Friday, January 24, 2014

January 24th, 2014 - A Brown Shugga' Fireball... or... A Strange Kind Of Ale

Good evening!  The Meista here with another kick-ass pairing for you tonight... how's 'bout some Deep Purple "Fireball - 25th Anniversary Edition" and a Brown Shugga' Ale Sweet from Lagunitas Brewing Company?!  Damn straight!  Oh, this review is dedicated to my dad's best friend, a man I've known and greatly respected all my life, a man I consider family... Mr. Lloyd Laws!  Cheers Lloyd!!

"Fireball" is the 5th studio release by English hard rock band Deep Purple and was released on July 15th, 1971 (just over a month before yours truly was born!).  Also, for me, "Fireball" is one of the most important and influential hard rock albums by one of the most important and influential hard rock bands!  In my humble opinion, this album is perfection!  The opening drumming work alone by Ian Paice on the title track is enough to knock you on your ass!  As with any album he touches, Ritchie Blackmore's guitar work is absolutely mesmerizing... breathtaking really!  Jon Lord's Hammond organ/keyboard work is awe-inspiring!  Roger Glover's bass work is brilliant along with his 25th anniversary remix production!  And vocalist Ian Gillan is quite possibly the greatest hard rock singer of all time!  Although the album recording was rushed, it is performed flawlessly by some of the most wonderfully talented musicians of our time.  Each track is masterfully executed by artisan hands and voice.  In a 1974 interview Gillan said the following of the album: "The reason I liked that so much was because I thought, from a writing point of view, it was really the beginning of tremendous possibilities of expression. And some of the tracks on that album are really, really inventive."  So how influential is this album?  Don't just take my work for it: guitar virtuoso Yngwie Malmsteen once stated "it changed everything" for him and King Diamond said it was the first studio album he purchased and greatly influenced his career as an artist.  Here is the legendary full track list (including the 25th anniversary CD re-issue bonus tracks 8-16):
  1. "Fireball"
  2. "No No No"
  3. "Demon's Eye"
  4. "Anyone's Daughter"
  5. "The Mule"
  6. "Fools"
  7. "No One Came"
  8. "Strange Kind Of Woman" (a-side remix '96)
  9. "I'm Alone" (single b-side)
  10. "Freedom" (album out-take)
  11. "Slow Train" (album out-take)
  12. "Demon's Eye" (remix '96)
  13. "The Noise Abatement Society Tapes"
  14. "Fireball" (take 1 - instrumental)
  15. "Backwards Piano" (reversed piano solo at the end of "No One Came")
  16. "No One Came" (remix '96)
 Brown Shugga' Ale Sweet Release from Lagunitas Brewing Company is an American Strong Ale, but a very unique and special American Strong Ale.  Brewed with cultured brewery yeast that has been fed brown cane sugar, the Brown Shugga' Ale Sweet Release has the ABV kick of a barley wine, but with the sweetness of a malty brown and the hoppiness of an IPA.  The Brown Shugga' pours a hazy, deep amber with a 1-2 finger creamy, off-white head with good retention and streaming lace patterns.  The nose is one of the more interesting I've come across.  You immediately are hit by the sweet aromas of brown sugar, cherry juice, and maple syrup, but then very citrusy hop notes take over... strong notes of orange, grapefruit and lemon, and just a hint of pine or juniper.  Medium bodied, the mouthfeel is bubbly but silky smooth.  Those orange notes really come out in the flavor along with lemon zest.  As with all Lagunitas brews, the Brown Shugga' Ale Sweet Release is hoppy (51.1 IBUs to be exact).  There is a really nice balance of bitter and sweet.  Along with those strong orange notes, caramel and brown sugar notes abound along with a great hop profile.  The danger of this lovely ale is the ABV, which is well hidden by the sweet and hoppy flavors.  At 9.9%, the Brown Shugga' Ale Sweet Release can catch up to you pretty quickly, especially if you are rocking out to the brilliance of "Fireball" and not paying attention to how quickly you are pounding this beauty!

As the label on my bottle states: "Life is uncertain.  Don't sip." Cheers mates!!

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