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Heroes and Beers: The Session #118

The SessionAnother month, another episode of the “The Session.” The Session is a monthly exercise in beer blogging navel gazing that is often quite fun to participate in. Each month, the topic is selected by a different writer. This month’s topic was provided by one of the original founders of the program, famed beer writer Stan Hieronymus. Here is a the original post for this month’s topic. According to Stan, this topic was used once before many years ago and is a fun one worth reviving:

If you could invite four people dead or alive to a beer dinner who would they be? What four beers would you serve?

Who do you go with? You can take this question in a variety of different ways.

Louis Armstrong – Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong is by and far one of my favorite musicians. Most people who know him only think of the raspy voice singing with the likes of Ella Fitzgerald or the famed “What a Wonderful World.” What few realize is what an absolute trumpet virtuoso he was. To quote Miles Davis:

“You can’t play nothing on modern trumpet that doesn’t come from him, not even modern shit. I can’t even remember a time when he sounded bad playing the trumpet. Never. Not even one time. He had great feeling up in his playing and he always played on the beat. I just loved the way he played and sang.”


As someone who played jazz trumpet for most of my school career, I idolized Louis Armstrong. He could do stuff on a trumpet that no one had ever done before and few have been able to do since. He inspired whole generations of musicians. Here’s a piece called “Struttin’ with Some Barbecue” from 1927 that’s pure Louis trumpet.

Louis was a beer drinker, but wasn’t a heavy drinker by the standards of his contemporaries (he was the spokesman for Schaefer Beer later in life). However, he was renowned for his marijuana use, 3 cigar sized joints a day. I think if I were to set the stage for drinking with Louis, it would have to be sitting on my back deck here in Portland while listening to some jazz on nice summer day. I’d have a few cold bottles of Pfriem Pilsner to give him something in the ballpark with the old Schaefer beer. I’d also have to make a trip down the street to the local dispensary. I’m sure he’d appreciate that it’s legal for recreational use here in Oregon.

Frank Boon, Christopher Barnes (me), & Karel Boon at Brouwerij Boon (Photo by Kevin Desmet of
Frank Boon, Christopher Barnes (me), & Karel Boon at Brouwerij Boon (Photo by Kevin Desmet of

Frank Boon of Brouwerij Boon– I’ve actually done this one on several occasions, but each time the onion gets peeled another layer. Frank’s knowledge of the history of Lambic and Belgian beer is immense. I think he has one of those brains that catalogs everything that it encounters. Frank is one of those people who you just toss a question out to and see where his mind takes you. You’ll learn things about beer that you didn’t even know you wanted to find out. He’s always welcomed me into his brewery where we shared some of his beers over a great conversation. Why not do it one more time?

Robert Plant – Led Zeppelin is and probably always be my favorite bands. Other bands may come into higher rotation on my playlists, but Led Zeppelin will always be my favorite. I had the extreme pleasure of seeing Robert Plant sing with Allyson Kraus on their tour. I’d love to sit down with him over a few bottles of cider and hear stories about the his life and career. Robert is a renowned cider drinker and often pops into random West Country cider shops to pick up some drinking materials. I’d love to show him the ciders of EZ Orchards, probably Semi Dry Cidre and Roman Beauty. I’m sure he’d really appreciate such amazing orchard driven ciders.

Michael Jackson – I never had a chance to meet the famed beer writer before he passed. He was already quite old and in declining health by the time I got into beer. But his works have guided me since. I’d love to share a Barley Browns Pallet Jack IPA with him and see his reaction to one of this states greatest IPAs. After that, perhaps we’d open a bottle of Logsdon Seizoen Bretta and marvel at a such a well executed new world/old world beer. I’d love to talk to him about beer writing and what he thinks should be the future of our profession. His work is definitely the origins. But where do we go now? What’s the next evolution of beer writing? In large part, we’re all still operating in Michael Jackson’s shadow.

(photo from Beer Advocate)
(photo from Beer Advocate)


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