Friday, November 02, 2007

The Session #9: Beer and Music

Its the first Friday of the month so it must be time to open up another Session. This month's session is hosted by Tomme Arthur of Lost Abbey Brewery. The theme this month is Beer and Music. Tomme just wants to see how others experience beer and music.
For myself I initially struggled mightily with this topic as its a departure from a typical tasting session. I mean beer and music do go together and not just in the jingolistic '99 bottles of beer on the wall..' but I wasn't quite sure what direction I wanted to go in. I looked for inspiration, thinking it shouldn't be that hard. So I started to think about Tomme's original post, about how you can walk into any brewery and you'll hear some sort of music playing in various styles and various sound levels. My local brewery even has multiple Polka Music Videos posted on their site. Oskar Blues out of Colorado not only brews great beers, have a fine restaurant, they also are home to some killer live blues music. These are just a few ways of how beer and music pair so well with eachother. Both are incredibly artistic endeavors and when a true artist gets involved its a wonderous thing. I'm in the process of reading Eric Clapton's Autobiography, a true artist in music if there ever was one. One of the really interesting things in the book is his discussion about who influenced his playing, from the great Robert Johnson, to J.J. Cale, to Howlin Wolf, he has a passion for the history of music especially blues. He listened to these early masters and it influenced the way he played. How is this any different than the master brewer? Its not. Most brewers of craft beer started by tasting, and experiencing old world beers, whether they be German, British or Belgian it opened up a world of influence. Just as Clapton took what the masters did and improved on it in his own way, so have the master brewer's improved or stepped up the efforts of old. From making extremly hoppy beers, to barrel aging the beers, to any number of things craft brewer's do today, its the artist putting their own stamp on beer making. As much fun as it is to hear an amazing musician like Clapton play, its just as much of a pleasure to sit down at pub and savour the flavors of a finely craft brew, appreciating the artistic energy that went into it.
While I don't have a specific Beer and Music memory or story, these past few days after work, you'll usually find me in my chair reading Clapton's biography, a beer in my hand, listening to music, which is more often then not old blues like Blind Lemon Jefferson, Charley Patton, Howlin Wolf, and Robert Johnson. As its fall, I've been reaching for a nice autumn beer, the latest of which was the Abita Pecan Harvest Beer.
The Beer: This is a fun little beer from the Louisiana Brewery. A ale made with Louisiana grown pecans and it pours a nice amber color with a quarter inch head. Not as strong a nose as I expected, but hints of a malty nuttiness make it through along with some floral scents from the hops. The mouth is smooth, very pecan-y, some caramel malty sweetness, a bit of pecan pie here, pretty nice if not a little mild. I'd have preferred it to be a little less subtle, but still a very good beer that I'd give a B-. It was a good beer to have reading the Clapton Book, listening to the blues on an unexpectedly cool Texas night.
Now, head over to Tomme's blog and checkout his story and see how others incorporate Beer and Music.

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