Your web-browser is very outdated, and as such, this website may not display properly. Please consider upgrading to a modern, faster and more secure browser. Click here to do so.
(Just a quick one before I go to bed. Yep, that’s what she said…)
Here’s a continuation of the Forrest beers that I picked up on our recent trip down to the Otways. Having liked this from the tap at the brewery, I was very eager to see what it was like out of my own fridge. And yet again, I remember this being much better from the tap. It’s a very nice example of the style, and it ticks the right boxes but doesn’t really scream “I’m a fuckin’ awesome stout!” at you. What is a surprise is the head as you can see above - dear god, that’s a big one. Like I’ve said before, when an Aussie beer pours with a head like that, it’s always a nice change. But the alcohol isn’t enough to really grab you, and the body is just a little too light and tame. It almost feels like a dark ale rather than a stout. Nice flavours of dark roasted malts and even a bitter coffee kind of aftertaste, but not striking enough to really impress me. I’m hoping the pale - which I remember as a rather nice hoppy bitchslap to the taste-buds - will be better.
Dark and filthy - that’s what I was hoping the stout would be. And it’s what this, the debut Bolt Thrower album, In Battle There Is No Law!, is. They’d been kicking around for a few years releasing demos and whatnot, but this is the earliest stuff of theirs I’ve heard. Later efforts would be midpaced, stomping and even epic death metal, but this album is really intense. In the fast and punishing death metal are strains of grind and even crust punk, which makes it a pretty unique little album. Killer early death metal mixed in with some really cool influences that just makes it even more vicious and uncompromising. I’m not a Bolt Thrower fanatic, but I’m impressed that they’ve stayed tried and true through the years and never done anything close to a Morbid Angel about face, and yet not become self-parodying or stale.
And yes, as a side note - Jo Bench, bassist of Bolt Thrower as of their inception in 1986, one of the first women in “extreme” metal. It seems like you can’t mention Bolt Thrower without mentioning her too, so why the hell should I do things any differently? But in all seriousness, she’s a goddamn trailblazer.
(I’m thinking of moving this blog, or at least mirroring it elsewhere. I’m not really sure that tumblr is the right platform for it. Too much distraction, which means whenever I log onto it I spend hours looking at freaking rage comics and metal blogs rather than updating the damned thing. Anyway, onwards)
So, Mountain Goat. I’m a complete fanboy for these guys. There’s something about the hop-driven goodness they create that just makes me remember why I love beer so much. I’m a huge fan of these limited runs they do, and not only for their weirder experimental brews, but also the stalwarts. This stout is one of them, and you know what you’re going to get before you even pop the seal, even if it’s not for the famous hops. It isn’t as…well, stouty as some. Mouthfeel sure isn’t heavy as you expect it to be, but on all other fronts it ticks the boxes. That being said, I’m probably not the best judge on mouthfeel as I’m only just starting to understand its intricacies. As far as the roasted coffee, faint chocolate and slightly sweet finish go, they’re all present and accounted for and make this a pretty good example of an Aussie stout brewed for easy drinking. I have memories of having this at the Goat brewery after running through all their selections on offer…to say that the memories are hazy would be a bit of an understatement. But it’s definitely better in these longnecks.
And I know it’s an obvious ploy to pair this up with a Black Sabbath vinyl, but bugger it, it’s being done anyway. This was the first album without Ozzy, and it was about time too - their previous two albums had been, to put it kindly, stale. It probably wasn’t all Ozzy’s fault, but with the presence of the impressive-as-hell pipes of Ronnie James Dio (R.I.P.), it gave Iommi some new territories to explore riff-wise, and they moved away from their doomy sound to a more driving heavy metal sound with power metal flourishes. Yes, power metal, but not that flowery shit that gets touted as “power” these days. Forgetting about trying to pigeonhole this into a genre, it’s just a great heavy metal album which, while it might not be my favourite Sabbath album, clearly rejuvenated a tired band and set them up for the next decade at least. At the time it was hated by a large proportion of their fans because it was clearly different, but time has proved this to be a classic.
Like the mob in the previous post, Little Creatures have a thing for creating limited-run beers under the moniker “Single Batch”, which I’m assuming is actually true. I’m usually a much bigger fan of their normal output (although nothing tops their flagship pale ale), and this is no exception. A better-than-workmanlike foreign export stout which didn’t really hit any exceptional note, but was definitely worth the drinking time. Acceptable roasted malt flavours and a little chocolatey bite as well.
Blood Ceremony are one of those newish old-school doom bands that have popped up on the scene. Hailing from Canada, they take the best of Sabbath, the best of Jethro Tull (yep, including the flute!), occult themes and a smokingly sensual frontwoman with a voice to die happy to and explore dark lore. This is their first album from ‘08, reissued, and it just kills. If I were more of a smoker, I’d happily get maggoted to this little baby routinely. Beer does a good job of replacing the herb, though.