Saturday, January 11, 2014

January 11th-12th, 2014 - Close To The Edge Of The Pfeifferhorn Peak

Good evening/early morning!  The Meista here with another great pairing for you my friends!  Tonight I'm pairing a Pfeifferhorn Lager from Epic Brewing Company and the "epic" album "Close To The Edge" by progressive godfathers Yes!

"Close To The Edge" is the 5th studio album by Yes and was released in September 1972... and most definitely one of my all-time favorites!  In fact, I would say "Close To The Edge" was and still is a defining album for me personally.  For me, the lineup (which has changed many times!) on this album is probably the ultimate for the band.  It includes lead vocalist  Jon Anderson, bassist/backing vocalist Chris Squire, drummer Bill Bruford (his last with the band until the 1990s), guitarist/backing vocalist Steve Howe, and keyboardist/organist Rick Wakeman.  With only 3 "epic" tracks, "Close To The Edge" is a progressive album that has become the benchmark for prog-heads and prog musicians alike.  "Fragile" was a bigger seller, but for me, "Close To The Edge" is the quintessential Yes album!  Although incredibly personal in Anderson's spiritual journey, the title track's lyrics were inspired by Hermann Hesse's spiritual novel Siddhartha.  In fact, all of Anderson's lyrics on the album are of a spiritual/transcendental nature.  "And You And I" and "Siberian Khatru" though not as long as the 18:43 minute "Close To The Edge," feel just as profound, just as (dare I say?) important.  Along with the spiritual, the lyrics (and music) on all three tracks embody themes of redemption, renewal, and repetition (much of which stemmed from the band's growing interest in Eastern religions/philosophies).   Musically, Howe's (fucking brilliant!) guitar work, Squire's (inspiring) bass, Wakeman's (mind-blowing) keys, and Bruford's (swinging) drumming/percussion is unparalleled on this album... sheer brilliance!!  I've been listening to this album for 30 years and find something new and interesting with each and every spin!  Damn... this is good, nay, GREAT stuff!!   

Named for the 11,326 foot peak in Utah, the Pfeifferhorn Lager from Epic Brewing Company is a classic American lager "with a hing of European flavor." It pours a somewhat hazy straw-golden amber with a frothy, white head that leaves altocumulus cloud-like lacing.   The nose is wonderful blend of malts and citrus lemon.  There are notes of sourdough bread and lemon zest along with some very subtle spice notes.  There is also a sweet note I'm having trouble putting a finger on... maybe honey or berries?  As with the nose, the Pfeifferhorn Lager has a fairly subtle malt flavor, but definitely is no light-weight beer.   From the Epic website: it contains "a fine spicy and slightly herbal noble hop profile."  Yes, definitely!  There are some really nice, hearty barely notes as well that linger on the palate along with the spice notes.  And those barley and spice notes really expand as the beer warms!  Like the musicianship and execution of "Close To The Edge", the Pfeifferhorn Lager is crisp, clean, and refreshing, and a joy to experience!  It goes down easy, yet embodies the wonderful depth and complexity you expect from an artisan brew!


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