Beer and Pavement

10 Things I Believe About Building International Coalitions Through Beer and Pavement

Posted in Intersections, Manifesto by SM on April 6, 2011

This is a first draft, meaning that I haven’t had time to clean up some wording, include specific examples, or throw in a bunch of useless footnotes. I just didn’t have time to give this the proper treatment and still insure a post for Wednesday. However, all is not lost. Look over my list and tell me where I need to beef it up with examples and footnotes. Tell me where there are holes in my beliefs, or at least the way in which I’m expressing said beliefs. Also, any suggestions for an image would be appreciated. I have an idea to do something with the Ten Commandments, but I haven’t found the right image to doctor.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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