Decibel Magazine's Metal and Beer Fest 2019 (Philly) Was Brewsome!
Decibel Magazine's Metal and Beer Fest is just fucking genius. Whomever came up with this brilliant idea should receive a huge bonus and/or promotion every year that it continues to happen. I attended last December’s edition in Los Angeles and I lost my Metal and Beer virginity there…and to liken the feeling to Nikki Sixx and his penchant for chasing the dragon…I needed more.
I recently returned from Philadelphia’s version and really had a chance to drink it all in this time. In addition to combining two things that are a match made in hell for each other (Heavy Metal and craft beer), the festival organizers have the marquee bands play exclusive setlists for this festival. For example, in Los Angeles, Testament played their incredible sophomore release, “The New Order” and Triptykon played an all Celtic Frost set. During the recent Philadelphia edition, Enslaved played their Viking Metal masterpiece, “Frost” and Obituary played their magnum opus, “Cause of Death.” These exclusive setlists are what really make this festival stand out among most current metal fests.
Another great attribute about this festival is the sheer amount, and affordability of merchandise available. I don’t remember seeing any T-shirts costing over $20. In addition, not only can you stuff your record bags with merch from the bands, the breweries in attendance slinging suds had plenty schwag on hand too. They also had tons of free stuff they were giving away such as coasters, koozies, stickers, pens, etc.… And if you weren’t sick of reading about all the merch you missed out on yet, Author/Bazillion Points owner and Heavy Metal Disk Jockey, Ian Christie, was commanding a table with a large collection of his books for sale.
Now instead writing about every band that played, the songs they played, and how awesome they were blah, blah, blah…instead, I’m going to pair a handful of the beers that were sampled by the thirsty metalheads in attendance and match them to the bands that I thought were a good fit for the style of beer. I am not a beer critic by any stretch of the imagination, but I do know craft beer enough to sound like I kind of know what I’m talking about. Here goes nothing…
Beer: Oliver Brewing (Baltimore, MD) “Creator Destroyer”
Band: Tomb Mold (Toronto, Canada) “Death Metal”
Both band and beer are heavier than average and have a thickness to them like…well…blood! I think that this espresso brown ale would go well with many a death metal band, especially one that tends to push their listeners in different directions. Both the band and the beer had a nice stage presence and finish as well.
Beer: Atlas Brew Works (Washington, D.C.) “Batch 666”
Band: Uada (Portland, OR) “Melodic Black Metal”
This is a true match made in hell. I don’t think Uada would pair well with an IPA so it was a no brainer that a Czech style dark lager would go better with the darkness that Uada exudes during their live show. I wasn’t wrong.
Beer: 2SP Brewing Company (Delco, PA) “Up and Out”
Band: Baroness (Savannah, GA) “Sludge Metal”
A “Hazy IPA” most definitely sounds like it would go well with something sludgy...like…Baroness! As my buddy described the beer, “It drinks like a Budweiser on crack.” Imagine watching Baroness and enjoying the haze of this fine IPA in the stage lighting. Now you get it?
Beer: Burial Beer Co. (Asheville, NC) “Ritual Anonymity”
Band: Exhorder (New Orleans, LA) “Thrash Metal”
I overheard others sampling Burial’s “Ritual Anonymity” as being “very good,” my buddy stated it was more like a “PBR on a steroid kick.” The first band that came to mind to enjoy this fine Pilsner was NOLA thrash legends, Exhorder. Take my advice, you sure don’t want to be drinking anything heavy while you’re getting your shit smashed in the pit during “Slaughter in the Vatican.”
Beer: Birds Fly South Ale Project (Greenville, SC) “Noodles”
Band: Rosetta (Philadelphia, PA) “Post Metal”
A nice tasting lager, described by a friend as a great “Poolside Beer.” It’s actually a rice lager so in this case, I think a band like Rosetta is appropriate here. Rosetta is a little shoegazey, post-metal, droney….so yeah, you need a beer that takes a back seat so you can truly enjoy their tonality they put into their performance without distraction.
Beer: 3 Floyds Brewing Co. (Munster, IN) “Hung Drawn and Quartered”
Band: Obituary (Tampa, FL) “Death Metal”
Just the name of the brew by itself is a no brainer. Hung Drawn and Quartered? Obituary??? How could you not consume this sweet, yet very thick and very sticky Russian Imperial Stout while taking in an exclusive set of “Cause of Death?” There’s nothing more to be said about this other than this was the highlight of Decibel Magazine’s Metal and Beer Fest 2019, Philadelphia version. If Decibel Magazine keeps pairing terrific breweries with incredible bands, the sky’s the limit for this metal festival. Check out some photos of the fest here.
Metal isn't just a type of music, it's a lifestyle for Nikos Mixas. In addition to playing guitar for the Phoenix's own Mosara, he's a contributing writer for V13 and The Sludgelord. And when he's taking a break from it all and on vacation, you can almost be certain he's banging his head at a metal festival somewhere interesting.
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