What do Lenny Bruce and Thelonious Monk
have in common? “They’re both dead” is not what I’m really looking for.
“I don’t know who the heck they are” will not get any traction here,
either. Here’s a hint: it’s about beer.
No one’s gonna get the right answer, so I’ll tell you. They’re both having beers named after them.
Thelonious Monk was a jazz icon of the 50s. Eccentric to the point
of obsessiveness, he once dropped out of jazz performance for years due
to a dispute with a club owner. Some believe his splay-fingered, spare
style and bizarre on-stage behavior became more entrenched in that
period. Ironically, one of his most well-known tunes— “Straight No
Chaser”—was recorded in an era when the only chaser likely was a short
glass of beer.
Monk’s memorial brew is put forth by California’s North Coast
Brewery in Fort Bragg. They’ve made a high-test Trappist style ale
(Monk, see) that weighs in at an attention-getting (and then no doubt
attention dissolving) 9% alcohol and is called “Brother Thelonious”. A
Belgian stye strong dark ale, it’s a complex brew. it debuted in April
and is fully supported by the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz in Los
Angeles. The idea was actually initiated by Thelonious’s son TS Monk,
and some of the proceeds will go to the Jazz Institute.
Support jazz…drink beer!
Some people have tried it and posted their thoughts on the Beer Advocate site at http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/112/30282.
But Lenny Bruce? Crazed anti-hero, completely obscene social critic
(arrested for it several times), Bruce eventually got so weird he
became almost irrelevant.
According to the Schmaltz Brewing Company, maker of Lenny’s
Bittersweet R.I.P.A, it takes an “obscene amount of malts and hops”.
The “R” refers to the rye in the recipe, a brewing anamoly. It’s
alcohol content is even greater than Thelonious’s…10%. Their website
lists all the spots you can get it. Try http://www.shmaltz.com/.
Support obscenity…drink beer!