In our very first collaboration episode, we head to Bierly Brewing in McMinnville, Oregon for some EXCELLENT pairings of beer and snacks with the movements of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. So much thanks to Amelia and JP for their generosity and amazing beer and food!

Would you like to play along at home? Bierly Brewing will sell you a special package of these four beers plus four pretzels and deliver it to your home! If you’d like to partake in the baguettes and the donuts, I suggest you call for a takeout order, because oh WOW, is it worth it. Information can be found here:

All music clips used for the show today are courtesy of

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Casey Bozell 0:08
Today on Ke– sorry, just finishing off a cinnamon sugar doughnut. Today on keep classical weird. We talk about composer giant Ludwig von Beethoven and his Fifth Symphony via a very popular libation.

JP Bierly 0:25
This actually is the best way to kind of approach tasting a beer. It takes two sips for your tongue to tell your brain what you’re tasting. So the first two sips, let that information roll over you ignore it, sip number three, that’s what the beer tastes like.

Casey Bozell 0:43

JP Bierly 0:43
So it takes some time for that, you know, signal to get from your tongue to your brain.

Casey Bozell 0:49
So you’re saying I should do the same thing as Beethoven’s rhythms which is sip sip, sip, understand?

JP and Amelia Bierly 0:56

Casey Bozell 1:08
Welcome friends to Episode Seven of keep classical weird. I am your host, Casey Bozell, and I’m so excited to be airing my very first collaboration episode with a local business. But before we hit the road to experience the beer and the doughnuts, yes, the beer and the doughnuts. Let’s talk about the fellow who inspired this episode. He’d be celebrating his 250th birthday this year, Ludwig von Beethoven.

Beethoven was born in Germany in 1770. And though he’s one of the most famous composers of all time, the thing people seem to know him best for is the fact that he was deaf. And that may be true, but the full story is much more than that. Beethoven wasn’t born deaf, his early career had a strong start. He was recognized for his talent early and though some compared him to Mozart, he was able to fairly quickly establish his own brand of classical music. In fact, music history points to Beethoven as a very natural bridge between the classical and romantic areas of music, his compositional style underwent a wonderful evolution to make that possible. This evolution, it can be argued, is a direct result of his loss of hearing. Beethoven’s hearing loss was gradual and effectively split his compositions into three eras, early Beethoven, where his hearing was mostly intact. This tends to be lighter and bubbly and very much like well known Mozart compositions.

When his hearing loss became more profound, he entered into a dark period of compositional life, his melodies and harmonies became thicker and darker. He was profoundly depressed and angry at this time in his life, and it showed, but there was also no doubt that he was growing as a composer. And his ability to write a piece with such depth that his audience could really attach themselves emotionally made him stand out even more. After the worst of the severe depression, he was able to find a purpose again, he came to a beautiful conclusion that the art was bigger than himself. This amazing emotional sound now came even more alive. What was once musically represented as just plain happiness became more profound. He expressed complicated emotions like gratitude, recovery from grief, unity throughout humanity. He said it all through music. As it turns out, presenting Beethoven’s compositional style by just talking about it isn’t easy. The goal here was to present a podcast episode for his Fifth Symphony. This was composed during the second period, the dark and tumultuous one, it’s perhaps his most famous composition. And during the early script writing process for this episode, the only words that kept appearing on my screen were things like, dark, stormy, hazy, bitter, carmely. And in looking at these adjectives, it occurred to me that there were a lot of them that we use to describe beer. And therein was the solution. Let’s pair Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony with a flight of beer. The selection of a brewery meant two minor hurdles for me. One, I wanted to find some brewers with a working knowledge of classical music to really offer some deep expertise on pairings and two I’m a celiac, which meant that the brewery had to be entirely gluten free And wouldn’t you know About an hour down the road, the perfect spot existed.

Amelia Bierly 5:04
My name is Amelia Bierly. We are in Bierly Brewing right now, which is our microbrewery. And also we serve food in McMinnville, Oregon. Everything we do here is gluten free, both me and JP who you’ll meet in a moment have celiac disease. My connection to classical music is that I started playing cello when I was small and played all throughout my life. I studied music education and music composition at Portland State University, taught elementary music for several years I’ve always been a gig musician and have played with Casey in many orchestras.

JP Bierly 5:44
And I’m JP Bierly. I’m the brewer here at Bierly Brewing. And as Amelia said, we’re dedicated gluten free brewery in McMinnville, Oregon. I can never say Bierly Brewing without saying that too. I am a classically trained tenor, and studied at Linfield college almost 20 years ago now. I was there 20 years ago, and studied with Gwen Leonard, and I am sure that I am going to make all of my professors very sad by what I actually remember about Beethoven.

Casey Bozell 6:17
So you two have chosen for us a beer and a should I say a beer and a food pairing or a beer and snack?

JP Bierly 6:25
Snack, sure.

Casey Bozell 6:26
That you believe goes particularly well, with each movement of Beethoven five?

JP Bierly 6:31

Amelia Bierly 6:31
I would say snack because it’s very carb heavy.

