Hootenanny Ribs

Hootenanny Ribs
3-2-1 rib perfection on my Traeger Pro 34 wood pellet grill

Friday, October 5, 2012

No rotten tomatoes here!

During October, 99 Pours wants to know about some of the weirdest beers out there.  Lord knows I've tried a lot of funky beers.  Tons of fruit beers, beers with bacon, beers made with smoked cherry woods, beers with wild yeasts, even a beer made with the ever-popular Acai berry.  Yet the most unique brew to cross my lips so far has been Epic Brewing's Portamarillo, a Tamarillo and Pohutukawa wood Smoked Porter collaboration with Dogfish Head and the world's first tree tomato beer using New Zealand grown Tamarillos, which were smoked using wood chips from the Pohutukawa tree, the New Zealand Christmas tree.

First of all, I consider myself tomato-neutral; can live with or without them, but I'm a sucker for these weird beers. The Portamarillo poured a dark leather brown/near-black with a nice beige head and big drapes of lacing throughout my session.  Sweet and light smoked roasted malt aroma, some chocolate as well, and a near-citrus and slight Port nose, nicely inviting.  Porter flavor at first, but wait... what is that?  Lightly smoked, yes.  Pleasant light flavors of dark chocolate, yes. Something else... The Tamarillos! Like a hint of a sweet, rich Bloody Mary teasingly lingering in the taste, just a pinch, but it's there, smoky, sweet, rich and very tasty. This beer was a treat.  I didn't know what to expect with this one but it all worked very well together.

Acknowledgements to my beer-trading buddy in Reno, NV,  Chris (slowrunner77), for sending this treat.  If it weren't for numerous trades there would be no way to try some of these weird and strange elixirs from all over the world.  So a shout out to all of my trading friends.  Do yourself a favor if you want to try something different - Beer Trade!  You might get a Epic Brewing Portamarillo... or a New Glarus Belgian Red 

... or something totally unexpected, the weirder the better.   Sometimes different can be good.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Fall FWD: Top 10 Reasons to Love Autumn

There is a hint of cooler weather in the air. Tolerable nights, bluer skies, leaves hinting at turning colors, can mean one thing: autumn is near. It is the most desirable season in East Tennessee; I always look forward to fall. Post-Labor Day means that many loved things will begin in earnest.

The Top Ten great things to love about autumn (from a Southerner's perspective):
10.  The World Series, The Fall Classic. Baseball in cool crisp fall weather is near-perfect. 

 9.  The annual craft beer releases of Oktoberfest Märzen and Pumpkin beers mean that Oktoberfests are near - think German food, beers and Oompah music.

 8.  Apples. Our annual seasonal pilgrimage to Rowell's Orchard in Crossville, TN means apple pies, apple cider, apple cakes, apple fritters, apple butter... apple anything is good with me.

7.  The annual Blues, Brews and BBQ Hootenanny: great food, beers, and music. @HootenannyTN

6.  Cooler weather, which leads to the fall colors, more fire pit usage and even more cookouts and BBQs.  Autumn turns East Tennessee into the most beautiful peaceful place on earth.

5.  Pumpkins. They're usually orange, tasty, big and just plain fun. Pick your own at the pumpkin patches (which, locally, is right next to the corn maze.)  Like apples, you get pumpkin pies, pumpkin butter, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin spice lattes, even pumpkin beers. Also used for Jack-o-lanterns during...

4.  Halloween. Many children's favorite day; candy and sugar overdose day. What other day do kids AND adults get to go out in costume? All Hallows' Eve.

3.  Fewer mosquitoes. Mosquitoes love me. Late summer means I must slather myself in DEET-fortified insect repellent just to walk the dog. Fewer bugs in general is a good thing. Don't underestimate my hatred of mosquitoes; they are the bane of my summer existence. 

2.  The annual feast of epic proportion that is Thanksgiving. There is not one negative thing that can be said about this Holiday. We all learned how it started. We all need to give thanks. We all need a nap after eating.  Then we watch...

1. FOOTBALL. It is said that in the South there are three seasons: football season, recruiting season and spring practice. High school, college, NFL - football is king. In the South, SEC football absolutely rules.  Tailgating. Massive stadiums. Rivalries. Tradition. Championships. Football brings families together, or tears them apart. Please do not schedule a wedding on a football Saturday in the South.  Football is 24/7/365 around here. And that's the way we like it.

