Tag Archives: heavy metal

Relevant To My Interests

Also, because I know that one of my friends or family will see this and forward the story on to me*, I just want to get ahead of the curve.

There’s a heavy metal band called the Trappist and they’ve just made a beer-themed album.

I don’t know if it’ll be good, but so far it sounds at least modestly silly and I can get behind that. Maybe I’ll do a little review after it comes out on August 4.

*I really appreciate those people forwarding me thing to write about!

7pm: Plutonium or Neurosis

ninkasi sleigh'rNinkasi’s Sleigh’r is on tap and as a metalhead, I’m honor bound to have at least one pint of it per season it is available. Despite collecting my thoughts to the jazz riff coming through Bailey’s system, I can still recount the great metal riffs in my head with ease.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved fast songs. I was predisposed to love thrash metal, as soon as I heard it, because it was faster than anything else.  It took me awhile to come around to the heavy side of things; the difference between loving Into the Lungs of Hell and Ashes You Leave can be just big as loving Carry That Weight and A Dying God Coming Into Human Flesh, if you’re not open to it. That those songs are cut from the same cloth doesn’t matter, so long as one is stuck in a mindset that insists on forming a reality instead of accepting what is there.

For awhile I did that, of course; one of the blessings of being a teenager is that everything is louder than everything else, but one of the curses is that everything that is not one of us is hostile. I count myself lucky enough to have been introduced to harmony at a young age and even now I gravitate towards music that has some sense of catchiness to it (though it may be without harmony) rather than the strict technical execution or overwhelming density that some of my peers may gravitate to.

Still, now I’m approaching the age where my presence might be creepy at shows and I wonder if I can find acceptance amongst them. Not that I was good at getting along with the brothers of metal before but there were at least a group I could be a part of. Yet I still love the downtuned riffs with kick drums that sound like they’re being run on by a long distance runner. Not like I used to but that’s alright. Let the next generation take up the mantle, let others carry the torch.

We (and they) have got a unique opportunity to learn from the past, because it is accessible in a way it never was before, in order to forge the future.

The Sleigh’r I’m drinking can’t ever be replicated in the future. Even if it’s the same, it has to be different, due to the effects of time, context of other foood, etc. It may still be good but the precise experience can’t be replicated.

Unlike Damage Inc, which will be the same-and easy to hear for anyone-this beer can only be shared in the moment I have with it. Maybe there’s chance for us to avoid the depth of mire (the mire is unavoidable) our fathers found-and we found after them- because the past is right there; a now as easy to flip to as a comic book page, instead of the ‘man yells at cloud‘ dreariness that follows us at the moment.

And Don’t Forget the Joker

ace of spades brewI have no way of knowing if the brewers at Hopworks meant to evoke Motorhead when they made the Ace of Spades but because I love heavy metal I’m going to pretend. (As it turns out, they did! YAAAY!)

The fact is; this beers has a serious hopiness to it. They say they added hops at every point they could to this beer-but it doesn’t show. That’s a compliment though; the malts in this beer hold their own in a losing battle. Just enough to keep this from being a liquid hop cone but not nearly enough to call this beer balanced.

It’s possible the alcohol content helps the malt hold the line; at 9.5% this beer is a heater. The relevant point, I suppose, is that this beer comes at you hard and strong and while it finishes loud, when it’s over, it’s over.

So I dig it.

I don’t know if the man himself would like it-he’s a Jack Daniels fan from all reports but I have a feeling he’d be hard pressed to resist a pint of this. Hell, add it to the JD and have a hell of a Boilermaker. Cheers.

The Local: Matchbox Lounge

matchbox lounge“For meetings that are not entirely business, but not exactly personal either, the best places are litle pubs, with five or six tables at most.” -Anton Gorodetsky, Twilight Watch by Sergi Lukyanenko.

I’m all scattershot now.

Usually I arc out a narrative as I walk to the bar. In this case, it was going to be something about how the Whiskey Soda lounge wasn’t for me but when I left I walked by the Matchbox and thought; I didn’t know that was a pub! So here I am.

On my way here though, about 42nd and something, just after walking under the monkey arm tree, I heard a jingling, a kind of limp beat. Looking for the source I saw a fuzzy kitty, brown-gray with a black collar, limping between two houses. It’s silver and red tags clanging together as it gimped to what I hope was a safe location, left forepaw held up and dangling in the way that animals have when they’ve hurt a limb, it caused me to stop.

Owch. You need help there?

The cat stopped and looked at me. None of your nonsense human; I’m on my way home.

I certainly hope so.

Though I began walking on and heard the jingle of movement I still worried. The cat has a home, fortunately.

