Monday, April 8, 2013

Taste the Waste: Three Floyds and Municipal Waste's Toxic Revolution Stout

Posted By on 04.08.13 at 02:00 PM

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Quite a few of the folks at Three Floyds are incorrigible metalheads, and the brewery has made plenty of beers in collaboration with (or in homage to) metal bands: a doppelbock called the Creeper with Pelican, an imperial pilsner called Evil Power with Lair of the Minotaur, and a porter called Ragnarok with Amon Amarth, among others. Currently the brewery is selling a Pig Destroyer pale ale, Permanent Funeral; an Eyehategod black IPA, In the Name of Suffering; and a Municipal Waste stout, Toxic Revolution. (All three cost ten bucks a bottle at the Three Floyds brewpub in Munster, Indiana, and they're also turning up on tap here and there—including at the Sybris record-release show last Friday at Bottom Lounge.)

Founded in 2001 and based in Richmond, Virginia, Municipal Waste is one of the leading American bands in the ongoing thrash revival. Last year they released their fifth full-length, The Fatal Feast: Waste in Space, and on Friday they played the House of Blues with Anthrax, Exodus, and High on Fire. "One of the reasons that I love thrash metal so much," Miles Raymer wrote at the time, "is that few musical styles can touch its singleminded focus on getting fucked up and fucking shit up." Municipal Waste certainly fit the bill: according to Encyclopaedia Metallum, the band's lyrical themes are "Politics, Society, Thrashing, Partying, Humor."

I'm not the biggest thrash fan—I make an exception for Vektor—but Miles has a handle on a big part of its appeal. "Thrash metal doesn't want you to contemplate your place in the universe or really feel your feelings, it wants you to drink a rack of cheap beer and light off fireworks in your friend's basement. It wants you to spray-paint stuff that's not your property and then do skateboard tricks off it."

This leg, adorned with a Three Floyds tattoo, belongs to Municipal Waste drummer Dave Witte.
  • Luz de Luna Duran
  • This leg, adorned with a Three Floyds tattoo, belongs to Municipal Waste drummer Dave Witte.
Municipal Waste don't confine themselves to the likes of Milwaukee's Best, though—or at least drummer Dave Witte doesn't. He's got a Three Floyds tattoo on his leg. (In case you need further evidence of his good taste, he's also been a member of Black Army Jacket and Discordance Axis, and for many years he served as the touring drummer for Melt-Banana.) So when Three Floyds says that "Municipal Waste demanded we brew a massive yet drinkable American-style oatmeal stout perfect for winter shred sessions," it's possible to accept that sentence at face value, even though it appears in a press release.

"Having a beer made for the band by Three Floyds is incredible and a dream come true," says Witte in the same PR. "Not only are they world-class beer makers, they are great people and understand the band. They invited me out to help brew and it was such a great time! After tasting the pilot batch and stages of the brew itself, I can say that this is going to be one hell of a beer."

This coup is certainly going well for the Giant Snarling Dog Party.
  • This coup is certainly going well for the Giant Snarling Dog Party.

Toxic Revolution is indeed a hell of a beer. Almost ink black, it's crowned with a sticky, fluffy head the color of cafe au lait that heaps up like a meringue and leaves lacing all over the place. It smells startlingly fruity for a beer that's as dark as used motor oil—well, maybe not all that startlingly, given that the Three Floyds modus operandi involves piling tons of weird hops into practically everything, even roasty stouts. The strongest aromas are fudge brownie and bright tangerine, but I also get fresh oatmeal cookie (with plenty of brown sugar), burnt coffee, and clean pine.

The label describes Toxic Revolution as "a black liquid wall of death in your mouth," but the beer is only 8.5 percent alcohol—not particularly intimidating compared to, say, Dark Lord, which as much as I love it is a fucking coma in a bottle. Of course Three Floyds isn't trying to imply that Toxic Revolution might kill you—a "wall of death" is a form of mass-casualty crowd entertainment popular at large-scale metal shows. Click here to watch one at a 2010 Exodus concert. (The footage is handsome and professional but probably not safe for work, on account of Rob Dukes uses some naughty words.)

Municipal Waste and several invisible oranges. Thats Mr. Witte second from left.
  • Luz de Luna Duran
  • Municipal Waste and several invisible oranges. That's Mr. Witte second from left.

Toxic Revolution has a silky body, as you'd expect from an oatmeal stout, and its flavor starts with a flash of pink grapefruit and another jolt of pine, followed by a stampede of intensely bitter roasted malts. The bitterness hangs around in the finish, but I also taste orange peel and milk chocolate—and because I'm irrationally fond of chocolate with orange, this is probably the best possible way to make a brutally charred stout taste wonderful to me.

Three Floyds has taken care of the metal portion of this post on my behalf, so I don't have to devise another of my typically awkward segues. It's time for some Municipal Waste! Needless to say I'm obliged to start with "Toxic Revolution," from 2003's Waste 'Em All.

This is "Terror Shark," from 2005's Hazardous Mutation. I'm including it because I love the line that pops out when the whole band (except Witte's kick drum) drops out for two bars at the one-minute mark: "Helpless in the water you're a human buffet!"

Lastly, here's a drinking-themed song from The Fatal Feast called "You're Cut Off." Fair warning: the video is probably not safe for work, given that it consists of a parade of completely ridiculous and more or less constant cartoon gore.

Philip Montoro writes about beer and metal, singly or in combination, every Monday.

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