OK, that might sound silly, but bear with me here… Imagine for a moment that beer is like music and that all of the different styles are like different genres of music.
Well, I’ve been a metalhead for most of my life and love a good IPA, which has led me to notice quite a few similarities between the two.
A great example is when you introduce someone to IPAs for the first time and they pull “that face,” like you just made them drink black bile and they need something to cleanse their palate. Well it’s the same thing when you first expose someone to metal—they look like they want to cover their ears and go rock in a chair for a little while.
However, once you have a taste for hops, there is no going back to drinking light lagers and once you get a taste for metal, there is no way you are ever listening to Katy Perry again!
Once this taste starts to grow, your palate really starts to develop and you start to pick out the nuances. It’s no longer a hoppy beer, it’s got floral, herbal, pine, tropical fruit, and orange peel notes on the nose; then you start to realize that the choice of malt is almost as important as the choice of hops for balancing the bitterness. Similarly, it’s no longer just heavy music, it has complex time changes, harmonies, solos, tapping, sweep picking, and more.
When you dig deeper, you have thrash metal, speed metal, death metal, black metal, power metal, doom metal, groove metal, industrial metal, and about two dozen sub-genres thereof. With IPAs you have the British IPA, the North West IPA, the North East IPA, the black IPA, the white IPA, the milkshake IPA, the Belgian IPA, the sour IPA, the wild IPA, the Brett IPA, and many more.
Someone unfamiliar with these styles would often be hard-pressed to distinguish between them. If you told me that Death sounds just like Rotting Christ or that Fat Tug tastes just like Heady Topper, I would probably laugh in your face, but some people honestly just hear noise or just taste bitterness.
What I love most, though, is that when you become a metalhead or a hophead, you become an evangelist and you are constantly trying to educate people on the joys of your new found love and how they need to find their saviour!
“I know you don’t like hoppy beers, but I think if you gave Pliny the Elder a chance, you would learn to appreciate beer more in general and your life would be so much more fulfilling!”
“Look, I know you don’t like metal, but this new Devin Townsend album really transcends genres and if you don’t like it, then you just don’t like music and are probably broken inside!”
Don’t lie, you’ve all been there.
Oh, and let’s not even get onto the fucking amazing artwork that they share!
Right, I’m off to finish drinking this imperial dark IPA from Scuttlebutt while listening to some Agalloch.