This week, on their blog Hot Knives, Evan George and Alex Brown call bullshit on the bloggers wading deep into the bilious swamp of music-drink pairings. They cite among others, a San Francisco Chronicle article and a post by the blog Functional Beer as evidence. According to the duo, pairing is not a form of “artistic expression,” it is, in fact, science, and only professionals should get involved.
“The rest of the twee foodie blogosphere usually fails to look deep into the soul or dragon spirit that all good beers have,” says George. “We have the spirit, they don't,” adds Brown. “There's just a lack of blood and guts.”
To show readers how they pair, George and Brown outline their methods in a stirring video segment, which we wish we could have taken into consideration when we wrote our own piece about food and music.
Instead of simply listening to a band from the same place as a beer they happen to be drinking, George and Brown pair with panache. George (we think) writes song titles on sheets of paper, tears them into shreds, lights them on fire, and presses his ear expertly against the label of a bottle of The Abyss (an imperial stout crafted by Deschute's Brewing Company) held directly over the curling smoke. Amazingly, the bottle appears to inform George that “Stabbed in the Face” by Wolf Eyes should be its aural accompaniment. Rather brilliantly, Brown hacks open a butternut squash and spreads out the slippery seeds. Miraculously, the seeds bear a shocking resemblance to the visage of dashing British singer Jarvis Cocker. Thus, Pulp's “Babies” meets its match in Sierra Nevada's Hoptimum IPA.
Being lazy and disinclined to try “squash augery” in our apartment, we asked Hot Knives for some advice on area bars where skillful music-beer pairing happens with frequency. George complied:
“We've stopped going to most bars because they inevitably have one without the other, making our nights out a drag to organize. Some nights at Footsies you can catch a pint of Anderson Valley Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout with a certain DJs' gubnah-pogo-bare-foot-disco-fox-bump-and-pump jams. Or we go to Verdugo Bar when it opens and sneak our records on when no ones looking. Sometimes we'll even lurk at el Prado refusing to order a beer until the bar tenderess drops the right record onto the turntable.”
Brown chimed in as well:
“Find us a bar in LA that pops arcane bottles and spins wormwood fugue state jams and we'll have a serious problem. Not to double dip; but a 'one pint only' stop by at El Prado turned into a near-blackout night when a certain Buzzcocks record co-existed with a particular Craftsman Saison. We just HAD to listen to both sides…There's great weirdo DJ (Where's Y R Child, Unamerica, Punky Reggae) but no great beer exists unless you bring it.”