Saturday, April 13, 2013

April 13th, 2013 - Long Live Ritchie Blackmore! Long Live Orval!

Good afternoon/evening rockers and rollers... brewers and drinkers!  The Meista here with a pairing in celebration of guitar god, Rictchie Blackmore who turns 68 years old tomorrow, April 14th.  In celebration of Mr. Blackmore's birthday weekend, I'm pairing Rainbow's 1978 album "Long Live Rock 'N' Roll" with a Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.  Happy birthday and cheers to you Mr. Blackmore!!  Brews and Tunes raises a glass of Orval to you... many more years of rockin'!!

Laying the groundwork for a multitude of heavy metal, power metal, progressive metal, and straight-ahead hard rock albums and bands that would follow, "Long Live Rock 'N' Roll" is most definitely one of the greatest hard rock albums ever recorded.  This album is the proto-metal road map, bible, and blue print for all that was yet to come in 1980s and beyond.  The final studio album with Ronnie James Dio on vocals, the line-up included the late, great Cozy Powell on drums, newcomer David Stone on keyboards, newcomer Bob Daisley on bass (although most of the bass had already been played and recorded by Blackmore when Daisley was recruited), and of course, the genius of Blackmore on guitar.  (And "Gates Of Babylon" includes the Bavarian String Ensemble.)  As with all Rainbow outings, "Long Live Rock 'N' Roll" is an unparalleled and profound musical journey of sheer power, artistry, and perfection!  As writer, Geoff Ginsberg of Allmusic (previously All Music Guide or AMG) once wrote: "This would turn out to be the last great album Rainbow would ever make, although they did enjoy a great deal of chart success in the post-Dio era."  I'm not sure if I completely agree with Mr. Ginsberg, but "Long Live Rock 'N' Roll" is most certainly one of my favorites.  Just look at this track list!  GENIUS!
  1. "Long Live Rock 'N' Roll
  2. "Lady Of The Lake"
  3. "L.A. Connection"
  4. "Gates Of Babylon"
  5. "Kill The King"
  6. "The Shed (Subtle)"
  7. "Sensitive To Light"
  8. "Rainbow Eyes"
I won't go track-by-track, but each is a perfect gem, a power-house of sharp guitar attack, vocal beauty, power-house drumming, perfect pitch, perfect tone, perfect composition and delivery... just perfection altogether!!

Like "Long Live Rock 'N' Roll," the Orval Trappist Ale is a profound, complex, multi-layered beast! Brewed by the Trappist Cistercian monks of Orval, Orval Trappist Ale is brewed with simple ingredients: spring water, two-row malting spring barley, aromatic hops, and liquid candy sugar... and yet, BIG FLAVOR!  The monks utilize top fermentation initially, a second strain of yeast is added to continue the fermentation, and then new yeast and sugar are added to trigger re-fermentation in bottles after centrifugation.  Once complete, the beer is placed in monastery cellars for three to five weeks for maturing and final fermentation. Let's talk pour: a very hazy, very opaque honey-gold amber with a HUGE, frothy head that displays sustained lacing at it warms.  Let's talk aroma: sweet pear, malt, rustic yeast, and lemony tartness.  There are also some nice, rather soft banana notes from those Orval yeasts.  And maybe even a very slight touch of dill  Let's talk mouthfeel: medium-bodied, well-carbonated, and somewhat sharp and tart.  The tartness hits the back of your tongue.  Also very dry.  Let's talk flavor: with almost saison/gueuze tartness, this is an incredibly refreshing and flavorful ale.  There are notes of lemon zest, sour apple, barley.    And coming in at 6.9% ABV, this ale is a bit punchy, which goes wonderfully with the intensity of Rainbow!  And you gotta love the skittle-shaped bottle!

If you don't own this album, shame on you!  :)  Go pick it up from my buddy, Kevin at the Heavy Metal Shop:  And check out Orval at

To your health and happiness... bottoms up!!

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