Good Beer Hunting

no. 399


It’s Saturday night and I’m standing inside an old button factory in Boston, sipping on a Porter, watching a man play a cactus.

His name is Steven Snowden, and he's one of several local composers and performers here tonight for the Original Gravity Concert Series. As he draws his bow across the spiky plant, the audience watches and listens, mesmerized, as the staff continues to serve them beer. He moves his hand along the amplified cactus spikes to produce sounds no other musical instrument could make. It's like a gently flowing river, except it's a cactus, and we're all fairly spellbound.

This is no ordinary cactus, mind you. Her name is Cathy and she's from San Diego. Cathy the Cactus has natural acoustic properties that Snowden amplifies by applying contact microphones and plugging in a pickup.

As the night goes on, we try several beers from local brewers, each paired with a unique musical piece. From a Witbier and cello combo to a Brown Ale and violin pairing, the creative combinations allow us to indulge in a sensory experience unlike any other.

But one thing is for certain: none of us will forget the man who played the cactus.