It’s that time of year again. No, not the arrival of spring, not the NBA playoffs, not even Husband Appreciation Day. (Yes, that exists and it’s soon pal, so get to guilting the wife about it!)
No, this Saturday, April 16, is the ninth annual Record Store Day. As it nears the decade mark, this trumped-up holiday is reaching a respectable watershed, buoyed by the fact that vinyl record sales have gone up each of those years. That, plus stuff like Techniques making turntables again, vinyl pressing plant orders reaching past a six-month wait, and the average age of vinyl buyers dropping below 40… Record Store Day might even be enjoying its zenith.
For the last few years, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery has been the major hooch sponsor of Record Store Day. This has not been some “cool” demographic glom-on though. Dogfish founder and president Sam Calagione is a deep music aficionado who has come up with some cool record-related beer promotions, like a six-pack that came with a Guided By Voices seven-inch.
For the last two years, Dogfish has created a limited-edition compilation of beer-hoisting tunes for Record Store Day. This year’s is called Beer to Drink Music To.
We checked in with Mr. Calagione to learn his beer-music pairings, with the tunes taken from this year’s list of Record Store Day exclusive releases. Why 11? ‘Cause we all know you always want one more. Take it away, Sam.
CAPTAIN BEEFHEART - LIVE AT KNEBWORTH 1975
Beer: Strawberry Short’s Cake from Short’s Brewing Company
Captain Beefheart was a beautifully freaky and adventurous musician who experimented with music by mashing up styles from funk to jazz to country. Our blissfully experimental friends at Short’s Brewery in Michigan mashed up a great ale and a classic dessert to create this beer. It’s nice to start with a dessert sometimes.
THE CRAMPS - GRAVEST HITS
Beer Pairing: Dark Lord from 3 Floyds Brewing Company
This beer is as intense and dark as this band. My pal Nick Floyd likes really loud metal and I like really loud punk. We collaborated on a beer years ago and drank Dark Lord at the end of our brew day.
L7 - SLAP HAPPY
Beer Pairing: Stoudts Pils from Stoudts Brewing Company
Stoudts is a brewery founded by a female brewer, Carol Stoudt. There are not enough female brewers in indie craft and there are not enough female-centric punk bands. L7 is one of the best.
AFRIKA BAMBAATAA & THE SOULSONIC FORCE - PLANET ROCK
Beer Pairing: Festina Peche from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Planet Rock was a seminal album for me, one of the trailblazers in hip-hop for sure, and it broke through to be a top 100 hit. When we first brewed and bottled this Dogfish Head Festina Peche almost 10 years ago, I don’t think there were any other bottled fruit-infused berlinerweisses being distributed at that time. This beer style is a mash-up of refreshing wheat and dry fruity peach. There are now over a hundred fruit-infused berlinerweisses in distribution today.
BEST COAST – “LATE 20'S” B/W “BIGGER MAN” 7”
Beer Pairing: SeaQuenchAle from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
SeaQuenchAle is a super sessionable, subtle sour ale that is brewed low in alcohol with limes and a bit of sea salt. It is created to be the ultimate daytime beach beer. Likewise, the music of Best Coast is the ultimate daytime chilling-at-the-beach music—sort of like if the Beach Boys were fronted by a woman and recording great new music in Cali today.
BIG STAR - COMPLETE COLUMBIA: LIVE AT UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI 4/25/93
Beer Pairing: Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Company
Big Star’s lead singer, Alex Chilton, was like the original gangster of melodic pop punk. Everyone from the Modern Lovers to the Replacements either name- or sound-checked him. What better way to enjoy his plaintive voice and timeless songwriting than with Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, the OG hoppy American craft beer?
BOB DYLAN - MELANCHOLY MOOD
Beer Pairing: Geuze from Cantillon Brewery
Geuze is the proto Belgian sour. Dylan is the shit. "This beer is Bob Dylan to me.“ (That’s a bastardization of a great line in a Minutemen song, by the way. But I digress.) Geuze starts tart and ends a bit sweet. And from "Freight Train Blues” to “Mississippi,” nobody has ever made a sour-themed song sound so sweet as Dylan.
CHEAP TRICK - AT BUDOKAN: THE COMPLETE CONCERT
Beer Pairing: Arrogant Bastard from Stone Brewing Company
I once saw Stone Brewery’s CEO sing an unplugged version of “Surrender” with members of Cheap Trick while I drank this beer at a brewing conference in Chicago. This beer is ringingly hopped and memorable. Cheap Trick is best played ringingly loud to be memorable. The beer and song went together really well back then, and I bet they still do now.
DAVID BOWIE - I DIG EVERYTHING: THE PYE YEARS 1966
Beer Pairing: 90 Minute IPA from Dogfish Head’s Craft Brewery
No artist made such a big impression on me and sustained as iterative and experimental of a career as David Bowie. Rest in space. The countdown to “Major Tom” always reminds me of the days when our continual hopping machine would break down while we were brewing 90 Minute IPA back at the turn of the century. I would have to add the hops by hand and count down the last 10 in my best Bowie voice: “Ten…nine…eight….”
DEVO’S GERALD CASALE - IT’S ALL DEVO
Beer Pairing: Hopslam Ale from Bell’s Brewery
The two coasts always get a lot of cred in both the punk community and craft brewing community compared to the middle part of our fine country, but there were great first-gen punk bands coming from places like Ohio—bands like Pere Ubu and of course the fearless pop-crossover super freaks Devo. Likewise, Bell’s Brewery is a great Midwest first gen craft brewery that deserves a lot of credit for bringing hop forward beers forward.
DIZZY GILLESPIE - THE CHAMP
Beer Pairing: Bitches’ Brew from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
OK, OK—Dizzy ain’t Miles, but these guys played together a lot. The deep, dark, strong, toasty, honey-infused Bitches Brew goes well with pretty much every classic jazz record I have ever listened to, and John Coltrane also plays on this album. The combination of beer and jazz equals a love supreme…a love supreme. (See what I did there?)