Along with the privilege of judging the Brew-vitational, I was charged with a task: To make a beer-drinking music mix that would be a soundtrack for sipping, mulling, and scoring the local brews placed before Craig LaBan, his six esteemed expert panelists, and me, the IPA-loving, craft beer-quaffing regular schmo.
We listened to this 36-song list, which is called Drinkin' Thing, while we drank (and, as soberly as we could under the circumstances, judged). And you, Dear Reader, can listen to a streaming version by going to my "In the Mix" blog at philly.com/inthemix, where you'll find a Spotify widget to play it, and also an annotated list of all the tracks.
The title of the case and a half's worth of tunes is taken from the 1974 hit by late country great Gary Stewart, a master of the genre who's also represented with "She's Actin' Single (I'm Drinkin' Doubles)," a song that carries on a barroom conversation with Emmylou Harris' "Feelin' Single-Drinkin' Doubles."
The mix starts off with the sound of a beer can opening on Jim Ed Brown's 1967 country hit "Pop a Top" and concludes with Frank Sinatra's "One for My Baby." Along the way it includes Tom Waits, the Pogues, Loretta Lynn, Beck, Black Flag, and many more.
There are songs here about the joys of drinking (Ray Charles' "Let's Go Get Stoned" and Snoop Doggy Dogg's "Gin & Juice") and the pain of the morning after ("Johnny Cash's "Sunday Morning Coming Down," and, well, Ashley Monroe's "The Morning After"). I tried to stay away from hard liquor and stick to beer, but a few spirits and unorthodox cocktails elbowed their way on, including Nina Simone's "Gin House Blues," Beastie Boys' "Brass Monkey," and, of course, John Lee Hooker's "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer."