The Bay Brewed: Pairing Local Rock Bands With Local Beers
If you like beer and rock music -- and really, who doesn't? -- you should probably cancel your plans for this Saturday, Dec. 7, and check out the Bay Brewed instead. It's a daytime pairing of local rock bands (Mikal Cronin, Shannon and the Clams) with local beer breweries (Anchor, Almanac, Speakeasy, 21st Amendment, Headlands). And the way it works is, once you buy a ticket, you get to drink as much of any of the delicious varieties of beer on offer as you want. Since the cost of one ticket would cover the door charge plus maybe a handful of rounds at a normal show, this makes the Bay Brewed an excellent place to investigate both local bands and local beer.
Oh Beautiful Beer The beer headlining the Bay Brewed.
In the spirit of putting two good things together, we've gone and paired selections from the 25 beers that will be available with a few of the six bands that will be performing on two stages. The result is a slightly contrived beer-and-rock pairing list, or, if you will, a back-pocket guide to how to do the Bay Brewed. Here, then, is your to-do list for tomorrow:
DJ Jamie Jams // Almanac Extra Pale Ale
Concerts need a between-set DJ, and breweries need a pale ale. But the reason Jamie Jams and Almanac Beer Co. stand out among their peers is that both do their thing a little bit differently. Like Almanac, you can count on Jamie Jams to spice his selections beyond what you'd normally expect. The DJ behind S.F.'s world-famous Debaser party can hold forth with long sets of '90s R&B or classicist college rock, but no matter how much you think you know about either, he's always ready with a deep cut, a forgotten remix, or a bit of illuminating trivia. Similarly, Almanac's Extra Pale Ale comes with a twist: the addition of sweet Mandarin oranges. It sounds a little unorthodox, but, like a rarities-laced Debaser playlist, it'll probably work better than you expect.
Kelley Stoltz // Speakeasy SF Lager No. 1
Like Speakeasy, Kelley Stoltz is an S.F. institution, an artist we celebrated in this year's inaugural music issue for his lasting contribution to the city's home-recording ethos, among other things. Stoltz is something of a quintessential rocker, issuing album after solid album of unpretentious psych-folk tunes that are no less enjoyable for their obvious indebtedness. And because the man is such a master of the home studio, he can tweak his sonic approach whenever he wants -- see the back-porch acoustic blues of "1000 Rainy Days" or the slowly fraying psychedelia of "Perpetual Night," both off of his latest album, Antique Glow. Similarly, Speakeasy is such a good brewery, we're pretty sure that when it tackles something as basic and straightforward as a lager, it will do it with uncommon panache. The early reviews of SF Lager No. 1 have it as "surprising" and "more hoppy and interesting" than you'd expect -- a lager that serious beer people could drink all night. Likewise, Stoltz's music may go down easy, but you can't help but recognize the serous quality there.
Golden Void // Beach Chalet Rye Porter
Is there any more psychedelic-sounding beer formulation than a rye porter? Oh sure, you've had your rye IPAs (if you haven't, see below), and your rye red ales. But a rye porter sounds a little trippy, a little mindbending. Same goes for Golden Void: By now you've sampled the many local psych-rock flavors on offer in the Bay Area, and no doubt realized they're interesting. Golden Void turns it up a few notches -- besides the obvious Hawkwind reference in the name, this local supergroup of sorts issues the sort of rule-bending, jam-friendly space-rock we haven't seen since... Comets on Fire reunited for a show earlier this month. The fact that you may not have heard of a rye porter or a Golden Void should not dispel you from trying either -- this pairing is all about venturing into the unknown.
Shannon and the Clams // Headlands Groupe G RyePA
Headlands Brewing describes its Groupe G RyePA as a "sabotage of West Coast IPAs," "subverting" the usual mix of flavor with malted rye (for spiciness) and Belgian yeast (which "enhances the tropical, floral hops and adds complexity"). Similarly, Shannon and the Clams sabotage '50s girl-group pop and '60s garage by spiking the usual, three-chord, reverb-heavy mix with a fondness for gritty tales of urban life and an embrace of the awkward, the weird, and the raunchy. They give vintage pop and rock 'n' roll a new edge, and yet pull it off with a tightness and skill that you might not expect given their subversive aims. Hopefully that makes them kindred spirits with the Groupe G RyePA.
Mikal Cronin // Anchor Christmas Ale
If one beer is headlining the Bay Brewed, it's gotta be Anchor Brewing's Christmas Ale -- a beloved beverage that comes out every winter and it slightly different each year, but always thoroughly delicious. This year's 39th edition was only just released, and the Bay Brewed will give attendees a chance to drink as much of it as they care to. We're pairing it with headliner Mikal Cronin because both occupy a unique spot in their respective local universes: Anchor is probably San Francisco's biggest and most famous brewery, and while Cronin isn't quite the city's biggest or most famous rocker yet, he might be on his way there, with acclaim coming in from all the right places. And okay, the pairing works also because you know Cronin's going to kick ass when he takes the stage at 4:50 pm. on Saturday, just like that first pour (or second, or third) of Anchor Christmas.