When the truth is boiled down to a funda- mental sludge, we consume to sustain our- selves. As a semi-pseudo touring musician, I often perch on the besmirched expanses of Midwestern truck stops, stuffing my mouth with indiscernible logs of stale beans and rice. A broken statue merely trying to satisfy the howl of an angry stomach. Nothing less, nothing more. Coffee is a caustic stimulant for the drowsy driver. Beer is the lukewarm celebrant after the last song fades. Palms are for slapping dumbfounded foreheads in strange hotel rooms. And taste is just the easy answer to the extra-credit question, the festival inside a charmed mouth when all the earthbound planets align. (If I’m ruining the eternal af- ter-party in your mind, I apologize. I’m fine in here alone, dancing with some garbled Mor- rissey and a broken mirror ball.) Against the Grain Brewery. We just made a beer with these folks. A 14-hour jaunt from New York’s Hudson Valley took us down to Credit: Adelle Brodbeck for Against the Grain Brewery Louisville with a simple and honorable objec- tive: to pair a craft brew with a little rock and roll. Truthfully, the endeavor may not have been too far a stretch for co-owner Sam Cruz and his crew. This is after all what they do: They’re mad geniuses, mining inspiration from the community of artists and musicians around them, letting loose their irreverent humor, their brewers’ flavor fancies, with every in- tention of independently—even defiantly— remaking the face of craft brewing in their own image. Ours was a collusion a long time in the works, and on a hot week in August—with our new album’s release a few days away—we were there to manifest our collective vision to- gether. “This collaboration,” said Cruz, our partner in crime, “embodies the connection craft beer inherently has with music.” If the sweet nostalgia of summer, in song, were a beer, what would it taste like?