Writer’s Note: My name is Bill Roseberry, better known as Billdo to thatmetalstation.com listeners, a recurring co-host on the Metal Mike Show. I’m a 42-year-old professional journalist in southern Illinois, right outside of St. Louis, Mo. and two of my passions besides writing are music and craft beer. My love of music can date back to my dad playing Queen, Beatles and Rolling Stones albums when I could barely walk and me dancing to the beat. I still vividly remember buying my Van Halen “1984” cassette tape with my allowance when it released and wearing it out. My love of music has grown exponentially since then. My love for creative and unique brews came much later, but hopefully, this column shows me as an aficionado for both — this is beer & metal.
I’m heading to the “Peach State” for my latest beer and metal adventure.
SweetWater Brewing Company of Atlanta, Ga., has been at the top of my list of favorite breweries ever since I drank my first of their products in Nashville, Tenn., almost 10 years ago. I enjoy the excellent usage of hops in their beers, which makes them a juggernaut on the market, in my opinion. I’ve had some good sours from there, too, but we can discuss that another time.
My beer of choice is their old standby — 420 Extra Pale Ale, which is distributed year-round.
I love the hoppiness provided in this beer with the splash of sweetness that tantalizes the tongue on the back end. It’s extremely refreshing. Beer Advocate gives it a 3.65 rating out of 5, which is pretty darn good. It has a 5.7 percent alcohol by volume and 39 IBUs (International Bitterness Units scale).
It pours golden amber with a nice frothy head. It’s a beer to be savored with its awesome floral flavors and hops complexities. It’s brewed with centennial and cascade hops.
I went back to Atlanta to find the band and song to pair with this great beer. SweetWater got its start in Atlanta in 1997, so it’s grown up with the ultra-talented progressive metal band Mastodon, which began in 2000.
When hunting for a good go-to beer, 420 Extra Pale Ale is a winner, just like “The Hunter” by Mastodon, the self-titled release from their 2011 album of the same name. The song is the seventh track on the album.
Mastodon has a beautiful complexity, both vocally and instrumentally, so it melds well with this complex beer. “The Hunter” is melodic and slow in pace, but still carries heavy tones with it just like 420 Extra Pale Ale with its comforting fruity flavors and hard crash of hops at the end. Close your eyes and take it all in as the fantastic harmonization between singers Troy Sanders and Brent Hinds, the crisp drumming of Brann Dailor and rhythmic guitar work of Bill Kelliher will put you in a trance. Then comes the guitar solo by Hinds, backed by heavier drumming from Dailor to really up the ante on this classic.
The song is just a perfect pair to chill out and savor the 420 Extra Pale Ale.
SweetWater offers a fairly big distribution range, too. According to seekabrew.com, you can find full distribution of their awesome beers in Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Texas, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Ohio, Virginia, Maryland, Washington, D.C., and New York.
If you want to check out more of SweetWater’s awesome line of beers, visit them at sweetwaterbrew.com. And if you’re not familiar with Mastodon, check them out at mastodonrocks.com. Most songs differ from the next, and you can’t help but applaud their musical genius.
Atlanta gets the nickname “Hotlanta,” and as long as Mastodon and SweetWater are calling it home I can see why; cheers to them both.