The Bands That Brew Beers, and the Brewers Who Rock Alongside Them | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

The Bands That Brew Beers, and the Brewers Who Rock Alongside Them

Ten local bands collaborated with 10 brewers to create "beers that taste like their music" and they'll showcase their creations at the inaugural Bend Bands & Brewers Bash

click to enlarge The Bands That Brew Beers, and the Brewers Who Rock Alongside Them
Photo courtesy of Brian Yaeger
Alicia Viani at Terranaut Beer
It's no secret that the Northwest grows great hops and Oregon is blessed with a variety of incredible brewers. There are some "30 breweries in and around Bend," according to local tourism agency Visit Bend, and while it has been recently reported that the craft brew industry is in decline, it should come as no surprise that there's still a thriving beer culture in Central Oregon.

It's only natural that breweries come and go or exchange ownership over time, yet homegrown mainstay Deschutes Brewery still ranks as the 12th biggest craft brewer in the country (and, amazingly, 22nd overall when you include big dogs like Anheuser-Busch, Molson Coors, Heineken and Pabst) based on 2023 data from the Brewers Association.

What's harder to quantify is how many musicians we have in our ranks. Anecdotally, Oregon has always had a vibrant creative class in both our cities and remote outposts. And some folks, like beer writer Brian Yaeger, can expound for hours about how the two — bands and beer — pair so well together. "My two favorite art forms are music and beer specifically because they're the most immersive," Yaeger tells.

A self-proclaimed "not a very good homebrewer" but Certified Cicerone (like a wine sommelier, but for beer), Yaeger "worked in the music industry for years" in the past, but today you can most frequently find his sudsy words and Grand Craft Bend podcast in the pages of this newspaper.

"When I say music is immersive, I mean you can see how the musicians on stage move as vessels of their art," Yaeger begins. "Anyone who loves music knows it's more than a sound: It's a feeling. And, all jokes aside, so is beer. Beyond how good you might feel after a couple beers, as much creative effort goes into writing a great recipe as it does a song."

Immersive is probably the best word to describe Yaeger's inaugural Bend Bands & Brewers Bash, which takes place at Silver Moon Brewing on Friday, June 28 and Saturday, June 29. With five local acts gracing the brewery's outdoor stage each day, Yaeger is rightfully touting this weekend as one where "breweries collaborate with bands to create beers that taste like their music sounds."

Yaeger paired 10 breweries with 10 bands to create what he's calling "two-way collaborations." First, each brewer met with its respective band to devise a beer that tastes like that band sounds. Second, "someone from each brewery will perform on stage with the musical acts to complete the dual collab."

Friday will kick off with Spencer Snyder, the looping scientist behind One Mad Man, and Boss Rambler Beer Club offering the fest's only gluten-free option dubbed Beach Tea, an Arnold Palmer-esque hard seltzer that will be served still. The improvisational, instrumental Biscuit Brigade Organ Trio and Kobold Brewing will follow, while Redmond's Wild Ride Brewing joins forces with honky-tonk rockers Oregon Fryer.

click to enlarge The Bands That Brew Beers, and the Brewers Who Rock Alongside Them
Photo courtesy of Brian Yaeger
Saturday’s headliner ¡Chiringa! at Crux with assistant brewmaster Grant McFarren (far right).

The country-rock and Southern blues-inflected Billy and the Box Kid collaborated with Bevel Craft Brewing on a tropical cold IPA — "by tropical, they mean using hops that throw tropical fruit flavors like mango and passion fruit" and a "cold IPA is an IPA that's cold fermented with lager yeast," Yaeger explains. As for the reverse collaboration, "Bevel co-owner Justin [Celmer] will join Billy on drums."

Company Grand, the horn-filled, nine-piece rock, funk and blues act, will close out Friday night alongside The Ale Apothecary with a Belgian-style witbier, and "The Apothecary's Paul Arney will join Company Grand on guitar," Yaeger says.

Saturday starts out with mellow, acoustic vibes from singer-songwriter Alicia Viani and Bend's newest brewery, Terranaut Beer. Their collaborative golden ale with citrus zest and tea blend will pair with Terranaut's founder and brewer Bryon Pyka joining Viani on guitar. What tastes more like reggae rock than a pineapple-jalapeño lager? GoodLife Brewing will serve it up to the sounds of Rubbah Tree. Meanwhile, GoodLife's director of beer sales, Masson Hart, will sit in with the six-piece band.

“For all the science and math that goes into creating beer and creating music, it requires an artistic soul and no one admires other artists than fellow artists.” —Brian Yaeger

Longtime Bend noisemaker Jeshua Marshall & The Flood will follow with an IPA infused with cannabis terpenes (just aromatics, no THC) created with host Silver Moon. Marshall is also the brewery's music booker and deserves big thanks for helping curate a lineup of diverse musical acts who were also game to create a collaborative beer.

As Yaeger says, "This goes well beyond 'just make beer' and 'just play this show.' Everyone's super busy and this requires extra time. Furthermore, perhaps best of all, I don't think it clicked right away."

"They've been invited to collaborate on their respective art forms together," Yaeger continues, with "the musicians help[ing] compose a beer and the brewers help[ing] perform live music."

Capping off Saturday night are Dead-tribute band Call Down Thunder and McMenamins Old St. Francis School providing a German-style Call Down Kölsch ale, and Crux Fermentation Project and Latin rockers ¡Chiringa! sipping a cold IPA and Mexican lager hybrid with lime and grapefruit zest. Lead brewer Riley Finnigan will also play mandolin with the band.

Percussionist Johnny Riordan of ¡Chiringa! used to work around the corner from Crux and was a regular. "Getting to create and brew a beer with the Crux brewers got me so excited," he says. He sat down with the brewers and decided to make something "nice and light with the addition of lime to give it the Latin influence." On brew day, three band members showed up, got a crash-course education in brewing beer, and contributed to the brew. "We got to add hops and also zest the limes that would go into the beer," he tells.

While one major Bend beer festival continues its hiatus, Yaeger's innovative offering is a welcome addition that shines a spotlight on both the local music and craft beer scenes. The concept "is admittedly visceral and nonlinear," he says, "but I always believed it would work because for all the science and math that goes into creating beer and creating music, it requires an artistic soul and no one admires other artists than fellow artists."

Bend Bands & Brewers Bash
Fri., June 28 and Sat., June 29
Silver Moon Brewing
24 NW Greenwood Ave., Bend
Doors 3pm, show 5pm; all ages until 10pm
Single-day tickets $25, two-day passes $40, single-day VIP $55; day-of tickets $35
All tickets include a pint of Silver Moon beer for those 21+

Chris Young

A journalist, editor and champion of his local music community, Chris graduated from the University of Oregon before founding Vortex Music Magazine, a quarterly print publication that covered Portland's vibrant music scene, and MusicPortland, a nonprofit music industry advocacy group. He's since moved to Bend...
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