I received a text from Meinl Cymbal artist Jean Paul Gaster of Clutch the other day. It said, "will you be in the office tomorrow?" I replied "yes, " and he replied, " great, I'm sending you a package via Fed Ex. Don't let it sit out in the sun." Needless to say, my curiosity was piqued. The package that arrived was an extremely pleasant surprise, but then again, knowing JP and Clutch, it actually wasn't a surprise at all.
JP sent me two bottles of Clutch's collaboration with the Colorado-based brewery, New Belgium Brewing Company; a beer from their Lips of Faith Series, simply called "Clutch." New Belgium's description for this beer is this: "A pronounced bass line of dark chocolate, coffee and black malts bridge the sourness of our dark wood ale for a fluid riff."
JP's description of the beer is this: "The Clutch beer is actually two beers in one. Mostly it's a massive stout New Belgian and Clutch brewed specifically for this collaboration. The stout is then mixed with their sour ale. Sour ale is the oldest kind of beer. These beers are fermented with wild yeasts and aged in huge oak casks for 2-6 years. The sour beers from each cask are blended to compliment one another. Then the final blend is added to the stout. We experimented with different mixes .....80/20, 90/10, but 85% stout and 15% sour was the winner every time. There's lots going on in this bottle. At first you'll get that dark malt, chocolate, espresso, smoky stout. Then the sour comes into focus and dries everything out. You may have noticed fruit flavors like apples or pears. Those flavors settle and that roasty chocolate comes back and hangs around for a while. If Meinl made this beer it would be in the Byzance line for sure!
I kept one bottle for myself and gave the other to fellow Meinl USA employee Zach Bohannon, a Clutch fan and a lover of beer in his own right. I opened my bottle last night and enjoyed it with dinner. Wow. JP was right. I basically drank a Byzance cymbal out of a glass.
You may be wondering why I'm writing about beer on a cymbal website blog. Really it's just to keep things interesting. But if I had to dig really deep, I would say, because it's great to see drummers have interests that go beyond learning a better way to play a paradiddle. I've always thought that having something else to go to that has nothing that to do with music will somehow enrich the music that you do create when you come back to the drum kit and/or sit down with your band to play tunes. A more well-rounded person makes for a more well-rounded musician.
JP is definitely both of those things.