Sunday, March 31, 2013

March 30th, 2013 - In A Westvleteren Daze Here!

Hello there rockers, boozers, and rebels!  The Meista here with a pairing of rarities, artistry, and craftsmanship for you today.  We are going with a highly coveted and not easily obtained Westvleteren 8 this evening for our drinking pleasure.  And I couldn't think of anything better to go with an authentic Trappist Belgian brew than the 1970s doom metal power that is Pentagram!  This pairing is fondly and sincerely dedicated to my pals Justin Meads and Laura McAnanay!  And my dear friends, Chad and Stephanie!  Cheers!

Heavily influenced by the likes of Blue Cheer, Captain Beyond, UFO, Uriah Heep, and especially Black Sabbath, the original Pentagram was a somewhat short-lived, yet highly influential American doom metal band from the early 1970s.  Prolific in the underground scene in the DC area, Pentagram only released demos and singles and did not release a full-length studio album until a reformed band was put together in the 1980s by vocalist/founding member Bobby Liebling (the only constant member and owner to the rights of the name.)  "First Daze Here" is a compilation of the original, "classic" lineup of Liebling, Vincent McAllister on guitar, Greg Mayne on bass, and Geof O’Keefe on drums.  Along with bands like Wino's Saint Vitus and Witchfinder General, Pentagram were one of the first true doom metal bands, influenced by Black Sabbath and would influence bands like Candlemass, Cathedral, and Trouble.   Characterized by down-tuned guitars, thunderously heavy drumming, and Liebling's Rod Evans-like voice, Pentagram is a powerhouse of sound.  Complex, richly layered, and fantastically executed,  the collected work on "First Daze Here" is engaging, powerful, and at once, fully encompassing.  Every song on this compilation is amazing.  From opening track, "Forever My Queen" to the final explosive notes of "Last Days Here," this album by this band is a wonderful experience of true heavy and masterful doom metal.  Sadly, Liebling's continual drug abuse would lead to collapse of each incarnation of a a band that could have... (strike that) should have been huge.

Westvleteren 8 is an authentic Belgian ale from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren) in the long tradition of Trappist monk brewing.  Founded in 1838 inside the Trappist Abbey of Saint Sixtus of Westvleteren in the Belgian municipality of Vleteren, the Westvleteren brewery operates in the simplest terms, yet creates ales of such profound complexity and depth.  As with "First Daze Here," the Westvleteren 8 is insanely dynamic and perfectly balanced.  It pours a deep mahogany with a frothy 1-2 finger mocha head in a tulip glass.  Sustained and intricate lacing characterizes the head.  The nose is an explosion of aromas.  There are rich earth notes, sweet dark ester notes, oak, and vanilla, and even some more subtle tart notes.  Like the nose and the depth of Pentagram, the flavor is incredibly complex and intriguing.  Full-bodied and malt-forward, the Westvleteren 8 is characterized by a multitude of wonderful flavors.  There are notes of raisin, plum, fig, and other dark fruits initially along with burnt caramel or toffee and cocoa in the mid-range.  As my buddy Chad stated of this ale, it is "like drinking a Tootsie Roll."   It warms with a woodsy apple note and a clean, dry finish.  I'm not sure if I can really do this great beer any justice, but it truly is amazing!

You won't have an easy time finding a Westvleteren 8 as it is not sold outside of Belgium, but it is well worth the effort of obtaining.  However, you can easily order a copy of Pentagram's "First Daze Here" from my buddy Kevin at the Heavy Metal Shop by going to!   You can also check out this great article on Westvleteren at


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