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.
I’m a huge fan of sour beers, so I thought it was time to feature one.
I discovered Chill Vibes, a quirky new creation by Boulevard Brewery, several months ago and became an instant fan. A sour ale with cucumbers, it’s deliciously refreshing. Yes, you will have to like the taste of cucumbers to enjoy this brew, but if you do, I doubt it will disappoint.
Just the aromas will whisk you away to cucumber heaven, with hints of lime, lemon and grass to boot. Just 4.5 percent alcohol by volume, it’s a light drink and tips the IBU scale with a modest 11 ranking.
I saw a review of this beer with some apprehensions much like I had — that it would be gimmicky, rather than an overall good beer. That is definitely not the case. I think this one should be here to stay for Boulevard and one that makes for a good spring and summer go-to beer on a hot day.
I’ve long been a supporter of Boulevard, too. The brewery in Kansas City, Mo., is one of my favorites. I had the pleasure of touring it several years ago, which was a great time. Their tasting room is top notch.
When thinking of a song to pair it with, I had to dig deep. I don’t think super heavy music when I think sour beers, but I wanted something a little odd and sour in its sound as a companion. I chose a juggernaut from the ‘90s metal scene in Alice in Chains; the selected song was “Sludge Factory” off their 1995 self-titled release and third studio album. “Sludge Factory” is the third track on this excellent release.
I would describe the late Layne Staley’s vocals as a little sour in tones, and I mean that with the utmost respect. I love his vocals and lyrics. His whines to begin “Sludge Factory” fit well with Chill Vibes for sure.
Musically, Jerry Cantrell’s guitars transition from heavy to more melodic and bluesy on “Sludge Factory,” too, which stick to the sour theme beautifully. The rhythmic drumming of Sean Kinney and bass work of Mike Inez also are awesome. Kinney is especially good on this track, whacking the skins at a chilled, toe-tapping pace.
“Sludge Factory” will start you on a funky trance and Chill Vibes will take your hand and steer you the rest of the way down the rabbit hole for a trippy, relaxing experience.
Just as Alice in Chains was a monster on the ‘90s metal scene, Boulevard is equally influential on the craft beer scene, in my opinion.
And the good news for beer connoisseurs is, according to www.seekabrew.com, most of you in the United States should be able to find Chill Vibes, or at least some creation from Boulevard. The brewery has full distribution in Alaska, California, Colorado, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Maryland, Washington D.C., North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. It also has partial distribution in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Illinois, Alabama, Virginia and Pennsylvania. That’s 33 states and D.C. where it’s available.
Check out everything Boulevard has to offer at www.boulevard.com and next time you want a sludgy, sour, lip-puckering good time, throw on some “Sludge Factory” and crack yourself a Chill Vibes.