Sunday, May 3, 2015

May 3rd, 2015 - The Magician's Sour Plum Birthday Suit

Hello!  The Meista here pairing the classic hard rock album "The Magician's Birthday" by the very mighty (and very underrated) Uriah Heep and a fresh, just off the line 22nd Crooked Line Birthday Suit: Sour Plum Abbey Ale from Uinta Brewing Company!!  Happy 22nd birthday Uinta!!
Album Info:
  • Artist: Uriah Heep
  • Title: "The Magician's Birthday"
  • Recorded: September through October 1972 at Lansdowne Studios, London, England
  • Release date: November 1972 (5th studio album by Uriah Heep)
  • Record company: Mercury Records (USA)
  • Album cover art: Roger Dean
  • Personnel: Mick Box (guitars), the late, great David Byron (lead vocals), Ken Hensley (keyboards, guitars, Moog synthesizer, and shared lead vocals on "The Magician's Birthday"), Lee Kerslake (drums, percussion, and kazoo), and the late, great Gary Thain (bass guitar)
  • Additional musicians: Brian John Cole (pedal steel guitar on "Tales")
  • Musical style: Hard rock, progressive rock, proto-metal (with elements of blues and jazz)
  • Sound: "The Magician's Birthday" marked a change in sound for Uriah Heep, which would define them on many albums to come.  The album is a little more toned down, a little cleaner, and with more progressive elements (not to say that it still doesn't rock!).  And yet, there is also a bit of darkness and melancholy intertwined with thunderous power, and spacy psychedelia... all in all... sheer brilliance!  Box lays down some heavy riffing along with some rather beautiful and ethereal guitar work.  Like Ian Gillian and Robert Plant, Byron's vocals completely changed the landscape of hard rock at the time and profoundly influenced (and still influences) thousands of metal vocalists.  Hensley (the ever-talented multi-instrumentalist) creates a spacy, ominous, and rich atmosphere throughout.  Kerslake's monstrous drumming along with Thain's grooving bass work is a thunderous storm of rhythmic perfection.
  • Major themes: Medieval myth, fantasy, desire, love, loss, isolation, and or course, a very special birthday!
  • Notes: At the time of the album's release, Melody Maker wrote that "Uriah Heep used to have an image, now they have personality."
  • Tracks:   
  1. "Sunrise"
  2. "Spider Woman"
  3. "Blind Eye"
  4. "Echoes In The Dark"
  5. "Rain"
  6. "Sweet Lorraine"
  7. "Tales"
  8. "The Magician's Birthday"

    Brew Info:
  • Brewery: Uinta Brewing Company (Salt Lake City, Utah)
  • Website:
  • Brew: 22nd Crooked Line Birthday Suit: Sour Plum Abbey Ale
  • Style: American Wild Ale/Farmhouse Ale/Sour
  • Serving: 22 ounce bottle
  • ABV: 7.6%
  • Pour: The 22nd Crooked Line Birthday Suit: Sour Plum Abbey Ale pours a caramel-copper amber in a Uinta tulip glass.  The head is very bubbly and frothy, but dissipates quickly, leaving minimal lacing.
  • Nose: With lots of fruity tartness and sour funk, the nose is characterized by aromas of ripe plums, lemon, wild yeast, and very, very light hints of caramel malt.
  • Taste: Characterized by tart citrus, sweet dark fruit ester, farmhouse funk, and light malt flavors, the 22nd Crooked Line Birthday Suit: Sour Plum Abbey Ale is full of notes of fresh plums, black cherries, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, Chardonnay, very soft banana, and a little barnyard funk.  
  • Mouthfeel: Light-bodied with lots of bubbly carbonation, the mouthfeel of this ale is tart, tangy, crisp, and dry.
Overall pairing: With all their hard-rockin' intensity and riffs, intricate melodies, and progressive approach, Uriah Heep always requires a brew with unique and complex qualities.  I definitely think the 22nd Crooked Line Birthday Suit: Sour Plum Abbey Ale fits that bill!  The tart and sweet flavors work well with the progressive elements of the album while the wild and funky flavors work well with darker and heavier elements... a great album and a great brew!


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