Beer and country music is a natural fit. Yes, whiskey is a time-honored country music staple as well, but whiskey is hard liquor. It’s serious drinking. Beer, on the other hand, is kicked-back, hanging with your friends, good time drinking. Or sitting at the bar crying over your lost love drinking.
Beer is the perfect country song beverage. Not just for drinking at a concert or to a country music soundtrack at a party or bar, but in country music itself. You don’t have to look too hard to find country songs that feature the tasty adult beverage.
More and more, the beer world is repaying the favor by creating beers that are odes to country music singers and songs. Craft breweries are creating up fun brews that pay homage to legendary singers and songs, and some are even collaborating with country musicians themselves on specialty beers.
We thought it would be fun to look at some songs that mention beer and some of the craft beers inspired in turn by the music. Some of these beers were limited editions, some are still available, but all of them are examples of inspiration and collaboration between music and beverage.
Here’s a list of five songs inspired by beer and six beers inspired by country music.
“Beer for My Horses”
Okay, technically this one has the beer going to the horses, but it’s still a country song featuring beer and the great Willie Nelson. Nelson and Toby Keith sing about vigilante justice; the chorus goes: “We’ll all meet back at the local saloon / And we’ll raise up our glasses against evil forces singing / Whiskey for my men, beer for my horses.”
Against the Grain Brewery in Louisville, Kentucky, brewed Schwillie Nelson to help you mellow out (no other substances required). The beer is an understated Pale Ale with a twangy hop character, kind of like one of our favorite country singers.
“Cold Beer Conversations”
This George Strait song makes me think of Billy Riggins in Friday Night Lights, just guys sitting around trying to figure out their place in the world over cold beer. It’s a simple, but great, song.
I’m not entirely certain either of the Riggins’ brothers would have claimed to be fans of beer brewed with coffee and vanilla, but Buffalo Bayou Brewing Company’s Amaretto By Morning is a lovely tribute to George Strait. The Houston, Texas, brewery made this cream ale in 2017.
This Brooks & Dunn song is a honky tonk tribute to the saying “it’s 5 o’clock somewhere.” Life is short so you should live it, says the song. It’s a rollicking good time of a song that makes you want to get up and dance.
More rock than honky tonk, Jamie Kent’s “All American Mutt” is another song that will make you want to dance along, especially if you watch the video. Back in 2016, concurrent with the song’s release, Kent and Nantahala Brewing Company, located in Bryson City, North Carolina, collaborated on a beer of the same name as part of the brewery’s Music on Tap series.
There are two songs with “beer run” in the title (we shouldn’t be surprised, right?), one sung by Todd Snider, the other by Garth Brooks featuring George Jones. Both are odes to friends looking for a little fun or a chance to blow off some steam after a long week. (Side note: It’s great that both songs make a point of mentioning having a sober driver. It’s actually a small plot point in the Brooks version, because who hasn’t been the designated driver for rowdy friends at some point?)
The Snider version mentions Texas legend Robert Earl Keen, who actually has his own line of beers. Back in 2014, Keen partnered with Pedernales Brewing Co. to make Honey Pils, brewed with Texas Hill Country honey and well water. Fortunately the line of beers, including Front Porch (an amber ale named after Keen’s “The Front Porch Song”), was saved when Uncle Billy’s bought the Pedernales brand early in 2018.
Back in 2014, City Steam Brewery in Connecticut made a beer called George Jones in honor of the singer. While it’s not available any more, it’s an example of how a craft brewery finds inspiration in different places.
“Beer Can Hill”
Merle Haggard’s song Beer Can Hill is about his time in Bakersfield, California, but really, no matter where you grew up, who among us doesn’t have a Beer Can Hill in our past?
Brazos Valley Brewing, based in Brenham, Texas, not too far from Houston, honors Merle and his music with Mama Tried, their flagship IPA.