked at the opposite end of town from the festival venue but it was a pleasant stroll along the sea front past numerous fish & chip shops and pubs that sold Palmers, the big boys from a few miles along the coast. Lyme Regis is a lovely little town and well worth a visit even if there’s not a beer festival on… although I think it might be a bit of a nightmare in the height of the summer school holidays.
The Marine Theatre is great venue – small but perfectly formed. We’d only been inside for a couple of minutes when my girlfriend remarked that the Army (both the band and their followers) would love it there and I wholeheartedly agree – it would be a fantastic place to see a gig. It’s also a fantastic place for a beer festival.
There were over 20 beers available (all at only £3 a pint) and quite a few ciders – here’s what I had:
Spanked Monkey [6.4%] by Art Brew
Earth Roots Resin [6.0%] by Art Brew
Orange IPA [6.4%] by Art Brew
Granny’s Teeth [6.0%] by Town Mill
Festival Special Bitter [3.9%] by Mighty Hop
Hip Hop Green Bullet [4.3%] by Art Brew
Extra Citra [6.0%] by Art Brew
Anarchist Party Bitter [7.3%] by Art Brew
There wasn’t a bad beer among them but the real stand outs were the Earth Roots Resin, Extra Citra and Anarchist Party Bitter – I look forward to drinking them all many many times again.
Between beers I managed to have a couple of chats and with John and Becky (who both seemed very happy with this year’s festival) and also be introduced to Pete Cooke of Sherfield Village Brewery whose beers are now on my must try list.
Overall, I thought the festival was fantastic with a great mix of clientele. There were some CAMRA Spods and Craft Beer Hipsters in attendance but the majority of people just seemed interested in having fun and getting a bit pished on really good beer. A real community event. It was a brilliant day out and one that I’d love to experience again next year… and beyond.
Special thanks to John & Becky of Art Brew for leaving a couple of tickets on the door for me – the kind gesture was very much appreciated.
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Good ol’ Phil Hardy is back to his nefarious ways and this time he’s forcing us all to drink Barley Wines and Old Ales (same difference some might say).
My initial plan was simply to compare one Barley Wine that’s considered by many to be a classic of the style to one that’s generally shunned by all except a few drunken crazies. However, last week I was having a tidy up of my mind and my beer stash and I realised that I had beers from three of the UKs big regional breweries that were Barley Wines/Old Ales. It was at that point that I decided I would spilt my Any Old Ale experience into two – an Undercard and a Main Event. All week I’ve been accepting and rejecting the music that I would pair with the beer until about 10am this very morning when I decided that 60s psychedelia was the way to go… freak knows why, man, but like, you know, wow, far out dude
Here’s what went down…
(All comments were written while the music was playing and the beer was flowing – no edits, overdubs or studio wankery)
* * *VINTAGE ALE 2012 [7.5%] by BATEMANS paired with THIS IS PSYCHEDELIA [Disc One]
Nose: Crap cough medicine that won’t work that’s been mixed with water from the tank in the attic where you’re sure someone was drowned before you moved into the house
Taste: Nothing much. A little bit of toffee pudding. A little bit of Eccles cake. A little bit of cold surgical steel. Thin and bland. Not especially bad but boring and ultimately pointless
Sound: Cor! It’s like I’m 17 again and back buying pot from middle-aged men in tie-dyed tshirts. Ahhhh… it’s impossible to hear Grace Slick sing and not have an overwhelming desire to drop acid and then run hand in hand with her through a field of blue poppies. An immense slice of 60s psych – classic after classic… and having Venus in Furs follow Pictures of Matchstick Men is a masterstroke that very few of us will ever be able to truly appreciate and understand
* * *VINTAGE ALE 2012 [8.5%] by FULLERS paired with THIS IS PSYCHEDELIA [Disc Two]
Nose: The aftermath of a bar brawl in an old folks home – leather loafers soaked with sherry and port. Or, if OAP violence ain’t your bag, a ramekin overflowing with boozy berries
Taste: Christmas cake! Christmas cake! But it’s not even snowing! This is tasting far more rounded and complex than the bottle I had late last year, which gives me high hopes for the two I’ve stashed away until 2020. Pleasantly surprised
Sound: The hippies are getting angry! Frowns not Flowers! There’s many a classic on this disc but thankfully not the ones that those bores who get all their musical knowledge from BBC music documentaries will recognise
