Sunday, May 5, 2013

May 5th, 2013 - A Triple Of A Perfect Pair

The Meista here with another one for ya my friends!  I'm pairing Brother David's Triple Abbey Style Ale from Anderson Valley Brewing Company and powerhouse proggers, King Crimson and their 1984 album, "Three Of A Perfect Pair."  This pairing is dedicated to my sister-in-law's husband, Nick and his twin brother Dean.  Cheers guys!!

Released in 1984, "Three Of A Perfect Pair" is King Crimson's 10th studio album.  An ever changing line-up, the  1980's Crimson band was made up of founder and guitarist extraordinaire, Robert Fripp, bassist/vocalist Tony Levin (Peter Gabriel), drummer Bill Bruford (Yes), and guitarist/vocalist Adrian Belew (Talking Heads/Frank Zappa/David Bowie).  Incredibly progressive and experimental, King Crimson's work is known for incorporated a multitude of diverse influences and instrumentation including: symphonic, Avant Garde jazz, folk, psychedelic rock, hard rock, and electronica.  Although not a concept album, there is a common thread running through each track of the album, the idea that there are "three sides to every story:" his/her side, her/his side, and the objective truth.  The first side of the album ("The Left Side") is more accessible and melodic, while the second side ("The Right Side") is very experimental and dark, incorporating a mechanical/industrial sound with lengthy improvisational pieces.  Much of the writing on this album is from Levin, so it revolves around the bass... which is superb!!  Highlights include the title track, "Three Of A Perfect Pair," "Model Man," "Sleepless," "Dig Me," and "Larks Tongues In Aspic (Part III)."  (Sadly, this incarnation of the band did not last long as Fripp was not happy with their output.  Of the bands demise, Bruford stated, "Robert broke up the group, again, for the umpteenth time, dwelling at length, I suppose on our lack of imagination, ability, direction and a thousand other things we were doubtless missing. I suppose this only because I remember not listening to this litany of failures. Might as well quit while you're ahead, I thought.")  Well, I for one don't have a clue what Fripp's issues were with the band and their music because this is fantastically engaging, complex, enriching, and heady stuff!  As much as I admire... nay, adore Fripp's playing, he's really a bit of a pompous ass.  :)  (And I say that with complete love and respect!)   The album cover, designed by Peter Willis is a reference to the Smaragdine Table or the Tabula Smaragdina (sometimes called the Emerald Table).  The Smaragdine Table is a representation of a male solar deity on the top and a female lunar deity underneath.  While more modern and minimalist, Willis's design pays homage to King Crimson's "Larks Tongues In Aspic" album cover from 1973.

Brother David's Triple Abbey Style Ale from Anderson Valley Brewing Company is a complex and beastly brew... perfect for the complexities, depth, and musicianship of the Crimson boys!  According to, "The name "Tripel" actually stems from part of the brewing process, in which brewers use up to three times the amount of malt than a standard Trappist.  Traditionally, Tripels are bright yellow to gold in color, which is a shade or two darker than the average Pilsener. Head should be big, dense and creamy. Aroma and flavor runs along complex, spicy phenolic, powdery yeast, fruity/estery with a sweet finish. Sweetness comes from both the pale malts and the higher alcohol. Bitterness is up there for a beer with such a light body for its strength, but at times is barely perceived amongst the even balance of malts and hops. The lighter body comes from the use of Belgian candy sugar (up to 25% sucrose), which not only lightens the body, but also adds complex alcoholic aromas and flavors. Small amounts of spices are sometimes added as well."  Brother David's Triple pours a lovely reddish copper-amber with a white, frothy head that diminishes quickly leaving foamy lacing.  The nose smells of candied apples, figs, dates, sweet bread, and spice.  There's a slight smokiness there as well in the background.  The body is medium with a sticky, syrupy feel.  The flavor reminds me of autumn apples, burnt toffee, sweet and dark fruits, and a little booze (maybe spiced rum or Southern whiskey)... from the 10% ABV.  There are notes of smoked sweet meats, freshly baked bread, and I swear I taste a hint of pumpkin or summer squash.  The finish is crisp and clean, which is really nice and not characteristic of many Abbey-style Triples.  I know I say this quite a lot, but the complexity of this beer really does enhance the listening experience of "Three Of A Perfect Pair."  It really does!  :)

Well, I'm going to enjoy the rest of my beer and the rest of this album. The next time you enjoy a frosty brew, think of your pals at Brews and Tunes.  May life treat you well... to your health my friends!! 

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