Did I miss any? What are your Top Ten things about autumn?  
Enjoy the fall weather, get out to a local festival or two, get some apples and pumpkins, but most of all, enjoy your favorite football team - tailgate, cheer for your favorite team and Just Win, Baby!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Words in a pint glass...

I like to talk.  Because of that gift of gab I tend to also embellish what I write.  For the past few years, since really discovering craft beers, I have sampled lots of different brews and posted my beer reviews on BeerPal.com as user bluesandbarbq.  These elixirs moved me enough to respond with these words.  These are my favorites.

Buckeye Hippie IPA  

Groovy, man. This dude pours a wicked amber with a pillowy cream head that maintains its cool self like a long slow stoner bender leaving some wicked lacing. Man, it smells like a dank pot of grapefruit hemp then some cool dude added some pine and a little peach then a little bit of sweetness. Wow man, the flavor is most outstanding, right on, with a bit of that grapefruity hempness bittering this spliff to a wicked stage of grooviness. Most righteous and heavy, man, heavy, but in the cool far out kinda way.

Epic Portamarillo

I'm a sucker for these weird beers: this one pours a dark leather brown/near-black with a nice beige head and big drapes of lacing throughout. Sweetly and light smoked roasted malt aroma, some chocolate, a near-citrus almost-port nose, nicely inviting. Porter flavor at first, but wait... what is that? Lightly smoked, yes. Pleasant light flavors of dark chocolate, yes. Something else... The Tamarillos! Like a hint of a sweet, rich Bloody Mary teasingly lingering in the taste, just a pinch, but it's there, smoky, sweet, rich and very tasty. This was a treat. I didn't know what to expect with this one but it works very well. Glad I got to try one.

Smoky Mountain Kilt-Tilter Scottish Ale  

Very surprised to get this rarely-brewed local on tap @ Knoxville BrewFest! Nice deep brown amber pour with a tight creamy head that reduces to a constant ring, leaving copious amounts of lacing. Big malty aroma, sweet, doughy, nice presence of smoke and peat, with a big dose of caramel, hint of orange, cut by very earthy hops. Taste is malt-forward, caramelly, big and earthy, almost heavy, light smoke and peat, cut only slightly by earthy hops and alcohol. Pretty big Scottish ale, not sure of the ABV - should've asked. Nice effort. Very happy to finally try it as I thought it was a Sasquatch beer - seldom seen, only to be a legend, non-existent.

Highland Jack Daniel Barrel Aged Gaelic Ale


On tap @ Knoxville BrewFest 2012. Holy Shit this is good - amber pour, white head with lacing. Nice and fairly strong Jack Daniel aroma, whiskey and malty and hint of smoke and charcoal and.. then hops, more malts. Taste is a beautiful blend of Highland's Gaelic Ale and Angel's share of Jack Daniel shining through, creating drool, whiskey, malts, whiskey, malts, hops, whiskey and malts and hops and caramel and... Holy Shit this is good. Wow. Just WOW. Wish y'all coulda tried it too! (I'm gonna steal a keg of it for the Hootenanny!)

Foothills Sexual Chocolate Imperial Stout  

My White Whale. The Holy Grail. Atlantis in a Bottle. It is rare that I will pay this much for ANY beer. But I did. It has been on my wishlist since I created a wishlist. Finally. 2011 version. Near thick mahogany black pour with a very tight tall tan head and massive lacing. Rich chocolatey and roasted malts aroma, all kinds of chocolates: Dark Cocoa Nibs, Hersheys Chocolate Syrup, Lindt Milk Chocolte Truffles... Bam - a lot of chocolate in the nose, then a touch of anise or licorce, slight but it's there, and a hint of brine - can't place it but it's like sea salt air, and a hint of smoke. Flavor is hugely Chocolate forward too, which one would expect from a beer with this name, all of the same flavors which the nose eminates, Rich, creamy, some semi-sweet, slight bitter, silky sweet - really a chocolate explosion that is most welcome, then again a very slight anise and brine which deminishes the taste only slightly in my opinion. Overall, a great beer, maybe the best brewed in the South. It is definitely one of the most hyped and for what it's worth, it lives up to the hype, not surpassing, not falling short, just right. It is Sexual Chocolate and now it is off of my wish list and I have sipped it from the Chalice of the Nectar of the Gods.

