Festivals are like musical choose-your-own-adventure novels, but with the crucial grown-up addition of alcoholic beverages. Just like in the books, there are no real wrong decisions, but deciding to veer off a path into a dark cave can get you in trouble, just like chugging a porter at 2:00 p.m. during the blistering noise rock of a band like Melkbelly.
So to help guide you through the musical and beer-filled adventure that is Pitchfork Music Festival, we've paired some of our favorite festival artists with suitable thirst-quenchers. Just remember to enjoy responsibly, which means hydrate, pace yourself, and don’t forget a pair of earplugs.
1:00 p.m.: The Curls and Intelligentsia Cold Brew
A long and glorious afternoon of day drinking awaits, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. As the mug and T-shirt slogan goes, “but first, coffee.” Theafternoon indie rock of local outfit The Curls is an excellent way to start the festival, but you'll want to amplify the tunes with a cold brew from legendary Chicago roasters Intelligentsia, who have a musical streak of their own and have collaborated on coffees with the likes of Wilco and Madlib.
2:45 p.m.: Julie Byrne and Virtue Cider's Rosé
Confessional songwriter Julie Byrne’s 2017 album Not Even Happiness earned her #37 on Pitchfork's yearly best album list. The lakeside ennui doesn't exactly scream beer, so opt for a can of rosé cider made with heirloom Michigan apples aged in French oak barrels by Virtue.
4:15 p.m.: Saba and 312 Urban Wheat
Saba’s 2018 LP CARE FOR ME was lauded for its self-reflection, but most know him from the optimistic hook on Chance the Rapper’s “Angels”. Since it’s still early and possibly also hot, you’ll want an easy-sipping beer that you can savor throughout the set. Goose Island’s 312 Urban Wheat brings some spice to a classic wheat beer profile, which earned it three Great American Beer Festival gold medals.
4:00 p.m: Tierra Whack and Old Man Grumpy
Earl Sweatshirt’s cancellation is disappointing, but thanks to the addition of Tierra Whack the only thing that should be grumpy is your beer. The Old Man Grumpy to be exact, a dry-hopped pale ale that’s sharp beyond expectations, just like the playful and surprising wit of young Philadelphia hip-hop phenom Tierra Whack, who will tear through a performance of her 15 minute album Whack World before you finish that beer.
6:15 p.m.: Syd and Sophie
Odd Future may be a thing of the past, but alums like Syd (who dropped “tha Kid” part of her moniker) are still thriving. Swing by the red stage at 5:15 for Syd, whose bottled energy gives the shadowy hip-hop beats a silver lining. Champagne is a suitable move—EG Wine Co.’s canned version claim to taste of double rainbow—but if your stomach doesn’t want to mix breeds of bubbles, hit the taps for a Sofie, Goose Island’s sparkling Belgian farmhouse ale.
7:30 p.m.: Courtney Barnett and Kubaba Kuwawa
Australian rocker Courtney Barnett writes songs that could be episodes of Seinfeld, with verses about nothing that address everything. That indie rock tradition dates back to the days of Pavement, but what makes Barnett so appealing is that the songs are so damn fun. By this point in the evening, you should be in that same mode and really content to drink whatever a friend hands you, be that a glass of frose or the dry-hopped guava Kubaba Kuwawa (brewed in coordination with womens’ beer non-profit Pink Boots Society).
8:30 p.m.: Tame Impala and Water
Tame Impala wraps the night at the Green Stage, and while there’s plenty of great beers you could drink during their set, their drifting psychedelia pairs much better with non-alcoholic vices, so just close your tab and prepare for tomorrow.
2:45 p.m.: Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith and Virtue Cider's Michigan Cherry
As De La Soul once rapped, Saturday, it’s a Saturday. Saturday, it’s a Saturday. Chicago garage rocker Paul Cherry and Atlanta rapper berhana kick things off, but if you’re getting a slow start, be sure to arrive for Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith. Her ethereal headphone electronic explorations aren’t composed for festival stages, but the open air ambiance will become another piece of the pastiche. It’s not beer drinking music, so go with a crisp and tart Michigan Cherry cider.
