A few weeks ago, I got an email asking if I wanted guestlist for Evile & Wolf at Open in Norwich. I instantly replied because I knew it would be an awesome gig; then a couple of days later I got confirmation and asked if I want to interview Evile. At first, I said I’m not sure and I’ll get back to the record label but a couple of weeks later I had a brainwave – my blog isn’t just about music, why don’t I see if the band are up for a Norfolk Beer Tasting? I already knew that Joel is quite into his beer so it would be perfect. I got a reply saying it sounds like a great idea. We’re onto a winner!
So, along with my good friend Rob, I took 5 beers from 3 different Norfolk breweries to taste them with Joel Graham, the bassist from Evile.
Evile are a thrash metal band hailing from Huddersfield in Yorkshire, England. They currently have three studio albums, have appeared at many different heavy metal festivals, had headline tours and have supported some pretty big names. In fact, the first time I saw them live was at the UEA in 2008 supporting the almighty Megadeth.
So, the tasting?
The beers I took along were:
Grain Blonde Ash
Grain India Pale Ale
Norwich Bear Indian Spiced Ale
Norwich Bear Coconut Pawter
Norfolk Square Twisted Porter
Me: Joel, It’s nice to meet you. How’s it going?
Joel: Good thanks. This is gonna be good. I just got an email last week asking if I want to taste some beers with a guy in Norfolk and it was pretty much the best email I ever got!
Me: Right, shall we crack open a beer?
Joel: Sounds like a good idea!
Grain Blonde Ash:
German style wheat beer from Grain Brewery in Norfolk. We take a big sniff and a taste.
Joel: A British wheat beer? That’s amazing. Oh that’s lovely.
Me: Definitely. I hate giving marks out of 10 but go for it!
Joel: I’m not a massive wheat beer drinker but that is really nice! It’s much better than the big, branded wheat beers.
Me: So, what would you give that out of 10 then?
Joel: Definitely an 8! In terms of beer styles that I like, that’s definitely an 8.
Joel’s Verdict: 8/10
Joel: It’s great that a lot of breweries are now doing bottled beers. Like Thornbridge. Jaipur is awesome! It’s giving a lot of people a chance to try them, just by putting them on supermarket shelves. I see people just walking along in the supermarket saying “Oh I’ll try that because it looks interesting” because, especially where we are (Yorkshire), the pub culture seems to be dying off. Less people are going out and more people want to drink at home so small brewers doing bottled beers is a good move. Honestly though, I’ve never tasted a wheat beer as good as this.
Norwich Bear Indian Spiced Ale:
A chilli and coriander spiced pale ale
Me: I personally don’t think it’s that spicy to be honest. I’ve had this before and some people find it really spicy but others don’t.
Joel: I’m trying to make out the taste. It has a definite certain taste to it.
Rob: It’s like apple pie.
Joel: You just hit the nail on the head. Apple pie. Cinnamon and apple. It’s really subtle, not overpowering. It’s very fizzy in the mouth as well. It’s very nice. I think it’s very nice but needs to be turned up a bit, like just a touch.
Me: After a while, once it starts to warm up, you start to get the chilli.
Joel: Definitely; you can taste it. It’s like when you have beer with a chilli or a curry, it doesn’t hit you at first but after a few mouthfuls you really feel it on the tongue.
Me: It’s really quite pleasant as it kind of creeps up on you instead of just smacking you in the face.
Joel: It’s really quite nice, again. It’s one of those beers where the more you drink it, the nicer it is. That’s actually becoming quite spicy now, haha! Again, that’s gonna be an 8/10.
Joel’s Verdict: 8/10
Norwich Bear Coconut Pawter:
I think this will follow it nicely as the coconut will cool it down a bit.
Joel: *takes a sniff* Woah; it is indeed coconut porter! Fucking hell; the spice from the last one is really kicking in now! Wow, you can really smell the coconut in this! That is lovely!
Me: It’s got a really nice balance. The dark, roasted porter taste with the nice coconut works well.
