Hello once again dear readers. I return to you once again, newly energized from my travels (mildly) abroad. As the good brother Zyklonius mentioned last week, I spent five days in beautiful Denver, Colorado last week and I couldn’t have enjoyed my time more. There was hiking, museums, amazing food, and of course a pilgrimage (or three) to the almighty Trve Brewing Company for some of the best beers I’ve ever had in my life. Would that I had any of those elixirs to bring to the table tonight but alas, I will simply have to dream of a return trip. In the meantime, we return in style with another offering of a brew more local to me and an album not quite so local at all. The Metal: Memoriam’s For the Fallen. The Booze: Firestone Walker’s 2017 Vintage Parabola.
The Metal: Memoriam’s For the Fallen
It seems like this week is going to be yet another death metal binge for me; between Extremity’s Extremely Fucking Dead and Memoriam’s stellar For the Fallen there is a dearth of new death metal to be talked about. Much like Extremity, Memoriam is a death metal “supergroup” of sorts, composed of members of Bolt Thrower and Benediction, two of Great Britain’s most revered metal acts. And much like Extremely Fucking Dead, For the Fallen shows a band that is able to become something more than even the sum of its parts would suggest possible. The instantly recognizable stomp of Bolt Thrower and Benediction are all accounted for, and when combined with the razor sharp tremolo riffs they offer a slab of death metal that hits everything that makes UK death metal timelessly appealing. Yet the band still manage to throw some surprises at you; in particular, the all-out punk attack of “Corrupted System” shows a different side of these veterans and makes for an absolute highlight of the album for me. Memoriam are more than simply riding on the success of their name; For the Fallen shows a group of dedicated people doing what they love and doing it with conviction and heart, and in the process creating something more seismically heavy than anyone could think possible.
The Booze: Firestone Walker’s 2017 Vintage Parabola
Paso Robles, CA’s Firestone Walker are one of the more no-nonsense breweries California has to offer. While many in the area are all about mixing outlandish fruit flavors and insane amounts of hops in their recipes, yet such levels of experimentation often fall short of target. Firestone Walker offer more traditional styles and flavors that are simple, yet executed well. This isn’t to say the brewery doesn’t go big every now and then; their Opal dry-hopped saison is a staple of mine, especially in the hot summer months, and now we have a new vintage of the Parabola barrel-aged imperial stout to sample. This particular vintage was brewed in Kansas City, MO in conjunction with Boulevard Brewing after Firestone Walker unexpectedly exceeded their capacity in Paso Robles. Having never had any other vintage of Parabola before, I can’t speak to the differences the location shift brought to the drink. What I do know is that this 2017 vintage is damn delicious: big and boozy as any barrel-aged beer should be, yet offering distinct dark fruit flavors not often accentuated in stouts. Fear not, however: there is more than enough coffee and chocolate present to please any stout fan, yet instead of a cafe mocha as many stouts often taste to me, this reminds me more of an upscale chocolate bar filled with rich, exotic fruit. The sweet finish helps to soften the blow of the 14.5% alcohol content, leading to a deceptively strong drink that begs to be sipped slow and enjoyed for an evening.
And with that, I’m back in the saddle once more. Vacation is nice, but good drinks and good tunes are always there for me no matter whether I’m home or abroad. Hopefully you all have been enjoying yourselves too. Until next we meet, onward to victory.
Cheers, and be good to each other,