Maybe the weather has turned where you are and all you want to do is put your feet up on the porch and drink some easy beer while listening to breezy music. Or maybe the weather hasn't turned and you want to do those things inside and pretend it's spring because going outside and facing reality is just too much right now.
Either way, I got you.
The perfect way to be easy – in either case – is to pair some nice light beers with Yacht Rock. If you're not familiar with Yacht Rock, it was an amazing YouTube show that detailed the smooth music put out by the intertwined members of bands like Steely Dan, The Doobie Brothers, and Toto.
Let Hollywood Steve tell you a little more about Yacht Rock if you will. Be prepared for mellow insight into the incestuous world of mid-eighties light rock.
Now you're in the mood. Let's pair some beers with some artists for your spring Saturday.
Saison Dupont and Steely Dan
Did you know how many of your favorite hip-hop artists sampled from Steely Dan's library? Here's a short, incomplete list: Kanye, De La Soul, Ice Cube, Organized Konfusion, Wiz Khalifa, John Legend, 3rd Bass, Atmosphere, Naughty by Nature, Usher, and Big Shug! I mean Black Cow alone was sampled separately by Lord Tariq & Peter Gunz, MF Doom, and Beyonce. Maybe that band knew about something.
Listen to Steely Dan, and you hear so much of what has come since. Drink Saison Dupont, and you can really understand why saisons have proliferated since Dupont's flagship was championed by legendary beer writer Michael Jackson. The GOAT saison is fizzy, floral, fruity, and ends in pepper. Those that have come since, like the hip-hop artists with Steely Dan, have focused in on one of those aspects and turned the knob to eleven.
But there's nothing like a well-balanced saison, enjoyed alongside some Deacon Blues, in a comfy seat.
Pinkus Organic Ur-Pils and Christopher Cross
In Yacht Rock the series, Cross reins supreme. His Sailing is called the smoothest song of all time, high praise. If you haven't seen the series before today, you might only remember Cross from his theme song for Arthur, a 1981 comedy starring Dudley Moore. Or you've never heard of him. But man is that song smooth.
You may not have heard of Pinkus, but they make a great suite of organic beers, topped (perhaps) by their Ur-Pils. This cloudy pilsner might not have presaged the hoppy pils of today's American beer scene, but it is still a great way to get a little bit of taste and body along with your easy drinker. It's smooth, but has a bit more to it, and it turned this author onto the whole idea of trying more craft beers. Oh, sure, yeah, it's hazy too.
Clown Shoes Mango Kölsch and The Doobie Brothers
What a Fool Believes is such a fun song. It's upbeat and a little bit funky, and then in come the hooks sung by Yacht Rock mainstay Michael McDonald. Poppy with nothing that grates, that's probably a good way to sum up the Brothers Doob. Listen to The Music, indeed.
Your beer for this section of the playlist is refreshing and easy, but playing the part of the Brothers' upbeat pop is the mango. Crisp, refreshing, nothing grating: the base beer alone would fit this Saturday well. But to really get a McDonald hook right, you need a little sweetness, and some stone fruit.
Firestone Walker Easy Jack and Hall & Oates
Some don't understand how important Hall & Oates were to musical history. I Can't Go For That (No Can Do). The show takes some liberties and portrays John Oates as hilariously brusque and foulmouthed, and that just adds a layer of fun to the reality that the duo churned out hit after hit that you may not even know where theirs.
What may be lost in time is that there was a little rock in this Yacht Rock. A bit of punch. Take that Easy Jack and put it to your nose if you want to understand that the Jack is no limp beer. It has plenty going on, from the fairly massive stone fruit aroma, to the just right bitterness that makes the package hum together. You'll take a step back and enjoy this as drinkable or crushable or whatever, but the different parts that go into this beer are all impressive in their own rights.
Carton Boat and Toto
There's something about Toto's hooks that just make me think of Sailing Away and, in turn, being on a boat. I mean I know that song is about Africa, but listen to the horns! Listen to the melody! At the very least you have your boat shoes on and are sitting by the dock. Is that a flute? Or just wind chimes in the breeze?
Like Easy Jack, Boat Beer packs much more of a punch than you might think for a session beer. There's citrus in there, and tropical fruit, and your standard bitter finish for a pale ale of sorts, but it's so easy, it's really no big deal to have two or six. There might not be a beer with a more appropriate name. Desert Island beer? How about Boat beer?
Jack's Abby Hoponius Union and Kenny Loggins
Okay so you're thinking Danger Zone and maybe you're thinking Loggins rocks too hard for your Saturday. But listen to his library, even that song really, and there's a lightness to it that you could only pull off in the eighties, probably. I'm all right, nobody worry bout me? And then a guitar solo. Sure! And then listen to This is It and you're like oh yeah this guy hung out with Steely Dan and Michael McDonald, he totally did.
Hoponius Union, in a similar way, probably pushes the definition of a light session beer the farthest out of any of these beers. Some will drink the hoppy lager and exclaim that it is nothing but a pale ale with a different name. Which, yeah, it might be, and it certainly ranks higher on the BeerGraphs leaderboards because it's classified as a Pale Lager instead of a Pale Ale. But, like Kenny Loggins, don't worry about classifications. Rock/Light Rock/Smooth Listening? Lager/Hoppy Lager/Pale Ale? Whatever man, "You'll never know what you can do / Until you get it up as high as you can go."
Tap those boat shoes on your deck and have a great Saturday.