Beer and Pavement

Revised – Ten Things I Believe…

Posted in Intersections, Manifesto by SM on April 15, 2011

As part of my manifesto, here are ten core beliefs I hold in regards to building coalitions of international standing through the consumption of craft and homebrewed beer and records, lots and lots of records. These beliefs are opinions I have as to the eternal connection between beer and indie rock. Bookmark this page and adopt these beliefs as your ten commandments. Or wait for successive drafts that should eventually not look so rough…

10. Craft beer and indie rock appreciate each other, but it ends there. This has to change. Beer nerds appreciate indie rock and may very well own some indie CD’s or attend an indie rock show now and again. Likewise, indie geeks splurge and order a good beer instead of opting for some PBR. Instead, what these two groups should be doing is embracing the interests of the other. Craft beer and indie rock are the equivalents of their respective industries. They are the small operations that keep DIY, locally-produced, and craft alive. That and both are meant for discerning tastes and not the mainstream. It seems craft beer and indie rock are a match made in heaven. I will always remember that the Pavement bio included a rider from one of their tours. In the rider, among many other typical requests, Pavement asked for a sixer or two of a local microbrew. This proves Pavement’s appreciation of craft beer and thus my blog is pertinent.

9. Even if you didn’t do it yourself, DIY is always the best way to go. Most craft brewers started out as homebrewers. Most indie rockers taught themselves how to play, record, or promote themselves. Both have created consumables we love in their garages and bedrooms. I try to do what I can for myself, but the next best thing are those who practice a DIY ethic or started out that way. Craft beer and indie rock are two of the most sustainable industries we have and they’re home-grown. They control growth to insure there’s enough profit for everyone to live on while keeping their standards of quality high.

8. Beer and music are meant to be paired. What pairs better with a layered, complex, thought-provoking record than a layered, complex, thought-provoking social lubricant? Beer and good music have the power to make us dance and should be practiced together.

7. On the internet, beer and music sites are only outnumbered by porn, politics, and cats. Seriously. My Google Reader is loaded with over 100 feeds from the blogs about music or beer. There’s actually more beer blogs than music. I get tired of reading critics masturbate over music and beer blogs just give more useful information in the form of beer releases and reviews. Either way, the internet is primarily loaded with dude material and nothing’s more dude than beer and indie rock.

6. Beer and Pavement are healthy obsessions with many good lessons to teach us. Craft beer teaches us that the American dream is still alive. Pavement taught us that it’s best to do your best work, call it quits, and then get back together for one more go before calling it quits again. Plus, these obsessions help one enjoy life to its fullest without losing perspective. I’ve gone to many lengths to obtain craft beer and to see Pavement play live, but in the end, it really comes down to the enjoyment of the moment. I smiled watching Pavement reunite last summer. Similarly, I can enjoy every sniff and taste of a great DIPA.

5. Labels are like breweries. Bands are individual beers. Genres are the same as beer styles. There is a taxonomy for both that align rather nicely. There is nothing I enjoy more than waiting for the next batch of Maharaja or the latest record by the Walkmen. Each release reveals something new about an old favorite. These taxonomies make it easy to place labels, breweries, genres, styles, bands, and beers in context. I like taxonomies, especially those that parallel one another.

4. Bigger is better, but not when corporations are involved. When brewers and bands push the limits, the result is almost always better. Now, “better” might not mean that the beer actually tastes better than more conventional brews. It might not mean that a record sounds better than a band’s last effort. What “better” means in this instance is that the results are discussion-worthy. A beer or record that is big is full of ingredients and is produced under unique circumstances. Sam Calagione chews on corn and spits into the beer. The Walkmen spend a weekend recreating Harry Nilsson and John Lennon’s Pussycats. These are some big, ambitious projects that either turn out good or at the very least interesting. The only time that such ambition to do things bigger in either music or beer is when a corporation is involved. Creativity is thrown out in favor of efficiency. Bigger also means quite literally that they produce more crap in a shorter amount of time. Bigger does not always translate that way for indie labels and craft breweries.

Part of this point is to separate the craft and independent industries from the corporate ones, especially those in beer and music. The corporate versions of both are the enemy. I recognize that corporations can play a part in the areas of capitol and distribution, but when it comes to quality, the enjoyment of the consumer loses out to profits. When craft brewers or indie bands get grandiose ideas, the results are meant to please or challenge their fans. When corporations get such ideas, the focus is solely on profits.

I don’t mean to knock all corporate examples. I think examples like Built To Spill or Sonic Youth making corporate money work for them are excellent models for a brewery like Goose Island. The trouble is that corporate beer buying up craft brewers is in its infancy. The only examples (Rolling Rock,Leinenkugel, Redhook, etc.) have failed miserably. They’re the Replacements of craft beer. There is nothing wrong with taking advantage of corporate assets. The trouble arises when independence is given up for unsustainable profit.

3. Friendships are based on or can be destroyed through beer and music. This isn’t usually an intense relationship based on personal preference, but acquaintances evolve into strong friendships over a shared admiration of a fine imperial stout or on a roadtrip to see a band for the first time. Conversely, friendships fade when you choose the saison and your buddy chooses the Bud Lime or when you want to listen to some Neutral Milk Hotel and he wants Limp Bizkit. These preferences do not make or break friendships completely, but they come close.

2. Beer and music are at their best when it’s all about the craft. Regardless of your taste, we can all appreciate a well-crafted product. We might not always go for craft, but we can see the value in it. Some of us are willing to pay for that craft when it’s in the form of beer. Where indie rock is concerned, we’re willing to search it out. Interestingly, the cheapest and easiest to find beers and music are not often high on craftsmanship.

1. Beer and music is something about which we can talk. Craft beer and indie rock are the best for discussion. The hours I have spent discussing the value of that man snoring in the background of a Guided by Voices song or the times at a bar I’ve spent identifying flavors in a beer are some of the best memories I own (aside from those involving my partner and daughter, of course). Obviously, I really believe in this or I wouldn’t dedicate an entire blog to the topics and where they intersect.

And when we talk about beer and music, we are mindful of the moment. We don’t mindlessly consume. Instead, we consider possibilities and different perspectives. We find meaning in these things that on the outside seem so unimportant, but a deeper look reveals lessons for life.

Those are ten things I believe about beer and music. Is there anything I should add? What would your list look like for these topics or two subjects of your choosing? As always, leave a comment or link back from your own blog. When I wrote this version, I was waiting to see what Pizza had to say, but he did not post anything as of Tuesday. I’ll update a response if it posts between then and now.

I plan to revise and repost. So, this will develop into multiple posts, stemming from this original framework. Let me see if I can address your questions, more for the revision process than to satisfy your curiosity. Feel free to respond further.

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3 Responses

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  1. Pizza Cottontail said, on April 15, 2011 at 8:51 am

    I’m still working on mine. My response is coming out incredibly slowly (yesterday I typed up the first two parts but none of it sounded right), so don’t wait up for the post. My guess is it’ll be ready in two weeks. My response will most closely relate to points one, (maybe two), six, and eight.

    In the meantime: a point in re the “Bands are individual beers” analogy in point 5. A homebrewed beer might gain a following among the brewers’ family and friends; an unsigned band can have gazillions of followers via the Internet.

  2. […] the issue needs further development. You see, we were having a back and forth over my developing list of beliefs. One particular belief needs a condition. Here’s what I wrote: Beer and music is something […]


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