Three Floyds Dark Lord Imperial Stout

Upon the Winter Solstice I summon the Dark Lord (2011)... handed over to me in secrecy, cloak and dagger stuff indeed, by Code Name: kinger. From my Wish List too: I couldn't resist the pagan-ness of drinking this one on this day. Rich thick mahogany black pour, very tight tan head, spotty little devilish lacing. Scents of very ripe rich fruits - plums, molasses, dark decedent chocolates, inviting hint of black coffee and some leather, a touch of smoke and evil black licorice, a little mystical vanilla. Taste is equally evil and hedonistic: BIG rich roasted malts, dark chocolate, ripe plums and other sweet ripe fruits, sweet cherries, black licorice, a hint of smoke, vanilla and molasses; big sweet heavy stuff this one is. Super Worthy. Oh Cory the King, I give my thanks unto thee for this spiritual elixir. I submit.

Dogfish Head Miles Davis' Bitches Brew

Cool Daddio Big PfoxyJohn brought this Wish List groovy load of goodness to my bad self. Way dark-as-an-African night pour with a smooth tall head, man, and some tight lacing. Most excellent and righteous aromas of the sweetness of Tupelo Honey, like far out, and some back bass of toasted malt goodness, all serving the better good of pleasing my nose; makes me want to do a Pharaoh's Dance. Then this bad ass brew hit my tongue: yeah man, it is right on! good dose of honey sweet like a sweet Gibson guitar jazz lick, then those beautiful roasted malts and molasses with a bitter Miles himself would be proud of. This is one righteous ass brew. Smooth as early Miles Davis' albums, different as the ground the man broke in jazz, all of this whilst fully enjoying Miles Davis Bitches Brew (Legacy Edition) - Miles Runs The Voodoo Down.. and it is in this bottle and now my glass. Yes. I dig this; it is Sanctuary.

Southern Tier Imperial Choklat Stout

Bottle brought to me by local beer buddy Sam.I.Am. - WISH LIST item! Heavy black pour with an extremely tight near perfect tan head, massive lacing. Chocolate aroma. Chocolate aroma. Chocolate aroma. Taste and aroma are of Dark chocolates, Hershey's Chocolate Syrup, Belgian chocolate, Godiva chocolate liqueur, milk chocolate, cocoa nibs, semi-sweet chocolate, Lindt chocolate, Mayan chocolate. Maybe a little java, but definitely chocolate... and roasted malts. Then there is a bit of chocolate in the end. Imperial Choklat. Yes it is. Willie Wonka had something to do with this beer I'm certain. I never thought I'd hear my wife say, "That's almost too much chocolate!"
But it's not.

Dogfish Head Hellhound On My Ale  

This Hellhound Blues Ale is courtesy of kinger, who sent me this knowing I coveted it. Not the first Blues inspired beer ever brewed but certainly the most ballyhooed. When I first read about DFH and Sony honoring Robert Johnson, I knew that this beer was a "must have" item for me. The Beer: Clear bright amber pour with a very tight white head and lazy lacing throughout. Decent carbonation present. Citrus hops and light lemon zest aroma with a clean almost floral scent, offset by some earthy malts and a near heavy mouthfeel. The lemon zest becomes more prevalent as it warms but still not overwhelming and nicely refreshing. Taste is citrus and lemon hops upfront, hugely so, great bitter linger only cut a bit by the malts. Hellhound did not disappoint. It was as I expected; nothing more, nothing less. Fairly simple like the earthy Delta Blues that Robert Johnson purveys. Music hauntingly playing in my background: Cross Road Blues and Hellhound On My Trail - Robert Johnson - hell, I'm listening to the entire box set of King of the Delta Blues right now! Letting this beer take me to another place and time... a dusty highway crossroads in the middle of the Mississippi Delta, just outside Clarksdale. It's near midnight and a lonely figure in the distance is walking the road carrying a guitar case, silhouetted by what little moon is present. Lighting crashes in the distance. The smell of rain and the heavy humidity is all around me lingering in the Southern night air. Dogs barking near me, chasing the soul carrying that guitar case...

