The 7 best jazz themed beers
This past Saturday was International Jazz Day. Because of the international appeal of jazz, many breweries have honored the most esteemed musicians of this genre by naming a few of their beers after them. Below are seven of my favorite jazz musicians and the beer named after them.
1. Miles Davis
First off is Miles Davis. He’s arguably the most influential jazz musician to ever grace the style. He had an incredibly long and successful career while both composing and performing. His album Kind of Blue is considered to be the best jazz album of all time by many critics. Having been released in 1959 it was certified quadruple platinum in 2008 by the RIAA and is still selling copies after 50 years! You can listen to the whole album of Bitches Brew below.
For the 40th anniversary of Bitches Brew, Dogfish Head created a special beer and named it after the album. The beer is made in the style of an imperial stout. It has an alcohol by volume (ABV) 9% and it is a 38 on the International Bitterness Unit (IBU) scale.
2. Thelonious Monk
Thelonious Monk was another one of the most prolific jazz composers of all time. He single-handedly composing some of the most iconic songs and standards including “Straight, No Chaser”, “Round Midnight” and “Blue Monk.” Monk was also known for his fashion sense and his style of hats and glasses. Below, you can listen to the full album Straight, No Chaser.
Over in Fort Bragg, California North, Coast Brewing Co. created Brother Thelonious, which is a beer made in the style of a Belgian Style Strong Dark Ale. It has an ABV of 9.4% and 27 IBUs.
3. Charlie Parker
Charlie Parker was the archetype jazz musician. On stage he was cool, calm and collected. He was a virtuoso on his sax, which set the musical standard many tried to follow, yet he also led a life riddled with heroin addiction. Nicknamed Yardbird or Bird, he unfortunately passed away at the age of 34. You can listen to the song “Celebrity” below.
Angel City Brewery in Los Angeles, California created Charlie Parker Ale to honor him. It’s no longer being made, as the brewery was sold and many of the beers were rebranded. The beer had an ABV of 6.8%.
4. Duke Ellington
Duke Ellington was the most prolific jazz composer ever. He created over 1,000 songs to which the nearest jazz composer, being Thelonious Monk, only created 70. Not only did he compose an incredible library of music but also he was also a bandleader and played piano. Many respected him as having raised jazz as a style of music to an art form unto itself. Listen below for my favorite song by Duke Ellington, “It Don’t Mean A Thing.”
Right Proper Brewing Company out of Washington D.C. created The Duke, a strong golden ale, to honor the man who was born in their city. The beer also has an ABV of 7.6%.
5. Louis Armstrong
Louis Armstrong is arguably the most universally recognized jazz musician. Hailing from New Orleans, Satchmo, or Pops, is credited as being one of the first jazz musicians to help the music crossover from bars and clubs to mainstream prominence. Mastering the trumpet from an early age, Satchmo was also known for his unique singing style known as scat. Listen below to Pop’s classic song “West End Blues.” It features his iconic syncopated playing style and his signature vocal scatting.
Smuttynose Brewing Company out of New Hampshire created Satchmo. According to its label it’s an “…ale brewed with natural flavor and aged in red wine barrels.” The beer is a porter with an ABV of 4.9% and has 25 IBUs.
6. Jelly Roll Morton
Jelly Roll Morton was one of the forefathers of jazz. While the stories vary on his level of narcissism and arrogance, his contributions to jazz are not disputed. He was a pivotal figure in the growth of the genre. His song “Jelly Roll Blues” was the first published jazz composition back in 1915. Not only did he compose music, he also played piano and was a bandleader. Listen below to another one of Jelly Roll’s standards “King Porter Stomp.”
The Morton Brewery out of the UK has honored this legend with their beer named Jelly Roll. It’s made in the style of an English bitter and it has an ABV of 4.2%.
7. John Coltrane
John Coltrane was one of the most prolific jazz saxophonists ever. Also going by the nickname Trane, he spent a considerable amount of time in the recording booth. Not only did he record numerous solo albums, he also was a band member with the likes of jazz’s greatest musicians such as Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk. Below you can listen to one of my favorite albums by ‘Trane, My Favorite Things.
In Denmark, BrewPub København, created the Coltrane Imperial Stout. Surprisingly it only has an ABV of 8.2% for being an imperial stout.
What did you think of my list? Were there any other beers I left out? Write your suggestions in the comments section below.
(Slider image credit: thesentinel.com)
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