Like many destined to be a Yes fan 13 year old kid growing up in 1981, I discovered Yes through an album that many hard core fan would probably consider to be the worst Yes album ever, Drama. Was it? No, I disagree. It was different, and at the very least, one might say that it wasn’t “real” Yes. Granted the absence of Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman was a big deal, but I think it was an excellent album built by the hands of quality musicians with a lot of love to give. It was Steve Howe’s opening guitar lick in Machine Messiah and Chris Squire’s simplistic bass line introducing Into the lens that caught my attention.
Say what you want about Drama, but it introduced me to other Yes albums like Going for the One and Fragile and eventually, the power house albums Close to the Edge and Relayer, my favourites. I remember precisely when I fell in love with Jon Anderson’s voice, I was walking home from school and Going for the One was on a loop in my mind and I kept trying to sing it in the soften voice of Anderson. That’s when I bought all the rest of their albums and to this day, I listen to every single one of them at least twice a year. I walked down the aisle with Lisa to Soon, the closing track to Gates of Delirium!
What many criticize Yes for is the pretentious full length concept albums like Tales from Topographic Oceans, Close to the Edge or Relayer but if you listen close enough, you’ll find that the magic of Yes is in the detail and the energy, the build up and the madness that they’ve always delivered with much grace, perfection and care.
So why this Ashnan beer review? Well, for starters, it’s a fantastic beer and, Ashnan was the Goddess of grain in Mesopotamian mythology and I love a concept beer, it’s like a concept album from Yes. Did you see the progression here? Do you see the pun in “progression”? He he he… It’s a bit of a stretch but it’s my blog and I’ll stretch if I want to. Peace.
Soon, oh soon the light
Pass within and soothe this endless night
And wait here for you
Our reason to be here
(Extract of Soon written by Jon Anderson)
Look: Deep hazy amber with limited head but good retention and beautiful lacing.
Smell: Ashnan smells wonderful. It has hints of oak barrels with malts, floral and a good wine.
Taste: It is rich tasting alright. I like to think that Ashnan tastes like eating a delicious creme brulée in a (not too smoky) cigar lounge. The sweetness and vanilla hints of a Chardonay are very present and the alcohol level being 9.8% really brings out the wine aspect of this beer. We are not big on using Toscana glasses in our home so I used a flute which I only filled halfway (also works as a substitute). I recommend using proper glassware for this. Another great attribute to this beer is the trappist or doublebock suggestion you get with every sip. A lot of love has gone in to this beer, just like a Yes album 😉
Finish: Thin with a well balanced alcohol kick. Smooth after taste with little bitterness.
Context. You need to sit down and enjoy this beer. This is not a thirst quencher after mowing the lawn or watching a baseball game. Enjoy it like you would a fine wine
Pairing: Fish, soft cheeses, grilled veggies
Availability: Limited… in fact, better hurry.
Beer type: Wheat wine
Brewery: Beau’s Brewery
Country / Region: Ontario
A special mention to Beau’s newly renovated facility. It’s actually been a while (well over 6 months) but worth a visit…