Beer and Pavement

Top Five Beers and Records to Always Have on Hand

Posted in Beer, Intersections, Records by SM on January 24, 2011

The Hopry is starting a new series where they list top-5 beers that fill a particular need. The first post in the series focused on the top-5 beers you should always keep in the fridge. You can see their list and eyeball mine below. After that, I’m also including a list of top-records to always have around.

Keep in mind that these might not be the five best beers/records. The idea is to have every need covered with just the five selections. While I recognize my fives don’t have everything for everyone, it’s still my house. This is what I have to offer.

So, check it…

5 Beers for the Fridge

Boulevard Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale – Saisons are a versatile alternative to the over-hopped/hyped IPA’s and dirty, dirty stouts. They are light with a touch of tartness and spice, perfect for pairing with fish and/or poultry. This is easily one of my favorite saisons. Now that it’s available in 12 oz. bottles[1], it’s easy to keep some on hand for any occasion. I considered sticking The Bruery’s Saison Rue in this slot, but The Bruery is not available in Missouri and they only come in 750 mL bombers.

Ska Modus Hoperandi – One has to have a hopbomb around, right[2]? Modus is quickly replacing spots in fridges around Middle Missouri that were once held down by Bell’s Two-Hearted Ale[3]. The fact that this beer comes in a can makes it perfect for this list. Cans tend to keep IPA’s better than bottles and they’re easily stored. I eventually want a beer fridge and have fantasized filling the “can dispensers” in those things usually reserved for PBR and Coke Zero with some Modus.

Bell’s Expedition Stout – This is maybe my favorite beer. Bigger, blackerer, and full of molasses[4], Expedition is a go-to imperial stout that should be in every fridge and beer closet. Besides sipping on the good stuff, I periodically make ice cream out of this Texas (via Michigan) tea. The best part is that the ice cream recipe leaves me a half bottle to finish as I churn the creamy concoction.

Cantillon Kriek – I considered New Belgium’s La Folie for the token sour stand-by, but that only comes in bombers. Cantillon is the fine wine of the beer world and they sell their beers in smaller bottles for a somewhat affordable treat[5]. This beer fills the sour need as well as showing your guests that fruit does belong in beer from time to time.

Dogfish Head[6] India Brown Ale – This is the only beer not readily available in Missouri, but I try to have it around as much as possible. Besides being a really great beer, IBA is the perfect beer to pair with almost any food, especially those of the greasy, meaty variety. I essentially proclaimed that the most perfect pairing ever was a Booches burger and a DfH IBA and I still stand by that assertion[7]. The combination of hops cutting through grease and sweet malty goodness balancing the richness of the meat is too good not to experience at least once.

As you can see, my beer list is pretty diverse. The records didn’t turn out that way, but my taste in music is much, much narrower than my taste in beers. Just look at the blog’s title[8]. I identify a band but refer to beer in general. That can tell you a lot about this blog. Now, on to the records…

5 Records for the Turntable

Neutral Milk Hotel In the Aeroplane of the Sea – This is an absolute classic that will hold down a spot on my overall top-5 every time. No other record is as good a discussion starter as Aeroplane. Aesthetically, it has some folky acoustic guitar, trumpet flourishes, love for our lord and savior Jesus Christ… Really, everyone should own this album[9].

A Tribe Called Quest The Low End Theory – You need dance music? Wanna kick it old school? Your only black friend is over for dinner[10]? Drop the needle on this hip-hop classic and let the groove take over. Not only does your cred go up a notch for actually owning  hip-hop record, but you own one of the most revered and highly decorated albums of all time.

Pavement Quarantine the Past – Put this one on for your kids and explain that this is what the nineties sounded like. Normally, I’d put a specific Pavement album (or possibly their entire catalog) on this list, but Quarantine the Past is a near-perfect compilation that spans the group’s run quite nicely. Now, you can expose your friends to Pavement without making them sit through every 7″ and reissue extra[11].

