Words: Dan Sylvester, Bristol Craft Beer Festival (14-16th Sep)

Music and beer have always been friends, sort of. To quote a pair of daft French philosophers: ‘Oh baby, it feels like the music sounds better with you.’

Some say it’s a one-sided relationship, though. A lot of one makes the other better, but not the other way around. No guesses for which one that is. But like many one-sided relationships, there’s an imbalance to be addressed, and my experience has been no exception. I think beer kicked music out the house about seven years ago and ever since it’s been gingerly trying to come back.

The bubbling craft beer scene acted like the stereotypical group of supportive friends that tell you, ‘you are too good for your other half. If they don’t appreciate you, then leave!’ The confidence in the product, its provenance and wonderful creators emboldened beer to tell music, ‘Hey, I don’t need you. We are good together, but I need space to be me.’ Thus, beer embarked on a journey of discovery, where it rebuilt itself to occupy prime position, not just for me personally, but for society, basking in a new relevance and cultural importance.

The existential crisis currently in music – played out between the major labels, online streaming platforms, artists and audience – has created a disengagement. This isn’t anything special, though. Rewind to the start of the decade and there was a general malaise in the beer world, too. CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) were chomping at the bit for change, but most people still couldn’t see past a pint of fizzy lager, as music festivals developed the pint-chucking traditions of a big gig. Indeed, people would rather see their beer drench the view-blocking girl on her boyfriend’s shoulders, than to drink that lukewarm rubbish.

Thankfully, we’re now in a place where beer and music’s interests are finally aligned. Both are striving for individuality and creativity in a fast-paced, exciting climate, where the lines are firmly drawn between the ‘majors and independents’ of both worlds. Quality is everything. Individuality is key. There is no right or wrong. Let’s create and sample it together.

The Bristol Craft Beer Festival takes place 14-16th September, bringing together great music and great craft beer. Ticket includes free reign of the beers on offer, with DJ sets from Alfresco Disco, Futureboogie, Fat Paul and more.