* * *THE WANDERING WOODWOSE [8.0%] by BADGER paired with THIS IS PSYCHEDELIA [Disc Three]
Nose: Screaming homosexuals, unrelenting nymphomaniacs and lashings and lashings of ginger beer
Taste: I have a strict policy that I don’t comment on the taste of Wandering Woodwose unless I have two of them – sorry, but rules are fucking rules
Sound: The lost classic from the supergroup Dad’s Love, which features the twin powers of Arthur Lee and Arthur Lowe
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… and now I do believe it’s time for the main event …
I’ve got a few bottles of beer ‘laid down’. But I’m not really sure why. I’m not really sure what I’m hoping to achieve. So why bother? Is there anything to be gained from such an endeavour? I suppose if a beer with a hefty ABV is a bit rough around the edges when it’s only been in the bottle for a few weeks or months there’s a chance it’ll develop and improve if given a bit of time. As a famous poet once told me: a beer needs a week in the bottle for every per cent of ABV. And if an expensive beer is shit you could lay it down in the hope that something delicious will occur and your money won’t be wasted. But what if you’ve bought a beer and find it’s ace the first time you crack it open? Is there any point having it hanging around only to be consumed later when it might not be as good as it once was? And if you’ve only had a beer once or twice can you really say if it tastes better when you have it two or more years later? If you have a dozen or so bottles of a beer you could track it’s progress over time and then you’d build up a solid picture of the beer’s overall quality and have a good idea if you should polish them off or keep going. But this would require a decent chunk of cash - cash that I’m not sure I want to commit to such an undertaking.
And there are other problems with laying down beer. I keep my beer in the garage and I do have a fear that one night some bawbag will break in and make off with my bike and then come back for my beer. Having my beer stolen is bad enough but I’m pretty certain that most people who choose breaking into garages as a career aren’t going to be overly impressed by my taste in beer and will consequently pour most of it down the sink. Another problem I have is finding the right moment to decide enough is enough and unleash the bottle opener. The longer a beer hangs around the more reluctant I am to open it as I’m scared that it’s going to be a huge anti-climax. As the old travel mantra goes: when you get there, there’s no there. A third problem is that it makes you look like a bit of an attention-seeking show-off nobend. Loads of time on Twitter I’ve heard somebody mention a beer and then someone else has joined in by saying that they have 10 bottles of the 2005 version laid down, or something similar. Such tweets always make me think, even when it’s people I know and like, of the immortal Leonard Cohen line ‘you don’t really care for beer, do ya? You just like looking cool’. And I’ve sent such tweets myself. On more than one occasion. I am an attention-seeking show-off nobend but I’m trying to mend my ways, which is why I’m getting rid of my stash (well, most of it).
Here’s what I’ve got in my stash and what I’m planning to do with them..ARBOR ALES - 500 MINUTE IPA [10.7%] ARBOR ALES – DOWN DEEPER [10.2%] ARBOR ALES – DOWN DEEPERER [12.0%} ARBOR ALES & ART BREW - DOUBLE TROUBLE [12.0%]
I’ll drink these one evening close to my 40th birthday (May 2013). The experience will be recorded as a Pub Crawl blog post
* * *GOOSE ISLAND – BOURBON COUNTY STOUT 2011 [14.5%]
I’ll drink this in Abney Park Cemetery with Matthew of Total Ales – straight from the bottle
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BREWDOG & MIKKELLER & NØGNE Ø – BLACK TOKYO HORIZON [17.2%]
I plan to share this with Stephen Powell of Blue Giant Beer and Ned Clarke of BrewDog Bristol
* * *BREWDOG - ABSTRAKT AB:07 [12.5%] BREWDOG - ABSTRAKT AB:08 [11.8%] BREWDOG - ABSTRAKT AB:09 [17.1%] BREWDOG – PARADOX CHRISTMAS 2012 [15.0%] BREWDOG & 3 FLOYDS - BITCH PLEASE ISLAY [13.5%]
I’m hoping to make it back to Denver at the end of this year for the Auto Club‘s NYE shows at The Oriental Theater and if I do I’ll possibly take these with me… unless you have a better idea?
* * *TENNENT’S – CENTENARY LAGER [unknown ABV]
* * *BADGER – WANDERING WOODWOSE [8.0%] FULLERS – VINTAGE 2012 [8.5%] BATEMANS – VINTAGE 2012 [7.5%]
Wandering Woodwose was one of my fav beers of 2012 – although, it must be said, some of the bottles were less impressive than others. Both of the Vintages were acceptable but unremarkable. So I’ve chucked two of each in an old Badger Beer box and I’ll drink them in seven years time alongside the Tennent’s Centenary… perhaps the aforementioned Andrew Mitchell will care to join me?
