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A Beer-Guzzling Sing-a-long

Caleb Pershan | May 29, 2013 | Story Wine and Spirits

Familiar with the tune of the British drinking song we know as the American national anthem? Love American beer equally appropriated from classic British brews? Then we’ll see you tonight at Drinking/Songs: A Night of Beer and the Music That Goes With It, a VoiceBox live discussion recorded for radio.

Every culture has a history of music and fermented beverages, and it’s no surprise that the two have long gone hand-in-hand. “The minute you let loose, it makes you want to sing” says Chloe Veltman, the host and producer of KALW’s weekly public radio podcast and live event series. “We’re sort of at a time now where participatory singing isn’t done, but there’s a very long trajectory of it.”

The Beer Pairing: Sure, there are lots of musical festivals sponsored by beer companies. But, says Chloe, “very rarely is there an attempt to tell the story between music and drink and explore their thematic links.” By comparison, this broadcasted event will feature boisterous discussion with beer aficionado Sayre Piotrkowski, cicerone at St. Vincent, and is sponsored by Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, a pioneer of the craft beer movement. They’ll showcase their India Pale Ales, which Piotrkowksi explains are a durable and storied beer, hopped to withstand long voyages aboard imperial British ships.

The Song Pairing: Classic drinking songs paired to each beer will be performed by the Fill A Steins, an offshoot of the popular San Francisco male vocal group Clerestory. “In a sense the story we’re trying to tell is a musical voyage, beer by beer," says Jesse Antin, Clerestory’s founder, who along with many of his counterparts once sang with the esteemed men’s ensemble Chanticleer. Look forward to tunes like the original “Oh! Susanna,” (“Oh! California,” according to Antin) and "Down Among the Dead Men,” a pun equating death at sea bottom to collapsing in the barroom among empty bottles known as "dead men." “These beers have picked up songs and taken them with them as they’ve travelled,” says Antin. You might not hear Piotrkowski joining in though, “I don’t think there’s anything that can be done for my singing," he says, "however, I’m much more likely to sing when I’m drinking.”

Tickets for Drinking/Songs: A Night of Beer and the Music That Goes With It are available here.

May 29th, 8pm (7:30 doors, VIP seating at 7)
50 Mason Social House
50 Mason Street, San Francisco

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