Brewtal Truth: This Saint Vitus Album With That Beer

Music and beer pairing is a completely subjective endeavor. What may float my boat, may not make a lick of sense to you. It’s not like food/drink pairings where you can taste and assess whether the flavors of this one thing taste good with the flavors of this other thing.

But let’s just say that music is generally “enhanced” by the ingestion of intoxicating substances—wine, weed, beer, vodka, acid, whatever. My take is that a particular brew may be more complementary to certain music/bands than say a generic Bud Light or Michelob. Maybe it’s just in my head, but drinking something interesting (maybe with its own story) while listening to a certain album, you can find a kind of chemistry.

Though I wouldn’t say that I’m particularly hung up on tradition, I do have an appreciation for the Old School, as long as it equates to quality. You can’t get much more old school than Germany brewery Weihenstephaner, which claims to be the “world’s oldest brewery” and has apparently been brewing beer since 1040. Founded on the site of a former abbey dedicated to Saint Vitus in Bavaria, it specializes in the wheat beers the area is known for. In fact, if you want to a textbook example of how a hefeweizen (a cloudy wheat beer brewed with a traditional Bavarian yeast) should taste, seek out a bottle from this brewery.

I love the exotic banana, clove, spice and citrus notes of this style. It’s typically very effervescent, as well, which is refreshing on a hot day. In the cooler months, if I want that same punch of flavor, I go in search of a weizenbock, which basically means “strong wheat beer.” Weihenstphaner Vitus (7.7% ABV) is a perfect example of the style. It’s a little sweeter and has a little more body than a regular hefe, so there’s more to chew on, so to speak. It’s a timeless brew, done immaculately. You can find other examples of the style, but few will be done as flawlessly.

Doom legends Saint Vitus don’t have quite the history as the beer I’ve paired their music with, but they are iconic in their own right and they are unabashedly throwbacks to an earlier time. Thus, the obvious album choice to pair with this beer is the band’s definitive statement of intent, Born Too Late. The title track flatly renounces any desire to follow trends or conform and in the craft beer world, there’s nothing less trendy than a strong German wheat beer.

It could be argued that the best thing to pair with this album would be LSD, but that’s someone else’s column. I’m guessing that the members of Saint Vitus drank a beer or two when creating this classic. Probably not German beer, but in hindsight something old school, with a real sense of history behind it seems like the appropriate pairing with an album that seemed incredibly retro when it was released in 1986, but is now revered as oddly forward-thinking.

Just heed the warning of “Dying Inside,” where vocalist Scott “Wino” Weinrich shouts “alcohol knows it’s gonna win.”

Adem Tepedelen’s craft beer book, Decibel Presents the Brewtal Truth Guide to Extreme Beers: An All-Excess Pass to Brewing’s Outer Limits, is now available in the Decibel online store.