Beer and music go together like, well, beer and many other things go together. But Untapped has turned the two into a cottage industry. The annual festival, which features stops in Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio and Austin, returns for its fourth year in Houston Saturday at Discovery Green. Musical headliners include Dr. Dog and Neon Indian, and local beer vendors like Saint Arnold, Karbach and 8th Wonder will be on-site serving up some of the finest craft beers in the state.
The concept behind Untapped also got us thinking — what if we matched up some of the city’s finest craft brews with their musical counterparts, from Houston and elsewhere? These pairings made the most sense.
Beer: Dream Shake (8th Wonder)
Infusing craft beer with chocolate and coffee flavors, as Dream Shake does, isn’t exactly everyone’s idea of a quality brew, nor is it a match many would draw up when designing their ideal beer. That said, contrasting styles can work, as evidenced by Dream Shake and supergroup Audioslave. Composed of Soundgarden front man Chris Cornell and everyone from Rage Against the Machine not named Zach de la Rocha, this supergroup didn’t last for long, but during its short run — particularly on 2002's self-titled debut — Audioslave proved that mainstream rock wasn’t quite dead yet.
Beer: Anything From Brash
A quick trip to Brash’s Facebook page tells you all you need to know about these folks. The page features F-bombs aplenty; the main image simply says, “Be polite. Go fuck yourself.” And with beer names like "Hammer Smashed a Face" and "Vulgar Display of Power" on tap, Brash isn’t one to serve up beers to subtle types. But that’s what we love about them, and what Slayer diehards love about their favorite band. Metal pioneers that they are, Slayer simply show up, plug in and blow your face off for 90 minutes. If beer could play music, Brash would do just the same.
Beer: Don't Fear The Ripa (Buffalo Bayou)
Band: Blue Öyster Cult
For Christ's sake, it’s right there in the title! How could we not state the obvious and go with the band that made “Don’t Fear the Reaper” famous (to be fair, Will Ferrell and Christopher Walken helped a bit also)? This West Coast IPA packs a punch at 6.8 percent alcohol by volume, making it an ideal beer for the fall and winter months.
Beer: Buckle Bunny (Eureka Heights)
Buckle Bunny is billed by Eureka Heights as a beer that is “pretty much for everyone,” whether “a hot summer’s day or a hot winter’s night — light, refreshing and crisp.” Hmm, some light, poppy music that appeals to just about everyone. Is there any other musical equivalent it could have besides Drake? The man makes rap songs. The man makes pop songs. The man’s latest, Views, has set so many Billboard records that listing them all would be fruitless. No one boasts a 100 percent approval rating, but in surveying today’s pop landscape, Drake may very well come the closest.
Beer: Rodeo Clown (Karbach)
Artist: Sturgill Simpson
At 9.5 percent ABV, this double IPA packs quite a punch; hell, it’s only sold in packs of four. And with a name like Rodeo Clown, it’s only fitting that its kindred spirit is one of rebel country’s pre-eminent figures. Simpson, alongside fellow crooners like Chris Stapleton and Cody Jinks, isn’t one to sing about short-shorts and tanlines. Rather, he tackles real, often weird, topics, and coats his sound in a little dust and whiskey residue. Simpson’s music hits you quickly, and does so effectively. So too does Rodeo Clown.
Beer: Pumpkinator (Saint Arnold)
The pumpkin-spice trend has found its way into food, coffee, even household scents. Beer is no exception, and Saint Arnold has been releasing Pumpkinator since 2009, although the original name was Divine Reserve No. 9. But the rise of pumpkin-spice isn’t for everyone, and the flavoring can safely be described as polarizing. Sound like any band you know? Coldplay began as the U2 of its era, a band that adeptly straddled the line between introspective rock and accessible pop. It remains the U2 of its era today, a band that has found a sound that appeals to the masses but doesn’t really say anything of consequence. Point being, like pumpkin-flavored anything, you either love or hate Coldplay; this is neither a band nor beer for compromising types.
Beer: Bombshell Blonde (Southern Star)
Band: The Suffers
Southern Star’s most prominent beer isn’t a hot new craft brew or a result of some unique flavoring. Rather, it’s simply a great beer that appeals to any number of tastes and works for pretty much any occasion. So too do Houston’s own The Suffers, a great ensemble that satisfies as diverse a fanbase as you’ll find in the Bayou City.
Beer: Mosquito's Revenge (Town In City)
One of Houston’s best new breweries offers up this three-malt pale ale with “a wonderful aroma.” But it’s the name that really screams Houston. Mosquitos love humidity, and no city does humidity better than swampy Houston. And no group better encapsulates the swampy sound that put Houston rap on the map better than Underground Kingz.