pindrop session at Aeronaut Brewery
pindrop session in January featuring Boston Percussion Group
Diana Hunt

What pairs perfectly with a craft beer? According to Aeronaut Brewery in Somerville: classical music.

Thanks to a partnership between WCRB, WGBH, and Aeronaut Brewery, classical music has found a new community of music and beer lovers. Since 2017, Aeronaut has been welcoming classical groups to their taproom to play live music while sipping on craft beer through their monthly pindrop sessions. The series features a new way to experience music, encouraging attendees to be fully present in the moment, where the taproom becomes an improvised concert venue.

Jason McCool, Head of Arts & Culture at Aeronaut, says that bringing classical music to a brewery makes it accessible to a new demographic of people that may have been intimidated by classical music in the past.

“We've found a huge amount of overlap between folks who love craft beer, adventurous music, and community-driven cultural events — it's all about the creativity,” said McCool. “We're presenting music that many of our audience members have never experienced before.”

Rani Schloss, Programming Manager at WCRB, says the partnership has been valuable in spreading awareness about WCRB and the role classical music can play in someone’s life.

“We’re consistently bringing new people in, many of whom haven’t heard of WCRB,” Schloss said. “We’re engaging with a new audience, over a beer, while listening to spectacular musicians from around the region. I can’t imagine a better way to spend a Sunday night.”

The final pindrop session of the second season will take place on Sunday, May 5, with a performance by synesthetic composer Mary Bichner’s Senses of Summer. Soprano Margot Rood will also perform composer Samuel Barber's Knoxville, Summer of 1915 with text from poet James Agee.

“Every one of our events provide an eclectic musical journey led by creative and forward-thinking performers,” McCool said. “It helps our attendees get in touch with how riveting an experience it can be to hear beautiful music in a focused listening environment.”

The lineup will be accompanied by Phoenix, the brewery’s orchestra-in-residence — the first time an orchestra has held a residency at a brewery in the United States. The orchestra’s mission is to provide inclusive concert experiences for all. They’ve been performing at Aeronaut since this first season of pindrop sessions, and are on hand to help make musical events a reality for the brewery.

The partnership with Phoenix, led by Artistic Director Matt Szymanski and General Manager Christina Dioguardi, has allowed Aeronaut to make classical music approachable and inclusive for a wide array of communities, including a younger audience that loves music but didn’t always view classical music being presented to them in an accessible environment.

“Having a small orchestra at our disposal proves to be quite convenient when we're envisioning conceptual musical events,” said McCool about working with Phoenix and WCRB. “Our collaboration with WCRB has made a world of sense because of WCRB's mission to expose listeners to the unexpected beauty and relevance of classical music.”

To make this season’s finale even sweeter, Aeronaut will be serving up a special brew inspired by Agee’s texts: a Strawberry Vanilla Milkshake IPA. And Aeronaut’s neighbor restaurant Tasting Counter, which specializes in creating multi-sensory culinary experiences, will create exclusive dishes inspired by Mary Bichner's compositional color palette.

Gone are the days when this genre was limited to concert halls and other refined settings. Thanks to this creative partnership, classical music is coming to a brewery near you.

Learn more about the WCRB/Aeronaut pindrop sessions here and stay tuned for information about upcoming events.