Beer and Pavement

Beer, Indie Rock, and Fatherhood

Posted in Intersections, Life by SM on February 7, 2011

When my daughter is asked if she drinks beer, she enthusiastically responds, “No. I will drink beer when I’m bigger[1].” And with whom will she drink this beer? Daddy, of course.

That’s enough to warm the cockles of one’s heart.

Lucia used to love it when I’d dip my finger in my beer and let her try some. She now regularly asks for a taste. I’ve backed out of the practice of letting her try every beer. There’s something perverse about it. Erring on the side of caution is probably the best move when mixing parenting and alcohol. Either way, she has a taste for beer, even at two. And I figure I can mostly expose her to the good stuff. Hopefully, industrial rice adjunct beers will taste like the swill they are after she drinks quality craft beers and homebrewsr[2].

I want my kid to know something about quality over quantity. I want her to enjoy a beer instead of just the high. She doesn’t have to be into beer the way I am, but I want her to appreciate flavor, aroma, and mouthfeel. She’s only two, so we have time.

Lucia has been to many more beer tastings and events than some adults I know. Some in the beer club have joked that she’s almost an honorary member[3]. When Hopslam hit town, she sat at the bar as I tasted my first sips of the sweet nectar of the gods[4]. Eventually, she will be the brewmaster’s assistant. I like to take her to brewpubs for lunches. Beer is part of our culture. It’s part of her upbringing

When it comes to music, she already listens to a fair share of good indie rock[5]. I’ve written before about how important this is to me, but it’s another thing to watch your child pick up on some of your music while choosing her own favorites[6] along the way. She certainly loves a good beat and memorable chorus with little concern for aesthetic. I suppose this is the beginnings of an indie geek in the making.

My girl probably knows more about vinyl as a preferred musical delivery system than most kids under 35. We talk all the time about records, their packaging, and my turntable. There’s real science there. Those little grooves look and feel like music instead of just a shiny disc we shoot with lasers. Records are textural, tactile. Two-year-olds dig that.

We spend most of our time together dancing and singing. There’s a lot of music in our house for people who have virtually no training in music. She consumes music and creates her own. Lucia is musical and I suspect will always be.

Why is this all important to me?

Well, part of it is a legacy. I love music and beer. I appreciate the finer aspects of both. I want these loves and attention to detail to live on through my daughter when I’m gone. I want a home for my records and glassware. I haven’t done much of any consequence outside of creating my kid. This is as good as it gets for me legacy-wise[7].

And there’s value to enjoying craft beer and listening to records. I try to appreciate craftsmanship that goes into these luxuries. An appreciation for the finer things is certainly a worthwhile character trait to pass on. It also causes one to pause when considering other consumables. We waste less and enjoy life a bit more. And who doesn’t want one’s kid to enjoy life?

1This is a relative term for a two-year old.
2I figure this can be my strategy to combat the underaged binge drinking. If I only give my child good beer, she won’t give in to the temptations of the crappy beer served at high school parties a la John Hughes movies.
3She attended yesterday’s Super Bowl party and you didn’t. The girl is a beer enthusiast of the highest order.
4Of course, she mostly watched Yo Gabba Gabba on my iPhone, but those are just details.
5The Raincoats, Deerhoof, Sufjan Stevens, Pavement, etc.
6Mostly musicals like Annie and The Sound of Music.
7The realization is setting in that my greatest creation will be my offspring. I might as well raise her as best I can. If she can carry on just a few of the lessons I’m teaching her, I’ll die a happy man.

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  1. Steve said, on February 7, 2011 at 8:09 am

    What a lovely post.

    “I figure this can be my strategy to combat the underaged binge drinking.”

    In my experience there appears to be some sort of direct correlation between parents being incredibly strict about drinking, and their offspring going on to be binge drinkers. I’m convinced that removing the taboo and mystique around alcohol is half the battle.

