I’ve got a bad ear worm going as I write this – Bob Marley’s 1965 classic “Love And Affection” – problem is, it’s the wrong song, which says a lot about my musical tastes.
The actual song I’m supposed to be writing about is quite different: Def Leppard’s “Love And Affection” from the 1987 album Hysteria … wait, who am I kidding? This is about beer, right? Well yes – and no. Love And Affection, it turns out, is the latest release from Epic Beer in the Hysteria series, with each beer based on a song from the album.
It all started with Armageddon, New Zealand’s most acclaimed IPA. Brewer Luke Nicholas then decided to riff off Armageddon by changing the recipe a note at a time – usually by playing with the hops – and so far in the Def Leppard tribute he’s released Rocket, Gods of War, Hysteria and now Love And Affection.
What sets Love And Affection apart is a fractionally lower ABV (6.4 per cent compared with Armageddon’s 6.66 per cent) and some extra Mosaic hops which deliver a blueberry, grape and citrus aroma. Oh, and 40kg amethyst geode (a geode is a hollow rock filled with crystals).
When Nicholas decided he wanted to brew a beer called Love And Affection – it was a question of what he could add to the beer to capture that feeling.
“People are putting all sorts of things into beer these days … The idea of using a crystal just popped into my head. So then it became: `what crystal?’. I did some research and decided on amethyst as that’s my birthstone. Then it was `where do I find an amethyst crystal?’.”
Nicholas also read the expression “you’ll know your crystal when you see it” and after a fruitless search for a small crystal that would fit into the palm of his hand, he spotted the somewhat larger 40kg geode at Crystal Mountain in West Auckland and knew immediately it was the one he wanted.
At a cost of close $2000 it was a rather expensive addition to a beer. The wort (unfermented beer) was run over the crystal before it was boiled and the question of course is whether you can taste the crystal … you might say there’s a nice minerality to this one.
But here’s the thing. Amethyst – according to those in the know – has healing properties that include acting as a natural form of stress relief. Amethyst can rid your body of any negative emotions— stress, anxiety, fear, depression – and, according to one source I found can “create a bubble of spiritual light around your body”.
And guess what? I had that very experience after drinking some Love And Affection. My troubles melted away, I felt happy. If there wasn’t a spiritual light around my body, there was a certain lightness of being. Of course, that could be due to some of the beers other magic properties, which in itself is slightly weird as amethyst takes its name from the Greek `amethystos’, which means ‘not drunken’, as amethyst – in ancient times – was thought to ward off drunkenness.
Either way, drink some Love And Affection and bathe in the good vibrations. Damn, another ear worm.