Monday, May 25, 2015

May 25th, 2015 - An Opal For The Ayreonaunts


Goedemiddag!  The Meista here today pairing the brilliant "Ayreonauts Only" from prog master Arjen Anthony Lucassen's Ayreon project and an Opal Dry Hopped Saison (Proprietor's Reserve) from Firestone Walker Brewing Company!

Album Info:
  • Artist: Ayreon
  • Title: "Ayreonauts Only"
  • Recorded: From 1995 to 2000
  • Release date: December 12th, 2000
  • Record company: Transmission
  • Production: Arjen Anthony Lucassen
  • Album cover art: Jef Bertels, Ruud Houweling, Richèle Nijst, and Jacoby Peters
  • Personnel: Vocalists: Anneke van Giersbergen,  Arjen Lucassen,  Astrid van der Veen, Damian Wilson,  Edward Reekers, Ian Parry, Gary Hughes, Leon Goewie, Mouse, and Robert Soeterboek; Instrumentalists: Arjen Lucassen, Cleem Determeijer, Ernst van Ee, Rene Merkelbach, and Stephen van Haestregt
  • Musical style: Progressive rock/progressive metal with elements of folk metal, power metal, and hard rock
  • Sound: As with everything Lucassen produces, the sound of "Ayreonauts Only" is prog-rock perfection!  Beautifully crafted, meticulously recorded and produced, and a pure joy to the listener!  The depth of talent from both the vocalists and musicians on the album is almost overwhelming. 
  • Major themes: Sci-fi/fantasy themes
  • Notes: "Ayreonauts Only" is a limited edition "die-hard fans only" album containing demos and alternate versions of Ayreon songs from the first 4 albums.  The final track on the album is a preview song for Arjen Anthony Lucassen's then-upcoming Ambeon project.
  • Tracks:   
  1. "Into The Black Hole" (Alternate vocals by Lana Lane and Damian Wilson)
  2. "Out of the White Hole" (Alternate vocals by Robert Soeterboek)
  3. "Through the Wormhole" (Alternate vocals by Ian Parry)
  4. "Carpe Diem (Chaos)"
  5. "Temple of the Cat" (Acoustic version with vocals by Astrid van der Veen)
  6. "Original Hippie's Amazing Trip" (Alternate vocals by Mouse)
  7. "Beyond the Last Horizon" (Re-recorded version with Gary Hughes)
  8. "The Charm of the Seer" (Original demo version with vocals by Arjen Lucassen)
  9. "Eyes of Time" (Previously unreleased demo version with vocals by Leon Goewie)
  10. "Nature's Dance" (Original demo version)
  11. "Cold Metal" (Ambeon sneak peak)

    Brew Info:
  • Brewery: Firestone Walker Brewing Company (Paso Robles, California)
  • Website:
  • Brew: Opal Dry Hopped Saison
  • Style: Wallonian Saison  / Farmhouse Ale
  • Serving: 22 ounce bottle
  • ABV: 7.5%
  • IBUs: 35
  • Ingredients: Weyermann Pilsner, Malted, and Unmalted Wheat with Styrian Golding, Amarillo, Hallertau Blanc (Dry Hop) hops
  • Pour: Clear, apple cider-gold with a foamy, 1-finger white head that displays intricate spider web lacing throughout. 
  • Nose: The nose of the Opal is characterized by citrus, fruit ester, spices, and hops.  There are aromas of lime, lemon, orange, Belgian yeast, white wine, soft banana, and more subtle aromas of nutmeg and white pepper.
  • Taste: The taste of the Opal is a wonderful blend of "rustic grains, spicy yeast, and unique [wine] tones".  There are notes of crackery biscuit, banana, pink bubblegum, lime, tangerine, spiced bread, clove, coriander, and sauvignon blanc.
  • Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with good carbonation, the mouthfeel of the Opal is frothy, tart, and dry.  The finish is dry, crisp, and slightly bitter.
Overall pairing: With an album as engrossing, complex, and masterful as "Ayreonauts Only" only a  bold and refreshing brew like Firestone Walker's Opal Dry Hopped Saison is fitting.  The intermingling citrus and fruit ester flavors of the Opal are perfect for the brilliant vocal performances on the album, while the spicier and funkier Saison/Farmhouse Ale flavors enhance the bombastic, yet melodic essence of Ayreon!

Proost... Gezondheid!!

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