High Water Music Festival will take place this weekend, April 22nd and 23rd, at Riverfront Park in North Charleston. High Water is a “celebration of music, food, and libations” curated by Charleston’s very own Shovels & Rope. The musical lineup is exciting in its own right, but in addition to the music, “The Porch” will feature a lineup of local craft breweries. Based on careful research, we have curated a six pack of beer and band pairings to guide your beverage decisions this weekend for the optimal listening and libations experience!
Bethany: 32°/50° is the North Charleston-based COAST Brewing’s spin on a Kölsch ale. With a traditional dry body infused with malty sweetness, COAST gives us an an honest (and mostly organic) drink that’s smooth and hoppy to match the surprising stylistic range of the Brooklyn duo, Lucius. The honey notes of this beer will immerse you in the warm, sun-drenched melodies of Lucius’ Wildewoman, while it’s hoppy finish captures the band’s more recent, heavily synthesized zingers “Almost Makes Me Wish for Rain” and “Million Dollar Secret.” This floral beer will pair nicely with Lucius’ poppy retro aesthetic and the colorful light shows characteristic of their live performances.
B: This pairing was the easiest. At 8.4% ABV, Lo-Fi’s Glitter Pony is a doozy, and only Aaron Lee Tasjan has the personality to match. Tasjan has stated that he aspires to be “the Miley Cyrus of folk singers,” aiming to use his music platform to inspire fans “to be free and weird.” Though the songwriter left his glam rock inspired band Semi Precious Weapons to establish his voice in the realm of folk music, he has carried the sparkling, individualistic glam ethos with him. There’s a sense of grandiosity and playfulness to Tasjan’s vocals that peppers his soft folk melodies and recalls the spirit of David Bowie. Let songs from Tasjan’s Silver Tears wash over you while you enjoy Lo-Fi’s Glitter Pony, a fruity golden beer fit for a Saturday afternoon—both go down smoothly and with a surprising complexity, and under their glossy surfaces leave you with satisfied with their classic, full-bodied centers.
Phillip: Bushfire is Mt. Pleasant’s Two Blokes Brewery’s most requested beer. It is an Amber Ale with a medium body and a smoky and spicy finish that is a result of the subtle chipotle pepper flavoring. With the Shins performing from 9:30-11:00 p.m., the finish is sure to keep you awake and energized, and your throat warm enough to sing along to the Shins infectiously catchy and timeless melodies. The personalities of the Bushfire brew and the Shins complement each other perfectly—both are timeless classics, but with an unforgettable twist.
The Suffers: Espresso Porter, Palmetto Brewery (5.8% ABV)
B: Don’t let the name fool you—there’s no better way to unwind on a Sunday afternoon than with sentimental tunes by the Suffers. The band formed in 2011 and have since developed a lush sound that’s timeless and all-encompassing. The soulful ten-piece band from Houston, Texas, coined the term “Gulf Coast Soul” to describe their rich blend of R&B, classic rock, reggae and hip-hop, informed by the diversestyles and cultures that have taken root along their Gulf Coast home. The sweet chocolate-malt backbone of Palmetto Brewery’s Espresso Porter complements Kam Franklin’s charismatic vocals and saccharine lyrics. With energetic percussion capitalized by trumpet, trombone and saxophone, the Suffers pack emotional depth into a sonically indulgent experience. The espresso porter is an equally indulgent beer, with dark roasted espresso from Charleston Coffee Roasters to lend a bold but delicate finish.
P: Shovels & Rope have risen to national acclaim in recent years, but their roots are still heavily here in Charleston, and they never forget their hometown audience. Like Shovels & Rope, Holy City Brewing is somewhat of a Charleston staple. The Pluff Mud Porter is Holy City’s version of a classic American Porter, with an ABV on the tamer side at 5.5%, a medium body, and a silky, chocolate like finish. Since the brew’s name includes Pluff Mud, it invokes just as much Charlestonian pride as Shovels & Rope. Because it’s a heavier beer, it will feel right with Shovels & Rope’s grittier songs. Enjoy two local favorites along the banks of the Cooper River at Riverfront Park.
P: The Albatross IPA, from Frothy Beard Brewing, is a heavy malt beer that is especially earthy and piney, with heaping amounts of English hops that will pair with the Avett Brother’s old timey southern string arrangements and nature influenced aesthetic. Of course, there is just something about the Avett Brothers that makes a local IPA the obvious choice, but it is all the better that this IPA is from Frothy Beard since the Avett Brothers are such a heavily bearded band. Albatross is the perfect balance of heavy and hoppy for the Avett Brother’s sincere and energetic folk.
Correction: April 24th, 2017. An earlier version of this article misidentified the lead vocalist of the Suffers.
Written by Bethany Fincher and Phillip Greene