Early music trio Paul Luchkow, Michael Jarvis and Sam Stadlen perform in A Grand Tour of Beer: A Musical Journey in the Port Theatre lobby on Nov. 8. (Photo courtesy Jozi Grant)

Unique Port Theatre event pairs beer with baroque

A Grand Tour of Beer combines beer tasting and music recital at theatre lobby Nov. 8

An unlikely pairing is being offered at the Port Theatre.

On Nov. 8, craft beer expert and Victoria Beer Society beer director Joe Wiebe and the Victoria-based Luchkow-Stadlen-Jarvis Trio present A Grand Tour of Beer: A Musical Journey, a combination beer tasting and baroque music recital.

The idea came to them after Wiebe met the trio at a concert after-party and started discussing at length the beer he brought.

“[I] told a story about why it was an interesting beer, the brewer, just kind of what I do without thinking,” Wiebe said. “And at the end of the night the musicians turned to me and said, ‘You know, that was a lot of fun, we should do that as an event sometime with music.’”

Harpsichordist Michael Jarvis said the “grand tour” is a reference to a kind of summer abroad that upper-class young adults embarked on in the 17th and 18th centuries, in which they would indulge in the arts and culture of various European cities.

In their Grand Tour of Beer, Wiebe introduces beers representing different European cities, while the Luchkow-Stadlen-Jarvis Trio plays classical music from those regions. Last year’s sold-out debut in Victoria attracted both beer fans and classical music fans.

“In the end I think it worked out perfectly,” Wiebe said. “It was brand-new for both sides of the communities and there were a couple people I think that crossed over.”

“We figured that if you drew one of those Venn diagrams that there would be a certain amount of people in the shaded area that would like music, but also like to support … their local breweries and discover something new,” Jarvis said.

Nanaimo is hosting the second World Tour of Beer. The event will feature the Helios Dortmunder Golden Lager from Victoria’s Hoyne Brewing representing Germany, accompanied by Sonata Prima in C major by Johann Philipp Krieger; Vancouver’s Luppolo Brewing’s IPA representing Italy, along with Tommaso Giordani’s Sonata in D major; Belgium’s Brouwerij Verhaeghe’s Duchesse de Bourgogne will be paired with Fantasia Chromatica by Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck; and A Wee Angry Scotch Ale by Russell Brewing from Surrey will be joined by Scottish composer James Oswald’s Airs for the Seasons. Representing North America on the tour is the Gallows Point Chocolate Porter by Nanaimo’s White Sails Brewing, paired with Boston composer William Selby’s Ouverture.

The evening will also include “classical drinking songs,” including Drink to Me Only with Thine Eyes and The Anacreontic Hymn, the melody of which was later borrowed for The Star-Spangled Banner.

“Somehow it’s wonderful that the American national anthem started that way,” Jarvis said. “As a drinking song.”

WHAT’S ON … A Grand Tour of Beer comes to the lobby of the Port Theatre, 125 Front St., on Friday, Nov. 8 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets $45, includes five 10-ounce glasses of beer and light snacks, available at the box office.


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