Front Page Reviews & AIR
Swedish Folk Brewing
This column is dedicated to beer and music pairings, most of which turn out to be from the catalog of rock & roll or pop. For a change, this month I’m testing the boundaries of what good beer-drinking musical accompaniment is, and what beer is. And what the meaning of is is.
In this enlightening 15 minute film on the folk music of Sweden, some beautiful violin folk tunes and fun romps are on showcase, begging beverage accompaniment.
At minute 8:04, as the haunting “Lat Till Far” begins to play, you will see a sea of tranquil water for rowing and fishing (not catching) and it will start to make you thirsty. At that moment, as you are realizing how cool, green, and light-filled the Swedish summer life must be, I’d recommend a sweet special beer made by monks traditionally around Lambic Valley, Belgium. It’s called Framboise—have you heard of it? Have you tasted it, perhaps, as you sat curiously at an establishment with exotic beers and longed for a delicious fruit-flavored “girly” beer?
Framboise is not that hard to find anymore, and a lot of people love it. It’s not my thing, personally, but many people appreciate the fact that it has no hoppiness at all, barely any maltiness, and persistent gas bubbles that actually resemble more of a sparkling wine. The yeast used would not differ much from champagne yeast. In fact, the monks’ way for centuries has been to ferment in open vats where all yeast is trapped from the open air and on the legs of insects and the like that land in the vats and, presumably, become part of the complex flavoring. Lambic fruit beers are the enjoyable beer for people who don’t generally enjoy beer.
Pair Framboise with the highlights of this lovely film on Swedish folk music – such as the following: the main fiddler, Mr. Antonssen, is depicted on his Harley riding the gorgeous countryside to jams, rehearsals, and folksy parties. At the nighttime party, two rather attractive Swedish women are drinking a red fluid that might just be Framboise. The music in that scene might sound to you just like Celtic music pouring out of an Irish pub. Later, the older woman bowing the musical saw might remind you of your grandmother, but she has the skills! A snippet of some Swedish musicians doing a rendition of Cash’s “Folsom Prison” reminds us of the universality of music, and also the good feelings around a well-struck major root chord.
Don’t forget to grab your fancy-looking little foil-wrapped bottle of Framboise Lambic and pour it into a glass as you see a new side of Sweden, a beautiful life in the summer’s long days and fiddling nights.