Slint Spiderland – At this point, my musical biases have gone over the top. Nearly all the nineties essentials are now covered with Spiderland joining the party. However, this album is diverse enough to handle both a dark mood and the end-of-the-evening comedown. That and like Aeroplane, this record offers plenty about which to talk. “Did you know that Will Oldham took the picture on the cover?” “Did you know that PJ Harvey answered the band’s call for a female singer in the liner notes?” “Did you know that there’s a children’s book created for the final track?” This record is a discussion-starter for sure.

Animal Collective Merriweather Post Pavilion – Want to lighten the mood while simultaneously raising the discourse in the room? Put on Merriweather Post Pavilion, one of the most cerebral dance records of the last decadea[12]. Plus, you can stare at the “moving” record sleeve all night long.

What are your five to always have on hand? Are my musical tastes too narrow? Leave a comment or three.

1Interestingly, for those who are not familiar, Tank 7 is part of the Smokestack Series, celebrating Boulevard’s famous smokestacks bearing their name. The original series came exclusively in tall, like smokestack-tall 750 mL bottles. So, the move to 12oz. bottles was awkward, but Boulevard pulled it off beautifully as they chose a taller, sleeker 12 oz. bottle.
2This is rhetorical. Of course one must always have a hopbomb in the fridge/cellar. I have been known to go buy an IPA or DIPA even though I have a cellar full of perfectly good beers simply for the purpose of insuring that I have at least one hoppy beer around. And those are the beers I consume the quickest, so it makes sense to always have some around. Don’t question the logic. Go out and buy an IPA right now.
3Two-Hearted is still a perfectly acceptable option here, but Modus is newish around these parts and it comes in cans.
4I like bourbon, oak/vanilla, and chocolate in my imperial stouts, but molasses brings it. This preference is possibly due to my dad’s practice of pouring brown sugar all over his Cheerios. Yes. You read that correctly. The best part was when you came to the end and had nothing left but creamy brown sugar.
5The 750 mL bombers run in the $30 range. So, ten bucks for 12 oz. of really, really good beer is sometimes justified.
6Dogfish Head has been taking it on the chin as of late. It’s most likely a backlash from the Brew Masters debacle/nondebacle. Let’s get this straight. Dogfish Head makes some of the best, if not most interesting beers in craft beer. Additionally, founder Sam Calagione has maybe done more for the growth in craft beer aside from anyone named Michael Jackson or Jim Koch.
7Seriously, I challenge you to find another better pairing. Do it. Until you’ve had this pairing, you won’t ever understand the food and beer pairing. This is the standard. See if you can exceed it.
8It does seem to me that I judge music based on degrees of Pavement. I’m OK with that.
9In fact, I know several people who own it but don’t appreciate it. I suggest for those who don’t get it (and this may very well go for any so-called classic record) that they should read the book in the 33 1/3 series to get the context. If you can’t appreciate Aeroplane after that, there’s nothing I can do for you.
10Oh, I know my demographic: middle-class white folk who can’t seem to rid themselves of white guilt. It’s okay. Embrace your racism. I’ve made peace with mine.
11Doing so would be a perfectly acceptable practice as well.
12I don’t like dance music. So, I’m sure you could name a better dance record. Still, this album would have to be in your top-10 of the last decade.

28 Responses

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  1. cvalentino said, on January 24, 2011 at 8:51 am

    I’m not much of a beer connoisseur, but living in “Beer City USA” and being friends with the manager of the local Brews Cruise has made me learn over the past few years to appreciate a few, despite my initial reluctance and unappreciative palate.


    1. Highland Gaelic Ale
    2. Lexington Avenue Brewery’s Belgian White Ale (unfortunately you can only get this in growlers at the time, but hopefully they’ll start bottling soon!)
    3. Lexington Avenue Brewery’s Chocolate Stout – so thick and rich.
    4. Cottonwood Pumpkin Ale – I know that this is only available for a brief window of time in the fall, but man do I wish I could have it all the time.
    5. Highland Cold Mountain. Another that isn’t available all year, but man it’s a big deal around here when it does come out.


    1. Man Man – Rabbit Hats. I love this band so much. Amazing gypsy punk that sounds a million times better live. Never fails to make me want to stomp around and throw feathers.

    2. Wilco – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. I turn to Wilco when I have people over and need mellow background music. I love the record, but can’t deny it can easily fade into the background if needed.