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My original plan was to get eight single hop beers from the same brewery and pair them with the eight Wedding Present albums but getting hold of eight proved too difficult. After I’d appealed to Twitter for suggestions, all-round beer dude, Zak Avery, said that Mallinsons made great single hop beers and as it was a brewery I’d never tried but had heard great things about I decided to buy every Mallinsons single hop beer that Beer Ritz had in stock – the five below and Citra (which I drank not long after my delivery arrived as it’s a single hop I’m reasonably well acquainted with). As my initial idea had failed to come to fruition I needed to come up with a new plan. A few ideas ran through my head before I decided that pairing the five beers with Neil Young‘s five albums for Geffen would be the way to go. Those albums are much maligned (often by people who’ve never bothered listening to them) but I think there’s something quite fractured and brilliant about them – flawed masterpieces I suppose you could call them, which, to a certain extent, is what every single hop beer is. As a little twist to the tale I decided to blend a third pint of each beer together to create a Hop Fusion (much like I once did with four Mikkeller single hop beers).
The beers were drunk in ABV order (low to high) and the albums were listened to in release date order. Here’s how it went down…
(All comments were written while the music was playing and the beer was flowing – no edits, overdubs or studio wankery)
* * *Brewers Gold [3.8%] paired with Trans 
Nose: A can of Lilt on some faraway beach
Taste: Ooooof! Bitter! Bitter! Bitter! Someone’s parked a number 38 bus that’s rammed full of cartons of breakfast juice in my mouth and pressed the detonate button. Damn tasty. I’m going for the second bottle…
Sound: An eighties tribute band covering Neil Young after spending a bank holiday weekend listening to nothing but glam metal and power ballads. De-Coder-A-Go-Go
* * *Columbus [3.9%] paired with Everybody’s Rockin’ 
Nose: Melon-scented raindrops
Taste: A little too potato patch for my liking but there’s a solid and thoroughly pleasant tang of whizzy-machined kiwi fruit in the finish
Sound: Little Richard meets Elvis meets The Cleftones meets The Cramps. A riot of sound! Big Neily rarely sounds like he’s having much as he did with the Shocking Pinks
* * *Aramis [4%] paired with Old Ways 
Nose: A banana Toffo at high noon. (Thankfully, it doesn’t smell like my dad circa 1985)
Taste: A thirst quenching glass of orange squash in a freshly mown country field
Sound: Papa Neil smokes too many Jamaican Woodbines and pretends he’s Uncle Willy. Perhaps a bit too trad country for everyday consumption but there’s enough crazy fiddle and bonkers Jewish harp action to make it an enjoyable diversion every now and again… and, of course, when you’re totally shredded there’s not much music that speaks to you quite as clearly as a bit of maudlin country
* * *Cascade [4.1%] paired with Landing On Water 
Nose: Cherry lips and coconut mushrooms mixed with the subtle hint of a Bruxelles back-street
Taste: A delicate sour fruit compote with a wee dollop of toffee ice cream… and some absinthe… and a game of chess
Sound: Could only have been made in the eighties – drums didn’t sound quite like this in any other decade. The perfect soundtrack to the greatest movie that Tom Cruise couldn’t be arsed making
* * *Amarillo [4.3%] paired with Life 
Nose: A dusty desert town populated by bad comedians and karaoke singers
Taste: A mouthful of tangy orange chews while mountain biking through the Palo Duro Canyon
Sounds: Meester Young is in a bad mood. He’s been let down and he’s been betrayed. But he still loves the world. And he still loves every single one of us… except you!
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FREE BONUS TRACK…Five Hop Fusion [theoretically 4%] paired with Arc
Nose: Johnson’s Baby Powder sprinkled over the pick n mix section at Woolworths
Taste: A Knickerbocker Glory Long Vodka gently laced with Peyote and pine needles
Sound: Elongated feedback assaults that featured on the Weld tour are melded into a slice of sonic awesomeness that gave birth to Acid Mothers Temple… at least it would’ve done if they’d ever actually heard it…
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follow Zak Avery – @ZakAvery
follow Mallinsons – @Mallinsons
follow David Gedge of The Wedding Present – @weddingpresent
don’t bother following Neil Young cos he hasn’t tweeted since December the 3rd
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(all photography by landells)