Good People Snake Handler Double IPA  

East Tennessee and northeastern Alabama have a history of fundamentalist Christian churches with a penchant for practicing Snake Handling. This venomous Southern Bastard comes directly from the fargingbastige himself, hand-delivered like Mason jars of Moonshine, in Dixie Growlers - Two 1/2 gallon plastic milk jugs. Curtis, I am proud of you for keeping this Southern Tradition of Clandestine yet gentlemanly observation of an age-old Tradition. This sinful elixir pours a gentle almost clear light brown from said jugs, with an ample and frothy almost white head and copious amounts of delicate lacing. Decadent aromas of ample pine and grapefruit hops - big - with a good malt presence to calm the serpent. Taste is wickedly beautiful with a huge hops presence upfront like Fire and Brimstone - cuttingly bitter at first - grapefruit, pine and Damnation, offset nicely by the calming Angel of malt sweetness. This slithering serpent is only to be handled by the most experienced Deacons and Purveyors of The Good Word. Yay and verily I say unto you, go forth and turn the water into Imperial IPAs. And it was so. Amen.


Most craft beer drinkers are great folks.  Many of these beers were gifts or ones received in trades; from PfoxyJohn, kinger, slowrunner77, fargingbastige, Sam.I.Am. - all of them beer buddies from across the country.  It is always good to share with your friends.  Enjoy and next time... write it down if so moved.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Staycation Justification

I'm a Homer - I love my home state, The Great State of Tennessee.  I love the lakes and rivers.  I love the all of the great music and great BBQ and foods.  I really love Memphis.  I love Music City and Moccasin Bend.  And I especially love the Smoky Mountains and beautiful East Tennessee with its rich history and heritage.  This is a great state if you are going to do a Staycation.  Our family did just that this year.

It started with a weekend away for just the wife and me. Gatlinburg.  Even with its tourist traps and cheesy souvenirs, Gatlinburg's beauty and quaintness still draws me in like a moth to a flame.  There are lots of hidden gems and great little restaurants.  The surrounding scenery is unsurpassed.  Our mini-tour through the Foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains started Saturday evening in Sevierville at Apple Barn Winery for a nice little wine tasting.  Most of the wines are apple infused from their on-site orchard and most were outstanding.  Our favorites were the Orchard White and Apple-Raspberry.

After checking in to our lodging, we were off to dinner but first a stop at Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine Distillery for another sampling.  Tiny samples, one once each, but there are now twelve different flavors of their elixirs.  Twelve samples.  One dozen.  Blueberry, Grape, Hunch Punch, Lemon Drop, Pink Lemonade, Strawberry, Blackberry, Peach, Apple Pie, Moonshine Cherries, White Lightning and Original Moonshine all available for sampling.  Yep, I tried them all, saving the strongest, the straight up Ole Smoky Original Moonshine for last.

Now we have to walk to dinner. Feeling it a bit.  On to the Park Grill Steakhouse for some fine grub.  Always a good meal here and great view of the Smoky Mountains.  After dinner, I talk my wife into getting a beer at the original Smoky Mountain Brewery which is located about a block down from the restaurant. We both tried their Raspberry Wheat, which is lightly tart and sweet, very refreshing.  It is crowded.  Too crowded for us.  We retreat to safer ground and began our meandering descent from upper Gatlinburg down the sidewalks and byways toward our getaway lodging.  In just a few hours, we have visited a winery, a distillery and a brewery; no meaderies or we'd have hit the Spirits Grand Slam.  Still a fun day with my beautiful better half.

Smoky Mountain Brewery

Next day is Father's Day and the official start of our family Tennessee Staycation.  That means a fairly early breakfast.  The Pancake Pantry beckons.  Been going there since childhood.  Fond memories of this place.  My Father's Day breakfast of champions is the special: Strawberry-Banana Delight.  And a delight it was!  I'm now calorie loaded for the day.  Now back home to gather up the kids, load up the vehicles and make our way to the lake house which will be our headquarters and departure point for all of our Staycation day trips.

My wife's sister, her husband and son are staying with us the first half of the week.  Now it's really a family fun Staycation!  And they bring us these great Ohio craft beer and wine selections from Great Lakes, Rockmill, Hoppin' Frog and Elevator breweries and Valley Vineyards.

