The Clientele and Ocelot Brewing Conjure Summer with New Pale Ale

The Clientele and Ocelot Brewing Conjure Summer with New Pale Ale

From Ocelot:

On Wednesday, July 26th, Ocelot Brewing will release Conjuring Summer In, a 5.2% pale ale made in collaboration with psychedelic indie pop outfit The Clientele. This bright, breezy brew celebrates the release of the English band’s remarkable ninth album I Am Not There Anymore, which arrives next Friday via Merge Records.

I Am Not There Anymore feels at once familiar and unlike any other Clientele album. As with much of the band’s catalogue, the double LP was recorded in studios across their longtime home of London. But its 19 songs refract the trio’s iconic sound – James Hornsey’s melodic bass, Mark Keen’s eerily beautiful piano, Alasdair MacLean’s evocative imagery and reverbed vocals – through a kaleidoscopic lens of flamenco, electronic, jazz, and classical music influences. In that spirit, Conjuring Summer In showcases an array of new school German hops: Hallertau Blanc, Mandarina Bavaria, Hüll Melon, and Callista. Developed by Hopfenforschungszentrum Hüll, these varietals grow in the same Bavarian soil that has produced classically “noble” hops since the Middle Ages, and yet they emerge from the land with a brash modernity. Rather than leaning gently spicy or woody, they erupt with notes of white grape, red berry, honeydew, and orange citrus, while retaining a subtle florality. Steeped in tradition but new again.

As Clientele fans well know, every record begins with an absolute stunner, and I Am Not There Anymore opener “Fables of the Silverlink” – an eight-and-a-half-minute odyssey replete with horns, strings, programmed drums, and a Spanish-language Alicia Macanás cameo – is no exception. Conjuring Summer In, meanwhile, begins where it’s only logical: luxe UK pale malt. The beer is brewed with a base of biscuity Halcyon malt from Thomas Fawcett & Sons, the revered seventh-generation maltster of West Yorkshire. Then, befitting the companion to an album about “beautiful complexities,” we amplified the lushness of its body with malted oats and chit, and introduced a coyly spicy flourish by way of flaked rye. Consider it a contemporary hazy American pale ale with European refinement. After all, as MacLean notes on “Lady Grey”, all the beautiful things are opaque.

The collaboration borrows its name from I Am Not There Anymore’s “Conjuring Summer In”. That song, in turn, is a lyrical bricolage indebted to the writers David Thompson, Gaby Wood, John Berger, Vernon Scannell, and Rudyard Kipling. The three titular words, in particular, originate from that last author. “But – we have been out in the woods all night, a-conjuring Summer in,” Kipling wrote in a 1906 collection of poems and stories.

“I stole those words from Puck of Pook’s Hill,” MacLean shares. “Kipling stole enough stuff himself, so I don’t feel guilty. It describes a real thing apparently – youngsters used to go out together and spend the night in the woods on May Day. The priests didn’t like it one bit as it was a remnant of pagan ritual. And it also probably involved some licentious behaviour. I love the idea of being out in the woods all night when you’re young.”

Much of I Am Not There Anymore is spent channeling the half-remembered fog of youth and depicting pastoral scenes from the countryside where MacLean spent his. Conjuring Summer In’s label art, drawn by MacLean a decade ago, aptly depicts a walk through a small patch of woods in his native Hampshire. A copse or spinney, they were called. “There are lots of them in the town where we grew up, and they’re a bit mysterious or even threatening,” the singer-guitarist continues. “They aren’t manicured woods like you get in London.”

In a few weeks, The Clientele embark on a longer jaunt through North America, which includes an August 12th stop at DC’s Songbyrd. I Am Not There Anymore can be pre-saved and pre-ordered here. Cans of Conjuring Summer In will be released at Ocelot Brewing in Dulles, Virginia, with limited local distribution to follow. The beer follows collaborations with Protomartyr and Fucked Up earlier this year.

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