A Book by Adem Tepedelen
As the resident headbanger here at Bierkast, it fell upon me to review this new book from Adem Tepedelen, which attempts to pair extreme beers with their extreme music counterparts. If you’ve ever put on an old Molly Hatchet record and felt the need to crack a beer, trust me, you’re not alone. There’s no explanation needed. But if you’ve just opened a Dogfish Head World Wide Stout and bemoaned the lack of blast beats and swept arpeggios, then you are a more unique sort, and that is who this book is for.
Upon my first look at the book, it did elicit a bit of an eye roll. Because, of course, these pairings can be nothing but subjective. Unlike food and beer pairings, where you can break down flavor notes in each and complement them to each other, music and beer are two completely unrelated sensory experiences. So when Tepedelen suggests you pair Russian River’s Consecration with Deep Purple, you are left with no recourse but to say “well, there ya go…” and get on with your day. But luckily for me, I did not take the book at face value, because there is a wealth of great information inside.
Tepedelen absolutely shines when he starts talking beer. Every entry is packed with an in-depth breakdown of color profiles, tasting notes, histories and comparisons. He’s no slouch in the metal department either, but this is first and foremost a beer book. In between sections are interviews with craft brew giants like Sam Calgione, Greg Koch and Mikkel Borg Bjergsø and thunder gods like Brann Dailor and Richard Christy.
After digging into reviews and really getting a feel for the delightfully boozy prose, I decided the best way to test it’s mettle (metal?) was with a test drive. I recruited my fellow horn-thrower, Leah, to help me out and we walked through two of the recommendations. We had planned to do four reviews, but this being a book of extreme beers, and Leah needing to operate a motor vehicle, we had to cut it short. A pair of delicious Lost Abbey ales were our companions on this journey. First up was Lost Abbey Inferno – in all its hazy golden slightly spiced glory – paired, at Tepedelen’s request, with “Burning Inside” by Ministry. Much to our delight, we were able to see the dots begin to connect between Ministry’s melodic yet industrial grind and Inferno’s sweet and bright, but still dangerously-high-ABV contradictions. Next, we tried Lost Abbey’s Deliverace – in all its old-motor-oil-stored-in-a-whiskey-barrel glory – paired with Dio’s “Last in Line”. At first whiff, you’d swear you were about to swig something dark, bitter and unforgiving. Instead, the beer offers an incredible melange of deep fruit, brown sugar and vanilla over its imperial stout base. Something nearly operatic instead of apocalyptic. Not unlike the best of Dio, some might say.
Tepedelen does a wonderful job of leading you through the two deliberately dark and scary worlds at once. The metal matchups range from benign (Pair Highway to Ale with Highway to Hell) to inspired (Heck yeah I want to drink some Horny Devil and listen to The Darkness!), but always anchored by solid beer knowledge.
What this book really is is a recipe for a great Saturday afternoon. Get a copy, grab some friends, raid the liquor store and fire up spotify and I guarantee you’ll enjoy yourselves.
– Ryan Nuber