Heavy Metal paired with extreme beers? Yes. These are some of the things discussed by the author of Decibel Presents The Brewtal Truth Guide to Extreme Beers, Adem Tepedelen. He will be signing his book in Chicago the day before Three Floyd's Dark Lord Day and at Dark Lord Day itself. Get to know the Brewtal Truth right here in this addition of Brew & A.
Better Beer Authority (BBA): The Better Beer Authority linked up with you on Twitter. For our fans nationwide, can you briefly describe what you do with Brewtal Truth and Decibel Magazine and how it came about?
Adem Tepedelen (AT): About five years ago I was given the opportunity to write a regular beer column in Decibel magazine, which likes to bill itself as “America’s only monthly extreme music magazine.” I called this column “Brewtal Truth,” playing on the grindcore band Brutal Truth’s name. I had previously written about music for Decibel and I had written about craft beer in other magazines, but this was the first time I was able to combine the two. Since the idea of a beer column in an extreme music magazine seemed slightly absurd to me at the time, I really tried to take a fun-but-knowledgeable approach to the writing. So, I’d include a little metal when I wrote about beer. The editor-in-chief, Albert Mudrian, never gave me any input about topics for my column and he pretty much let me fly my freak flag, writing about whatever I wanted, however I wanted. I had – and continue to have – a lot of fun with it. It’s really grown in popularity and I have, for the last nine months or so, also been doing a weekly Brewtal Truth post, every Friday at noon Eastern time, on the Deciblog (decibelmagazine.com/blog). Those posts are usually beer recommendations, but sometimes I’ll do newsy pieces, as well.
BBA: You have a book for sale available on Amazon titled Brewtal Truth Guide to Extreme Beers. What was the driving force behind writing this book? How was the experience writing the book, and would you write another one?
AT: The book, Decibel Presents the Brewtal Truth Guide to Extreme Beers: An All-Excess Pass to Brewing’s Outer Limits, grew out of my column, as you probably can surmise from the title. Over the last few years there has been a growing trend in extreme beers in the craft beer world. These beers, to me, seemed to have a lot in common with extreme music. They were the beers you found later in your craft beer journey, after you’d worked your way through the gateway craft beers. I likened the journey to a young headbanger starting with something mainstream like, say, Iron Maiden and then moving on to thrash, death metal, black metal and maybe grindcore. And, admittedly, both beer and metal that are on the extreme end of the spectrum are a little ridiculous in their over-the-topness. Juxtaposing the two in my book by including an extreme music pairing and interviewing extreme beer-loving extreme metal musicians just seemed like a fun idea. I really wanted this book to reflect the goofy and fun (yet authoritative) voice of my column.
When I signed my deal to write it, the publisher asked that I finish it in four months, which was a hell of an undertaking! The beer-drinking part was fantastic, of course, but a lot of work went into sourcing the beers, getting images (bottles and labels) and getting permission to use the images. The writing was the fun and easy part (along with the drinking) and I had an amazing editor, Jon Sternfeld, helping me and encouraging me along the way. I would love to do a second Extreme Beer Guide using the same format, but that is dependent on how well this one sells.
AT: I had that beer, too! Yeah, I loved Hot Thoup. In fact, I had that at the Great American Beer Festival in October 2012 when I was trying to get my book deal. I was walking around with Todd Haug from Surly Brewing and he was introducing me to all the heavy hitters, like Sam Calagione, that he knew.
There are some very obviously insane beers that I sampled for the book, like Mikkeller 1000IBU and Twisted Pine Ghost Face Killer. Both of those are purposely pushing tolerance levels. I really tried to include beers that, while extreme, were also balanced and drinkable – even if you have just a few ounces as Twisted Pine suggested I do with Ghost Face Killer. I have to say that some of the beers from Dogfish Head, Avery and Mikkeller that pushed the ABV levels above 15% were pretty intense. I also really loved some of the out-there stuff that Jester King brews – mashing up all kinds of styles and approaches – and their labels are the coolest.
BBA: A lot of people in the brewing industry are into Heavy Metal. Three Floyd’s is themed from Heavy Metal. Port City Brewing in Alexandria, VA has a monthly heavy metal night. There are a lot of collaboration beers with heavy metal themes such as Three Floyd’s Permanent Funeral with Pig Destroyer; why is there relationship between heavy metal and craft beer?
AT: I think this kind of goes back to my response to your second question. Both attract people who want a more intense experience, whether it’s what they drink or what they listen to. I understand that not everyone who drinks extreme beers wants to listen Napalm Death, but there is definitely a receptive audience to extreme beers with a good-sized (and growing) faction of the extreme music world. That market – metal fans – is very passionate and loyal, and people within it like to turn others onto the things they like, be it a cool band they heard or an amazing beer they drank. Honestly, if more breweries actively marketed to this crowd, they would find a very receptive audience. There’s something about a big, burly kick-ass brew that goes well with extreme music.
BBA: Most times when I (BBA producer Andrew) go to a music festival, a major beer company like Budweiser or Miller almost always sponsors it. Have you found the same situations and do you feel that there will be a chance at some point for the craft brewers to get into the festival circuits (excluding events thrown at breweries such as Dark Lord Day?
AT: Absolutely. I wrote a column about this recently. I think these metal touring packages and festivals should actively seek out craft breweries to partner with whenever possible. The two crowds are made for each other. Unfortunately, the big brewing conglomerates have a lot of weight to throw around and I imagine that they will do what they can to prevent this. What needs to happen is that metal festivals need to actively solicit participation from local craft breweries anytime there is a “neutral” site that doesn’t, for instance, have a contract, or whatever, to only serve certain brands of macro beers.
BBA: You will be signing your book at Dark Lord Day. How can people find you there?
AT: Great question! We’re still ironing out the details as to what hours I’ll be selling and signing books since it is a 12-hour festival and I want to be able to enjoy it, as well! Also, this is my first time at Dark Lord Day, so I’m not sure about the logistics of it. That said, I’m expecting they’ll probably put me in a fairly obvious spot with a table and my stack of books. And I’m sure that this year’s MC, Richard Christy (Charred Walls of the Damned, Howard Stern Show), who is one of the featured musicians in my book, will let people know when and where to find me. Dark Lord Day will be the purest concentration of my book’s two demographic: people who are rabid extreme beer enthusiasts and total metal heads. Hopefully some of them will have money left over after buying their allotment of DLD!
BBA: Beer Advocate hosts the Extreme Beer Fest every year, do you attend, and how does this beer festival rank in terms of others you may have been to?
AT: I live in the Pacific Northwest, so I haven’t ventured out to Boston for Beeradvocate’s Extreme Beer Festival yet. I would have loved to have been part of it this year and perhaps promote my book there – seems like a perfect match, no? – but the BA organizers are staunch about keeping the festival “about the beer.” Honestly, one need only go to something like the GABF to find tons of amazing extreme beers, like Hot Thoup, for instance.
My upcoming book-signing events:
• Friday, 4/25: Northdown Cafe & Taproom, 3244 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL, from 4–7 pm. I will be joined by some very special guests who will be there signing books with me. Map
• Saturday, 4/26: Dark Lord Day at Three Floyds Brewery, 9750 Indiana Pkwy, Munster, IN, from 10 am to 10 pm. You have to have a ticket for this event, which are long sold out. But if you DO have a ticket, come buy a book! Map
My blog: brewtaltruth.blogspot.com
Where to buy: Signed copies can be purchased directly through me. See my website for details. It is also available online through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
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