The cult section of the literary world

Thirsty Thursday–Jester King Thrash Metal Farmhouse Strong Ale

by Ross E. Lockhart

Louder, harder, faster. That’s thrash metal’s defining credo in a nutshell. The heaviness of NWOBHM fused with punk rock’s DIY spirit and and anti-authoritarianism, hopped up on malt liquor and pseudoephedrine, dubbed onto a cassette tapes and played through the blown speakers of a Nissan pickup truck at maximum volume. For a while, from the early eighties until it peaked in 1991, thrash metal seemed like it would change the world. And leading the charge, of course, there were the four horsemen of the thrash metal apocalypse, angry young bands made up of angry young, pockmarked longhairs in black T-shirts: Slayer, Anthrax, Megadeath, and, of course, Metallica.

Classic albums followed: Hell Awaits, Fistful of Metal, Ride the Lightning. But like most musical movements, thrash metal–built on a rock-solid foundation that included Queen’s “Stone Cold Crazy,” Black Sabbath’s “Symptom of the Universe,” the Misfits’ “Last Caress,” and Mötorhead’s “Ace of Spades”–eventually collapsed under its own weight, as angry young rockers grew into disillusioned middle-aged rock stars, discovering in the process psychoanalysis, mortality, litigation, religion, and uncomfortable politics. These days, a public appearance from Dave Mustaine or Lars Ulrich, or Scott Ian’s beard more often prompts a facepalm than an impromptu throwing of the goat. I guess that’s just the way it goes. But there’s always going to be that part of me, hearing for the first time a third-generation cassette of Metallica’s Kill ‘Em All on a buddy’s Walkman, and thinking, yeah, that rocks.

So tonight, I’m having a Thrash Metal Farmhouse Strong Ale from Jester King Brewing. I reviewed their Le Petit Prince here back in June, and I’ve got a bottle of their Black Metal Imperial Stout in my refrigerator, just waiting for the weather to get just cold (and Norwegian) enough to warrant a review…

Thrash Metal pours hazy burnt orange with a two-finger off-white head, a ton of carbonation, and a touch of sediment. Funky farmhouse yeast and hops, floral and grassy, dominate the nose: orange zest, lemon peel, warm alcohol. Taste follows scent, with funky spice giving way to musty (Reign in) blood orange citrus, sweet caramel, and malt. Tart and peppery against the palate, with the high carbonation balancing out the booziness. With an ABV of 9.3%, I feel it’s fair to compare this one to a saison that’s been touring with a metal band.

And Elinor approves of Thrash Metal as well…

Suggested literary pairings that accompany well the fine art of headbanging…

Walrus Tales, edited by Kevin L. Donihe. The Walrus is the most metal animal on the planet. Herein, find tales of all stripes: horrific, satiric, comedic, tragic, erotic, and a bunch of other “-ic” and “non-ic” words, like “Lovecraftian” and “Bizarro.” Walrus Tales features stories by Bentley Little, John Skipp, Carlton Mellick III, Nick Mamatas, Alan M. Clark, Mykle Hansen, Rhys Hughes, Violet LeVoit, Ekaterina Sedia, Andersen Prunty, Bradley Sands, Gina Ranalli, and more.

Tumor Fruit, by Carlton Mellick III. Eight desperate castaways find themselves stranded on a mysterious deserted island. They are surrounded by poisonous blue plants and an ocean made of acid. Strange creatures lurk in the toxic jungle. The ghostly sound of crying babies can be heard on the wind. Once they realize the rescue ships aren’t coming, the eight castaways must band together in order to survive in this inhospitable environment. But survival might not be possible. The air they breathe is toxic, there is no shelter from the elements, and the only food they have to consume is the squid-shaped tumors that grow from a mentally disturbed woman’s body.

Seed, by Rob Ziegler. It’s the dawn of the 22nd century, and the world has fallen apart. The United States has become a nation of migrants — starving masses of nomads who seek out a living in encampments outside government seed-distribution warehouses. In this new world, there is a new power. Satori is more than just a corporation; she is an intelligent, living city that grew out of the ruins of Denver. Satori bioengineers both the climate resistant seed that feeds a hungry nation and her own post-human genetic Designers, Advocates, and Laborers. What remains of the United States government now exists solely to distribute Satori seed; a defeated American military doles out bar-coded, single-use Satori seed to the nation’s starving citizens. When one of Satori’s Designers goes rogue, Agent Sienna Doss is tasked with bringing her in: the government wants to use the Designer to break Satori’s stranglehold on seed production and reassert themselves as the center of power. As events spin out of control, Sienna finds herself at the heart of Satori, where an explosive climax promises to reshape the future of the world. Metal.

Ross E. Lockhart is the managing editor of Night Shade Books. A lifelong fan of supernatural, fantastic, speculative, and weird fiction, he holds degrees in English from Sonoma State University (BA) and San Francisco State University (MA). In 2011, he edited the acclaimed anthology The Book of Cthulhu. A follow-up, The Book of Cthulhu II was published October 2012 from Night Shade Books, and his rock-and-roll novel, Chick Bassist, is coming this November from Lazy Fascist Press. He lives in an old church in Petaluma, CA, with his wife Jennifer, hundreds of books, and Elinor, who is fitting in nicely.


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