We don’t often consider the sounds of beer, but sometimes enjoying a great brew can be a truly aural experience. What would drinking be without the click-pop-fizz of cracking open a fresh bottle, the fffpt-hiss of air pressure escaping a cold can, the clink-clanking of glass inside an anticipated case, the quiet whooosh of carbon dioxide rising to a pulled pint’s fluffy surface or the inevitable glug-glug-smack of a satisfied sip? Consuming beer is a sensory process, so it makes perfect sense that beer and music have always gone hand-in-hand. Brewers, much like musicians, are artisans, harbingers of age-old techniques that, no matter how easily they might be automated in our post-industrial era, still require a distinctly human level of creativity, spontaneity and wit to achieve greatness.
It’s in that communal spirit of shared passion that craft beer teamed up with the music industry for a series of nationwide events happening this Saturday in honor of Record Store Day. Created in 2007, Record Store Day celebrates the more than 1,400 independently owned record shops around the globe, raising a glass to the unique cultural contributions these analog outlets make to a world rapidly descending into the digital abyss. This year, Dogfish Head, well known for their large format Music Series bottles, was crowned the Official Beer of Record Store Day. The Delaware-based craft brewery hit the road this week with an exciting fleet of specialty brews to be tapped exclusively at Record Store Day parties across the country.
At legendary Park Slope craft den The Gate, beer-loving audiophiles can spend their Saturday guzzling limited edition, much sought-after drafts like 120 Minute IPA, Miles Davis-themed Bitches Brew and the Guided By Voices-inspired Beer Thousand. The bar will also be giving away Dogfish swag, raffling off prizes like a brand new Crosley turntable and spinning sweet, sweet vinyl all day for the thirsty crowd. As a diehard music fan and craft beer advocate, The Gate’s Bobby Gagnon couldn’t be more stoked to hop aboard the Record Store Day train.
“A record which floored me on first listen and has stuck with me since has to be Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew–there are infinite textures and nuances in that recording,” muses the longtime publican. Any guesses as to which Dogfish Head beer is his personal favorite? “It would certainly have to be their Bitches Brew, which we’re tapping Record Store Day (a 2013 vintage batch!). The beer is a blend of Imperial Stouts mixed with a honey/gesho root beer. It’s an alchemical beer strictly for savoring–awesome, just like the record.”
While Dogfish Head might be this year’s official Record Store Day beer, it is by no means the only American brewery pumping out a stellar lineup of tunes-centric brew, and The Gate is not the only New York bar with a soft spot for the signature crackle-pop of a crisp LP. With their powers combined, the locally brewed musical beers and Bring Your Own Vinyl pint nights listed below have the power to transform any old day into your own personal Record Store Day. So, go ahead–play that funky music, beer geek.
Barrier Brewing Icculus Kolsch & BBHCFM American Black Ale
Phish might not be your favorite band–or, then again, they might be. Who am I to judge? Either way, these crisp, nicely hopped Long Island-brewed beers are well worth their weight in noodly jam sessions.
Grimm Artisanal Ales Bees in the Trappe
At 8% ABV, this minty, herbal Belgian Tripel from Brooklyn’s nomadic darlings Grimm Artisanal Ales will have you rapping along with Nicki in no time.
Evil Twin Justin Blåbær Berliner Weissbier
While at first glance it might seem like a gimmick, this refreshingly tart blueberry weissbier from Greenpoint’s resident gypsy brewer is sure to outlast the Biebs himself.
Sixpoint Beer Tick American Pale Ale
Count yourself lucky if you were one of the few who snagged a pint of Sixpoint’s spicy, citrusy and light-bodied holiday seasonal, brewed exclusively for Deer Tick’s December 2014 residency at Williamsburg’s Brooklyn Bowl.
Stillwater Stereo IPA, Mono Dry-Hopped Pils & Surround Series Oak Smoked Imperial Wheat Stout
These “contemporary series” releases from Stillwater were packaged oh-so-beautifully just up the interstate at Connecticut’s Two Roads and boast a range of carefully crafted flavors. My favorite was the Mono, which was dry hopped with Australian Galaxy hops for an extra tropical, peachy punch.
SingleCut ERIC More Cowbell! Chocolate Milk Stout & Kim Sour Lagrrr! (Hibiscus & Tart Cherry)
It’s no secret that the brewers behind Astoria’s SingleCut are complete guitar nerds, as evidenced by their adorable taphandles. The ERIC More Cowbell! Chocolate Milk Stout is a perfectly balanced, creamy delight, while the popular Kim Hibiscus and Tart Cherry Sour Lagrrr! — reportedly named after The Breeders’ Kim Deal — stand strong at the opposite end of the flavor spectrum.
Other Half All Green Everything Imperial IPA
Allow me to reintroduce myself, my name is All Green Everything and I am everything you ever wanted in a hopped up IPA.
Peekskill C.R.E.A.M. Cream Ale, Shotgun Willie IPA & Midnight Toker American Black Ale
Peekskill has a whole slew of musically fueled imbibables, including these three standout selections. Ol’ Shotgun features the soft melony notes of New Zealand’s Nelson Sauvin hops while Midnight Toker is dry hopped with Mosaic and Nugget before being dosed with cold pressed locally roasted coffee for the ultimate in earthy, piney richness. Oh, and bonus points if you can decode the origin of Peekskill’s deliciously smooth cream ale’s bad ass name…
Show off your DJ skills and have some good old fashioned fun at these boozy NYC area vinyl nights.
Monday Night Vinyl Club at Sycamore Bar; Ditmas Park
Bring Your Own Vinyl Thursdays at Lowlands; Gowanus
Vinyl Club at Threes Brewing; Gowanus
The Gong Party at Friends & Lovers; Crown Heights
BYOVinyl at Greenwood Park; Greenwood Heights
Bring Your Own Vinyl at Queens Tavern; Ridgewood, Queens
BYOV at The Saint Catherine; Prospect Heights
BYOVinyl at The LetLove Inn; Astoria, Queens