Monday, September 7, 2015

September 7th, 2015 - Amuse[d] To Death With Belgian-Style Ale

Hello!  In celebration of Roger Waters' 72nd birthday (yesterday), I'm pairing his brilliant and very underrated concept album "Amused To Death" with an Amuse Belgian-Style Ale from Breakside Brewery!

Album Info:
  • Artist: Roger Waters
  • Title: "Amused To Death"
  • Recorded: Between 1987 and 1992
  • Release date: September 1st, 1992 (3rd solo studio album by Roger Waters)
  • Record company: Columbia Records
  • Production: Patrick Leonard, Roger Waters, and Nick Griffiths
  • Album cover art: Mark Burdett and Tony Kaye
  • Personnel: Roger Waters (vocals, bass guitar, synthesizer, guitar) with Jeff Beck (guitar), Graham Broad (drums), John "Rabbit" Bundrick (Hammond organ), B.J. Cole (guitar),  Luis Conte (percussion), Rick DiFonso (guitar), Andy Fairweather Low (guitar), Denny Fongheiser (drums), Bruce Gaitsch (guitar), Randy Jackson (bass guitar), James Johnson (bass guitar), Patrick Leonard (keyboards, percussion programming, choir arrangement, backing vocals, acoustic piano, Hammond organ, and synthesizers), Steve Lukather (guitar), Brian Macleod (snare and hi-hat), John Patitucci (bass guitar), John Pierce (bass guitar), Tim Pierce (guitar), Jeff Porcaro (drums), Steve Sidwell (cornet), Geoff Whitehorn (guitar), and Guo Yi and the Peking Brothers (dulcimer, lute, zhen, oboe, and bass)
  • Backing vocalists: Marv Albert, P.P. Arnold,  Doreen Chanter, Rita Coolidge, N'Dea Davenport, Stan Farber, Lynn Fiddmont-Linsey, Jim Haas, Don Henley, Natalie Jackson, Jon Joyce, Katie Kissoon, Jessica Leonard, Jordan Leonard, and Alf Razzell
  • Musical style: Progressive rock, rock, and blues rock with elements of soul and R&B
  • Sound: At a time when grunge ruled the airwaves, Waters' album "Amused To Death" went highly unnoticed by the media.  For me, this is one of the more important albums of the early 1990s.  Waters combines the sound he captured with Pink Floyd on "The Wall" and "The Final Cut" along with blues and rock.  This is a flawlessly executed album with wonderful melodies, hooks, and musicianship!
  • Major themes: Concept album about an ape (representing Americans) being desensitized by television violence and hate.  Specific themes include political, religious, and social criticism, war and violence, hate, greed, and corruption (among other things).
  • Tracks: 
  1. "The Ballad Of Bill Hubbard"
  2. "What God Wants, Part I"
  3. "Perfect Sense, Part I"
  4. "Perfect Sense, Part II"
  5. "The Bravery Of Being Out Of Range"
  6. "Late Home Tonight, Part I"
  7. "Late Home Tonight, Part II"
  8. "Too Much Rope"
  9. "What God Wants, Part II"
  10. "What God Wants, Part III"
  11. "Watching TV"
  12. "Three Wishes"
  13. "It's A Miracle"
  14. "Amused To Death"

Brew Info:
  • Brewery: Breakside Brewery (Portland, Oregon)
  • Website:
  • Brew: Amuse Belgian-Style Ale
  • Style: Saison / Farmhouse Ale
  • Serving: 22 ounce bottle
  • ABV: 5.0%
  • IBUs: 16
  • Pour: Hazy golden amber with a frothy white head that dissipates to a nice cap with good sustain and lacing.
  • Nose: The nose combines tropical fruit esters, citrus, Belgian yeast, and barnyard funk.  There are big notes of banana and pink bubble-gum along with more subtle notes of Chardonnay, spices, and damp leather.
  • Taste: Like the nose, the initial flavor is bold banana and pink bubble-gum along with white grapes, pears, orange zest black pepper, coriander, and white wine. 
  • Mouthfeel: Light to medium-bodied with high carbonation, the Amuse's mouthfeel is frothy, slightly sharp, and crisp with a zesty, dry finish.
Overall pairing: The complexity, depth, and brilliance of "Amused To Death" deserves a brew with the difficult task of complimenting those characteristics.  I find that Belgians go really well with more progressive works.  This is definitely the case here with the Amuse  Belgian-Style Ale from Breakside Brewery.  The dry, yet refreshing character of the Amuse goes well with Waters' biting sarcasm, while the sweeter fruit esters make for a nice foil to the subject matter as well as complimenting the soulful beauty of the backup singers.  Those big wild Belgian yeast flavors work well with the overall musical flow throughout the album as well as Waters' distinct voice and story telling prowess.


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