Friday, December 11, 2015

December 11th, 2015 - Clark's Big Holiday Ale In A Dead Winter

Well, the holidays are upon us, so I might as well jump on the x-mas bandwagon... Brews and Tunes style that is, with a "festive" and celebratory pairing of the Griswald's Big Holiday Ale from Red Rock Brewery and  Savatage's "Dead Winter Dead"! "Clark, that's the gift that keeps on giving throughout the entire year."

Album Info:
  • Artist: Savatage
  • Title: "Dead Winter Dead"
  • Recorded:  June through August 1995 in New York
  • Release date: October 24th, 1995 (10th studio album by Savatage)
  • Record company: Atlantic/Wea (Reissued on SPV GmbH)
  • Production: Paul O'Neill and Jon Oliva
  • Album cover art: Edgar Jerins
  • Personnel: Chris Caffery (guitars and backing vocals), Johnny Lee Middleton (bass guitar and backing vocals), Jon Oliva (keyboards, lead and backing vocals), Al Pitrelli (guitars and backing vocals), Jeff Plate (drums), and Zachary Stevens (lead vocals)
  • Musical style: Power metal, progressive metal, neo-classical metal, symphonic metal
  • Sound: Complex, layered, bombastic, yet full of rockin' hooks, Oliva and crew lay down a heavy duty metal album with "Dead Winter Dead"!  Although the entire band is smokin', for me, what I absolutely love about this album is the amazing and fiery guitar acrobatics of the amazing Al Pitrelli!
  • Major themes: "Dead Winter Dead" is a concept album about a Serb boy and a Muslim girl who fall in love during the Bosnian War of the 1990s.  Themes include hate, racism, war, violence, love, acceptance, and hope.
  • Tracks:  
  1. "Overture"
  2. "Sarajevo"
  3. "This is the Time (1990)"
  4. "I Am"
  5. "Starlight"
  6. "Doesn't Matter Anyway"
  7. "This Isn't What We Meant"
  8. "Mozart and Madness"
  9. "Memory"
  10. "Dead Winter Dead"
  11. "One Child"
  12. "Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24)"
  13. "Not What You See"
Brew Info:
  • Brewery: Red Rock Brewing Company (Salt Lake City, Utah)
  • Website:
  • Brew: Griswald's Big Holiday Ale
  • Style: Herbed / Spiced Ale
  • Serving: 12 ounce bottle
  • ABV: 8.5%
  • Ingredients: Cinnamon, coriander, ginger, orange peel, and cloves
  • Pour: It pours a very hazy orange-golden amber hue with a billowy half-finger head that leaves good lacing.
  • Nose: The nose is very spicy, malty, and robust.  There are big aromas of cinnamon, gingerbread, caramel, cloves, and orange along with subtle hops.
  • Taste: Flavored with orange peel, coriander, cloves, cinnamon, and ginger this brew has a very "festive" spiced flavor, almost like a pumpkin beer, but without the sweetness.   
  • Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, low in bitterness, the beer is a unique take on a traditional ale.  The mouthfeel is somewhat thick, but still crisp with a dry finish.
Overall pairing: As the label states, the Griswald's Big Holiday Ale "makes a fine companion to your favorite holiday celebration" or a fine companion to the intensity that is Savatage's "Dead Winter Dead"!  Those big, bold, and spicy notes of Red Rock's Griswald's Big Holiday Ale is perfect for the bombastic and wonderfully powerful playing on the album!  And those boozier notes in the finish are great for the heavy kick of Savatage!

"We're all in this together. This is a full-blown, four-alarm holiday emergency here. We're gonna press on, and we're gonna have the hap, hap, happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny fucking Kaye. And when Santa squeezes his fat white ass down that chimney tonight, he's gonna find the jolliest bunch of assholes this side of the nuthouse." 


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