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Nothing blasphemous about this beer-and-music pairing

Second Player Score’s dark second album gets dark beer to match

By , Columbian Arts & Features Reporter
Published: November 18, 2017, 6:02am
2 Photos
Second Player Score: bassist Daniel Downs (left), guitarist Brian Tashima and drummer-brewer Kyle Gilbert. Contributed photos
Second Player Score: bassist Daniel Downs (left), guitarist Brian Tashima and drummer-brewer Kyle Gilbert. Contributed photos Photo Gallery

Nobody’s Hero,” the second album by Vancouver power-punk trio Second Player Score, grew darker and more fantastical than anybody in the band expected, according to drummer Kyle Gilbert. “It kind of played out like a movie. It really surprised us,” Gilbert said.

But given that the leader of Second Player Score is Vancouver science-fiction author Brian Tashima, maybe the unfolding epic shouldn’t have been so surprising. The story features a seductive demon who bestows magical powers on the hero — and when does that ever go well? Spoiler alert: “Nobody’s Hero” culminates in the end of the world.

Definite bummer, but at least there’s beer. About a year ago, drummer Gilbert — an award-winning Vancouver home brewer — took a notion to create some new brews that matched the 11 songs on the album. “I thought it would be neat to make beers that tasted like the songs sounded,” he said.

He never quite finished the whole project — there’s no Gilbert brew for the apocalypse — but he did concoct a half-dozen original recipes. For example, there’s a brew that matches the noisy, driving opening song on the album; both are called “Bonestorm.”

“I was brewing a Russian Imperal stout when ‘Bonestorm’ popped into my head,” Gilbert said. “The song is way over the top, and a Russian Imperial stout is over the top by nature. I tweaked the beer to exemplify things about the song and ended up with Bonestorm Brutal Imperial Stout.

If You Go

What: McMenamins Blasphemous Collaboration, with Second Player Score, The Toads and The Shrike

When: 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Where: Lola’s Room at the Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W. Burnside, Portland.

Tickets: $7 in advance, $10 at the door.

More information: www.mcmenamins.com/events/173224-blasphemous-collaboration-with-second-player-score; www.secondplayerscore.com

“It’s specifically brewed at 11 percent (alcohol),” he said. “It’s a rock ‘n’ roll beer, so it has to go up to 11. It’ll knock your socks off.”

Not long after that, Gilbert learned about the ongoing Blasphemous Collaboration series, a McMenamins promotion pairing local bands with beers inspired by their sounds. “It seemed like destiny” for Second Player Score to get Blasphemous, Gilbert said, and when he reached out to the head brewer at McMenamins, he was stunned to receive a personal call back and a thumbs-up within the hour.

“Whatever I said, I must have said it with confidence,” he said, laughing.

Second Player Score will even score a first at these Blasphemous events, Gilbert said, because until now, McMenamins has always listened to the participating bands and created its own brews in reaction. But Tuesday night will see Lola’s Room at the Crystal Ballroom tapping the first beer that’s based on a recipe by a band member and directly inspired by an original song. After that initial yes, Gilbert met with the head brewer at the Crystal Ballroom, who studied his recipe and “perfected it in a more professional manner, I guess,” he said.

What is this inspired, Blasphemous beer? It’s a little something called “Head of Sin.” Gilbert described it as a dark India red ale with a head that never goes away.

“I’ve never even heard of a dark India red ale,” he said. “It has a red tinge, and I threw a lot of roasted barley in, to darken it up really good. I wanted to keep that sinfulness.”

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