That title is meant to signify both that a) I am still alive! Despite the fact that I never update this blog anymore because of the trillion side-projects I already have going on with my poetry and with the poetry/film journal and b) that I know how to reference Pearl Jam. Which will explain its relevance soon.
You see, waaaaay back in November, I drank this beer.
This would be Dogfish Head’s tribute to the 20th anniversary of the classic Pearl Jam album Ten– aptly called Twenty. Now, obviously my love of Dogfish Head has been well-documented on this blog. But I bet you didn’t know that I’m also a Pearl Jam fan (…well, actually, if you’re reading this blog, you’re probably either Dan or my mom, so yeah, OK, you probably did know that I was a Pearl Jam fan). After that Trampled by Turtles post, and now posting this, I should really turn this into a beer-and-music blog instead of a beer-and-cooking-and-poetry blog, but be that as it may, let me tell you: I love Pearl Jam. This is a point of deviation for my husband and I, and after much discussion, we decided the matter boiled down to Eddie Vedder’s voice: you either love it, or you hate it. I love it. I think his voice is among my top favorite voices, musically, of all time (up there with Roy Orbison, Cee-Lo, and Sam Cooke). Dan can’t stand the sound of it. And therefore, will sing along to classic Pearl Jams (see what I did there?) on the radio, because everyone knows them, but wouldn’t listen to them on his own time. However, this isn’t a post about Dan’s ambivalence toward Pearl Jam, this is a post about my love of them. And about beer. But first Pearl Jam.
Pearl Jam is like Ensure for the soul. I know that doesn’t sound cool and badass enough to be an metaphor for the band, but hear me out: Ensure is a drink power-packed full of nutrients and calories, in one can, for those unable to come by them through a myriad of different foods in their regular diets (read: the elderly, hospital-bound, and homeless populations, mostly). Likewise, whatever thoughts, feelings, questions, doubts, anger, contemplation, or pure lack of understanding you have about the experience of living that you can’t express or articulate in the circumstances of day-to-day living, you can sing them all out with Eddie Vedder, and he’ll present them to you in his jagged, honest way that lets you know you’re not alone in them. And it nourishes your soul. All in the small, easy-to-consume size of a little album case. Eddie Vedder got me through a lot in my high school and college years, and frankly, my adult years too. Not only in Pearl Jam, but in his solo work too.
Take, for instance, “Alive.”
Is there something wrong? she said/Of course there is/You’re still alive, she said/Oh, and do I deserve to be?/Is that the question,/And if so, if so, who answers? Who answers? Who hasn’t been struck a blow right to the heart by those questions before?
“No Ceiling”? I’m pretty sure that can basically sum up everything I feel about everything I’ve lived so far.
And I’m still convinced that “Thumbing My Way” is one of the most beautiful songs ever written.
So, now that you fully understand how parts of me are what they are today because of Pearl Jam, how does their beer stack up?
Pretty tastily. Ha, I actually don’t have anything deep to say about the beer, or about how its flavors are a metaphor for the music. It pays tribute to Ten with 10 incremental additions of black currants to the beer during the brewing process and pays tribute to its 20th anniversary by being hopped to 20 IBUs. It’s a Belgian Golden Ale, if we’re getting technical and drawing style-lines, at 7.0% ABV. I have written in my notes about it from two or three months ago, “Medium-bodied, flavorful, fruit-forward, almost champagne-y. Where da currants at?” So there you go. I couldn’t really make out the currants, but then again, I don’t think I’ve ever actually eaten a currant either. Aren’t they kind of like raisins? I didn’t taste any raisins. But I did taste deliciousness. And nourishingness. And I may have pulled out my copy of Ten because of it.