Born exactly 20 years to the day before yours truly, English bassist, vocalist, and songwriter Glenn Hughes has had a prolific 40+ year musical career thus far. From his early funk-rock work with Trapeze, to his profoundly amazing work with Deep Purple in the mid-'70s, to his short stint with Black Sabbath, to his Amazing (with a capital A!) solo career, to his work with Tony Iommi, Pat Thrall, and Joe Lynn Turner, to his fantastic current work with super group Black Country Communion, Hughes has always been visionary, a true musician, and "the voice of rock!" I adore all of his solo albums so picking just one for a pairing was no easy task, but "Songs In The Key Of Rock" really resonates with me from the first explosive note on "In My Blood" to the wonderful organ fade out on the "Untitled Hidden Track," which is a 1:08 minute slow version of "Higher Places." Employing a top-notch backup band with the likes of J.J. Marsh, Jeff Kollman, Gary Ferguson, Ed Roth, and guest appearances by Billy Sheehan and Chad Smith, Hughes creates a perfect sound with this album. It is steeped in a '70s hard rock sound (think Deep Purple, Rainbow, and early Whitesnake), soulful, Stevie Wonder-inspired funk, and wonderful musicianship throughout! Songs like "Lost In The Zone," the Zeppelin-esq "Higher Places (Song For Bonzo)," the funk-rocker "Get You Stoned," "Written All Over Your Face," "Courageous," "Change," "Truth," and "Wherever You Go" encompass a message of hope and peace, but with straight-ahead soulful rocking! The bass work, the guitar work, the drumming is profound, bright, complete, and inspiring. Hughes' voice is at its best... a huge, soulful range full of emotion and truth. His vocal work on "Higher Places" is just breathtaking! My brother claims that I have a non-sexual man-crush on Mr. Hughes! This may be true. Haha!
Like "Songs In The Key Of Rock," Anderson Valley Hop Ottin' IPA is crafted with precision, passion, and integrity deep-rooted in a love for the creative. The Hop Ottin' pours a brilliant copper color with a nice, frothy head with strong, sustained lacing. The nose is "bright" and floral with notes of grapefruit, pine resin, and herbs. Packed with Pacific Northwest hops, the flavor is sharp, citrusy, and bitter, but perfectly balanced with a complex malt character. There are orange zest notes, rose, and June grass. It is wonderfully dry, crisp, and clean with a light herbal tea-like finish. Wow, what a delicious beer! I cannot think of anything better to pair this beer with than the incomparable talent of Glenn Hughes and his mind-blowing work on "Songs In The Key Of Rock"!! Cheers!!
Check out Glenn Hughes on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/glennhughesonline?ref=ts&fref=ts and his website at http://www.glennhughes.com. And check out Hop Ottin' IPA and all of the great beers from Anderson Valley Brewing Company at http://www.facebook.com/AndersonValleyBrewingCompany?fref=ts and http://www.avbc.com.