Monday, May 28, 2012

May 28th, 2012 - Honoring the American Soldier or "Give Me Liberty & Give Me A Cold One!"

This Memorial Day pairing is dedicated to my grandfather, James Patterson who died about 23 years ago of cancer.  He liked beer.  He was also a World War II veteran.  He served on a Coast Guard transport ship in the Pacific Theater.  He later transferred to the Army and retired from service in the early 1970s.  He wouldn't talk about his service during the war.  I learned after his death from my grandmother that the reason he would not talk about the war was because of what he had witnessed.  His ship had been hit by a Kamikaze pilot.  The plane exploded on the deck and then the flames were sucked into the hull.  Most of the men on his ship were burned to death.  He lived with a lot of guilt I believe: one for living while many of his fellow shipmates died a horrible death and also because many of the Marines he and his crew transported to the South Pacific islands never returned.  I wish he was still alive so I could let him know that he was a hero.  Hell, I just wish he was still alive.  This one is for you Gramps!!  (I also want to dedicate this pairing to all of the fallen soldiers and the families left behind as well as those men and women currently serving and to their families.)

Today I am pairing Wasatch Beers' award-winning, 1st Amendment Lager and Queensryche's 2009 "American Soldier," a concept album of sorts that honors the American soldier/veteran, specifically those coming back from the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

Like any good American lager, Wasatch Beers' 1st Amendment Lager is a refreshing, smooth, and very drinkable beer.  The 1st Amendment pours a light golden amber, the color of a Middle American wheat field.  It has a 1 finger head with good, sustained lacing.  The nose is slightly hoppy and malty, but rather mellow.  The flavor is subtle... it is an American lager after all, but it goes down nicely with notes of wheat bread and a clean finish.  Subsequently, Wasatch created this beer as a protest of the Utah Legislature's excise tax on local breweries.  Wasatch dumped four kegs of beer into the Great Salt Lake.  It was in essence their own Boston Tea Party.  :)

I have to admit Queensryche's "American Soldier" is not one of my favorite albums by this band.  It feels a bit overproduced, doesn't have the muical intensity of earlier albums, and let's be honest... it is a bit pretensous, but I appreciate the sentiment behind it.  Don't get me wrong... I do like it.  There are some really strong momements musically thoughout like "Unafraid," "Hundred Mile Stare," "Middle of Hell," and "The Killer."   "Man Down!" is a great rocker, with a wonderfully fluid and almost ethereal guitar solo in the middle.  And throughout the album, Geoff Tate's vocals are great - soaring and emotional like days of old.  The album ends with "The Voice," which is a cool, almost epic finale, however it is almost more indie pop than it is metal.  I also do like the use (maybe overuse) of interviews with actual vets throughout the album.  There is nothing more powerful than a man's own words describing the sorrow, horror, bordem, heroics, reality of fighting for his country.

I don't think Gramps would have been into the album so much, but I think he would have enjoyed the 1st Amendment Lager.  :)  Check out all of Wasatch Beer's fine brews at

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