It's going to be a really fun week!  Sunday evening - rest... and sample more adult beverages.  Then Monday it's sun and fun on the dock and in Watts Bar Lake.   Late afternoon, off to Sweetwater Valley Farm to buy some local cheeses and cheese curds! We all bought some of their gourmet cheeses, some of them to be used in my Cheese-stuffed Mojo Burgers that were grilled that evening.

Tuesday morning, it's off to Chattanooga.  Fun city.  Lots to do there since the downtown revitalization.  Our first stop is the Incline Railway.  Since childhood, I've always wanted to ride the Incline to the top of Lookout Mountain.  Until now, I have not done that.  Cross it off the list of things to do.  Breathtaking scenic views from the top; that claim is not exaggerated... and it's 10 degrees cooler up on top. Bonus.

Incline Railway looking down at Chattanooga

The Clan at Lookout Mountain

From the Incline Railway to the Terminal Brewhouse for lunch and beers.  One of my  favorite Chattanooga spots, this brewpub is located next door to the Chattanooga Choo Choo.  Terminal Brewhouse offers above average pub grub and excellent micro brews.  Tried the Dead Sexy Scottish Ale and the Brain Candy Belgian IPA, both excellent representations of those styles.  Then off to see the Choo Choo and take some more pics.

Now it's almost 90 degrees out and time to cool off.  What to do...  My youngest suggests the Tennessee Aquarium.  But of course.  Excellent choice.  We start our aquarium experience later in the afternoon so we almost have the cavernous building to ourselves.  Leisurely strolls through the aqua world elicit lots of eewws and aahhs.  Great place to beat the heat and get an aquatic education.

Fun with penguins

Hold your breath and grab a giant crab

"I'm out here but it still scares me a little..."
Load back up in the in-laws van (very nice way to travel by the way) and head back north one hour to Ten Mile, TN and to dinner at Uncle Gus' Mountain Pit Bar-B-Q.  Really good ribs, brisket, pulled pork and wings all smoked over pecan wood and a wide variety of sides and appetizers including fried green beans, fantastic onion rings, potato poppers, sweet potato fries and fried dill pickle spears.  Being only a few miles from the lake house it has become one of our favorite dine out spots.

Wednesday morning our guests from Ohio left for their own Gatlinburg Smoky Mountain adventure.  With them goes some fine Sweetwater Valley Farm cheeses, Tennessee Chow-Chow Relish, Tennessee's Best Bread and Butter Pickles, great pictures, a few sunburns and some fine Tennessee craft beers including Blackstone Brewing's Picnic English-style Summer Ale and Yazoo Brewing - Yazoo Hefeweizen, Yazoo Dos Perros and Gerst Amber, which was their favorite.  As a Tennessee Ambassador I felt it was my duty to make certain their Volunteer State bounty was plentiful.

Blackstone Picnic Summer Ale

Gerst Amber Ale

Wednesday afternoon it's off to Athens, TN to Mayfield Dairy Farms Visitors Center with the youngest daughter for some of their fantastic ice cream.  Again it's blistering hot outside but the promise of their creamy sweet frozen treats have us ready to cool down.  My daughter gets a cone of Peanut Butter Fudge while I settle for a cup of Blackberry Cheesecake.  So fresh, so good.  They also have ten or so flavors that are not sold in stores so make it down to Mayfield if you want the best and the freshest.

Peanut Butter Fudge
Maggie, Mayfield's giant mascot

We stop for bait, worms, on the way back to the lake house for an evening of fishing with the kids.  Always fun when they catch the bluegills and little pan fish.  Usually I cast for bass while they fish for the little ones.  This time was no exception.  But, this time the results were different.  While semi-seriously casting for bass, a massive hit on my line engulfed my bait, an 8" Junebug plastic lizard.  "Huge fish!", was my first thought, then, "must be a catfish", then no, "dang it, I've caught a freaking tree or branch", and it's big.  Then, my line starts heading down water, South, and I know it's a huge fish, probably a catfish since it hasn't jumped out of the water and tried to the spit the bait out.  After about ten minutes the monster appears - a Flathead Catfish.  And it's huge - biggest fish I've ever caught.  Netted, we get the behemoth onto the dock.   Approximately 40 inches long and nearly 50 pounds.  This thing would eat our pets.  Pictures taken, bragging commenced, jitters shaken out, I release the Ole Fella to fight on and live to be a bit older.  What a catch; so much fun.

