I’m returning to the world of blogging to do a small, albeit sort of late, write-up about the upcoming Philadelphia CD release party for my first full length record, Of the Woods (purchase here).
This record was recorded in the summer of 2010 at my alma mater, Moravian College, and features a set of my original compositions compiled from the time I finished college in 2007 to the first few months I lived in Philadelphia. I’m excited to finally have the opportunity to share the music we created on that day.
The release concert is at Moonstone Arts Center in center city Philadelphia on Friday, February 10th (peep the facebook event here). Moonstone is a really neat place to play in a music scene that is quickly losing safe havens for original music and jazz in general. Another neat aspect of the venue is that Moonstone is a BYOB establishment. Being that I am a huge fan of craft beer, I thought it would be fun to suggest a few beer pairings for our set on Friday.
Philadelphia Weekly’s Elliott Sharp recently called my new record “autumnal and wintry.” This is perfect for my first beer pairing! Anyone who followed my blog in its infancy knows that I am a big fan of Stillwater Artisanal Ales from Baltimore, MD. Brewer Brian Strumke’s intensely creative, delectable roster of Belgian inspired ales is full of great brews that would, in my mind, pair perfectly with my music. Specifically, Autumnal, a German influenced saison with a delightfully roasted flavor and unique Belgian inspiration and taste. Based on the name of the beer this seems like quite the obvious choice but I don’t mind recommending it and will likely be sharing a bottle with my band Friday night.
I really think the earthy, grassy qualities of Belgian saisons or pale ales relate to qualities found in my music. Try a bottle or two of Orval. a classic Belgian pale ale with a grassy flavor or a bottle from the Lost Abbey, an American brewery that has a nice roster of farmhouse style ales. Think balanced, spiced and lively instead of bitter, biting and aggressive.
Selecting a brew to play off of the “wintry” elements in my music will put us in a different flavor profile. Winter ales tend to be dark, malty, boozy and nicely spiced with seasonal flavors. When I think of beers to drink during the winter I think of Belgian dark ales, roasty imperial stouts and barleywines. Considering that the release concert is at a venue and not in your living room I’d suggest shying away from a heavy, high octane, highly alcoholic barleywine or stout (unless you plan to share with a friend or two).
If you’re into Belgian dark ales I’d look for a bottle of Three Philosopher’s from Ommegang or a perhaps one of Allagash‘s dark Belgian brews. Both of these Northeast breweries have a great roster of Belgian style ales and can be obtained quite readily at Philadelphia bottle shops and bars. For a great European dark Belgian ale I’d search out a bottle of Pannepot, an amazing fisherman’s ale from De Struise Brouwers and sip it throughout our entire set. For those that like roasty, coffee flavors in their beer a great, affordable option is a four-pack of Sixpoint‘s Diesel stout. This is a great American stout that will please the hopheads in the audience as well as the dark beer drinkers. For those that love coffee with their beer a bottle or two of Founders Breakfast Stout is a super roasty, strong imperial stout that is easily found all over Philadelphia. If you must go big with a barleywine, buy a bottle of Old Stock Ale from North Coast brewery and split with a friend or two. I recently tasted a 2011 bottle of this brew and found it to be pleasantly warming but not excessively boozy. Sweet malt and alcohol flavors help balance things out.
Since my new record is called Of the Woods I think a few beers with wood inspired flavors are appropriate. If you’ve ever had a barrel aged beer you know that a lot of interesting flavors can be imparted on the brew from various types of liquor barrels. Vinous, funky, dry and complex flavors from wine barrels, in my mind, pair better than sweet vanilla and whiskey notes from bourbon barrels. For the big spender, try any bottle of Russian River‘s wine barrel aged beers for a tart, complex brew or a bottle of Anchorage Brewing Company’s Love Buzz. Both choices can be pricey but are certainly worth finding and splitting with a few friends. If you like smoked flavors in your beer, try a bottle of Haandbrygerriet‘s Norweigan Wood, a fantastic, traditional Norweigan ale from one of my favorite breweries on the planet. If you want a little more bang for your buck search out a bottle of Dogfish Head’s Immort Ale for a boozy, smoked beer experience from one of the regions most famous and experimental breweries.
If these pairings don’t sound like your thing, check out the music on Of the Woods and come up with a pairing or two yourself. For digital versions of the record check out iTunes, CDBaby, eMusic, or almost any other digital music service. To order a copy of the CD, BandCamp is the place to go.
Once again, here are the details for Fridays show…I hope you can join us!
Friday, February 10th, 2012, 8:30pm
Mike Lorenz Quartet CD release show!
@ Moonstone Arts Center, 110 S 13th St, Philadelphia, PA
also performing, Elliot Levin/Ed Watkins duo!