Sunday, April 7, 2013

April 7th, 2013 - Brainless On Peaches And The Forever's Technology

Are you ready for something epic today, both in terms of music and craft brew?  I know I am!  How about Ayreon's 2007 double album "01011001" and an Epic Brewing Company Brainless On Peaches Belgian-Style Ale (Release #21)?  Indeed!!  This pairing goes out to my fellow prog-head brotha, Jeff Turner and his kick-ass prog rock/metal page: Progressive Power (!  Cheers Jeff!!

"01011001" is Ayreon's 7th album and was released in 2007.  Dark and egnimatic, the album is an exploration of "new musical frontiers" and tells a sci-fi tale of technological advancement and the dangers of technological dependency from the vantage point of an aquatic alien race known as the Forever on Planet Y.  Ayreon is not a band, but rather the rock opera brainchild of Arjen A. Lucassen, a multi-talented Dutch composer, producer, singer, songwriter, musician.  Through Ayreon, he tells epic sci-fi/fantasy tales and uses multiple musicians (different on each album).  As with previous Ayreon albums, Lucassen employs an impressive and talented cast of prog/metal musicians and vocalist on "01011001" including: Tomas Bodin (The Flower Kings), Daniel Gildenlöw (Pain of Salvation), Floor Jansen (After Forever), Hansi Kursch (Blind Guardian), Steve Lee (Gotthard), Jonas Renkse (Katatonia), Michael Romeo (Symphony X), Derek Sherinian (Planet X/Dream Theater/Black Country Communion), Simone Simons (Epica), Ty Tabor (King's X), and Anneke van Giersbergen (The Gathering/Devin Townsend Project) among others.  Profoundly and wonderfully bombastic, "01011001" is a compelling, complex, and completely satisfying musical experience.  With each listen I find new and amazing nuances.  The vocalists' performances (17 in all) are at times beautiful, haunting, and ethereal, and at times explosive, emotional... and always powerful.  (Anneke van Giersbergen's vocal performance alone leaves me weak in the knees!)  Lucassen's multi-instrument (bass, guitar, synths, keyboards, programming) delivery along with the guest musicians is an engrossing combination of rock, power metal, melodic metal, a hint of death metal, traditional European folk, symphonic, electronica, and always purely progressive.  I won't go song by song through the 2-disc set, but know that each song is a synecdoche, a perfect gem representing the story of the Forever.

As with "01011001," Epic Brewing Company's Brainless On Peaches is an engrossing and multi-layered ale of complexity and depth, yet incredibly smooth and refreshing.  As many of you have probably have gathered from my posts, I am not one for "fruity" beers.  So admittedly, I was rather sceptical of a peach ale and put off trying this one for quite some time.  Howerver, I was pleasantly surprised by the Brainless On Peaches!  It is quite good and the peach flavor is not overwhelming or too sweet.  It pours a wonderfully warm golden, ripe peach hue (in a frosted glass) with a very frothy, very effervescent head that dissipates quickly.  The nose is sweet and malty.  There are notes of pink bubble gum, yeast, white wine, and peach.  Brainless On Peaches is brewed with Weyermann German Pilsner malt, Muttons Maris Otter Pale malt, Briess Caraplis malt, Flaked Oats, and candy sugar along with 100% pure peach puree.  Secondary fermentation is also employed and then the ale is aged in French Chardonnay casks with Champagne yeast.  For hops, Epic employs traditional Belgian's: Premient, Tettnang, and Saaz.  That being said and simply put, this ale is complex!  Depending on the release, Brainless On Peaches' ABV ranges from 10.2% to 11%... so this is a big boy with a somewhat pronounced boozy presence, yet perfectly balanced with the fruit ester notes... both tart and slightly sweet.  There are strong notes of Chardonnay, white grape juice,  pear, sour apple, and soft notes of peach... all perfectly blended.  Even with the candy sugar and peach puree, the Brainless' sweet ester notes are subtle.  Medium-bodied, the mouthfeel is marked by effervescence and a very refreshing and dry crispness.  The finish is clean and slightly bitter from the Premient, Tettnang, and Saaz hops.  A most impressive beer for a most impressive album!

Learn more about Epic's Brainless On Peaches at and check out all of the great Ayreon albums at!  (And Lucassen has a new Ayreon album coming out this year... YAY!!)

Happy rocking and drinking my friends!!  Cheers!!

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