A Wet Whistle

The relationship between beer and philosophy has been expounded in this blog before. Specifically in the Wherefore page and in the post Slow and Steady. However, there is a softer and more alluring relationship that has only been touched on briefly: the relationship between beer and music.

In the poem Music by Percy Shelley, several allusions are made to a “thirst” for music. Music is water to the withering flower that is his heart and wine poured from an enchanted cup.  And when one slakes his thirst for music, how does he feel? “The dissolving strain, through every vein, Passes into my heart and brain.” In short, he is intoxicated by it. Like beer, music stimulates the heart to emotion (or perhaps only removes our self-constructed barriers to emotion) and has an effect also on the brain. Just a little is enough to activate the brain and assist in clarifying one’s outlook on the world, larger quantities make everything softer and blurrier.

Music and beer are also simple pleasures that do not require serious reflection or consideration. To be sure, each is a very worthy subject for in-depth study, but there are times when the popular, mass-produced versions are exactly the thing to wet one’s whistle.

Beer of the Week: Tuborg Green – This Danish beer (brewed in Turkey) might be pop culture in a can. The picture may not be clear enough to see this, but there are dancing silhouettes along the bottom of the can (a la an iPod ad) and the words “Liquid Soundtrack.” Tuborg is deep into pop music. Attentive viewers might have noticed strategic product placement for Tuborg in music videos by B.O.B., Eminem, Panic! at the Disco and the Black Eye Peas. If Shelley sees music is “audible wine”, perhaps he could get behind the idea of beer as “liquid soundtrack.” As a beer it is a fairly good European pilsner. It has decent body and mouth-feel for a beer so light. It is also malty, although it is a bit too sweet. It doesn’t offer much in the hops department, but it is definitely a beer that could be had in large quantities. For example, at a concert (if concert beer were not so expensive.)

Reading of the week: Music by Percy Shelley – There is a reason that it is called “lyric poetry.” It would be amazing to hear this poem set to music.

Question of the week: Is it a surprise that at parties or gatherings that include alcohol, the initial conversation often gives way to music and dancing? Is that an effect of the prolonged consumption of alcohol? Or of the cumulative influence of  music?