Hearing in paired: Beer

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Some people feel and taste colors. Other people associate feelings with sounds. Me? Well, I drink in music. In this blog series, I pour myself a glass and pair 10 sips to 10 songs. Today, I’m drinking beer and it tastes like a crisp rhythm guitar and a chorus that leaves you with an aftertaste.  

How great is beer? It’s simple and ready to drink. It comes in endless flavors and sizes. It roots for your team and knows all of the words to your favorite song. Serve it in a plastic cup or in a fancy-pants flight, throw a ping pong ball in it or a slice of your favorite citrus, either way it will make you perfectly content.

Important facts about beer are that it’s made from malted wheat and barley, and that it has existed almost as long as we have. Yet, the history of beer is not as exciting as its current state. Right now if you’re a microbrewery or craft beer retailer, you are making bank. Some say craft beer is projected to represent nearly 15 percent of the beer industry by 2020 thanks to hipster taste buds. That doesn’t necessarily mean we will see Dogfish Head sponsor the Super Bowl or a Lagunitas World Cup, but we may see a Budweiser special edition brew or a Coors Craft if they want to stay competitive.

Lucky Beer

“If you think that enlightenment is separate from the drinking of beer you have not yet understood.”            –  Ancient Taoist Saying

Whether imports or premium brands or the strange concoction a friend made with his home brewing kit, I thoroughly enjoy beer. It agrees with me (or else I drink it until it does), and we generally have a good time if there isn’t too long of a line for the bathroom. Among my long list of favorite brands, my go-to as of late is Lucky Buddha – the enlightened beer. What attracted me to this brew was, of course, its bottle being in the shape of a laughing Buddha, but its taste is what keeps making me buy cases of it. That is whenever I’m able to find it.

For the occasion of being down to my last bottle, I decided to give it a proper send off by pairing the 10 sips it took me to finish it to the following 10 songs.

Sip 1 – Every Other Freckle by alt-J

This song pulls you in like an undertow and then casually drops the line, “devour me,” which you completely agree to because you are entranced by this strange combination of indie rock and industrial music. Similarly, there is something effortless about the first sip of this pale lager. It is clean and crisp and ready to be devoured.

Sip 2 – Minarets by Dave Matthews Band

A second sip brings out a few more layers of flavor, but overall it’s subtle and controlled like the middle eastern melody of this song. The lyrics of Minarets mention several religious figures, which pairs perfectly with the icon on my bottle.

Sip 3 – Summertime by The Head And The Heart

This old sweater of a song is laden with sweeping synthesizers and familiar vocals that are as refreshing as the third sip of my beer.

Sip 4 – Parallel by Jack White

In four sips, I’ve drank as far down as Buddha’s chest and celebrated my accomplishment with the stomping blues of Jack White’s cover of Dean Fertita’s Parallel.

Sip 5 – Flapper Girl by The Lumineers

A dainty piano opened the door to the understated drama of this song and my fifth sip. Halfway through my Lucky Beer and I’m inclined to raise my glass and sing along to anything and everything – cue The Lumineers.

Sip 6 – Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Pt. 1 by The Flaming Lips

I noticed that my once ice cold beer was now slightly warmer, and my thoughts slightly more cerebral. My sixth sip tasted like the concept of this song: complicated lyrics over a simple beat…or was it a complicated beat over simple lyrics?

Sip 7 – Hold On by Alabama Shakes

On the seventh sip, I tasted the skunk in the beer, and it was as delicious as the Dust Bowl funk of Alabama Shakes.

Sip 8 – Step by Vampire Weekend

Sip eight was a bittersweet one. The beer line was under Buddha’s belly, marking the beginning of the end. As such, the melancholic piano, harpsichord and organ perfectly expressed the solemnity of the moment.

Sip 9 – Alone by Trampled by Turtles

I lifted the bottle to the light and wished the next to last sip a fond farewell. Down the hatch it went as easy as this barebones folk acoustic song by Trampled by Turtles.

Sip 10 – Southern Sun by Boy & Bear

And with a final tilt of the head, the deed was done. The last sip takes a little bit longer than the rest, as you spend some time with your chin pointing to the ceiling waiting for more to magically fall into your mouth. The classic simplicity of this song not only sums up this last sip, but also the entire drinking experience. “So come on, come on, I’m ready now” for another one.

Below is a full list of the 10 songs for my 10 sips:

Click if you missed my music parings for whiskeygin and/or vodka.

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