Episode I - November 11th, 2016
A collective story carefully curated by Nick Toole
We often choose music to fit our mood, situation, or environment. The right song can illuminate a moment, while the wrong one can ruin it all. We believe that what we drink can do the same. A well-made pilsner makes warm weather warmer, and a good cortado can turn around a tired afternoon. We wanted to write this series to explore how music and drink work in tandem, at the right times and in the right circumstances, to make life more beautiful. Please read with a good drink in hand and the right tune in the background.
Words by Nick Toole
Michael Jackson’s pop mega-hit Billie Jean, featuring MJ’s insane verbal virtuosity and a driving/dancing bassline has musical application beyond the dance-crazed 80s. In 2011 the Civil Wars covered Jackson’s classic in perfect fashion, the bassline becoming part of a halting picking pattern, and his vocals replaced by Joy Williams and John Paul White’s harmonization. The accusations of infidelity and Jackson’s rebuttals play well into the folk rendition. Despite the song’s 80s pop structure, it lends itself well to a complete reinterpretation by the Civil Wars. The cover is an example of music’s ability to transcend genre and style, an ode to tying old tradition to newer sensibilities.
Allagash Brewing's One T brings this same idea of repurposing to the world of beer. Touted as a Belgian-style IPA, One T is a marriage of the hop-forward world of IPAs (MJ's pop stardom) and the older yeast-forward world of Belgian ales (a folk tradition). It employs citrus-forward hops (Bravo, Cascade, Amarillo, Centennial, Citra, and Galaxy) to complement the tropical fruit notes of Brettanomyces claussenii, becoming both a hop-forward and yeast-forward beer. It is a break from tradition that celebrates each style without betraying either.
Words by Zach Kaiser
"This was a tune that came to me while I was driving my car... I can pin down the pieces that inspire it... It's called the folk process." -Bela Fleck
Bela Fleck has used his banjo prowess to transport people from their living room to the fields, low-country, and rolling hills of the American countryside. Big Country is no different, offering a swirling wind of banjo melody that stands on its own, but when integrated into a full accompanied group of strings is truly inspiring. This song brings me back to the times of driving through the fields of Pennsylvania and Indiana with my father. LISTEN
La Griseta by Maine's Oxbow Brewing brings those same memories back. This Grisette-style saison is bone-dry, almost evaporating from the tongue begging for the next sip. Grassy and bready notes, coupled with dry-fruit aromas bring me to a farmer's field. The pillowy carbonation reminds me of an english cask bitter that should be crushed by the British Pint. This combo makes me want to sit back and take the fall weather in with a pint in one hand and a banjo in the other. DRINK