Big Tennessee River/Watts Bar Lake Flathead catfish on the dock
A happy fisherman

The last couple of days at the Watts Bar lake house are spent swimming, fishing, hanging out in the hammock, then cleaning up our week's mess.  What a great week for family and psyche.  The last afternoon of our Staycation are spent at our friends' pool, relaxing and staying cool.  Overall it was a great week.  We might could have stuffed more little trips into our days but then again, why?  It was nearly perfect for all of us.  As the sun sets on our Staycation, I again realize how much I love Tennessee.

Used during the Staycation: Instagram, Untappd, Twitter, Foursquare, Facebook 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Hey bartender, there's some music in my beer!

Beer and music.  Drinking beer and music seem to go together like peanut butter and jelly.  Music and beer always accompanies my grilling or barbequing.  When out to have a few pints, there is always some tunes.  Most breweries I've visited have music playing.  In the brew house, in the tap room, on a mini-stage: somewhere there is music.  I've always noticed some music-themed beers in the marketplace.  These beers are my favorite as far as honoring music; here are the Top 20 music-themed beer names.   

20.  Stoudt's Smooth Hoperator -  This Doppelbock was brewed as Stoudt's 20th Anniversary beer.  It is also number 20 on this list.  Sade Smooth Operator was definitely an smooth jazz inspiration. 

19.  Asheville Brewing Moog Filtered Ale - Asheville Brewing and the Bob Moog Foundation launched the limited edition Moog Filtered Ale, an American Pale Ale, named in honor of synthesizer pioneer Bob Moog in 2010.  What's neat about this ale is that all profits from the sale of the beer were donated to the Bob Moog Foundation to benefit their projects.

18.  Angel City Brewery Lester Young Porkpie Hat Dark Lager - Lester Young, "Prez" was nicknamed by Billie Holiday because he was "President of the Saxophone". Lester’s airy and light tenor saxophone tone, his lyrical lines, combined with behind the beat phrasing and unerring ability to swing, led Prez to become the father of the "Cool" school of Jazz.   'Nuff said.

17.  Spire Whiter Shade of Pale - A British Pale Ale from Spire Brewery in England, the name is from the 1967 Procol Harum song, A Whiter Shade of Pale.

" We skipped the light fandango turned cartwheels 'cross the floor. 
I was feeling kinda seasick but the crowd called out for more."

16.  Purple Moose Brewery Dark Side of the Moose - Brewed in Wales, this Porter from Purple Moose is a play on one of the most popular albums of all time, Pink Floyd's 1973 release Dark Side of the Moon.  

15.  Strange Paint It Black Honey Coffee Stout - What has six pounds of Western Slope Ambrosia Honey, three pounds of cold-brewed Sumatra coffee, over four pounds of Cascade hops, and is named after a Rolling Stones hit song? Paint It Black Honey Coffee Stout. 

"I See A Red Door And I Want To Paint It Black..."

 14.  Heavy Seas Smoke on the Water PorterBaltimore's Heavy Seas created a rich dark Smoked Imperial Porter with a killer label and one of the most famous guitar riffs in history.

13.  Flat Earth Cygnus X-1 Porter - Named after a black hole and a RUSH song, Flat Earth used an old English porter recipe, added some rye malt, and a Porter was born, paired with a great RUSH tune.

12.  21st Amendment Brewery Back in Black IPA - 21st Amendment Brewery embraced the more aggressive American version of the British IPA and then recast it in bold, brave, defiant Black IPA.  Most think of AC/DC's phoenix album and song, Back in Black when this beer comes to mind.  (Hands in the air!)

11.  Voodoo Brewery Wynona’s Big Brown Ale - named after a hilarious and risque Primus song.  They Voodooed out a boring Brown Ale and added more - that's what Voodoo says.  The name of the song alone gets onto the list.

10.  Revolutions Brewing Co.Based in West Yorkshire, England, Revolutions motto is "love music: love beer" - nothing wrong with that school of thought!  So they named their beers after great bands and songs.  Very cool stuff here...

