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Beer and Music

Si Bullock on the connection between beer and music.

Guest | 10 Oct 2018

Beer and music have a history. A long history.

The ancient Sumerians sang hymns to their goddess of brewing. Folk music across pre-industrial Europe flourished in ale houses. ’The Star Spangled Banner’ was a popular drinking song in pubs around the time of the American revolution.

Even though they can they can be enjoyed alone, undisturbed, it’s the emotional and social connections, the joy and the passion they’re capable of generating which elevate both things beyond mere products. We’ve all bonded with friends over bands and beers. Gigs and pubs can be social levellers, too. Your income and class disappear when you’re all going wild for a crazily talented singer, or stand elbow to elbow at a crowded bar.

There is some actual science behind it too. A couple of years ago, legendary beer writer Pete Brown took a scientific study from Herriot Watt University on how music improves the taste of wine and did what they should have done in the first place - applied it to beer. After lots of delicious experimentation, as well as his own research covering neuroscience, trumpets, taste memory and sensory perception, he developed a hit list of six beer and song partnerships and made an event out of it which he has toured all over the world.

And what about production? Countless brewers find their inspiration in music and 6 Music blaring around BeerBods HQ is one of the main reasons you get your boxes every twelve weeks. Alphabet Brewing’s Crate Digger, is of course named after the time-honoured DJ tradition of thumbing through crates of vinyl looking for gems. You’ll probably know all about Beaverton’s link to music royalty.

It’s debatable whether beer has always been as good for artists. Jim Morrison took his first beer from his unconscious father’s hand at nine and didn’t make it to 30.

But on the whole it’s a beautiful relationship, and we’ve made our own modest contribution. BeerBods FM started when Gordon floated the following suggestion past a famous DJ subscriber - "how about a playlist themed around this week’s beer?" It didn’t come off. What actually happened was a much less famous DJ and ex-employee (that's me) ran with it instead. So each week an hour-long Spotify playlist was carefully crafted and shared just before 9pm on a Thursday. The tracks and artists are linked to the beer or brewery in some ways, either geographically or via lame wordplay.

So are beer and music really a match made in heaven? You can certainly enjoy one without the other. Here’s the clincher though: look me in the eye and tell me that you don’t dance better after a pint.


Si Bullock can be found on Twitter @piemantronix 

This article was taken from our Summer 2016 journal.

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