Sunday, October 31, 2021

October 31st, 2021 - This Witches Brew Is Better Than Raw


Guten abend and happy All Hallows Eve craft brew drinkers, trick 'r treaters, and evil-doers!  Your pal the Meista here tonight getting a bit spooky with a pairing of a tasty and crisp Witches Brew Ale from the fine folks at Talisman Brewing Company and the amazing and very underappreciated "Better Than Raw" from Helloween!

Album Info:

  • Artist: Helloween
  • Title: "Better Than Raw"
  • Recorded: 1997 at the Chateau du Pape and Crazy Cat Studios in Hamburg, Germany and Mi Sueño Studio in Tenerife, Spain
  • Release date: April 14th, 1998 (8th studio album by Helloween)
  • Record company: Castle Communications
  • Production: Tommy Hansen and Helloween
  • Album cover art: Rainer Laws
  • Personnel: Andi Deris (vocals), Roland Grapow (guitars), Markus Grosskopf (bass), Uli Kusch (drums), and Michael Weikath (guitars)
  • Additional musicians: Jorn Ellerbrock (keyboards), Christina Hahne (backing vocals), Tommy Hansen (keyboards), Ralf Maurer (backing vocals), and Jutta Weinhold (backing vocals)
  • Musical style: Power metal, heavy metal, neo-classical metal, progressive metal
  • Sound: Guitar and vocally driven, "Better Than Raw" is probably one of Helloween's most powerful albums!  The band is incredibly tight, the song structure is complex, yet fast and rocking!  And they explore a range of metal styles while still staying true to form.
  • Major themes: Life, death, religion, love, sex, loss, heartbreak, power, etc.
  • Tracks:   
  1. "Deliberately Limited Preliminary Prelude Period in Z"
  2. "Push"
  3. "Falling Higher"
  4. "Hey Lord!"
  5. "Don't Spit On My Mind"
  6. "Revelation"
  7. "Time"
  8. "I Can"
  9. "A Handful Of Pain"
  10. "Laudate Dominum"
  11. "Midnight Sun"
  12. "Back On The Ground" (bonus track)
  13. "A Game We Shouldn't Play" (bonus track)
  14. "Perfect Gentleman" (live bootleg version bonus track)
  15. "Moshi Moshi~Shiki No Uta" (live drum solo bonus track)

Brew Info:

  • Brewery: Talisman Brewing Company (Ogden, Utah)
  • Website:
  • Brew: Witches Brew Ale
  • Style: Kölsch
  • Serving: 16 ounce bottle
  • ABV: 6.1%
  • Ingredients: Traditional Kölsch brewed with spices, orange zest, and cranberries
  • Pour: The Witches Brew pours a very cloudy golden-peach hue with a frothy, egg shell white, 1-fnger head with good retention and lot of sticky, soapy lacing.
  • Nose: The nose is spicy, fruity, grassy, and grainy.   It smells like a festive spiced cookie!  There are aromas of nutmeg, allspice, cloves, cinnamon, cranberries, raspberries, lemon juice and zest, orange peel, crackery grains, and a hint white pepper.
  • Taste: The taste of the Witches Brew is fruity, spicy, sweet, and grainy.  There are notes of spicy cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon along with tart cranberries, bitter orange peel, lemon zest, crackery biscuit, and grassy hops.
  • Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and well-carbonated, the mouthfeel is very crisp, slightly tart, and very refreshing with a dry, spicy finish.
  • Notes: "In the 13th Century England, one-third of women brewed for sale.  Commonly referred to as "Beer Witches", their tall hats, brooms, and cauldrons were symbols of their trade used to identify them.  As an adage to craft, this annual beer is brewed all the "Bad Brew Witches" at Talisman!  Cheers to women in brewing!"

Overall pairing: The Witches Brew Ale is a very crisp, very solid, very festive fall ale with lots of spicy and fruity flavors and aromas... perfect for the melodic heavy metal onslaught that is the complex, yet incredibly fun metal punch of Helloween's wonderful "Better Than Raw"!  Those spicier notes work really well with the blast of guitars, while the complexity of the brew is great for the overall themes and Deris' amazing vocals!

PROST!!  HAILS!!  Have a happy and safe Halloween!!

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