BEER & METAL VOL. 5 — Dark Days

Written by on September 13, 2019

Writer’s Note: My name is Bill Roseberry, better known as Billdo to thatmetalstation.com listeners, a recurring cohost on the Metal Mike Show. I’m a 43-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.

Dark, German, complex, award-winning — those are good ways to describe the latest band and brew for Beer & Metal.

I headed to eastern Tennessee to find the beer, Yee Haw Dunkel by Yee-Haw Brewing Co. It’s a traditional Munich dunkel lager that took bronze in the 2016 World Beer Cup in its division. 

I headed to eastern Tennessee to find the beer, Yee Haw Dunkel by Yee-Haw Brewing Co. It’s a traditional Munich dunkel lager that took bronze in the 2016 World Beer Cup in its division. 

The beer pours dark brown with a hint of red and features a frothy light brown head. The taste is super malty, but though it looks heavy like a stout or porter, it actually has a thin, light texture. It’s only 5.5 percent alcohol by volume.

The beer pours dark brown with a hint of red and features a frothy light brown head. The taste is super malty, but though it looks heavy like a stout or porter, it actually has a thin, light texture. It’s only 5.5 percent alcohol by volume.

The word dunkel is German for dark, so it was a no-brainer to pick the song and band to pair it with; I chose “Blackout” by Scorpions. That’s the self titled track off the German metal band’s classic 1982 album, which reached No. 10 on the Billboard’s 200 in the U.S. and the German Albums Chart. It reached No. 1 on the French Albums Chart.

The rhythm and leads on guitar kick in as soon as the song begins and since it’s the first track on the album, you know you’re in for an awesome ride.

Yee Haw Dunkel goes 0-60 MPH the same way. With the first drink the malty, nutty flavors punch your palate and hang on for the ride, much the way “Blackout” does, never slowing down. 

Once Klaus Meine’s vocals start, you know you’re in for a treat, too. The vocalist is one of the best, in my opinion, and interestingly enough he almost never sang on this album. Meine had to have surgery on his vocal chords prior to recording the album and it wasn’t certain he was going to be able to record. In fact, Don Dokken sings on the demos and still performs some backup vocals on the album after Meine was able to record; not on “Blackout,” though.

Besides Meine’s vocals, I really love the work of Mathias Jabs on lead guitar and Rudolph Schenker on rhythm on “Blackout.” The guitarists almost have dueling action on the song, which is phenomenal. When you hear Meine scream, “I really had a blackout baby!” followed by Jabs’ solo midway through, you’ll want to throw on some lederhosen, thrust the devil horns in the air with one hand and chug several dunkels with the other.

“Blackout” rounds out with Herman Rarebell killing it on drums and Francis Bucholz putting in work on bass. It’s just a killer track by a killer band. It offers the perfect ending with Meine screeching before the sound of broken glass closing out the track.

I’ll be honest, for me, Yee Haw Dunkel had to grow on me a little bit, while “Blackout” was an instant love. The malty flavor almost overpowers my palate, but that’s more a knock on my beer tastebuds, which lean toward IPAs rather than this award-winning brew. As I’ve had a few of them, I have become a fan, though.

Unfortunately, Yee-Haw Brewing has limited distribution. The brewery began in Johnson City, Tenn., in 2015 and has expanded with new locations in Pigeon Forge, Nashville and Greenville, S.C. Mostly distribution is going to be found from central to eastern Tennessee and western South Carolina. 

Their history may not be as storied as Scorpions — which were formed by Schenker in 1965 — but medaling at the World Beer Cup within their first full year puts them on the right path. Scorpions had a lot of changes and tweaks along the way to grow and expand their legacy, so let’s be patient with Yee-Haw and see where they go. 

If you’re in their area, check them out, but try not to have a blackout.


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