The two new members of the Brian Yaeger Army.
When I posted this photo on my Facebook, the main people asked was, “WHAT?” What was a guy who writes about beer for a living doing hanging with with two of the most legendary figures in rock’n’roll, Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley? It had nothing to do with one of my prior “careers,” writing about music. So here’s the answer. My inbox fills up with press releases, most of them only slightly tangentially connected to anything I’d ever write about. I know some of my beer writing colleagues and friends received the same release. But I responded.
My favorite beer-related quote in AAB (vol. 34, iss. 4, 2013) by Simmons, a notorious teetotaler?
“I like to be in control of myself,” he says from behind a pair of sunglasses (and black jacket and pants to match). “If I was high or drunk—and I’ve never been either—there’s no way that I’d be witty. I would not make any sense, and I may wind up throwing up on your shoes. [A buzz] doesn’t make my schmeckle bigger.”
That I love beer is a given. So when I get to write about beer in combo with my other favorite things, it’s sheer joy. The first time I went to New Orleans I was just 22 years old and happened to discover Dixie Blackened Voodoo, the heritage brewery’s first all-malt beer, just a year earlier. But at 22, my focus on exploring the Big Easy was anything but craft beer-oriented. After visiting again in 2001 to attend Jazz Fest, that’s when my love affair began and it turned into an annual pilgrimage. In fact, I typically find myself there twice a year. I LOVE NEW ORLEANS. Greatest American city! But I felt I may never get to write about it in the context of a beer story until, to use a very poor metaphor given its history, the tide started rising post-Katrina, sparked in some ways as a means of economic recovery. I know that was NOLA’s (New Orleans Lagers & Ales) impetus and they’ve grown into the city (that care forgot)’s largest brewer.
From DRAFT (vol 8.1, 2013), Laissez les bons temps brewler (let the good times brew).
Brewers are musicians who compose songs made of beer. Put these brewing and musical artists together and the ensuing duets (bruets? brewets?) and the results can be music to your mouth.
Many bands are comprised of a guitar, bass, drums and a singer. Beer is made from hops, malted barley, water and yeast. The similarities between those four instruments and ingredients truly rock!
Think of a beer’s malt bill as the bass, providing the foundation by laying down the rhythm. Hops are analogous to guitars, as top notes keep everything in harmony and are usually flashier. Tempo is the crucial element of any given piece—yet rarely gets the glory—so water plays the role of drums. Finally, what’s a song without a melody, so think of the voice as yeast. Coincidence? Find out in this CraftBeer.com post from Sept 2012.
Follow the Music, my second Beer Traveler column (Vol. 31, Iss. 4, 2010) pairs my 3 faves: beer, travel, and music by exploring some of the coolest musicfests in beer towns such as Telluride (CO), Chicago, NYC, and Quebec City.