Saturday, April 13, 2013

April 13th, 2013 - IPAbringer

Continuing the celebration of Ritchie Blackmore's birthday, a pairing of Deep Purple's 1974 album, "Stormbringer" and a Firestone Walker Union Jack India Pale Ale for you tonight!  This is dedicated to the mastery of Blackmore's brilliance and to my brother-in-law Nick!  Cheers!

Originally released in November of 1974, "Stormbringer" is DP's 9th studio album.  Blending hard rock, soul, blues, and funk, "Stormbringer" was definitely a bit of a departure from the band's heavier sound of the early 1970s.  Characterized by the wonderful and harmonious vocals of David Coverdale (who later formed Whitesnake) and bassist Glenn Hughes along with the brilliant drumming of Ian Paice, the keyboard wizardry of the late Jon Lord, and Blackmore's enchanting guitar work, "Stormbringer" is a brilliantly rich and toe-tapping good time of an album.  Maybe not as recognizable to casual listeners as earlier DP works, this album is intensely soulful and incredibly influential to the sound of English rock in the '70s.  A bit more "mellow" that previous albums, Blackmore's tone is amazingly warm and ethereal.  The rhythm section of Hughes and Paice is fantastic!  And Lord's keyboard work is grooving perfection... just listen to that Hammond organ on "High Ball Shooter"!!  With songs like the killer title track, feel-good "Hold On," the rockin' "Lady Double Dealer," the super funky "You Can't Do It Right (With The One You Love)," the kick-ass "High Ball Shooter," and the bluesy "Soldier Of Fortune," the "Stormbringer" album is a wonderful, underrated gem.  Man, I adore this album!  (Interesting side note: according to bassist Hughes, the opening backwards lyrics spoken by Coverdale at the beginning of the song "Stormbringer" are those from the backwards dialogue that Linda Blair says in "The Exorcist.")  Sadly, Blackmore would leave the band after the "Stormbringer" tour in '74-'75.  But he formed the mighty Rainbow as a result... so all is forgiven!  :)

Since "Stormbringer" is good-time rock and roll, I thought a hoppy and refreshing IPA in the American tradition would make for a nice pairing.  With a punchy 7.5% ABV kick, the Firestone Walker Union Jack IPA is a flavorful, citrusy, herbal, and bitterly crisp ale.  It pours a clear, golden amber in a pint glass with a one-finger head that displays good retention and lacing.  The nose is malty and piney... think freshly baked bread cooling on the windowsill of a forest cabin.  There are some lovely citrus notes in the aroma as well.  And those Simcoe hops (goddamn I love Simcoe!) hit you right between the eyes, like Blackmore's guitar tone!  Much like the nose, the flavor is wonderfully hoppy with notes of pine resin, malt, grapefruit and summer grass.  There's also some English toffee notes in there as well adding sweetness and depth.  Mmmm... this beer grooves... definitely one of the better American India Pales I've had as of late! 

Happy rockin'!  Happy drinkin'!  Cheers!

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