Casey Bozell 6:34

Amelia Bierly 7:00
So for the first movement, what I was feeling and hearing was dark. I think dark is a word that we associate a lot with Beethoven, especially this music. And agitatedis another word that was coming to mind rich, and also the fact that it’s super famous. And everybody knows it. Most people want it. And it’s almost like, like the thing that you want the most in a meal is dessert. And this movement is like the dessert of Beethoven. So we paired a maple bar with our Blackbird, stout, Rich roasty. Sweet, everything, all the flavors together, but really focusing in on the darkness.

JP Bierly 7:52
I like movement one when it’s played fast. To me, it hits you all at once. Like right up at the front. It’s as Amelia said something that you want. And that’s what the beer tastes like. It’s something that you want a nice bold, stout that just hits you. Beautiful tan head on this. Sticks around.

Casey Bozell 8:24
Yeah, the color is gorgeous. Grab this very dark. Like JP said this has a tan, a nice, beautiful tan head on it. Kind of a carmely tan. And very opaque. What am I smelling with this?

Amelia Bierly 8:40
Roast – roasty.

Casey Bozell 8:41
Roasty. Yeah, yes, you’re right. Yeah. So there’s not like a it’s not like a coffee roast. But it’s like the actual like if you were to extract the roastiness out of a coffee.

Amelia Bierly 8:51

Casey Bozell 8:52
Alright, so I’ve had three sips before I comment. I’m going to have a little taste of this.

Amelia Bierly 8:57
So these donuts are fried is a fried Maple bar with a maple frosting.

Casey Bozell 9:02
Oh, good grief. That’s a good maple bar. Okay, I’m gonna go back to the beer. Mm

Amelia Bierly 9:06
hmm. There’s new tastes. Now. That’s the fun thing about it.

Casey Bozell 9:11
Oh, wow.

Amelia Bierly 9:11
It’s like a brighter note.

Casey Bozell 9:15
So I feel like I don’t think this is going too far to say this because what you managed to create is the experience of there’s just one of my favorite experiences of going through the first movement. You have the famous theme that everybody knows. And then you have the B theme and then it goes back to the main theme as we just did. And then it stops and there’s a reflection from the oboe.

I feel like that’s the note that I’ve now picked up. Because it’s it’s less it is less dark. There’s this little glimmer it hasn’t changed. It’s it’s still a it’s still a stout.

Amelia Bierly 10:05

Casey Bozell 10:05
but But yeah, there’s a new spark leanness that all of this wonderful maple-y and sweet and sugar and doughy has brought out in it.

Amelia Bierly 10:12

Casey Bozell 10:33
That’s the thing that the cellists get, and we didn’t

Amelia Bierly 10:38
Right? Hahaha.

Casey Bozell 10:41
It’s amazing and cellists got it and violins have to sit back and watch every time that happens.

Amelia Bierly 10:46
It’s one of my favorite things to play in the cello section. So for the pairing for this movement, what I was thinking is like, really clean, really classic. And I want to spin this in the best way like inoffensive, like there’s nothing that anybody could like, object to. So like, there’s nothing like challenge. There’s nothing that’s really like scary or super challenging about, about this movement. There’s really like highs and lows emotionally. But it’s I think it’s pretty, universally beautiful. So we chose our Felix Pilsner, which has a very crisp, clean taste, and then a soft pretzel, which is a classic snack.

Casey Bozell 11:49
Alright, so in contrast to the last beer we just got this is this is very transparent, and it’s very light. And I could see all the bubbles coming up and it’s got a very, very white, white head to it. It is very clean. And like you said, it’s I mean, yeah, I’m trying to find a better word for inoffensive because I know what you mean.

Amelia Bierly 12:10

Casey Bozell 12:10
It’s universally loved.

Amelia Bierly 12:12

Casey Bozell 12:12
Really. There’s there’s nothing there’s nothing to just like about this. I and I do like there’s like a hint of a Is it like a hint of citrus? Maybe that’s in there?

Amelia Bierly 12:22
Yeah, hops. Yeah.

Casey Bozell 12:23

JP Bierly 12:24
The flavor is there in the moment. And then as soon as the beer is gone from your mouth, it’s largely forgotten, actually.

Amelia Bierly 12:33
It finishes really clean.

Casey Bozell 12:35
So I’m trying these are beautiful, steaming hot pretzels that’s crusty on the outside is chewy on the inside, which that particular combination of flavors for people who don’t know is a luxury rarely afforded to celiacs

JP Bierly 12:48
I always like to on pretzels, I always like to start with the ends. That’s the you know, the part that actually ends

Amelia Bierly 12:55
Sorry, I ate one of the ends.

JP Bierly 12:56
I know you have one I have one. And then my second favorite part of the pretzel is where the twist is in the middle. Because I and I like to kind of keep that together as twist please don’t eat the twist all by yourself, Amelia.

Amelia Bierly 13:11
Breaking the other part off of it.

JP Bierly 13:12
I like i like it too, because that’s where it’s like doughiest and least crunchy. So kind of the contrast between those two are kind of like two separate themes in in the same movement.