Joel: My favourite stout/porter right now is Dark Arts by Magic Rock. They’ve just got it down. All their beers are great!
Me: Funny, we’ve just been drinking Cannonball on draft actually!
Joel: Aww man. This is really nice though. This is a definite 9/10. I’m not usually a porter drinker, if I do drink it, it’ll just be like one pint per evening because they’re usually really overpowering but this is really nice.
Joel’s Verdict: 9/10
Norfolk Square Twisted Porter
Porter brewed with coffee, cocoa nibs & chilli
Joel: Sounds good to me! So, who brews the Coconut one?
Me: Norwich Bear. Their beers are currently brewed by Carlos who brews the beer I’m currently opening, until Bear get their brewery installed. This Twisted Porter is the one out of the 5 that I’ve actually not had before so this is a new experience for all of us!
Joel: Oh, ok! This is gonna be interesting. Certainly got a huge coffee aroma to it.
Me: You get that little hint of chilli as well. Wow. Big coffee flavour!
Joel: Absolutely huge! It’s the kind of beer where you could just skip a meal and have a pint of that instead haha! You can just tell it’s filling you up straight away. I’m getting a bit of chocolate through as well.
Me: I’m not really getting the chilli though... well, not tasting. I’m kinda feeling it in my throat.
Joel: You’ve brought a lot of good beers!
Me: Haha, I do try! I’m trying to bring some more interesting beers than your standard milds and bitters.
Joel: Oh I’m getting chilli now! I did prefer the other porter.
Me: I’m kinda glad it’s only sold in 330ml bottles because I think drinking alone, a pint would be too much.
Joel: Oh yeah, definitely. I don’t think you could drink anything else after a pint of it either because the taste is too overpowering. It’d be hard to taste anything after it which isn’t a bad thing because it’s a nice taste but y’know. Definitely a half pint because it’s 6% as well.
Me: So you kinda just got an email from the record label asking if you wanna drink some beers with this guy?
Joel: Haha yeah! It was as simple as that. It was like “yeah, I got an email today asking if you wanna do some ale tasting?” I was like “Oh absolutely!” haha
Me: Yeah, I asked to be on the guest list a while ago then asked if I wanna interview you guys and I wasn’t sure then I just got a brainwave that told me I should see if you wanna do a beer tasting.
Joel: I think it’s a brilliant idea because a lot of the time, heavy metal bands just have this stigma that’s like “wheeeeeeeeeey we like drinking!” but it’s really nice when you have something different to drink. Like when we toured America, we went to a lot of breweries, especially in like Denver, Colorado.
Grain India Pale Ale
IPA from Grain brewery in Norfolk.
Joel: Wow. You know it’s an IPA before it even touches your lips.
Me: Yep. Kind of those orange rind and grapefruit flavours.
Joel: Yes! That is GOOD! That is really, really good! That’s 9/10 that is... straight away! What percentage is that?
Joel: Quite a strong one, that! That’s really, really good!
Joel’s Verdict: 9/10 with no deliberation. The outright winner of the night!
Me: So, generally you’re a massive hop head like me?
Joel: Yep. You definitely saved the best until last!
Joel: If I had to put all of these in order:
1) Grain IPA
2) Norwich Bear Coconut Pawter
3) Grain Blonde Ash
4) Norwich Bear Indian Spiced Ale
5) Norfolk Square Twisted Porter
Me: What would you say is your favourite beer ever? Actually, pick 3.
Joel: Thornbridge Jaipur, Partners Brewers Tabatha & Magic Rock Cannonball
Me: I’ve not had the second but Jaipur & Cannonball are definitely up in my list!
Me: Joel, thanks for joining me on this tasting this evening. Was a real pleasure to introduce you to some great beers. Really looking forward to the show!
Joel: Thanks for the beers! It was awesome and certainly more interesting than any other interview!
I wanna thank Joel again for taking the time out to hang out and drink some beers. It was awesome and I’m looking forward to doing this kind of thing with more bands!
*This was meant to be an audio track but I’ll have to apologise as my sound recorder was really fucking grainy.