Saturday, August 10, 2013

August 10th, 2013 - Extra Special, Extra Bitter Hemispheres

Good afternoon!  The Meista here with another pairing for your entertainment and edification!  Today I'm pairing an Argo Extra Special Bitter (ESB) from Roosters Brewing Company with an all-time favorite album of mine, "Hemispheres" by my favorite prog-rock band, Rush!!  This was actually a pairing my brother and I enjoyed last night, but I didn't have time to post it.  This one affectionately goes out to Dain-o, and all the other Rush fans out there!  Cheers!

"Hemispheres" is the 6th studio album from the collective brilliance of Canadian rockers Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, and Neil Peart... better known together as Rush!  It was released in 1978 and contains a single, epic song broken into chapters as the first side of the album,"Cygnus X-1, Book II: Hemispheres," which is the continuation of the final track ("Cygnus X-1, Book I: The Voyage") from 1977's "A Farewell To Kings."  The song begins with an age-old battle between the god Apollo and the god Dionysus (depicted on the album cover) that is interrupted by the space traveler Cygnus, the bringer of balance.  The second side of the album is made up of 3 classic Rush tracks: the rocking "Circumstances," the witty "The Trees," and the ambitious "La Villa Strangiato," their first instrumental release.   Characterized by epic and flowing multi-movement song structures, complex rhythms, tempo changes, and time signatures, and amazing lyrics, "Hemispheres" is a breathtaking musical journey of intrigue and depth.  This is most definitely not background music!  As with all Rush outings, "Hemispheres" demands your attention!  And take a look at the multi-instrumental talent of these three gentlemen that is unleashed on this album:

  • Geddy Lee - lead vocals, bass guitar, Oberheim polyphonic, Mini Moog, Moog Taurus pedals
  • Alex Lifeson - guitar, guitar synthesizer, Moog Taurus pedals
  • Neil Peart - drums, orchestra bells, bell tree, timpani, gong, cowbells, temple blocks, wind chimes, crotales

  • For a monster prog-rock album with some really biting lyrics and riffs, you need a bitter, monster craft beer that also demands your attention and continuing the Greek mythological theme, that leads us to my choice of an Argo ESB from Roosters Brewing Company!  ESBs are more aggressive (Apollo), maltier, and hoppier bitters that also tend to be more balanced (Cygnus) than a regular bitter as well and very drinkable (Dionysus).  True to form, Argo pours a very cloudy and deep-copper amber.  It literally looks like apple cider.  The head is frothy and thick with very strong and sustained, bubbly lacing.  The nose is malty and slightly sweet with a subtle and hoppy bitter note with hints at what's to come.  The flavor is complex and aggressive like .  The malts are pronounced and creamy.   The Chinook hops give the Argo some really nice bitterness in the middle of the tongue and there is a bit of a diacetyl note (somewhat oily) as well, but nothing overbearing.  There are also some really nice, soft caramel/toffee notes on the back end.  All in all, the Argo is quite dry, very drinkable, exceptionally balanced, and has a nice, clean finish.  A damn fine beer for a damn fine album!

    Check out the Argo ESB and all the great beer from Roosters Brewing Company at!

    Cheers!  Salud!  Prost!  Hails!

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