    3. King Khan and the Shrines – What Is?! Everyone I know dances when King Khan is playing, and that’s a good thing.

    4. Nobunny – Love Visions. Undeniably fun. Great to shout along to if you know the words.

    5. Songs:Ohia – Magnolia Electric Company. Perfect rainy day record. Drink some beer, make some bread, listen to Molina wail.

    • builderofcoalitions said, on January 24, 2011 at 8:59 am

      Wow. Thanks for participating. I hardly know any of those beers, but I have had some Highland. I can’t stand Man Man, but I can understand the reason for including them in the list. I totally forgot Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and Songs: Ohia. There is no in my list which is strange.

  2. Pizza Cottontail said, on January 24, 2011 at 9:03 am


    Modus comes in bottles out in bottles too. The cans are cheaper to ship cross country, and it’s better for river trips. Everyone out here drinks cans, though. If you want some bottles, let me know…I’m coming through your neck of the woods this summer possibly.

    When I drank, everything Boulevard makes tasted the same. It was good, but there wasn’t that much difference between their Pale and anything else. Is this one different?

    Not one to quibble, but I’d go Slanted and Enchanted over the greatest hits. I wouldn’t do that for all musicians, but Slanted’s pretty seminal. Also, I only pretend to like Animal Collective, so they’d be one that I’d sub out. But for what? For what?

    • Pizza Cottontail said, on January 24, 2011 at 9:09 am

      Failed first.

      I thought about it. Instead of Animal Collective, you should throw on something like the Nigeria 70 comp from a couple years ago. Funky retro, easily accessible. I agree with the previous guy that Songs: Ohia is great, but that album always depresses me. Wilco’s a good choice.

      • builderofcoalitions said, on January 24, 2011 at 9:14 am

        No, I like the cans. There’s less light and air exposure, keeping those hops fresh. Besides, they all get poured into a glass before entering my mouth.

        Boulevard’s Smokestack Series is way different from anything they else they brew. Tank 7 is one of my regular go-to beers. Also, I get their Single-Wide IPA all the time at Booches now.

        I’m with you on the Slanted, but I’m sorta into Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain right now. Large compilations are often a good thing to have on stand-by. Still, I think almost any Pavement LP would be an easy switch for Quarantine the Past.

  3. Kristen said, on January 24, 2011 at 9:35 am

    “Did you know that that’s the quarry in which Slint was swimming on the cover of Spiderland?” (That’s my fun-fact whenever I’m driving new friends to my parents’ house in Louisville since it’s nearby)

  4. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by COMOBeerEnthusiasts and Zac Early, Perspectic News. Perspectic News said: Perspectic News: Top Five Beers and Records to Always Have on Hand « Building …: The records didn't turn out t… […]

  5. Carrie said, on January 24, 2011 at 10:24 am

    I don’t/can’t drink much, so I only need one beer in my fridge at all time, and that is my reliable old friend, Boulevard Wheat.

    Have you ever had any Tallgrass beers? They’re a Kansas brewery, and my brother is a big fan. It’s pretty scarce, and you can pretty much only get them in Kansas stores (seriously, we can’t even get them in stores on the MO side of the state line). They’ve started putting everything in these nice tall cans. I had a Tallgrass ale back in November that was pretty good.

    Are you aware that you’ve been writing “perfect for pairing with fish and/or poultry” a lot lately? Have you been eating a lot of fish and/or poultry this season?

    as for records, that’s a tough one…I see that you’ve taken a very social approach to your album selection. However, for me, music-listening is more of a personal thing than a social activity.
    in no order, these are things that I like enough
    -Deerhunter – Weird Era Cont. : This afterthought of an album never gets the credit it deserves. It’s the one that can pull me out of a rut.
    -Duster – Contemporary Movement : I’m always blathering on about how they’re the most underrated band of all time. It’s good alone music, and I spend a lot of time by myself.
    -My Bloody Valentine – Loveless : It does not matter what occasion or mood I’m in, the answer to “What should I listen to?” is always Loveless. This has to be the most versatile album ever.
    -Sonic Youth – Daydream Nation : This is my fucking rage-on/fist-pump album.
    -Young Marble Giants – Colossal Youth : This is the oddball in here. It’s really just an odd little album from a short-lived band that really just nailed it with a weird kind of sound–driven by a drum machine and basslines with guitar and organ accents, with Allison Staton’s girly vocals on top. It’s also the album I named my blog after.

