Neil Young Geffen Years Beer Fest

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…

The MPBeer Format

The MPBeer Format

(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 [1982]

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’ [1983]

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 [1985]

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 [1986]

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 [1987]

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!

* * *


Five Hop Fusion [theoretically 4%]
paired with

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…


* * *

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

* * *

(all photography by landells)


~ by landells on February 23, 2013.

4 Responses to “Neil Young Geffen Years Beer Fest”

  1. Stone uses only Ahtanum hops in their Pale Ale.Smart idea comparing single hop beers to get a better idea of what different hops can do for your beer. Here’s a blog post I did with the same idea. Hope its helpful for you.

    • Sorry, not sure why but your post had slipped into the spam folder

      Cheers for the link – nice read. Sadly, I don’t think we’re likely to see Hopworks here in the UK anytime soon

  2. Very, very cool. I’ve often thought of doing something like this myself, but now I’ve read this – I don’t think I could better it! Great work, enjoyed reading that.

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