Jessica Nash

Well, hello there -- and welcome to the inaugural presentation of The Mixed 6: an ongoing series that will pair six beers with six songs in a customized Spotify playlist. We’ll try to stick to (fairly) widely distributed brews so that you might actually have a shot at getting your hands on them to sip upon the six-pack as you listen along.

In the future, we'll invite brewers, tastemakers, writers, and other beer fans to join in -- but I'm calling the shots this time around. The songs in this special “2016 Editor’s Choice” edition all came out this year, and represent a wide array of genres to maximize exploration (ain’t that what life’s all about?). You might notice that the tasting builds and crescendos towards the end of the list, only to ramp back down for a nice ‘n’ smooth finale. We like to think that listening -- much like drinking -- is best enjoyed that way.

So grab your beers, crank up your speakers, and and head out on this sensory journey with us.

1) Electronic

Tycho - "Horizon"

Fruity, spicy, and more flavor-forward than the hazy straw-colored saison looks, Goose Island Sofie is a modern twist on a classic style, made from 20% Belgian Style Ale aged in wine barrels with citrus peel. With white pepper spice on the nose and vanilla on the palate, the beer mirrors Tycho’s chillwave: laid back from a distance, but incredibly layered when more closely examined.

2) Indie Rock

Parquet Courts - "Berlin Got Blurry"

A simple and straightforward pop-rock song deserves a beer executed with perfect precision. Victory Prima Pilsner is perhaps the cleanest, snappiest German-style pilsner made in the US, making it the ideal match for this jaunty Parquet Courts track. And whaddya know: the song even makes reference to Berlin!

3) Funk

Childish Gambino - "Boogieman"

This funky, raucous, politically charged cut off of Donald Glover’s (aka Childish Gambino’s) new record goes perfectly with a big, juicy, sour beer. Wicked Weed Black Angel Cherry Sour certainly does the job, with its fruity cherry pie sweetness, rich bourbon barrel flavors, and, of course, notable funky tartness.

4) Hip-Hop

Aesop Rock - "Mystery Fish"

Big, biting, and anything but shy, the opening track on Aesop Rock’s latest effort goes perfectly with Bell’s Hopslam Ale, a huge, hopped-up double IPA. Brewed with six different hop varieties, the bitter beer is balanced by a touch of honey -- much like Aesop Rock’s aggressive rhyming and heavy beats are kept in check by the subtle horn riffs and melodic samples of “Mystery Fish.”

5) Metal

Vektor - "Pillars of Sand"

Nothing pairs with American thrash metal like an American black ale. Both Vektor’s “Pillars of Sand” and Lagunitas Nighttime are dark, brooding, and intense...yet still full of life. Equally packed with roasted malts and dank west coast hops, the beer is as dark as it is vibrant -- just like the energetic music.

6) Jazz

Kamasi Washington - "Final Thought"

Our final selections are a couple of smooth operators: Blue Point’s Oatmeal Stout is a silky, easy-drinking brew that also happens to be full of flavor, and Kamasi Washington’s “Final Thought” -- the shortest track on his three-part opus, The Epic -- reflects the same dichotomy of accessibility and complexity.