    and yes, your tastes are too narrow. It’s almost like music didn’t exist before 1989. But you can’t help that. I reckon that you’ve had ample time in your life to attempt to cultivate a greater depth, but maybe it’s too late to change…I kid, you’re allowed to like whatever the fuck you want to. I don’t take any responsibility for it.

    as for dancing music – I usually go with a custom mix of New Order songs. That’s about as dancey as I go. I will always dance to New Order.

    • builderofcoalitions said, on January 24, 2011 at 12:05 pm

      We get Tallgrass here now. I haven’t been impressed, but that doesn’t mean they don’t make tasty beers. My palate is a little skewed these days. I do like the tall cans, though.

      Funny. We haven’t had a ton of fish, but we do eat chicken all the time. I don’t know why I would go on so much about pairing beers with such foods. It’s sort of like when I fixated on misery or hipsters.

      I’d totally hang out to any of those records. Good choices. You do mention Duster a lot, but I have a hard time confusing them for Guster.

      Actually, my music collection is pretty diverse. I just tend to turn to the same old records over and over. Also, I inadvertently limited my list to albums I have on vinyl. Had I expanded it to CD’s and my iPod, it might have turned out a more diverse selection.

      New Order? Of course, how could I forget them (or Joy Division). Well played, Wade.

      • Carrie said, on January 24, 2011 at 3:37 pm

        they are, in fact, the anthithesis.

      • builderofcoalitions said, on January 24, 2011 at 3:41 pm

        I get that. I’m just saying that because the names are so close, I get them confused.

  6. jeffmenter said, on January 24, 2011 at 11:50 am

    Your beer list is great. My only thought is that I’ve never considered having Tank 7 at home. I get it frequently when out and about.

    Just for you, I’m listening to Aeroplane again right now. I don’t actually think it’s as bad as I let on (I enjoy being contrary to your indie-rock inclinations.) But man, the dude’s voice is like the vocal version of bagpipes. Yikes.

    Here’s my list. I don’t always have these beers around anymore. Being a professional dad doesn’t pay as much as I used to make:

    1.) Ska Modus Hoperandi
    #1 go to beer never disappoints. Love the can.

    2.) Bell’s Expedition Stout
    My favorite summer beer.

    3.) Avery Maharaja
    My favorite beer ever.

    4.) St. Bernardus Abt 12
    Classic belgian quad.

    5.) Three Floyds Alpha King (not available here but if it was I would buy it all the time.)
    The most sessionable hop bomb ever.

    1.) Charlie Parker: Yardbird Suite
    Many people can’t stand to listen to bebop for extended periods of time and it’s not a great party album. But he’s my favorite musician of all time and his influence on serious musicianship is undeniable so fuck them.

    2.) Joni Mitchell: Blue
    Joni always puts me in a strange mood. But the combination of her glorious voice, brutally honest lyrics, and sense of wonder is always welcome.

    3.) Jethro Tull: Benefit
    This album skated right between the hippie/psychedelic/innocent late ’60s and the harder, more intricate prog-rocky ’70s. Beautiful.

    4.) Steely Dan: Two Against Nature
    Dirty, smarmy, immaculate, perfectly performed and recorded. In the year 2000.

    5.) Belle and Sebastian: Dear Catastrophe Waitress
    Indie rock that I actually like. A lot. Fantastic song writing and production. They seemingly left (most of) their twee at the door and it suits them.

    Side note: Aeroplane finished as I was typing this and taking care of the child. Perhaps the thing that bothers me about this album is how much it is revered and how much I just do not get that. Sure, it has above average song writing but I can’t identify anything about it that makes it special in a good way. What is it exactly? Or can that not be expressed? I’m open to being wrong about this. I’ll listen to it again in a few days.

