March 5, 2010

Friday Night Beer Pairing: 21st A's Golden Doom & In Flames

The first time I listened to In Flames I was floored by both their phenomenal musical abilities and how awesome and invincible their music made me feel. I would not classify myself as a metal connoisseur, but with In Flames I feel compelled to let each note and lyric sink in. They are my go-to band for everything from gym trips and runs, to pre-test focusing and preparing for an evening out. Although I tend to like their earlier stuff slightly better, every time I hear something new from them I become temporarily obsessed with their raw intensity and classical influenced guitar work. Ironically for this post, the one time I've seen In Flames live, I couldn't drink due to an intense bout with Giardiasis. Giardiasis (better know as Giardia) is an infection of the small intestine caused by a microscopic organisms called protozoa. So, not only could I not drink, I couldn't hit the mosh pit nor headbang too vigorously with fear of jostling the stomach to sharply and triggering a rapid sprint to the restroom, which did not have doors on the stalls. Precarious indeed, but damn that was a good show. At one point during the set Anders Fridén the lead singer, and former vocalist for Dark Tranquility, asked for someone to come up on stage to sing a song while he rested his pipes. So, this little metal-head dude freaks out and gets pulled up onto stage as the band starts in on the opening notes of "Bullet Ride." The kid breaks into a neck whipping headbang with black hair flipping like a snapped towel. He even growls like 3 times into the mike to assert himself, and I was like "Holy shit! This kid is kicking ass... live In Flames karaoke style. So killer!" But then, when it  is his turn to sing the opening lines ("Do you feel anything at all? / Do you hear steps at the door?") nothing comes out. No vocals! The kid apparently doesn't know the lyrics. What followed was probably the most excruciating 5 minutes of concert watching I have ever experienced live. The band was feeding him the lyrics as he tried to figure out what to do, and the crowd members were looking at each other with a clearly defined "Are you fucking serious!" face. The band played the entire song without lyrics, and when they finished, Anders came back out onto stage and said something like "Well... that was the strangest fucking thing I have ever seen." Now I can't listen to "Bullet Ride" without feeling slightly uncomfortable. Thanks little metal dude for ruining that song for me... Epic!

The beer name "Golden Doom" says it all and could not go more perfectly with the Swedish melodic death metal produced by In Flames. Available in only limited supply from 21st Amendment Brewery in San Francisco, Golden Doom is a Belgian-style golden ale that exquisitely balances the smooth with the spicy with a heavy dose of  the strong. Coming in at 7.8% alcohol, Golden Doom packs a heavy metal-like punch that will both leave you on your ass and wanting more. I had my first Golden Doom at 15 Romolo in North Beach and made my decision solely on the name. Five beers later I was close to declaring it the best beer on the planet. When the server came over to the table, I felt obligated to express my admiration for the beverage, to which the server said: "I know! The whole staff has been drinking nothing but Golden Doom since we got it. We're all addicted." Now I find any excuse I can to go have a sip of the golden nectar with some sliders and curry fries at 15 Romolo, or right next door to my work at the 21st A brewery itself. Pinche delicious. Pinche METAL!