"Beer in Colorado" is dedicated to that divine elixir born of the marriage of water, malt, hops, and yeast as interpreted
by those living in Colorado. Follow the author as he visits every brewery in the state, creates experimental homebrews,
attends beer festivals, tries interesting beers from around the world, and spreads the good word of beer. Prost!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Class-Up Your Drinking Experience with Beethoven & Brews

Craft beer pairs well with lots of things.  The most obvious pairing would be with food (see: Bridgewater Grill’s Colorado Beer Tour, Denver Bacon & Beer Festival, Chef & Brew Festival…etc.) but, from time to time, craft beer is paired with something a little more imaginative.  For example, beer’s been paired with curling, with trains, and, the focus of this post, with classical music.

This weekend, the Colorado Symphony hosted Beethoven & Brews at The Magnolia Hotel ballroom where Ludwig’s soaring notes, played in a chamber setting, harmonized with wafts of hops and malts from OdellBrewing Co.’s 90 Shilling, Mountain Standard, IPA, and Isolation.

If you’re reading this blog, you probably have an affinity for beer be it a burning passion for suds or merely a passing interest.  Regardless, you’ve been to a brewery or a beer festival and you’ve seen the people in attendance; they’re usually a little scruffy, a little dressed-down, and always a bit boisterous.  In short, they’re not what you might consider “high society.”  What is considered high society entertainment is a classical music concert.  Was Beethoven & Brews destined to be a disaster or an event where members of “both sides of the tracks” could complement each other?  Could the “slobs” hang with the “snobs” without conflict?  The answer: yes—to an extent.

The beer geeks tried to dress up the best they could; that usually meant a clean pair of jeans, an un-tucked, button-up, plaid shirt, and their “nice” Merrell slip-ons.  The beer geeks tried to respect the music with their undivided attention but there was a constant din when fingers met keyboard and bow met string, a mild annoyance to the musicians, I’m sure.  The beer geeks tried to learn a thing or two about Beethoven’s life but, when the pianist mentioned the next piece was a “sublime movement,” I heard somebody whisper that they had a sublime movement earlier that day (P.S. that person was me; Nicole rolled her eyes and told me she couldn’t take me anywhere).

Not every mixing was so oil-and-water, though; both beer geeks and music aficionados both left with a little more knowledge of the other side.  Try as they might to resist, boorish beer folk left the ballroom more cultured than when they came in and the appreciators of classical music left a little more craft savvy.  For example, when waiting in line for a sample of Mountain Standard, one of the more musically inclined guests was talking to the Odell rep.  The rep asked the guest what beer’s he liked to which the guest replied, with some trouble finding his words, “light ales.”  Of course, the beer geeks know that’s an exceptionally vague answer—many, many styles of beer might fit that definition.  If a music aficionado asked me what my favorite instrument was and I said “string instruments” he would have said, “So, what?  Violins?  Violas?  Cellos?  Mandolins?  Harps?  Bouzoukis?”  Then I would have answered “Bouzouki” because that’s a rad-sounding name.  Anyway, the Odell rep guided the guest towards a beer he’d probably enjoy and, in the process, gave the guest a little education on craft beer.

Beethoven & Brews is akin to half of all romantic comedies ever made: a person from one part of society meets a person from the opposite part of society, they fall in love, the parents get mad over the arrangement, but, in the end, both sides rub off on each other and the film ends with everybody having a deeper understanding of how the other half lives.  It’s a learning experience for all.

If you, too, wish to class-up your drinking experience, Beethoven & Brews will be back February 7th (featuring Funkwerks) and May 9th (featuring Denver Beer Co.).



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