Sunday, February 24, 2013

February 24th, 2013 - Caress Of Witbier

Probably a bad idea on a work night, but one more for you from the Meista tonight gang!  How about a Hoegaarden Wit - Blanche and the 1975 Rush progressive hard rock masterpiece, "Caress Of Steel"?  Hells yes!

With the simply perfect ingredients of water, yeast, wheat, hops, coriander, and dried Curaçao orange peel known as Laraha, the Hoegaarden Original White Ale, a witbier (white beer) from Brouwerij van Hoegaarden is a traditional, unfiltered Belgian pale.  Spiced with coriander and orange peel, along with a variety of spices, witbiers have become quite popular in the U.S.  The Hoegaarden pours a very hazy and cloudy straw yellow hue with a frothy and billowy head.  The nose is ripe banana with notes of orange, lemon, and yeast.  Light-bodied with medium carbonation, the mouthfeel is foamy, crisp, and dry.  The flavor is dominated by strong notes of pink bubble-gum and soft banana.  There are also those lovely and mellowing coriander spices that give it a somewhat peppery finish.  If you are not familiar with Belgian ales, the Hoegaarden is a great place to start... so much better than that Blue Moon shite!  Crisp and refreshing, with lower ABV, the Hoegaarden is great ale to throw back with the rock and roll majesty of Rush!

"Caress Of Steel" is the album that nearly ruined Rush.  Their record label at the time was so dissatisfied with the album that they almost dropped them.  (Of course the problem with record labels is that they are run by accountants and producers, therefore it is all about marketing and business, not about propelling artistic integrity.)  Fortunately, Rush endured and lived on!  Some of the prominent and more compelling elements of  "Caress Of Steel" as opposed to earlier works are the long, conceptual pieces and extended solo passages.  This would be the album that would help launch Rush into the world of progressive rock, amplified ten-fold by their next album, "2112."   With songs about the French Revolution ("Bastille Day"), aging (the humorous "I Think I'm Going Bald"), the innocence of youth ("Lakeside Park"), Tolkien mythology ("The Necromancer"), and the epic chronicle of a journey to find a mythical fountain ("The Fountain of Lamneth"), "Caress Of Steel" is a fantastic voyage of heavy rock integrity and artistic depth.  The musicianship is warm, rich, and personal... and it freaking rocks!  "The Fountain of Lamneth" blows me away with each and every listen!  In fact, this is one of the albums that helped get me through that hell we call adolescence.  :)

Well friends, I'm going to finish my beer and lose myself in the heaviness of "Caress Of Steel."  Until next time, cheers!  Have a good night and a great week!

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