I love Outkast. I love beer. And in the spirit of my Perfect Pairing series, which pairs craft beer with stuff that I care about, I’ve written this blogpost. Since 1994, the pair has released six albums, each masterfully and uniquely done. In anticipation of their return to Atlanta this weekend, I’ve listened to all six albums (repeatedly) and I’ve thought of the perfect local brew to pair with each. Listen up folks. The south’s got something to say. Let’s get started.
Perfect Pairing #1:
Album: Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik (1994)
Brew: Sweetwater 420 Extra Pale Ale (5.7% ABV)
Pairing Notes: It’s been 20 years and this is still my favorite Outkast album. It’s an example of true and classic Southern Hip Hop and deserves a brew that matches it. I’ve paired it with Atlanta’s own (and my personal favorite) Sweetwater 420 Extra Pale Ale. Just like Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, it has an arousing and stimulating hoppiness and a smooth, crisp and clean finish. Play track #10 “Funky Ride” while sipping a Sweetwater 420 and tell me they don’t go well together!
Perfect Pairing #2:
Album: ATLiens (1996)
Brew: Jekyll Brewing Hop Dang Digity Southern IPA (6.7% ABV)
Pairing Notes: “Out of this world. Are you alien?” The whole entire album was out of this world – the content, the production, the album cover art, everything! It was a departure from their debut but an elevation of their styles and where they wanted to take their audience, for sure. Cue up track #3 “ATLiens”, whip up a heaping helping of spicy shrimp and grits, and open up a Jekyll’s Hop Dang Digity Southern IPA. It has a hop character than can stand up to a spicy dish and an aroma that reminds you of Georgia pines. A few will have you feeling quite intergalactic.
Perfect Pairing #3:
Album: Aquemini (1998)
Brew: Jailhouse Brewing Misdemeanor Ale (5.5% ABV)
Pairing Notes: Aquemini took an eclectic turn while staying true to the duo’s funky, soulful foundation. They talked about some seriously deep concepts and societal challenges on cuts like “Slump” and “Da Art of Storytelling” but balanced that with party anthems like “Rosa Parks” and “Skew it on the Bar-B”. A brew with balance is the perfect pairing. Jailhouse’s Misdemeanor Ale has just the right amount of hops and malty sweetness. Just like Aquemini, this brew is a true balance between two very different yet complementary styles. Get started on a six pack and let this one ride.
Perfect Pairing #4:
Album: Stankonia (2000)
Brew: Monday Night Brewing Hipster Fresh Hop (5.5% ABV)
Pairing Notes: I attended the Outkast performance at the Counterpoint festival in Rome, GA in April and the first song out of the gate was “B.O.B”. It set the tone for the ENTIRE show: super high energy, on your feet bouncing, screaming lyrics with friends at the top of our lungs…it was awesome. And so was this album. Try Monday Night’s Hipster Fresh Hop from the Black Tie Series. It’s bold and upbeat. It smells malty but tastes hoppy. It brings the party on the first sip. So fresh, so clean. For real.
Perfect Pairing #5:
Album: Speakerboxxx/The Love Below (2003)
Pairing Notes: I remember thinking it was so cool that ‘Kast put out a double disc release! Who doesn’t want a double-dose? This one really let Andre and Big Boi each explore their own personal styles while remaining as a team. In that light, I’m pairing two different brews from the same brewery. A-Town Brown is Big Boi all the way – dope, smooth, clever with a deep, sneaky sweetness. Nutty notes offer a nice surprise. That Matcha Super Green Yuzu screams 3-Stacks with its earthy tone, honey-sweet maltiness and complex green tea infusion. Separate and different, but equal.
Perfect Pairing #6:
Album: Idlewild (2006)
Brew: Red Hare National Common (5.5% ABV)
Pairing Notes: A rap duo breaking into film with a Prohibition era musical was a true collaboration that took audiences outside of their comfort zone. Idlewild was historic, but current. It mixed the classic musical format with hip hop. It was a first. It only makes sense to pair it with a brew that kinda did the same thing. Red Hare’s National Common is the first in the brewery’s “Chef Series”. It’s a good, basic beer that recalls the fundamentals of brewing in an earlier era when things were simple while being a fresh, new direction for Red Hare.