Now instead of a narrative I have jumbles of thoughts, like a Boggle board; scents of pine, lemongrass, and smoke, girls playing on their front porch, a strange starburst shaped thing with blue and purple colors on another, and look, there’s a Cube.

Who the fuck thought that Cube was a good name for a car? Brought to you by the people who named ‘orange’.

The Matchbox treats. The bartender has an Isis shirt on and we talk about the upcoming Melvins/Isis split and tour. All of fifteen seconds and the Lounge has won me over because there’s a heavy metal bartender. The art on the wall ranges from multimedia to sparse, local artists with their wares on display, a solid wal-o-hol and a nice jukebox selection; some music expected, some not. Plus, I can see from there Johnny Cash is there and liking Johnny Cash is pretty much quintessentially American. Not everybody is going to get Metallica or Crooked Fingers; everybody gets The Man in Black.

I got a Daily Bread common ale. I keep trying common ales in part because it was an extinct style-or nearly extinct-and I like the idea that what is lost can be revived. It’s the Roman Catholic in me; I have a thing for redemption, even if it’s beer. Actually, beer makes more sense than anything else.

However, the style just never quite works for me. A little thin in front like sweet air, a bit too bitter at the end, slightly dry finish in this case. I probably would’ve been better off with an IPA but I cannot resist the glory of new things. I think I’d rather have a proper mild ale than a common but oh well. What’s done is done.

The bartender removes a bottle of Johnny Walker red to light a candle behind it. I like that there are hidden candles. I don’t know how the drinks are here but I think this might make a good alternate for the Victory lounge on nights when that place is crowded.

I hope that cat made it home. It bothers me that I had to let it go. I am not a cat person but I dislike seeing someone limp.

The Local: Belmont Inn

The past few weeks have seen me at bars where beer is not a revered drink. Or even one that is held in esteem. Oh, the selection hasn’t been bad but it hasn’t been impressive. The interest in providing an interesting beer to drink hasn’t been part of the bar’s vibe.

belmont inn menuSo I have come to the Belmont Inn. Part sports bar, part local, classic rock juke, pool tables and a rotating selection of pinball machines, this is very much a classic bar. What I think of when I think of a bar. It’s lit better than it used to be and it has one of my favorite tables to sit at in Portland; on the corner of 35th and Belmont with windows providing a not-quite-panoramic view of the area.

Amongst the possible selections I choose Off the Rail‘s Sweet Leaf amber. Because at the end of the day, I love heavy metal and all other choices being equal I’m going to give the beer named after a Black Sabbath song a shot. And the beer is good, easy drinking with a touch of fizz at the end to keep it from getting too sweet. I could have a couple of these easily and enjoy them immensely.

I have to admit, it’s nice to be in a bar where I have an actual selection of brews to pick from again. The other adventures I’ve had lately have all had their charms but those bars were frequently not for me. They served a different audience and while I am sometimes part of that audience I missed going in to a place and having to make a difficult choice, as opposed to selecting from known quantities.

The Belmont Inn has cleaned up a bit in the years since I first started coming here. Not entirely for the better. Where a ‘Murphy’s Law‘ poster once hung, a Coors Light mirror is on the wall. I’m not sure if that proves Murphy’s point or not but I doubt anyone could really argue that the switch is an improvement. There are more TVs hanging around-always a detriment-and some of those places where you could hunker down and hide out from the rest of the bar are now illuminated. Being able to see is nice and the bar smells of fries and sandwiches now instead of smoke which is always an improvement but sometimes you just need to hide.

I’m not complaining though; I can come here and play cards and enjoy the view of the street without having to endure the elements of the outdoors. People are always passing by and there’s always a story to them, if you’re willing to pay attention. There are more beers than ever to sample and I’ve got a real yen to try the food. If I had another $5 to spare, I undoubtedly would.

52 Weeks 52: Terminal Gravity Foursome

Now that I’ve sold out to get the kinky sex crowd, (’cause you just know that a whole new group of people will stumble on this blog because of the word ‘foursome’ and I can’t turn down readers) let’s get this party going.

“First of all I’d like to thank my connect,”-Jay-Z.

A heartfelt thank you to Geoff and the other staff at Bailey’s who’ve served me drinks. I’d mention them by name but I don’t wish to presume a familiarity upon them and I certainly don’t want to forget someone, which is always a danger at times like this. I took their time and certainly my share of space but they were all unfailingly helpful and pleasant. 

I’m drinking a flight of Terminal Gravity beers; two old ales, Festivals from 2008 and 2009, then two barleywines, Bucolic Plague from ’02 and ’06. As one might expect, the ’09 old ale is smoother and fuller, more roasted and mature in flavor. I haven’t gotten to the barleywines yet. 