    • builderofcoalitions said, on January 24, 2011 at 12:11 pm

      I would easily interchange your beer list for mine. However, I think I stuck with 12 oz. bottles for no apparent reason. So, saddly, Maharaja would have to go (directly into my belly).

      Your music list isn’t as “bad” as I would have anticipated. The Belle and Sebastian one is okay. I totally prefer the work they did in the nineties, but that’s my own hang-up.

      Aeroplane? It probably can’t be expressed. I’m sure some douche bag at Pitchfork has tried, though. I’ll loan you the 33 1/3 book on the album. Then we’ll see. Of course, I sort of believe that if you can’t get past a singer’s voice, there’s no way you can ever like a band.

      • jeffmenter said, on January 24, 2011 at 5:58 pm

        I didn’t know we were limited to 12oz containers.

        I think I’d like to swap “Dear Catastrophe Waitress” with “The Life Pursuit.” Their newer stuff is so much better. And did you notice I didn’t put *any* instrumental guitar albums on there! I thought I would get bonus points for that.

        It’s totally possible to get past a singer’s voice. For example, I thought Stephen Malkmus had an annoying voice when I first heard it. But now it’s growing on me. 😛

      • builderofcoalitions said, on January 25, 2011 at 7:14 am

        You didn’t have to limit it to 12 oz. I did that as a way to have a list of go-to beers that didn’t make me commit to 22 oz. That’s all. Your list is fine.

        Have you heard B&S’s latest? Listen to that, then tell me that you love their later material.

        You do get bonus point for not putting any instrumental guitar music (read: elevator music) on the list. Well done.

        Malk rubs a lot of people the wrong way. I get that, but a truly annoying voice never stops being annoying. Take Geddy Lee, for example.

    • Pizza Cottontail said, on January 24, 2011 at 2:18 pm

      I have the same problem with Neutral Milk Hotel. I’ve listened to the album maybe 50 times but it’s not clicking. Maybe I should give up. Or add them to the growing list of bands I pretend to like.

      • builderofcoalitions said, on January 24, 2011 at 2:21 pm

        Give up. I’ve done that plenty of times. A band doesn’t come to mind at the moment, but it happens. It’s OK. Sometimes, it clicks in a certain context. Maybe just sitting there and forcing yourself to like a record is not the best approach.

      • Carrie said, on January 24, 2011 at 3:37 pm

        There’s a post waiting to happen
        “Throwing in the towel: When you just can’t pretend anymore.”

        I have a list of bands like that for me.

      • builderofcoalitions said, on January 24, 2011 at 3:38 pm

        Yeah, me too, but I can’t remember any of them off the top of my head…Maybe Yeahsayer.

  7. Jason Elwess said, on January 25, 2011 at 12:34 am


    Hopslam….an annual treat.
    Avery’s The Beast…best beer on the planet that I’ve had
    Samiclaus….the antithesis of hopslam
    Modus….the best go to beer in these parts
    Fantom….for the saision in me.

    Jethro Tull: Passion play….it doesn’t get any better than this, I love concept albums. Also, see Stand Up (this was a tough one for me, any Tull album before 1980 will do….Benefit, Minstrel in the Gallery and Songs from the Woods are neck and neck)

    Flaming Lips: Yohsimi Battles the Pink Robots… Again, a toss up with Soft Bulletin.

    Neutral Milk Hotel: In the Aeroplane Over the Sea…Jeff Mangum’s voice is so emotional, and the lyrics are beyond compare. The instrumentation on this album is unique and dense in parts, sparse in others. Also, another concept album. I can see how people might not like his voice, but everything else makes this easy to overlook.

    Primus: Seas of Cheese….Another voice that isn’t easy to listen to. However, all the musicians playing on this album are extremely skilled and unique.

    Frank Black: Frank Black….his self titled album is far above anything the Pixies put out….and I love the Pixies. Also, see Teenager of the Year….another toss up.

    • builderofcoalitions said, on January 25, 2011 at 7:21 am

      Your beers certainly are “in-your-face” or something. I went with a practical list, but I know how you buy beer, Jason. That said, I’d totally grab a beer out of your fridge.

