broadway Archives – PorchDrinking.com
As much as the brewery and restaurant industry has been hit in the wake of COVID-19, live theatre has essentially seen an entire shutdown. While there have been wonderful virtual performances (yes, I do still watch Meryl Streep, Christine Baranski and Audra McDonald perform Ladies Who Lunch on a weekly basis), nothing beats the thrill of going to a live musical, play or comedy show. As someone who performed in comedy theatres across Chicago, my heart aches when I think of how many theatres will need to close and how many working actors have struggled through the past year.
I got a new car this week, due to the good people of the EPA busting VW’s scam. “Ugh” you say, “ANOTHER driving playlist, we just had one of those.” This isn’t just any driving playlist, dear readers. I’ve been a fan of the long-haul since the moment I could drive. Day trips to Toronto for a baseball game, 7 hour trips to and from Iowa City to Ann Arbor constantly in college, or an impromptu pilgrimage to Graceland, I’ll join anything. The headline photo comes from a last-minute favor to drive my friends to a KMFDM concert in Chicago. The electric system of my car Botilda shut down on I-90 but they still got in on time. Because of all these long-ass trips through the flat, level heartland of America, I started collecting voice-busters in order to power through the drive.
In “Hamilton,” the musical that is STILL dominating Broadway (and taking home 11 Tony Awards), our entry point into the American Revolution is a toast between friends with a shared vision. Alexander Hamilton, played by Javier Munoz, is a tenacious revolutionary with humble origins and big aspirations.
Every sentient being on the planet says it: If you’re in New York, you just HAVE to go see “Hamilton,” the musical currently taking Broadway by storm. (And it’s ridiculously difficult to see if you don’t purchase tickets way in advance.) It’s life-changing, they claim. It manages to make Americans talk enthusiastically about two things that have NEVER been so universally beloved: history and musical theater.
I did see “Hamilton” last month in New York, and all the hype is true. It’s fantastic. Lin-Manuel Miranda (the star/writer/composer) and the cast are extraordinary performers, and the way the show is staged tells a story worth hearing in a bold way unlike anything I’d seen before. I’m one of those people now. “Hamilton” is like veganism – you’ll know a friend of yours has seen it because they insist on telling you all about it. After seeing the show, I immediately followed some of the cast on Twitter, including Miranda’s alternate Javier Muñoz, who played Alexander Hamilton on the night on which I saw the show. And I was intrigued to see Muñoz talk about his involvement in a group creating a craft brew based on the show.
That’s right. There’s “Hamilton” beer.
Gun Hill Brewing in The Bronx has created “Rise Up Rye,” a limited rye beer (4.8% ABV) inspired by “Hamilton.” And just like I immediately went on the hunt for “Hamilton” tickets when I first heard the soundtrack, the revelation that a “Hamilton” beer existed sent me on a quest. And while “Rise Up Rye” isn’t available to me in LA (yet), I wanted to know more. This is where Dave Lopez enters.
Lopez is a co-managing partner at Gun Hill Brewing Co, which has had a Colonial-America look and feel about it since it opened in February 2014. Everything from the website layout to the labeling on their bottles looks like what you would’ve seen in the 1700s. And when you consider that the biggest thing in pop culture right now is the story of young, scrappy, and hungry New York revolutionaries with a vision, it’s easy to see how Rise Up Rye was a natural fit for Gun Hill.
Lopez generously agreed to talk to me about how Rise Up Rye came to be. And then… I put him to the test with a pop (culture) quiz to find out just how well he knows “Hamilton.”