Beer and Pavement

Cellared Beers and Stacks of Records During Snowpocalypse 2011

Posted in Intersections by SM on February 4, 2011

The kid enjoying a snow fort.

As previously mentioned, we here in Middle Missouri were blanketed under 18-20 inches of snow. For those who live in Minnesota or Alaska, this might seem tame, but by Missouri standards, it’s downright apocalyptic[1]. The snow stopped sometime Tuesday night/Wednesday morning and as of Thursday afternoon, most of my neighborhood was still trapped by the snow[2].

At one point, while shoveling some of the white stuff, a neighbor trudged by on a beer run. Apparently someone down the street with 4-wheel drive was offering a trip to the store. I told him that’s why I have a cellar. He kept on going.

Sure, there’s the allure of a collection, but a beer cellar is really just a place to keep your beer. Because of this cellar, I never have to go traipsing through the snow for a nice brew. In fact, since the storm, I’ve had a Schlafly No. 20 Vol. 1 Imperial Pilsner, Great Lakes Nosferatu Stock Ale, Founders 2010 KBS, Boulevard Dark Truth Stout, 2008 Bell’s Old Ale, Stillwater Cellar Door, Duck-Rabbit Milk Stout, and Boulevard Tank 7. That’s quite a variety of great beers I wouldn’t be able to find at any store. I was prepared for Snowmageddon without even preparing[3]. The cellar serves this purpose as well as if not better than it does simply providing space for one’s collection.

The same can be said for records. Although I haven’t put on as many records as I would have liked over the past week[4], the option has been there. I do realize that this is different in that people have access to an infinite amount of music online, but vinyl warms the cockles and pops and crackles in time with your fireplace. Few collections can help you pass the time the way a record collection can.

What did I listen to? Well, it was mostly new stuff (to me). The KC Accidental double-LP has seen a lot of time in this house already, but I’ve also been playing the new Iron & Wine as well as Destroyer’s Kaputt. To mix it up, I pulled out The White Stripes’ De Stijl and White Blood Cells as a way to assist Detroit takes it final blow and say goodbye to the band forever[5].

Blizzards give you time for such pursuits[6]. You either do something with it, or you suffer the cabin fever. So, in preparation for the next blizzard or other natural catastrophe, go fill a closet with beer and buy a shit-ton of records[7].

1Columbia, a town of over 100,000 people, only has 18 snowplows. That’s not enough for 18 inches of snow.
2Just as I was about to dig a path to tracks left by neighborhood 4×4’s, a giant plow came down the street…and promptly got stuck at the bottom of the cul de sac. After finally working its way out, another plow made it’s way down the street…and promptly got stuck at the bottom of the cul de sac. The first plow pulled the second plow out.
3However, a little prepping would have been a good idea. I brewed some beer, but I started too late for this storm. Two batches are now in secondary dry-hopping. Also, my cellar is dwindling quickly. I’ve been more selective lately and a “shipment” from Ohio has yet to arrive. So, I had what I had and I made due.
4Two-year-olds with nothing to do make record listening rather difficult. I was lucky to play what I played.
5Honestly, I didn’t realize they were still a band.
6The beard still grows. I like how icicles form as I shovel snow.
7I intended to write something more substantial here, but I’ve been busy. Funny how much busier one can be when snowed in. Thank god my kid’s day care is open today. Otherwise, I don’t know how I would handle another day of this.

A Beer, A Record

Posted in Beer, Intersections, Records, Rock vs. Beer by SM on February 2, 2011

Monday night, we all sat around waiting for the #snowpocalypse/#snowmageddon to happen[1], so I busted out some beer[2] and turned on some tunes. What follows is an account of those two indulgences. I’m not sure what either has to do with the other except that this blog is about beer and indie rock and that’s enough.