Amelia Bierly 13:24
It’s almost like the soft, sweet, doughy strings.

Casey Bozell 13:30
If the if the middle or the the middle was the strings if the twist was the strings would you call the ends or the end of the brassy, brassy edges? I love that

Amelia Bierly 13:39

JP Bierly 14:21
So the pairing we have here is Amelia’s wonderful baguette that she makes and we have that paired with our current seasonal which is the rendezvous double IPA. This beer is 7.3 ABV. It’s hoppy but not bitter, more like peach and nectarine rather than some of the more traditional pine resin.

Casey Bozell 15:01
That got sweeter with every taste for me. It started out like an IPA. Does it sound really hoppy and kind of bitter and it got sweeter and sweeter?

Amelia Bierly 15:12

Casey Bozell 15:12
That I went on it was very, that’s very interesting

Amelia Bierly 15:15
kind of spreads out on your palate. And it ends up being like, yeah, like you’re biting into a juicy fruit.

Casey Bozell 15:20
You know what, you know how its paralleling is it’s, you know what it is, and you know what you’re tasting. But it’s still complicated. You know what a scherzo is, and you know what a fugue is, and you know what all the tech– techniques are, and within it, but it’s still, there’s still a lot going on.

JP Bierly 15:37
Still a lot that it returns to you in terms of joy, and, and meaning.

Casey Bozell 15:45
At this point in the conversation, Amelia and JP’s, baby, Jamie joined us and found their microphone really fascinating. So just so you’re aware, you might hear some extra commentary in the form of baby noises.

Amelia Bierly 16:08
So for the Fourth Movement, what I was thinking is like it has kind of a little bit of everything. It has a lot of like, big blasty stuff. It has some stuff that’s like reminiscent of the first movement. So what we went with is a porter, which is a darker style, but it also has some crisp, clean notes in it. And a cinnamon sugar doughnut. And that’s Jamie who really wants a cinnamon sugar donut. He’s signing eat.

Casey Bozell 16:35
we all do.

Amelia Bierly 16:36
So this is our Baker Street Porter. It’s the first beer that we brewed here at our Baker Street location

Casey Bozell 16:41
I’m finding it hard to like focus on what I’m picking up. I can smell it but

JP Bierly 16:45
Kind of like Beethoven? Kind of hard to focus on that last movement.

Casey Bozell 16:48
Oh, man. Well, if it was really like Beethoven, then we’d have to like try this forever and ever before it actually ended right?

Amelia Bierly 16:56
Yeah, just keep drinking more and more and more.

Casey Bozell 16:58
Yeah. Was this the last beer? No, this is the last. This is the last.

Okay, you’re right. It seems to be roasty and then a clean finish.

Amelia Bierly 17:18
Yeah. Yeah, it doesn’t like doesn’t have like a thick feeling in your mouth.

Casey Bozell 17:25
Lovely. Looking donut fresh out of the fryer. Looks so light, and so fluffy.

JP Bierly 17:31
cinnamon and sugar donut.

Amelia Bierly 17:34
It’s the first donut I ever made here.

Casey Bozell 17:36
Oh, no kidding.

Amelia Bierly 17:37
Yeah, it’s become our standard.

Casey Bozell 17:39
It’s a good standard. This is a flagship Donut.

That seems now after the donut smoother. And like taking longer to kind of go back and coat the tongue and coat the throat. That’s nice.

Amelia Bierly 18:14
Yeah, yeah. It’s like the sweetness on your tongue kind of attracts. Like the the part of your tongue that was like opened up by the sweetness.

Casey Bozell 18:21
I think before we started recording you used the word sparkly like this movement is there’s a lot of he pulls out all the stops, like all you know, everybody, he has something fun for everybody. Like I feel like this is one of those movements where no matter what you play, your part is really fun.

Amelia Bierly 18:38
Yeah, it really is. I love playing this movement. I love playing the symphony overall, but this movement I love the most. And it like the music to me is like fireworks going off.

Casey Bozell 18:48
As we’re winding up the symphony. I think I can almost hear the question you’re asking, How can I play along at home? Well, good news. If you’re a resident of the Willamette Valley, you can head on over to That’s b i e r l y and click on their delivery news. They have this collection of beers available as a set for delivery, as well as some delicious pretzels. The doughnuts and the baguette are also available for takeout at their Baker Street location. And oh wow, is it worth it. I cannot recommend the food and the beer highly enough. So grab your favorite recording of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and as JP says,

JP Bierly 19:29
you can get your bottle of beer.

Casey Bozell 19:35
And that’s our show for today. My biggest and warmest thanks to Amelia and JP over at Bierly Brewing your insight made this episode so fun to produce. Our theme music is composed by Thomas barber who was also a fan of Beethoven and beer. Check him out at Web Development support is provided by Tina at Keep classical weird is created and edited by me Casey Bozell, if you’re enjoying the podcast and would like to help us grow, head on over to our to access some bonus content. Thanks so much for listening everyone. Stay safe and stay weird

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