Drinking with the Devil (Dick), by Tommy Southard

In his second column for the site, Tommy “Devil Dick” Southard leads the way through a night of excellent beer and music pairings that’s sure to put you on your ass, one way or another. Some tracks from Tommy‘s new band, The Disease Concept, have been posted in the news forum, and they rule, so please consider them recommended listening, whatever beverage you happen to have on hand at the time. On with the show:

Mr. Southard, hard at work.

Drinking with the Devil (Dick)
by Tommy Southard

Hello there Obelisk-ers,

Devil Dick here to talk a little beer and maybe a little music…

I’ve been sampling plenty of different and new beers but I’m gonna start with a fairly new all-time favorite. I spent a lot of time drinking darker beers, as my first love has always been stouts and porters, but since I’ve been introduced to sour beers, they have slowly but surely crept up the chain near the top and this one might be the best of the bunch. I always try and pick up and keep a bottle or two on hand: Monk’s Café Flemish Sour Ale. My buddy Paul Vismara turned me on to this with a trip to Monk’s Café right here in Philadelphia, where it is brewed. Ever since then it’s been a staple. As the name says, this is “sour” and that word used to turn me off — I mean who wants to drink something sour? The word makes one think of turned milk and all curdly-type nasty stuff but this beer is amazing. It’s light copper in color with a million bubbles and it’s so carbonated it sort of drinks like seltzer… The sour taste is all fruity with no earthly-ness really and pretty tart. At 5.5%, it’s way easy drinking and you can put a bunch of these back and still think straight…. While drinking a few of these I cranked up The Difference Engine from Dutch stoner rock band Beaver. An important and oft-overlooked album from 1997. Great heavy riffs à la some Wino-type riffery… Nice.


Next up is St. Bernardus Wit Belgian Abbey Ale Pierre Celis Signature Selection. This poured cloudy with an almost cider look, with a minimal head that didn’t last. Nice carbonation with a bubbly citrus smell and flavor, with a hint of some kind of spice. Very smooth and drinkable. A very tasty wit. I’ll grab this one again for sure. I suggest some classic doom metal à la Candlemass, Epicus Doomicus Metallicus, to accompany this classic-style beer. Both very classic and both very enjoyable.


Next up we have Brasserie de Rocs Brune’s Belgian Brown Ale: This is a strong brown ale at 9% and a bit boozy (brandy). Kind of syrupy and thick mouthfeel, with brown sugar with molasses and malt flavors. Poured brown…. heh… with little head. This was okay, but for the cash I think I’ll pass next time. I put on some archaic punk from the NY band Nihilistics for this, which was a full-blown noisy blast of hardcore punk aggression. By the time you drink the 1 pint 9.4 fl. oz. bottle you can pretty much listen to their entire 1983 self-titled album from start to finish.


Ah, more familiar territory here — an Oatmeal Stout by McNeill’s Brewery. This is the shit I love most of all. There is something about a beer so dark that no light can even get through the other side of the glass. I had not had this before, but when I was buying this and the tag said winner of 13 national awards and had a beer rating of 98, I had to give it a go. I was not disappointed. This poured black with virtually no head. Big coffee smell with a slight alcohol taste and some chocolate. Not a lot of carbonation and easily drinkable. This is the stuff I love. For a familiar taste like this one (at least for me), go with some Grand Funk or Uriah Heep. If you’re feeling adventurous try some Cain, A Pound of Flesh, which is a bit more obscure but still has a familiar vibe.


Next we have Hobgoblin from Wychwood Brewery, an imported dark English ale. This was a gift from my cousin Mike. Thanks Mike! I’ve seen this one around but never got around to trying it, so the gift was very welcome. This poured a dark brownish red with not much head. It had a slight smell of prunes with not much carbonation. This was very smooth, almost watery in the same vein as say, a Newcastle Ale. Actually was quite pleased by this overall. I might not have gotten around to trying this one on my own but now that I’ve had it, I’ll be back for more. As for music with this one, it’s English & its “goblin,” so go get the new Orange Goblin record, A Eulogy For the Damned!!! Might be their best since The Big Black.


And last but not least let me tell you about my new favorite cheap beer: Lionshead. Being a Jersey boy and recently landing in Philly, I never had this cheapy, but I dig this much better than most others out there. Has a more malty taste than others with a slightly sweet taste. These go down fast and furiously and at seven bucks and a few pennies a 12 pack, they don’t break the bank. I can’t drink fancy shit all the time — as my body and brain want to, my wallet just don’t allow it — so after you have a few good ones and you want to sustain the beer buzz, these always do the trick. By the time you get a few more of these down the gullet and it’s a little later in the evening it might be time for some classic thrash à la Slayer or Exodus!!!

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10 Responses to “Drinking with the Devil (Dick), by Tommy Southard”

  1. Gene Mullett says:

    Shouldn’t be too hard to pair anything with that Cain LP. It’s a good ‘un.

  2. Mick says:

    what a cool idea for an article! Nice read too. I’d recommend you pick up some Brewdog beers (from Scotland) particularly 5am Saint and Punk IPA. Both will knock your socks off the moment you taste them! Don’t need to give you any music recommendations, you’re sorted in that respect

  3. Tim Cronin says:

    This is a great article. More please. (enjoying a Gouden Carolus Tripel, belgian ale while reading it)

  4. Chris9 says:

    Great column. Love the mention of Lion at the end. Brewed in my hometown of Wilkes Barre, PA. Cheers mate!!!

  5. Jordi says:

    Awesome beer review. Liked the “I can’t drink fancy shit all the time — as my body and brain want to, my wallet just don’t allow it” phrase. It is soooo true… Beer & Heavy Music go well together!
    Salud desde Chile!

  6. Yob says:

    Recently got into beer and food pairing, but beer and music sounds alright too. I’ll get my introduction to sours next Friday in Amsterdam, mostly by Dutch brewers, who are starting to get around to those spontaneous fermentation and wood things too, recently. I think 13 brewers will be there in one bar. I’m afraid, I won’t be able to taste all of them. Esp. with the Klein Duimpje hitting around 8% ABV.

  7. Matt says:

    Great read and i’m looking forward to checking some of these out. However, as I sit here drinking Coney Island Barrel Aged Human Blockhead, I must ask… when do I get to guest author one of these?????

  8. dd says:

    matt, i think i can hook that up…. next time you got a fridge full of tasties just give me the word and i’ll be there with my camera phone, note pad and my taste buds and beer belly!!! glad some of you folks are digging what i am laying down…. beer is fun!! and i appreciate the comments!


  9. Paul says:

    Just to clarify, Tommy, the Monk’s Cafe is actually brewed in Belgium at Van Steenberge for Monk’s Cafe with bottles available for retail as well.
    Maybe someday you can come and do a Denver version or I can visit Philly again and we can go crazy there.

  10. dd says:

    paul we have to make that happen! and yes jenn told me of my error but thanks for clarifying! and thanx for turning me on to one of my now fave beers ever! and for one of the most epic beer drinking nights evah!!!!

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