What would life be without beer and music? One or both of them accompany our best moments. To that end, Dr. Nick Johnson has made a list to try, pairing these local beers with fantastic pieces of music. Decorate your day, and imbibe in some culture – both local and timeless. Adapted from Classical Music Indy’s NOTE Magazine.
Indianapolis Breweries and Classical Music
By Nicholas Johnson, Ph.D.
Unless you’re a peasant from the thirteenth century (unlikely), you don’t need beer to live. And unless you’re a sentient soundwave (very unlikely), you don’t need music to live. But what would life be without beer and music? One or both of them accompany our best moments. To that end, try pairing these local beers with fantastic pieces of music. Decorate your day, and imbibe in some culture – both local and timeless. Photos by Esther Boston Photography
Pooka American Wild Ale
from Brugge Brasserie
Wolfgang Mozart – “Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen” (Hell’s vengeance boils in my heart) from The Magic Flute
I get why some people don’t like Mozart – predictable, formulaic and trifling. Remember a few things: a) Mozart did not write for you; he wrote for the tastes of the Viennese so he could sell tickets and buy all the little sausages he needed; b) his operas have stronger female roles than any composer before him; c) he was a political revolutionary. This all comes to life in The Magic Flute, a metaphorical opera about enlightenment versus tradition. In this fantastic aria, the coolest character, the Queen of the Night, reveals herself as a villain.
I get why some people don’t like sour beers – hard to drink, tart and unusual. While a good sour beer is not a villain, it can certainly steal the show. Brugge’s Pooka is crimson in color from its boysenberries, and is both sweet and tart like the Queen of the Night’s soaring high notes as she plans sweet revenge.
Shadow Boxer Oatmeal Stout
from Indiana City Brewing
Philip Glass – Metamorphosis 1-5
Philip Glass? More like phil-up my glass. This beer oozes coffee, cream and contemplation. It doesn’t attack the drinker, but if you succumb to its subtle chocolate aftertaste, it will take you exactly where you need to go. Likewise, Philip Glass doesn’t attack the listener in Metamorphosis.
These five pieces are minimalistic views of a simple riff that transports the listener to a meditative place. Nerdier beer/music lovers may know this piece from Battlestar Galactica—a scene where Starbuck plays a recording of Metamorphosis and attributes her father as the recording’s soloist. I tend to think Starbuck would love a good stout.
from Triton Brewery
Ludwig van Beethoven – Symphony 6 (Pastoral)
A traditional wheat beer can be a little boring, but a truly good beer is born when a brewer complements its smooth qualities by adding just enough hops to lend some spice. Symphonies in the early 1800s could also be a little boring. Add a dramatic story about a storm coming to disrupt a beautiful summer day, and maybe this Beethoven guy knew what he was doing. The Fieldhouse Wheat is a simple beer with just enough complexity to make it memorable, not unlike Beethoven reinvigorating the symphony as something truly grand. Sip, listen and let the master paint visions of nature in your head.