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The ultimate album and beer pairing guide

How brews were meant to be enjoyed

The ultimate album and beer pairing guide
29 September 2016

Is there anything finer in this world than a nice cold beer and some great music? The answer is no. No, there absolutely is not...provided that they're nicely paired.

"But how on earth can I effectively pair my chosen beer with a fantastic album?" we hear you say - it's obviously a hugely important question.

Well worry not, because Northern Monk boss Russell Bisset has done the hard work for you, matching up some of the finest albums of the past fifty years with the brews that best accompany them.

So stock your cooler, crank the speakers up to eleven and get ready to enjoy the best suds and music on offer, beautifully coupled for maximum enjoyment.

The album: Roots Manuva - Run Come Save Me

The beer: Cloudwater - DIPA V3 - Double IPA, 9%

Cloudwater’s Double India Pale Ales have rapidly become some of the most sought after in the country. Their DIPA series has created some of the best examples of the style in the UK. For us V3 was the stand out - Citra is the Hop to rule them all and this beer showcases it perfectly.

Pair this beer with the tones of MC Rodney Smith, widely regarded as one of the masters of his style in this country. 

The album: Opeth - Pale Communion

The beer: Northern Monk - Communion - Pale Ale - 5.1% 

Like Northern Monk Brew Co. there’s no predicting what Opeth would do next on their creative odyssey. Aptly we have worked with the band to brew a gig staple of pale ale in accompaniment with Opeth's eleventh record, Pale Communion.

Suitably, the record was written for palatable and replayable melody in favour of their renowned progressive death metal grandiosity.

At 5.1%, you can easily cruise through a few of our Communion, but it wouldn’t be a true American style pale ale should it not pack waves of hop flavour thanks to dry hop additions of big American hops like Equinox and Citra.

The album: Flying Lotus - 1983

The beer: Magic Rock - Salty Kiss - Gooseberry Gose, 4.1%

Salty Kiss is a Gose, a sour wheat beer originally brewed in Germany. It’s arguably the first UK beer to put the style on the world beer map after taking a Gold at the World Beer Cup in 2014.

Let this lightly sour and salty Wheat beer incorporating Gooseberry and Sea Buckthorn Berries light up and refresh your pallete whilst 1983, the seminal album from Fly Lo provides an audio amuse bouche.

Both take their inspiration from age old classics but have taken their respective fields forward.   

The album: Rage Against the Machine - Battle of Los Angeles

The beer: Buxton X Omnipollo - Yellow Belly - Imperial Peanut Butter Biscuit Stout - 11%

Whilst politics have frequently played a role in Rock music, its rare to see it inspire a beer.

Enjoy the revolutionary lyrics of Rage Against the Machine with this progressive beer style whilst sticking two fingers up at racism.

Named Yellow Belly …” A person without courage, fortitude or nerve; a coward. To us, one of the most cowardly deeds is to act anonymously, hiding behind a group - a signifying trait of institutionalised racism” according to the Omnipollo website, this beer is wrapped in White Paper with eye holes making it look reminiscent of a member of the Klu Klux Klan.

The album: Marvin Gaye - What’s Going On

The beer: The Kernel - London Export Stout - 7.2%

The taste of the inner city. The Kernel are one of the pioneers of the progressive British beer scene.

Based in a railway Arch in South London, their London export Stout is one of the countries finest examples of the style.

Absorb the sounds of the city with Inner City Blues whilst tasting this dark, dark full bodied beer full of rich dried fruit, espresso and hints of leather, smoke, vanilla, tar and chocolate. 

The album: Hudson Mowhawke - Butter

The beer: Beavertown - Gamma Ray - American Pale Ale - 5.4%

The Guardian described Hudson Mowhawke’s music as “Manic cut-up pop”.

The uplifting maximalist beats of Mowhawke make the perfect backdrop for one of the UK’s most popular American style pale ales. The other worldly sounds created through his mashup style pair perfectly with the spacemen and laser graphics of the cans art from Nick Dwyer. 

The album: Smashing Pumpkins - Siamese Dream

The beer: Dogfish Head Punkin Ale - Pumpkin Ale - 7% 

Pumpkin beers are like Marmite. Some people love them, some people hate them. If I'm going to drink one this is the one for me. Expect, Cinnamon, Brown Sugar and Pumpkin (!).

Made with bucket loads of fresh smashed pumpkins, there can be only one album suitable to accompany the drinking of this beer. Best served cold on All Hallows Eve… Whilst drinking, eating and listening to Pumpkin, take in the awesome illustration by Northern Monk Patron Drew Millward. 

The album: Kamasi Washington - The Epic

The beer: North Coast Brewing Co - Brother Thelonius - Belgian Strong Ale - 9.4%

This modern take on a classic style is the perfect accompaniment to Kumasi’s ground breaking 2015 Jazz debut. It’s the kind of beer to find a comfortable chair and slowly drink whilst taking in an album in its entirety. I’m sure Kumasi would approve of the donation made to the Brother Thelonius Instate through the sale of each bottle. 

The album: Fingathing - The Main Event

The beer: Alchemist - Focal Banger - IPA - 7%

The Main Event. Focal Banger. Of all the beer styles there is one that reigns supreme. The almighty India Pale Ale. A true showcase of Humulus Lupulus or Hops in today's English. Focal Banger ticks all of the right boxes. Packed with Citra and Mosaic and weighing in at 7% this beer has the body to carry all those big hop flavours yet the ABV to allow you to get your hop fix by drinking a few… Pair this with the heavyweight bangers of the North’s finest Fingathing. The combination of turntablism and double bass combine to produce some bangers from our Manchester based Patrons Fingathing. 

The album: Devin Townsend Project - Deconstruction 

The beer: Northern Monk - Heathen – India Pale Ale – 7.2% 

Now a big brother of our Citra pale ale Faith, our popular IPA was actually birthed by a shortage of Citra hops. In the absence of Faith, a Heathen thus arose from the stockpiling of any other hop varieties we could lay our hands on, resulting in a controlled chaos of hops flavour symphony.

Likewise, Devin Townsend Project’s album Deconstruction was also a product borne outside the safety of order and promise. In this decadent metal circus, the mad genius of prog unleashed his every creative urge, no matter how absurd, to realise an anomaly of an opus.