Fluid Art 2015 | Revealing Epic’s Art + Beer Pairing
The pairing of art and beer is one that is entertaining and unique, as well as challenging and informative. On May 14, UMOCA and the Utah Brewers’ Guild are teaming up for the third time to host this spring’s Fluid Art.
At the popular event, each brewery selects a work of art to pair with one of their beers. Here, we are thrilled to reveal Epic Brewing Company’s chosen pairing: the Annex Berliner Weisse with Karin Hodgin-Jones’ “Tug (Peaks and Valleys)” from UMOCA’s Adjunct exhibition.
For Matthew Allred, artist and Epic’s Communications Director, the play between the mechanical and the spontaneous is very much present throughout both the Berliner Weisse and “Tug.” Hodgin-Jones’ sculpture traverses the whimsical and the unsettling. The mechanics of “Tug” lay bare: viewers can see how the seemingly precarious mechanical structure at the top of the sculpture translates through a set of long strings. At the bottom, each string is attached to a neutral-colored cloth and controls its actions to embrace more fluctuating and natural motions.
Epic’s chosen beer, the Berliner Weisse, undergoes two biological transformations. The first involves bacteria, which creates the sourness, and the second involves yeast in a traditional fermentation. “Most of the real work—the magic—of brewing happens inside tanks. The only indication that anything is happening is in the airlock, where yeast will take on a life of its own, much like the cloth in ‘Tug,’” explained Allred.
“Watching the clumsy, mechanical movement at the top of ‘Tug’ transform into a lucid and semi-organic dance at the bottom reminded me of the interaction between the biological and mechanical processes in brewing,” explained Allred. “There is a semi-joke in the brewing industry that we work for the yeast and not the other way around.”
“As a brewer, you understand the process, but the issue of control is never really settled,” said Allred. “Science and mechanics are both involved, but in the end, there’s an element of chance. Things don’t always work out right. We create the best circumstances for the yeast to perform in a predictable way, but it’s up to the yeast to really do that.”
Allred is looking forward to this year’s Fluid Art event, which he thinks might have the most challenging beer pairing decisions yet. In past events, it was fairly easy to make direct and literal correlations between the beer and the art (Amy Jorgensen’s “An Apple a Day” paired nicely with Wasatch Brewery’s Apple Ale, for example). This round of UMOCA’s exhibitions pose larger cultural inquiries and ramifications—think explorations of surveillance in Panopticon and discussions of the higher education system in Adjunct.
“Art can be fun, and it can also be serious and highly intellectual. But, it’s not unapproachable,” said Allred. “Beer’s foundation is that it is not pretentious. Adding the ‘craft’ qualifier elevates brewing to a type of art form, and combining these things brings out a new and experiential approach for the event.”
And the sign of a successful Fluid Art event? “Engagement!” said Allred.
“Contemporary art puts visitors into new, bizarre contexts where they are confronted with strange but often beautiful and intriguing things. The beer adds a social aspect. It’s a lubricant. It helps to generate candid discussion, art appreciation, and a positive, impactful experience. That’s the point of Fluid Art.”
Fluid Art is Thursday, May 14, from 7-10 PM. Purchase your tickets in advance at arttix.org or at the door.