Schlafly No. 20 Vol. 1 Imperial Pilsner
We were supposed to have a cellared beer tasting this evening, but the (threat of) inclement weather caused us to postpone. I considered breaking out one of those cellared beers, but a bomber of a 10-12% barley wine is not always the best beer to have alone. Of course, the beer I pull out sits at 9% ABV, but it’s just a lager, right? Anyway, this beer provides me with a lot of topics to cover…

  • It’s semi-local, as in it’s from St Louis. Schlafly makes a lot of your regular, everyday kinds of beers, but they venture out and brew something truly tasty now and again. Between their hoppier fair (APA, AIPA[3]), barrel-aged monsters (Imperial Stout, Barley Wine), and delicate Belgian facsimiles (Tripel, Dubbel, Biere de Garde[4]), I know Schlafly can brew a tasty beer. It makes it easy to support the Saint Louis Brewery when they do such fine work[5].
  • It’s a special release. The Saint Louis Brewery is 20 this year and they’re releasing some special brews to celebrate. Most likely, this will be the only chance I’ll get to try such beers, so it’s good to snatch them up whenever they’re in stock.
  • Although it’s a lager, it’s imperial, which means it’s big on flavor in one way or the other. The beer looks like a pale lager and smells bready like a lager. The head is rather thick and creamy, but not unusual for some lagers. Then, I tasted it…tons of bready sweetness in this beer, almost cloying[6]. Still, it’s way more satisfying and interesting than your run-of-the-mill pale lager.
  • Speaking of lagers, there’s something about them that just doesn’t agree with me. I was never as sure of this as the time my beer club had an all-lager tasting. I felt so rough despite most of the beers measuring in at 5% ABV or less. I had that same feeling last night. Sure, it’s 750mL of a 9% beer, but I sipped it slowly as the evening passed and during dinner. Lager yeast just doesn’t agree with me[7].
  • Not enough breweries paint labels directly onto bottles. While this is a pain for homebrewers, they make for excellent souvenirs[8]. Plus, it gives sort of an old-school feel to the drinking experience. It’s a little thing that has little to do with the beer itself, but it’s a nice touch.

KC Accidental – Captured Anthems for an Empty Bathtub/Anthems for the Could’ve Bin Pills
This re-issue of pre-Broken Social Scene material came out some time in 2010, but it fell off my radar somehow. I finally ordered it and the double-LP arrived late last week. Monday was really my first chance to give it a proper listen. I had heard this stuff before but never was able to spend time with it. And, like the beer above, this record gives me some topics about which to write…

  • As mentioned above, this double-LP is a re-issue of two releases by pre-Broken Social Scene band KC Accidental. So many bands record and release material before they break big, and that material is often lost[9]. Eventually, bands are often able to give the material a proper release that allows fans to dive into their discographies even further. I am a sucker for this sort of material, especially when the original project is as good or possibly better than the current band.
  • KC Accidental was more along the lines of a Rachels or Sea & Cake than what BSS currently represents. This worked out well in my house as my partner prefers Rachels and Sea & Cake to almost anything else I might play. The comparisons are uncanny. I was surprised at how much anyone could sound like Rachels[10]. Punk rock chamber music is hard to replicate, but KC Accidental did it. There are some rock songs, but expect Rachels-like indie if you pick this record up.
  • This record is worth it for both BSS die-hards as well as people new to the Toronto collective. It’s certainly an important part of the canon for sure.

What have you been drinking or listening to? Please share in comments.

1It did, something like 16.6 inches of snow as of 6 pm on Tuesday night. I haven’t heard the final tally, but they were talking in the ballpark of 20 inches of snow.
2I also wanted to note that I polished off a Great Lakes Nosferatu Stock Ale, Founders 2010 KBS, Boulevard Dark Truth Stout, and a 2008 Bell’s Old Ale Tuesday night. Let’s just say that I was plenty warm.
3One of the more underrated IPA’s I’ve had in the last year. I sort of expected it to always be around, but I haven’t seen it since its short run last year.
4All three of these beers are good to keep on hand for dinners and such. They store well, look nice, and pair with a variety of foods.
5Unlike a certain other industrial adjunct lager producer also found in St. Louis.
6That one’s for David. He uses “cloying” all the time. That and “vegetal.”
7I don’t know what it is, but it’s not because I drink too much. One lager can make me feel crummy. 750 mL certainly didn’t help. I’m beginning to wonder if it’s the sweetness, something I’m starting to pick up in every pale lager I try.
8I collect Stone bottles, but this will lose its luster once they begin distributing to Missouri. I have all their regular releases and am just missing a few of their one-off bottles. Still, they are cool bottles to collect with their gargoyles and unique narratives.
9Sometimes that’s for a good reason. Sometimes it’s too bad.
10There’s more rock instrumentation (drums, bass, guitar) than Rachels incorporate, but the influence is certainly heard.