      That’s a weird music list, but it actually pairs well with your beer list. I just don’t like Yoshimi. It doesn’t even come close to Soft Bulletin, but potato, potato. [pronounce those differently so that this makes sense.

  8. shane gerlach said, on February 5, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    5 Beers

    5. Pabst Blue Ribbon. I know this is the “hipster” beer, but I was drinking it long before it became hip. I prefer PBR over all the other American pale beers like Miller or Budweiser or Coors and all their endless variations.

    4. Upstream Brewing Company Dundee Export Scotch Ale Ever since tasting this at the Upstream in Omaha on the Beer flight I ordered I have been obsessed with this beer. Creamy and dark but not overpowering like Guinness can sometimes become.

    3. Northwoods Brewing Corp. BUMBL’N BUBBAS BUZZ’N BREW. My friend Sheila brought me a 6 pack that included this great beer when I first got sick. What an amazing beer. A great hit of honey but not so much that you don’t taste the richness of the beer. I absolutely love it.

    2. Leinenkugel Honeyweiss. I am a fan of the entire Leinies line. Haven’t had a beer of theirs I disliked in fact. Many of theirs could have made the list but Honeyweiss makes it due to it’s sweet malty flavor. During the summer though I must admit I don’t have honeyweiss in my fridge I have Summer Shandy which to me is the ultimate summer beer with a crisp taste that ends with a bite of lemon.

    1. Boulevard Unflitered Wheat the first time I tasted this beer I fell in love. I return to it with a piece of citrus floating in it repeatedly. This is my “supper beer”. I enjoy the deep hearty richness of this beer and find it pairs well with all my eating choices. Hands down my favorite.

    5 albums

    5. U2 The Joshua Tree There is not a weak song on this album. A band that found itself and did not compromise who it was (yet). Rock and roll with a message. Gospel stirred with new wave and mix of punk featuring the best front man in modern Rock and Roll at his best and the tightest sounds the quartet ever put out.

    4. the Clash London Calling I wish I could have seen them live. The anger and power and excitement. Plus the way they mixed in so many different genres. I find myself drawn to similar bands now because of this album.

    3. R.E.M Murmer English new wave prima donnas eating up the radio waves, MTV ruining music and then this came along. Beautiful ramblings from Georgia…slurred and stupid and just what I needed.

    2. The Police Synchronicity what an amazing album. A super tight trio of musicians at the absolute top of their game. Hammering home potent parables of life and death and love to a punk rock drum beat. I just got this on vinyl after losing my original and it stands up and then some. A true classic.

    1. Bruce Springsteen Born to Run The American Rock and Roll album in my opinion. A rambling mess on the edge of going out of control but kept in check by years of playing dive bars and knowing just how far to push without losing your crowd. This is the album to put on at a Bar B Que or a graduation or just a long road trip. This is my number one.

    • builderofcoalitions said, on February 8, 2011 at 1:21 pm

      I bet you’re five years older than I. That’s not a slight. This list just looks like something I might have written if I were five years older. Cheers!

      • shane gerlach said, on February 8, 2011 at 4:49 pm

        I am 43 years old. I bartended and cooked for years with a stop or two of DJing during the baseball off season.
        I love your blog. I’ve been reading for over a year and finally started interacting.
        Keep writing and entertaining and I’ll keep reading!

      • builderofcoalitions said, on February 8, 2011 at 5:56 pm

        I was close. Cool. Thanks for commenting and for reading all this time. I really appreciate your input and readership. Best.

  9. Bob Badger said, on February 9, 2011 at 8:57 am

    If It’s a fancy beer, I like the Bell’s brand, but my wife drinks mostly Rolling Rock. I do like Stag in a can for slumming (thank you Mojo’s).

    My five albums to have on hand:

    1. American Music Club- Everclear

    2. Quasimoto- The Unseen

    3. The Replacements- Pleased to Meet Me

    4. David Bowie- Hunky Dory

    5. Dwight Yoakam- This Time

    There are others.

    • builderofcoalitions said, on February 9, 2011 at 9:01 am

      You like Bell’s? There should be some Hopslam at Uprise this evening. Also, nice list. I honestly don’t think I have one of those albums currently, but I’d surely listen to them.

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