Brewery: Smog City Brewing
Beer: The Nothing
Style: American Double/Imperial Stout
Character: Brewed with toasted chocolate malts are combined with 2 types of cacao nibs
Ratings at time of Review: BA: 89 | RB: 91
Metal Connection: WOLVERINE – Into the Great Nothing
BeerMetaldude Rating: 4.75/5
Here is my first encounter with Smog City Brewing Company out of Torrance, California. The beers by this brewery are not available here in Texas, but thanks to my good buddy, Jorge Espinoza (AnimeBeers/Nubis Sanctum Ales) who always supplies me with great, hard to get beers for people like me here in TX. Smog City is a small microbrewery that started brewing beer back in 2011, when they were brewing their beer at another facility, Tustin Brewing Company. In 2013, they moved into their own facility in Torrance, CA. They provide kegs to Cali restaurants & bars, as well as selling package. I am glad that my buddy is able to get his hands on their bottles, and happily send some to me. The Nothing is a huge beer, and excellent introduction to this brewery. I look forward to enjoying more of their offerings.
You all know me, and I love the labels almost as much, if not more (in some cases) than the actual beer. Smog City went out and captured a perfect “The Nothing” from the movie, The NeverEnding Story. The label is jet black, and the artwork is the brewery’s tree logo being blown apart in the fashion that The Nothing ripped through Fantasia in the movie. The tree is breaking apart and violently blowing away. Cool part of this label is that the artwork is in dark grey, making it a little hard to see against the black background. The Smog City logo on the top of the label and the name and style of the beer on the bottom are both in a shiny silver, leaving you believe this is all that is on the label when you see it from afar. It is so simple, yet so impressively creative, in my opinion.
As I poured this beer into a Karbach Brewing BBH (Bourbon Barrel Hellfighter) snifter glass, The Nothing appeared dark, dense, and black. A very thick motor oil looking beer, which started with nearly an inch of dark tan foamy head. The head quickly disappeared, having no retention, and leaving absolutely no lacing.
There was a strong overall roasted aroma. Dark chocolate, sweet milk chocolate, cold brew coffee, brown sugar, molasses, dark fruits like prunes, and figs and some plums make up the nose. There is a hint of smokiness, mild chili pepper spice, vanilla, and caramel malt, and dark bread as well. The lingering aroma is dark chocolate, sweet milk chocolate, roasted coffee.
The taste was power house punch, just like the aroma. Big and roasted all around. Bitter sweet dark and milk chocolate flavors, along with roasted cold brewed coffee, brown sugar, molasses, dark and stone fruits like, prunes, fig, and prunes make up the full body taste of The Nothing. Some hints of smokiness, vanilla, caramel malt, dark bread, and mild chili pepper spice are also present in the taste. The aftertaste is big on both sweet milk chocolate and dark chocolate, as well as roasted coffee, and mild chili pepper spice.
The body was thick and full with a mouthfeel that is both oily and a bit chewy. The Nothing finishes dry, which works great with the lingering aftertaste of this beer.
Overall, This beer was fantastic, and definitely a beer I would love to return to one day. I am a huge fan of the movie, The NeverEnding Story, which this beer is named after, so I was already a fan of the beer before I even cracked open the bottle. I am very glad that Smog City was able to brew such a beast to represent The Nothing, the power of lost hope and hate, which was the evil force set to destroy the world of Fantasia in the movie. Big bold body, aroma and taste is what I expected, and that is exactly what I got from this beer. Way to go Smog City!
Metal Connection: Maybe I am wrong here, but I was not able to find any good Metal song that it’s lyrics are about The Nothing from the movie, which I found surprising. I mean, The Nothing was evil, and was set to destroy all hope and love and the actual whole fantasy world of Fantasia. Why is there NOT a song about this evil force? I found this song called “Into the Great Nothing” by Swedish Progressive Metal band, Wolverine. The song comes from the band’s 4th studio album, Communication Lost, released in 2011 on Candlelight Records. The song’s lyrics deal with the subject feeling like King Nothing, like he is part of nothing. His life is in the dumps, and going nowhere. This is the closest thing to what The Nothing from the movie is all about. You know, making the world into an unlivable place, a world of nothing. The music is considerably slow compared to my normal choices, but the heaviness is present, for sure. To add, these guys are amazing musicians, and the breakdown at the halfway point really showcases their skills on their guitars and bass. Vocalist, Stefan Zell has a very clean singing voice, similar to James LaBrie (Dream Theater) in a way. Wolverine’s career began in 1995, and are still active to this day. They have released a few demos, an EP, and 5 full length studio albums. Their latest album, Machina Viva, just got released earlier this year on Sensory Records. So, sit back, enjoy this 8+ minute long tale while knocking back some tasty beer. Cheers!