Hootenanny Ribs

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

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? 



  1. Especially like the Moog Filtered Ale out of Asheville. No surprise for two reasons: Brother H's extensive collection of Moog gear & it's Asheville!

  2. Lou, great premise and great write-up. Nicely done, sir! I guess you could add Dogfish Head's Positive Contact, latest in their commemorative series.

    1. Dave, DFH is leading the way with all of their music-themed beers.