    • builderofcoalitions said, on February 7, 2011 at 9:49 am

      Yeah, there was a study done here that found children of parents who were very strict in regards to alcohol as well as parents who were laissez-faire were way more likely to raise binge drinkers than those parents who were somewhere in between. If you hide something from your kid or demonize it, they’ll want to try it in mass quantities. If you leave their alcohol education up to their peers, they’ll do the same. However, if you’re open and honest about the effects, they can learn to drink responsibly. Plus, teaching them to appreciate quality significantly decreases the likelihood they’ll drink swill.

      • carrie the destroyer said, on February 8, 2011 at 6:44 pm

        or you could just raise her to be a cynical anti-social hermit. It worked for me.

  2. Pizza Cottontail said, on February 7, 2011 at 8:51 am

    Cute post.

    I read an article recently about this phenomenon of instilling taste in a younger child called Are you Raising a Douchebag?. I disagree with that article’s central thesis (snobbery doesn’t equal entitlement, not always anyway), but I like the title.

    • builderofcoalitions said, on February 7, 2011 at 9:54 am

      First, I agree with your assertion that the central thesis is flawed and the title is pretty sweet. Second, there is a risk of raising a douche. However, teaching her about beer and indie rock doesn’t have to be snobbish. There’s a fine line, one I cross all the time. My hope is that Lucia learns to appreciate the finer things without degrading others. For example, I’ve been known to drink a terrible beer out of a bottle when at someone’s party. It’s one beer. It won’t hurt me and not accepting it might be considered rude. I also tolerate my daughter’s love of musicals. She will feel no shame in my house for loving The Sound of Music, but I better hear some Sonic Youth in the mix.

      • Pizza Cottontail said, on February 7, 2011 at 10:44 am

        You won’t raise a douche.

        I’m worried about the spawn of the hyper-dismissive. Even if our generation does bring up douchebags, wouldn’t that be preferable to the “Meh generation”?

      • shane gerlach said, on February 7, 2011 at 12:24 pm

        We all went through pretentious douche stages…it’s called being a teen. Of course we’re raising douches, we just want our douches to be better than the current batch of douches.

  3. shane gerlach said, on February 7, 2011 at 10:19 am

    Father of a 3 year old boy. One of my fave pics is of both of us in our bandannas covering our bald heads, me tipping a PBR to his little mouth. My bride is constantly yelling at me for letting beer even touch his lips. He just giggles, knowing it’s “naughty” and knowing we are conspiring against mommy.
    We too have music playing often when it is a daddy and Derek day. Early on I realized there would be certain music that I liked that he had no interest in. I would rest my headphones on my shoulders as I rocked him so we could both hear the music. It never once failed that when Steely Dan was on he would cry. There is no longer any Steely Dan on my MP3. He loves Ben Harper, Snakebeard Jackson and the Foo Fighters. That being said he also loves the baby sitters music including Lady GaGa.
    The follies of youth.

  4. Steve said, on February 7, 2011 at 10:22 am

    I think I should take this opportunity to come out firmly in favour of musicals. As far as I’m concerned movies and music don’t come much better than “Singin’ in the Rain”. It is pretty much the pinnacle of Western culture, as far as I’m concerned. If Thurston Moore could dance like Gene Kelly I’d probably like Sonic Youth more.

    • builderofcoalitions said, on February 7, 2011 at 10:23 am

      How do you know Thurston can’t dance? Besides, what that man does to guitars is like Gene Kelly dancing with an umbrella.

      • Pizza Cottontail said, on February 7, 2011 at 10:46 am

        Some intrepid composer needs to flesh out the Simpsons’ Planet of the Apes musical.

      • carrie the destroyer said, on February 9, 2011 at 12:47 pm

        I hate every ape I see/from chimpan-A to chimpan-Z.
        You’ll never make a monkey out of meeee

        oh my god, i was wrong/it was earth all along
        oh you’ve finally made a monkey (yes we’ve finally made a monkey)
        you’ve finally made a monkey out of meeeeeee

  5. Justin said, on February 7, 2011 at 6:28 pm

    As an expectant father – only 2 months to go – I enjoyed this post and have been making my daughter to be mixes constantly even if only in my head….this is what daddy listened to while painting your room, and this is what daddy listened to while assembling your first dresser and crib. I can now add the beer I drank at those moments. Stories told through beer and music. Great post.

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