Pairing Beer with Music #1: Fugazi & 3 Floyds Zombie Dust

While on a run listening to a Spotify mix of Fugazi, one of the standard bearers of the post-hardcore punk scene in late 80s DC, I started thinking about what beer most resembles the style and flare of this influential band. Stylistically, I immediately thought of an in-your-face pale ale. Balance isn't really of much concern, but rather something raw, brash, but also multi-layered.

Fugazi was formed out of a general discontent with the music industry, much like many of the craft-centric breweries of the past two decades. Even the name Fugazi is derived from a source of mass upheaval, the Vietnam War. According to a book being read by front-man Ian MacAye, Fugazi was an acronym for "Fucked Up, Got Ambushed, Zipped In."

This same macabre and fierce spirit is embraced by the brewery 3 Floyds. Many of their beers borrow obscure terms and references from the music industry and counter-culture such as Backmasking (a recording technique in which a sound or message is recorded backward on a track that is meant to be played forward), Jinx Proof (a DC area tattoo studio), and Permanent Funeral (made in collaboration with Pig Destroyer, a grindcore band from Virginia).

If you're fortunate enough to experience 3 Floyds in person at their brewpub in the uninspiring (or perhaps spite inducing is a better term) suburban city of Munster, Indiana, any number of their varied offerings would be a killer pairing while listening to Fugazi, however the one that stands out is Zombie Dust.

Zombie Dust is a highly-hopped American Pale Ale, and one of the more sought out beers among collectors. Descriptions range from aromatics of pine and citrus, with flavors of grapefruit, earthy hops and a resiny, dry finish. It's hard not to draw comparisons between its unfiltered and hazy appearance and that of a lo-fi, unrefined song that is a hallmark of the 80s punk scene. Also noteworthy is its relative simplicity despite the vast amount of flavor descriptors, not unlike the incredible range of sounds produced from simple rock riffs. Zombie Dust utilizes the still mega popular Citra hop of Yakima Valley, and like the handful of chords used by bands like Fugazi, pounds it into submission throughout the brewing process.

Experiencing the two together is enough to produce a 'fuck the man' bravado liable to make you quit your boring desk job, flip your boss the middle finger, and start your own garage band or brewery (or at least really fuckin' enjoy them both while daydreaming about the job thing).

B Cups, the World's First IPA-Specific Plastic Glassware

I was recently sent a set of new beer-centric glassware from the folks at Fermented Reality, a "a craft beer lifestyle goods" company. The glasses, called B Cups, come in a sleeved pack of four and retail at $15.00 on their website. This might seem a bit steep for plastic cups compared to the twelve pack of glass vessels you can purchase at IKEA for around a nickel and a handshake, but they are being touted as the world's first plastic IPA cup.

Style-specific glassware for beer has become en vogue as of late, most notably through the German company Spieglau and their collaborative glasses with Dogfish Head (IPA), Bell's (wheat ale), and Left Hand (stout).

When I first opened the package of glasses I was a bit disappointed that they were plastic, and initially discounted them, much like beer snobs of yesteryear who pooh-poohed craft beer that came in a can. Those apprehensions quickly dissipated, much quicker than the voluminous head the cup retained throughout my drink. Every beer I've tested the B Cups with pours a large, fluffy crop of foam, perhaps due to the extra agitation caused by beer flowing over the multiple ridges at the base of the glass.

The ridges also double as nice ergonomic grips, and since they only take up a very small volume of the glass are good for keeping warming hands away from the liquid. They're also much less dainty than a tulip or wine glass for those who prefer a heartier piece of hardware.

The one flaw that I found is that they are not dishwasher safe. This can be an extra pain if you have to use a hand sponge to get to the bottom of the narrow glass. This is a bit nit-picky, but I see these glasses as being most useful for guests at an informal party where you want to use glasses that are nicer than a red Solo cup, but also durable, and hand-washing dishes is usually the last thing on my mind after a large get-together. That being said, I usually rinse them out with some warm, soapy water and call it a day,

As a beer geek I do hate it when I pay for a high priced beer, only to have it served in an over-frosty pint glass, so I definitely appreciate glassware that is aimed at enhancing aromatics and flavor. For the most part though, as long as a glass is large enough and narrows at the top in order to capture the aromatics, and is designed for either warming or keeping a glass cool, glassware is mostly about aesthetics. B Cups definitely accomplish both of these goals, with a design aimed at highlighting beer's characteristics, while also offering a unique look without being overly stylistic or childish as some plasticware (I'm talking to you cactus-shaped margarita cups) tends to be.

Search #ProperPlasticware and #BCups for additional reviews.