Hello again! I have a real treat lined up for you tonight, in the form of a beer interview with Rob Bradley, lead guitarist for one of my favourite bands of this year, Sleeper’s Awake. Shortly after I reviewed their latest album Trancension a couple of weeks ago, Rob added me on Facebook and it turns out that he’s a beer geek. HELL YES! Lisa from Hold Tight PR suggested I do another of my beer interviews which Rob seemed pretty excited about so here it is...
But first... stream the album while you read... it's awesome:
What’s the craft beer scene like where you are in
Which breweries beers should we fine British folk try to get a hold of? Ohio
has an awesome craft beer scene! We are from Columbus and in that city alone
there are some really great micro-breweries. My personal favorite is Barley’s.
Their Scottish Ale and Centennial IPA are both excellent beers. Sadly they
don’t bottle. As for the rest of Ohio, I try and take a trip to an Ohio brewery
once a month hahaha. Great Lakes in Cleveland rules! Their Imperial IPA, “Lake
Erie Monster”, is delicious. As for their year round more available beers,
Dortmunder Gold lager, Burning River Pale Ale, and Commodore Perry IPA are all
great. Aside from Great Lakes you should try and get a hold of Brew Kettle (4
C’s Pale Ale or Old 21 DIPA), Hoppin’ Frog (Boris the Crusher Stout) or
Rivertown (their Roebling Porter is great especially if you can get it on
nitro). Kedar has fond memories of being mouth raped by Hoppin’ Frog’s Hop Dam
Triple IPA. I found it to be delicious. Ohio
If I visit Columbus, where should I go to drink awesome beer? First and foremost, Barley’s! Like I said, they are by far my favorite. I usually am there once a week at least drinking and playing cards with my girlfriend Lindsey. There are some other great ones too. Seventh Son is new but has some great stuff. North High Brewing is great too (you can also brew your own beer there). As far as non-brewery places are concerned, Bob’s Bar and Kobo are some of the best beer places around. Good people, good beer. That swill slinging bastard Chris Burnsides A.K.A. “Ambrose” will probably just tell you to visit the Budweiser plant. He disgusts all of us. From here on out, let the term “Ambrose beer” represent everything we hate in beer; your macro-lager, adjunct filled, cow piss.
How do you feel about the pace that the craft beer scene in the
United States is
moving? Can we take the corporate bastards? Much to the chagrin of that
Miller Light drinkin’ son of a bitch Ambrose, the craft beer scene is awesome
in the United States! I really believe that we have some seriously world class
beer in this country. That being said, the demand for macro-lager urine is
still huge in this country and probably always will be because it’s crazy cheap
and their marketing is nothing short of brilliant. However, it is really
exciting to see more people view beer like they would a great wine or scotch.
Beer drinkers are slowly losing the Homer Simpson sort of stereotype (beer gut
hanging out, belching drunk). Beer is every bit as complex and layered as a
fine wine is. It’s nice to see that people are starting to see that.
East Coast U.S. or West Coast beer? West Coast. Oregon and California are front runners there. Stone, Rogue, North Coast, Sierra Nevada, Ninkasi, the list just goes on and on.
British or Belgian beer? British. Samuel Smith’s India Ale was one of the first beers I really loved back when I was about 21, 22. It was hoppier than anything I had tasted at that time and was kind of an eye-opener for me. I was in college at Ohio State then so drinking Ambrose beer was the norm but when I tried the India Ale, I was hooked. Chris and I got into beer at about the same time so I believe we both tried the Sam Smith.
German or Czech beer? Czech. I love a good Pilsner every once in a while.
Cask (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cask_ale) or Keg beer? Depends on the beer. I LOVE cask beer but I am not going to be too into a cask Pilsner. A great IPA, DIPA, or stout on cask is awesome. One thing we really fuck up in America is that we serve our beer way too cold! You can’t taste anything when it’s that cold! Of course, Ambrose beer has to be basically frozen to be drinkable. I know I look like a prick when I go to a place and request a room temperature glass instead of the frozen one they want to give me. When you get a great cask beer it is awesome though.
Bottled or Canned beer? A lot of breweries are switching to cans because they seal better, protect the beer better, etc. I have no real preference. Sierra Nevada just made a switch to using a lot of cans. Still delicious.
Favourite style of beer? Double IPA for sure.
Favourite British ale? I’ll probably have to stick with Sam Smith India Ale. It’s a real nostalgic thing for me.
Favourite Belgian beer? Chimay Blue. I also used to like Leffe Blonde a lot.
Favourite German beer? I know it’s not too ground breaking an answer but there is a reason that people like Ayinger Celebrator. Ambrose just loves it.
Favourite Czech beer? I have to confess that Pilsner Urquell is one of the only ones I have had. I have had a lot of Czech style beers, but not many from the Czech Republic. Someone needs to let me come visit them in Europe!
Favourite American Beer? That’s tough but I will probably say Bells HopSlam from Kalamazoo, MI.
American or European beer? I have to go with American just because I am limited in the amount of good European beers that I can try.
3 Favourite beers in the whole world? Bell’s HopSlam, Great Lakes Lake Erie Monster, Ninkasi Tricerahops DIPA.
What’s the best food and beer pairing? Any beer with nachos. High class, I know.
What was your first ever alcoholic drink? How’d that go for you? Funny story. When I was about 4 years old, my parents took me to a wedding where they had a literal fountain of champagne. Apparently I went up and filled my little cup up with champagne a few times before my parents or anyone noticed what I was doing. Needless to say, we left the wedding shortly after my parents realized what had happened.
What’s the most absurd thing you’ve done while drunk? It was actually the day after but I was so hungover and feeling so badly about my irresponsibility the night before that I decided, “I need something to be responsible for to make up for this.” I bought a cat. That’s right Lisa Coverdale; a cat.
What’s your favourite city to drink in? Portland, Oregon. So many breweries. An alcoholic’s delight.
If Jesus turned water into beer instead of wine, what would the beer be? Nothing Ambrose would drink.
Mandatory musical section:
I recently reviewed Transcension and it was fucking awesome. I can’t stop listening to it! What direction are you planning on taking your next release in? Thanks man! Glad you enjoyed it. We pretty much immediately started writing for the next album as we tend to get very bored, very quickly. The new stuff is still very heavy in a lot of parts but also very melodic and for lack of a better term, kind of “pretty.” We want the new stuff to really continue to showcase Chris’ voice. We have always felt that his voice is kind of the connecting point for a lot of listeners. We feel we did a decent job of that on “Transcension” but we would like to continue to push that element further. We are also planning some out and out just crazy, super proggy, pieces as well.
And when are you going to come over to England so I can see you live and geek out with you over beer? Very soon I hope! There is a lot of beer out there for us to try! We probably should base any tour schedule around towns with breweries in them.
Many thanks to Rob for taking the time to tell us all about the breweries of Ohio, the way he became an alcoholic at the age of 4 and for advising us not to be hungover because you might buy a cat!
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