I’m in the back chamber again-it’s been redesigned since I sat here last. The table is this big chunk of wood-maybe even a former railroad tie- that’s been cleaned up and smoothed out. It’s shiny and dense and it feels like the kind of thing to put your beer on. It’s almost a place to stand at. You can lean on the wood, rest your drink in front, and enjoy…if you’re about six inches shorter than I am. Maybe four.

This area isn’t quite done yet, I’m told, but it’s going to be a hell of a space when it’s done I promise you that. The space is just wide enough for beers, so it encourages your hands being free; a bonus for someone like me who tends to gesticulate when he speaks. 

Sparky; this moment is for you. 

And now it’s done. (Sparky  had asked, months ago, to be mentioned in the final post and I said I would oblige him.)

Oh man. That 2002 Bucolic Plague is so good. Like alcoholic caramel, warm from a street vendor, with a buttery nose and a fierce heat to it, fighting the winter off with a battleaxe. I think this beer may be solely responsible for the unseasonable warmth of today. 

I have to confess, I’m looking forward to becoming a customer again. A regular customer, that is; someone who can sit at the bar and visit or just people watch without having to both internalize the situation and externalize it for readers. Don’t get me wrong; next week there will be another post, a new (if similar) theme and I look forward to doing that but our favorite spots are favored for a reason; they are shelters where we don’t have to present our external selves all the time. We can smile in crooked ways and people understand that our laughter is still straight. 

That isn’t to say I won’t ever blog from or about Bailey’s again; I undoubtedly will. But I’m part of the scenery here now and that changes things. I’m going to take some time to figure out what that means. I’m going to take some time to just enjoy the space I’m in.

I suppose if I’ve had a theme this year, time has been a key part of it. Or at least the idea that I ought to inhabit the space I’m in as much as I can, enjoy it, or at least be in the now, this has been a recurring idea. 

There’s been a shift change; I can tell because in the middle of Duran Duran’s Rio (which I like quite a bit) the music has cut out and shifted to a song I don’t immediately recognize. I almost think I should’ve asked if I could play my iPod tonight. It would be all Pelican, all the time. If my choices are Duran Duran, some kind of hip-hop and heavy fucking metal, then…
/short laughter

The 2006 Bucolic Plague is a bit different, a touch more sour than it’s older sister. Not quite as much body; an interesting brew but I think I would’ve preferred to finish with the ’02. Ah well; that’s life.

I’ll see everyone next week, bad photos and all.

52 Weeks 42: Klamath Basin Cabin Fever (Guest Blogger)

Hi everyone! I’m a Sackperson. I say person because my silly owner hasn’t decided if I’m a boy or a girl. It seems like it should be obvious, but he doesn’t know, and I certainly don’t feel like telling him. Perhaps you have a suggestion? 

He’s taken to calling me Yo-Yo, because he carried me in his backpack all weekend at PAX just like Yoda, but that may not even be my name for Pete’s sake!  However, everything needs to be called something, so I suppose this will do for now. Maybe you have a better suggestion?

On the way here today, I was listening to Anthrax (don’t blame me, I needed a ride. My legs are too short to reach the pedals of the car!) and there was a line from ‘Stealing From A Thief’: 
“As a kid I played make-believe, as a man I play make-believe
As a kid I did anything, as a man I do anything”

I have to say, I like that line. The music is awfully loud for a Sackperson but my owner seems to love it, so I suppose I’ll get used to it.  But I like the line a lot. It’s good to remember that the world has possibilities, instead of just limits. 

Now let me tell you, as the guest blogger for the week I’ll mostly be recounting the tales from last weekend. My owner says it’s dangerous out there for a lonely sackperson and he can’t take me everywhere. My neck seems to be a little fragile and I don’t play well with liquids most of the time. So if I speak in the past tense, it’s not because I’m dead. I’m safe at home. But I had quite an adventure and this week is the time to tell you all about it!

Let me pause for just a moment though and tell you about this stout. That’s why you’re here of course and my owner is giving me very stern looks that say I shouldn’t dawdle or pause too much. You want to know if this stout is good. 

It is.

Now, let’s talk about–I have to do more? Really?

Why is that? Why can’t I tell you that it’s good, and you should try it? There are people to meet, and an entire evening to enjoy. Can’t you just take my word for it? 

You can? 

Why, excellent! Silly owner, all worried about what everyone will think or say. Sit, enjoy your beer. Tell me a story. Sackpeople LOVE stories. Perhaps not as much as we love jumping and grabbing, swinging to platforms over fiery pits, being dressed in weird costumes; like ones with lion’s heads with frilly neckpieces and coattails with green goggles and vampire teeth and orange boots, but we still love stories!  So come and sit down. Let me enjoy your company. After all, I only have a week.