3:30 p.m.: Nilufer Yanya and EG Wine Co.’s Cali Sauv Blanc
Nilufer Yanya’s dreamy jazz-pop makes a perfect follow-up. The songwriting will grab your attention, but is mellow enough to fit the time slot, just like EG’s Cali Sauv Blanc.
5:15 p.m.: Raphael Saadiq and Goose IPA
Moses Sumney, the art-soul singer-songwriter whose debut album Aromanticism dropped last fall, plays at 4:15. Grab a bite in the lawn in front of Sumney on the Green Stage, and then turn your attention across the field to the Red Stage for rare performance from neo-soul legend Raphael Saadiq, who is hot off the heels of scoring HBO’s Insecure and a collab with Solange. There’s few contemporary R&B bandleaders with his level of cred—he dates back to Tony! Toni! Tone!—so go with the beer that started it all for Goose Island, their classic IPA.
6:15 p.m.: Blood Orange and Foudre Red
Few performers can command a festival stage like Blood Orange’s Dev Hynes, and since there’s no orange ciders on the menu—get it together, Virtue—so try a crimson-colored beer such as Goose Island’s limited release oak-aged Foudre Red ale...if you are lucky enough to have VIP access.
7:45 p.m.: Kelela and Next Coast IPA
Kelela has crossed over from her futurist Night Slugs club upbringing into full blown Badu-esque diva territory, and like her career trajectory, the five-hop cocktail of the Next Coast IPA doesn’t fall easily into East or West Coast territory. Note: It’s only available to +PLUS ticket holders.
8:30 p.m.: Fleet Foxes and 312
Fleet Foxes’ brand of Americana has always had a little something extra, just like the 312 Urban Wheat, a still smooth-drinking wheat, but with enough brightness to make it an excellent evening-ender.
2:30 p.m.: Kweku Collins and a Shot of Tequila
The great thing about Sunday afternoons is they’re really just Sunday mornings. And a great thing about Sunday morning are Bloody Marys. Up until now you’ve been keeping it tranquillo, avoiding the hard stuff to maintain a reasonable festival pace. But 21-year old Chitown rapper Kweku Collins’s set at the Green Stage is a great excuse to, well, party like a 21-year old. So kick things off with a shot of Don Julio, or go hair of the dog style with a Ketel One Bloody Mary.
4:00 p.m.: Japanese Breakfast and 312 Dry Hopped
It’s worth swinging by the Red Stage at 3:20 p.m. for 18-year-old R&B prodigy Ravyn Lenae, before making your way to the gently brooding indie rock of Japanese Breakfast at 4:00 p.m. It may sound like rainy day music, but hopefully the sun is still shining, in which case you’ll want a crushable take on a classic, 312 Dry Hopped.
5:15 p.m.: Alex Cameron and Virtue Cider’s Michigan Honey
Australian indie-pop shapeshifter Alex Cameron hasn’t quite hit Tom Waits territory, but his battle-worn voice sounds like it could use a little nourishing. Good luck finding a hot tea on the festival grounds, but you will find some soothing flavors hiding in Virtue’s Michigan Honey.
6:15 p.m.: DRAM and Virtue Cider Frozé
It’s been a few years since DRAM dropped summer anthem “Cha Cha,” but the creative sample of Super Mario Bros still makes just about anything taste better—so don’t stress it, drink whatever ends up in your cup, whether its another beer or Virtue Cider's exceedingly refreshing Frozé.
7:45 p.m.: Japandroids and The Hops That Heaven Built
Two piece rock stalwarts Japandroids will play to the sunset, and on-stage you can count on them to be sipping 16-oz cans of their Goose Island collaboration The Hops That Heaven Built, a pale ale featuring two Canadian hops that pay respect to their native British Columbia. Grab one, catch a few Japandroids tunes, then jet over to hear a few hits by disco queen Chaka Khan.
8:30 p.m.: Ms. Lauryn Hill and Water
Ms. Lauryn Hill isn’t known as the promptest performer, but her reinterpretations of songs from the Miseducation era are worth the wait. After three days of sampling every beverage the festival has to offer, there’s no shame in tapping out. After all, the undisputed best pairing to help inch you back into the workweek on Monday morning is just a bottle of water.