 Kraftwerk Braun

Revolutions Devolution Amber Ale

Revolutions Clash London Porter

9.  Smoky Mountain Brewery Rocky Top ESB - an English style Extra Special Bitter, this Smoky Mountain Brewery beer is named for the famed bluegrass standard written by Felice and Boudleaux Bryant.  The Osborne Brothers made the song famous, it is an Official State Song of Tennessee and The Pride of the Southland Marching Band of the University of Tennessee plays Rocky Top as a Volunteers fight song.  It is also a very good ESB.

8.  Abita Purple Haze - obviously a reference to the great Jimi Hendrix tune.  Abita concocted a light raspberry wheat beer that is popular in the South especially during the warm months.  Great song, great beer name.

7.  Left Hand Fade to Black - The highly regarded Fade to Black, Volume 1, is a Foreign Stout with licorice, espresso bean, molasses, and black cardamom notes that give way to a feeling of self loathing, burnt opportunities and smoked relationships, not unlike the Metallica song of the same name:

"Life it seems will fade away
Drifting further every day
Getting lost within myself
Nothing matters, no one else"

6.  O'so Night Train - This Oatmeal Porter is big, black and like a freight train.  Tab Benoit's Night Train is a locomotive of a song, driving and intense like the beer of the same name.  While O'so Brewing didn't name this beer after Tab's song, they are worthy of one another.

5.  Three Floyds Pride and Joy - Three Floyds calls this beer an American Mild Ale.  Nothing Three Floyds brews is mild; a hopped Amber Ale is more like it.  Anyway, the song that comes to mind is Stevie Ray Vaughan's Pride and Joy.  They didn't name the beer after this song because the song is not metal.  Three Floyds is metal... and a damn good brewery.  

4.  North Coast Brother Thelonious -  A Belgian Strong Ale that is smooth like namesake Thelonious Monk.  Proceeds from this beer go to Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz. For every case of Brother Thelonious Belgian Style Abbey Ale sold, North Coast Brewing makes a contribution to the Institute in support of Jazz Education. $330,000 has been donated as of October 2011.  Super beer, super cause.

3.  Lagunitas Zappa line (Freak Out, Absolutely Free (Kill Ugly Radio), Lumpy Gravy, We’re Only In It For The Money, and Cruising with Ruben and the Jets)
Lagunitas gets it.  Great beers, great styles, great names.  Anything honoring Frank Zappa and the Zappa Family Trust is worthy.

2.  Yazoo SUE - of course this list is biased to my likes, but this awesome Smoked Imperial Porter from Nashville's Yazoo Brewing Company would make many great beer list.  It is a Beer Named SUE, you know...  A Boy Named Sue by Johnny Cash?  Nashville?  Cash?  Ok ok...  It's a fantastic beer and a fantastic song by a great American artist.

1.  Dogfish Head Music Series: Bitches Brew, Hellhound On My Ale & Faithfull Ale -
In probably the most ballyhooed releases of any music themed beers, SONY Music commissioned Dogfish Head to make these commemorative ales.  Bitches Brew, an Imperial Stout, was brewed to honor of the 40th anniversary of the original release of Miles Davis'  jazz masterpiece Bitches Brew .

In 2011, Hellhound On My Ale was released to mark the anniversary of iconic bluesman Robert Johnson's 100th birthday, taking the beer name from one of Johnson's songs, Hellhound On My Trail.  The Imperial IPA weighed in at 100 IBUs, 10.0% ABV, 10.0 SRM in color, and was dry-hopped with 100% centennial hops at a rate of 100 kilos per 100 barrel brew-length.
 "I'll take Blues for 100, Alex." 

Faithfull Ale was brewed to celebrate Pearl Jam's 20th anniversary as a band and its landmark debut album, Ten.  The beer take it's name from the Pearl Jam song Faithfull.   This Belgian-style Golden Ale is hopped to 20 IBUs and benefits from the addition of black currants.  See what Sam says about it...

All of these beers offer something extra for music lovers.  It's always intriguing to see what inspiration brewers have when crafting their elixirs.  Music marries well with beer and always will.  What are your favorites?  Which ones did I miss?  Let me know.  Always interested in musical beers.  Next time you drink your favorite beer, or a new one, what song will you have in mind?