The idea was to attempt to reproduce the character of the band in the beer--planned synesthesia, if you will. I love this idea and have had the experience myself of tasting a beer and thinking of a band. Music is a big inspiration for brewers, too, who regularly allude to songs, bands, or genres and who regularly have it playing at the brewery. Matching the two intentionally seems like a perfect endeavor, and a totally Oregonesque one. This is far from the first time music and beer have tangoed, but the integration has been taken to a high level. I'd love to see more direct collaborations like this (and see more people showing up on my door with beer and music).
Okay, but: do the beer and band match? Eric told us that he thought the beer tasted exactly how his band sounded, smooth and mellow. He likened Norman to the Allman Brothers and when I glanced at the label and saw it ring at in at 5%, it seemed to pass the visual inspection stage. Then we went on to round two, tickling the ear drums and taste buds.
Norman, the Ale
The label calls this a "Northwest pale ale" and for once, I agree. It's the color of an amber, but the nose is pure hop saturation. If I were describing it as a beer, I'd talk about caramel malts and hop varieties, but I allowed my tongue to experience it the way my ears hear music. It has a heavy, fat sound, garaged-up with the buzz of the amp and the crackle of electricity. To me, it had a grungy 90s sensibility, harmonic but intense and unpolished. If I thought of it as a beer, I'd have found the caramel malts intrusive and the hops too raspy--but as a rock expression, that was perfect. Loud and raw. In my music mode, I just let the volume rise and swamp me. Nice.
Norman, the Band
|Eric is in the top middle.|
But hey, synesthesia isn't an exact science--your experience may vary. Either way, you should definitely go find a bottle, scan the code, and run the experiment yourself.