Recap: Learning to Beer with Metallica in N.Y.C.

There’s nothing this Decibel writer loves more than intrepid reporting out there in the concrete jungle to deliver old-school in-your-face journalism that’s so direct and unflinching, it stiffens the nipples of The Gray Lady. I’m lying. The only thing that got me out of the house this past Tuesday evening, when the sky was dumping buckets of rain on the streets of New York City’s East Village, was the promise of craft beer and metal. And so I answered the call of duty at Idle Hands Bar, where the owners were celebrating Metallica’s 30th anniversary with a three-part event that poured one beer for each year of the thrash megalomaniacs’ existence. Perhaps you remember the contest that we posted on the blog a week ago that gave away a pair of tickets to this sold-out event. You probably didn’t win. That sucks, I’m sorry. Please keep reading.This was the third and final night of the event, and it was centered around the 20th anniversary of the Black Album; the event’s description made it sound like we were going to be tasting one beer for each song on the Black Album. But that didn’t happen, so Decibel‘s own Mr. Brewtal Truth Adem Tepedelen did those honors (click through to read the whole post). In reality, we just drank lots of beer and ate pizza while listening to Metallica. Basically, there was little to differentiate the evening from any other night of any given week. Which is to say, it was a totally bitchin’ time. Click through for the goods.
One of the owners of Idle Hands, the Rev (yes, the Rev), loves beer and metal so much, he dedicates his entire existence at Idle Hands to intertwining the two. But he’s not one of those dudes who says he loves beer and proceeds to drink a keg of assed-out suds. If you’re that guy, you don’t love beer — you love getting shitfaced. There is nothing wrong with that. But some of us really love beer. Good beer (check Idle Hands’ beer list). Representatives from Harpoon and Speakeasy breweries are here pouring double shots of their select beers and explaining the nuances of each in a very non-douchey way. Beer is the people’s drink, my friend likes to say. If you’re gonna be a snob, go drink some wine and leave us commoners alone. Granted, if this was an event centered around, say, Pabst and metal, I’d be home on my couch. I’m not a classist asshole — drink your PBR and make merry! — I just like my beer to taste good. (Though I do think Stella is the piss of the condemned. Seriously — that is some kind of abomination. Drink water instead.)

And so, to the beer! In less than a half hour, I ingested 10 different beers, ranging from Harpoon’s out-of-bounds delicious UFO Pumpkin, which hasn’t yet been released en masse to the general public (but when it does, I’m buying a case), to Speakeasy’s body-rocking Betrayal Ale, registering 9.8% ABV with a staggering 121 IBU (bitterness units). We got two full pours: Harpoon’s Munich Dark and Speakeasy’s Prohibition — both delicious and very drinkable. I vaguely remember hearing Metallica in the background, but honestly, I was busying myself with the beer. Idle Hands promises more beer-and-metal events in the near future, so if you’re in NYC, follow them on twitter to get the heads up.

No one on Team Decibel loves and knows suds like Mr. Brewtal Truth, Adem Tepedelen (follow him on Twitter @BrewtalTruth). Here is what our brewmaster suggests pairing with the Black Album. Cheers.

“Enter Sandman”
Brewtal Truth recommends: The kind of light lager that’s ubiquitous at sporting events since the opening coupla minutes of this tune have been pumping up crowds for twenty years now.

“Sad But True”
Brewtal Truth recommends: Whatever the dudes in Soundgarden are having. Probably some hopped-up Northwest pale ale.

“Holier Than Thou”
Brewtal Truth recommends: That you shake your angry fist at those hypocritical televangelist bastards while drinking a trappist ale made by monks who’ve taken a vow of poverty.

“The Unforgiven”
Brewtal Truth recommends: A goddamn bitter West Coast barleywine to fully commiserate with the “bitter man he is.”

“Wherever I May Roam”
Brewtal Truth recommends: The beer brewed specifically to survive long journeys: India pale ale.

“Don’t Tread on Me”
Brewtal Truth recommends: In the spirit of beer lover Ben Franklin, a pumpkin ale, a style that can be traced back to colonial times when practically any fruit or veg was fair game for the brew kettle.

“Through the Never”
Brewtal Truth recommends: Something consciousness-raising that’ll help you transcend your earthbound reality, er whatever. A 12% ABV Russian imperial stout oughtta get you there.

“Nothing Else Matters”
Brewtal Truth recommends: A nice refreshing white-wine spritzer, perhaps, Susie? Look, if you’re gonna be crying in you’re beer, just make it something cheap and shitty.

“Of Wolf and Man”
Brewtal Truth recommends: A hop bomb of some description — maybe a cannabis-perfumed, wet-hopped double IPA — since the Latin name for the species of hop plant brewers use (which is, in fact, related to pot) is humulus lupulus, or “small wolf hops.”

“The God That Failed”
Brewtal Truth recommends: A rich oatmeal stout brewed with coffee to wake your ass up so you can make it through the rest of the plodders that constitutes side two.

“My Friend of Misery”
Brewtal Truth recommends: That you take that old adage to heart — “misery loves company” — and get good and low with a 40 of the cheapest malt liquor you can find.

“The Struggle Within”
Brewtal Truth recommends: You try to relive the joy Lars’ must have felt in finally getting to play a “fast” beat by slugging back any European lager that comes in a green bottle.