The question asked of all schoolchildren is what came first, the chicken or the egg? Now we must ask ourselves here, what comes first, the music or the beer? Now in the case of the first posting in this imaginative blog about beer and music, the music had come first. Avenged Sevenfold’s Hail to the King had sent our author, thirsty, in search of the perfect beer.
I ask myself though, is this the logical way around? Are we likely to have more types of beer in our fridge or cupboards than songs on our iPods? Is it more likely that we will settle down with a beer and think “what shall I listen to?”
This is how I found myself. This though was no ordinary beer and to that I will return. You must understand that I am writing from a place called Shropshire in England. Some will call it the West Midlands. Some even the Black Country after its roots in the industrial revolution. It is though one of the heartlands of music and perhaps the spiritual home of rock.
From these parts hail bands such as the mighty Black Sabbath, ELO, Judas Priest, Napalm Death, Ocean Colour Scene, Slade, The Specials, The Moody Blues, Duran Duran, The Charlatans, The Wonder Stuff, The Pretenders and of course Magnum. The area is known as the heartland of heavy metal but also for its appreciation of a proper beer. Not for us the flat, insipid ale of London. An ale should have a creamy head, heritage and leave you with memories (but not if you drink a few of them.)
So, the beer I referred to comes by the name of Dragons Blood. Yes, really, Dragons Blood. You’d be right in guessing that this is not a beer for the fainthearted. From Dudley, a place more famed for people mimicking its inhabitant’s accents perhaps than anything else it has to offer this is a 5.6% bruiser. Describing itself as a “golden amber premium beer”, I sipped and sipped again, pondering my challenge.
The beer is bitter almost sour, your lip curls. Is that Joe Lydon you hear? “I am the anti-Christ”, well this is Dragons Blood after all but no, it doesn’t work. I tried AC/DC, this beer is heavy after all, 5.6% for an ale. The music is too fast, the beer stares back at you, if it had fists it would start a brawl. No, it would organise the brawl, it is too clever to take part.
This is nearly Nirvana beer, it aches, throbs, it’s miserable but wants to be loved. Then I found it. A track that hadn’t hit my speakers for a long time. Bush, Swallowed. The same aching groove, “I’m with everyone and yet not”. The beer in a nutshell. Aching to be mainstream but too bitter, too heavy and frankly just not nice enough to ever be truly loved. Yet appreciated for what it is, big, ponderous and guaranteed to hurt the next day it is, something to be savoured.
If you’ve enjoyed reading this or even if it just made you reach for a beer or to put on a song, please let us know so that we can sample some more for you!