Sunday, February 24, 2013

February 24th, 2013 - For Victory Or Brew

A pairing from the Meista for you today friends that combines a bit of my Scandanavian Viking heritage (Danish) and the Trappist influence on American breweries... I'm going with Swedish melodic death metal gods Amon Amarth and their 2011 album "Surtur Rising" and pairing it with a PranQster Belgian-Style Golden Ale from North Coast Brewing Company.  Now I usually like to go more with bitter and big double IPAs or heavy Imperial stouts when I pair brews with death metal, but I decided to try a sweet Belgian with "Surtur Rising," specifically because of the name of the beer (PranQster) and one song in particular, "Töck's Taunt: Loke's Treachery Part II."  I thought the trickery theme would make for a nice pair.  In pairing these, I also discovered that the sweet esters and zesty spices of the Praqster make for an interesting juxtiposition with the aggressive power of Amon Amarth!  This pairing goes out to my nephew Mike... cheers buddy!!

Hailing from Tumba, Sweden, Amon Amarth is a bombastic and explosive melodic death metal band in the tradition of European extreme metal.  The guitar work of Olavi Mikkonen and Johan Söderberg is fierce, precise, and chunky.  The bass of Ted Lundström and drumming of Fredrik Andersson is as thunderous and fiery as a Viking invasion.  And Johan Hegg growling vocals are honest, real, and perfect for the subject matter.  Musically, Amon Amarth is aggressive, incredibly fast, and powerful.  Lyrically, Amon Amarth writes mostly about the Viking Age and Norse mythology.  Because of this fact they have been categorized by some as Viking Metal, but vocalist Johan Hegg has jokingly remarked: "We play death metal.  We write about Vikings so, therefore, some refer us to Viking metal, but I have no idea what that is.  I can't imagine the Vikings were into metal at all except on the swords and stuff.  And musically, I guess they only played these strange lip instruments and some bongos or whatever."  He adds, "We don’t really see ourselves as one of those bands doing pagan folklore music.  The reason we took the Viking theme and mythology theme as a lyrical theme for the band was, perhaps, more accidental from the start. When we wrote the first song with Viking lyrics, we felt it was a topic that suited the music that we wanted to write really well...  It was something different, as well, from a lot of other bands.  In Sweden, I think only Bathory and Unleashed had done anything like it.  For us, it was to do something different, to stand out a little bit, to use those lyrics."  And stand out they do!  Amon Amarth has quickly become one of my favorite metal acts.  Like a good Belgian beer, their content is complex, engaging, multi-layered and just so goddamned exhilarating!

 PranQster Belgian-Style Golden Ale from North Coast Brewing Company is a Belgian Strong Pale Ale.  Like the Norse god of mischief himself (Loke or Loki), the PranQster is a deceptively drinkable.  The unique and antiquated yeast strains and fruit esters make this an ale that is light and refreshing and goes down easy, but it packs a 7.6% ABV punch (or Viking battle axe swing).  The PranQster pours a wonderful, cloudy apricot-amber hue with a billowy white, Odin's beard, 2-finger head in a frosted glass.  The nose is floral and fruity with notes of spring blossoms, sweet pear, and orange along with spices: coriander, nutmeg, and cloves.  Like the complex aromas, the flavor is a mix of sweet and spicy with just a hint of hops.  There are some really nice soft banana notes along with white grape, clover honey, and wheat bread.  There's a nice clean, bubble gum finish as well to the PranQster, which is almost comical in terms of pairing it with a death metal band singing about Norse gods and Viking battles.  :)  But it works!

Pick up a copy of "Surtur Rising" from the Heavy Metal Shop ( and check out the PranQster and all of North Coast Brewing Company's other great beers at

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