#Beer and movie as one…PJ20 and Faithfull Ale

This post is a couple of days late, and this is being done with purpose.  My wife likes Pearl Jam, but does not share my more intense relationship with the band, to the point where she would have little to no interest in watching a documentary about the band.  With a previously planned trip out-of-state for my wife, I used this opportunity to watch the documentary and review the Dogfish Head beer made in the band’s honor.

When I heard about PJ20 being released, I got very excited.  I can remember the day I walked into a music store in Presque Isle, ME (Googlemap that one if you want to see the definition of isolation) and found the new album “Ten” released by some band called Pearl Jam.  At this time, I hadn’t even heard their single “Jeremy.”  Living in northern Maine, in the rural town of Limestone, my family did not have cable, hence we did not have MTV, and you can bet your ass that our two radio stations were not playing anything from the Seattle movement.  The plastic covering of the album touted it as a critically acclaimed masterpiece, and that was all a ten (see the parallel there…ten and ten?) year-old young man needed to hear.  At this point, I had two CDs in my expansive collection (Aerosmith’s “Pump” and Robert Plant’s “Now and Zen”, in case you were really wondering), and this seemed like an obvious cornerstone to build upon my current musical exposure.  I really should thank my father at this point for shelling out the $12 to buy the CD…it’s amazing how something this little can be remembered so clearly.  Getting home and putting that CD in, I have never looked back.  Going through that album, from “Black” to “Oceans”, “Porch” to “Release”, I fell in love with music.  This album has never fallen out of heavy rotation in my head, my heart, my car, my iPod, etc.  Pearl Jam joins the short-list of bands in my “ultimate” list, and this group of groups has not changed much over the years.  Sometimes consistency is the key.  Some 20 years later and Pearl Jam is being celebrated in their second decade of artistic creation.  Another mega-tour around the world and a rockumentary by Cameron Crowe, and the band is being introduced to yet another generation of music lovers.  Part of me almost envies those who are just being introduced to this music, being able to hear it for the first time, to be virgin to it all over again.  My timing was fortuitous, discovering this music at the beginning of transformations that every life goes through at that age range.  It couldn’t have worked out any better.

To coincide with the celebration, Dogfish Head Brewery crafted a tribute beer for the band and their milestone, named Faithfull Ale.  Dogfish Head has made a niche for themselves (among their many niches) with a selection of brews giving the nod to musicians who break the mold of the musical world, as DFH strives to do with their beer.  The beer is described by Dogfish Head as follows: “Faithfull Ale is a celebration of Pearl Jam’s 20th anniversary as a band and its extraordinary debut album, “Ten.” In recognition of these milestones, this Belgian-style golden ale is delicately hopped to 20 IBUs and fruit-forward from 10 incremental additions of black currants over a one-hour boil.”  A perfect harmony, pun intended, of melodies and malt.  As excited as I was to finally see PJ20, what better way to enjoy the experience than whilst quaffing Faithfull Ale?  The answer there is no better way, in case you got off track a little bit…

Poured into an oversized snifter, the beer is a bright, crystal clear, honey-gold coloring with a very light, foamy head of about an inch that settles out quickly once you begin drinking. Aromas of toasted cereal and extremely subtle currant sweetness. That grape/currant character swings heavier in the palate, with a solid, slightly sour profile alongside the toasty grain backbone and a touch of honey at the end of the palate. The aftertaste is roasty and toasty, but not much else. This helps keep it clean, with a smooth, slightly lingering finish that leaves a touch of fruit behind for a bit. Very decent beer.  The consistency as you work your way through the 750ml bottle compliments the music and the movie step by step.  This was a fun little project that I’m glad I finally got to do.

The beer world continues to grow and expand, and as it does there are many avenues opening that will allow those of you to branch your love of beer into other interests in your life.  There are beer-running clubs, music inspired beers, etc, etc.  Get out there and make some new connections.  Through this adventure seeking, you may make new relationships, too, with people who share similar interests, and that’s always a good thing, right?  Again, the answer is yes…don’t make me hold your hand all the way through this now.  Enjoy music, enjoy beer, and enjoy life!  And as always, drink educated my friends!

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