At Stone Brewing Co., craft beer and music go together as well as hops, barley, water and yeast. So when the opportunity arose to collaborate with two musicians from stylistically different backgrounds, we did the universal hand sign for "Rock on!" and bobbed our heads in perfect unison. The collaboration “band” consisted of the Stone Brew Crew, led by Brewmaster Mitch Steele (who is the guitarist of Craigsband and Stone's house band, The Flocculators); hard rock guitarist Keri Kelli (who has played with the likes of Alice Cooper, Skid Row and Slash from Guns N’ Roses); and keyboardist Kyle Hollingsworth of The String Cheese Incident. Together, they brewed an epic double IPA infused with elderberries and coriander, and named their magnificent creation Collective Distortion IPA. Fans may start enjoying the beer in 22-ounce bottles and on draft at select retailers, restaurants and bars across the U.S. this week. A few years ago, Hollingsworth introduced himself to Steele at the Great American Beer Festival. After a conversation and some shared beer geekery, the instrumentalist and long-time homebrewer was invited to Stone to brew a 20-gallon batch of saison. After Hollingsworth proved his handiwork wasn’t limited to the ivories, Steele suggested that he help produce a future large-scale collaboration beer. When that “future” came, Kelli, who also happens to be a homebrewer and publican, was chosen to complete the rockin’ trifecta. They decided without hesitation to make an IPA, and looked to Old World ingredients – elderberries and coriander – to amplify the hop bitterness. Historically, these ingredients were used to spice beer before brewers gravitated toward hops.
“To make sure we selected the best herb combination, we tried nearly a dozen different infusions with Stone IPA and ultimately found that elderberry and coriander provided a wonderful augment to the various hop characters,” explains Steele. “The entire collaboration has been a unique experience. I’m always excited when the opportunity to combine two of my favorite passions, craft beer and music, comes up.”
Kyle Hollingsworth/Keri Kelli/Stone Collective Distortion IPA offers a complex blend of floral, citrus and lemon flavors that balance well with a strong malt backbone, suitable enough to please any extreme hophead's palate. From using Vic's Secret, a new Australian hop varietal, for dry-hopping, distinct citrusy, pineapple and earthy-pine qualities are present in the flavor and aroma. Coriander and elderberries were combined to enhance the hop bitterness while still infusing fruit, earth and berry notes.
"Both in music and in brewing one has to take risks to reap great rewards, and with this beer we brought both worlds together to create a tour de force," said Hollingsworth.
“Never being the one to be complacent, I said to the guys, ‘Let’s make the biggest, baddest, beast of an IPA we can using some hops new to Stone and a few interesting ingredients without trying to reinvent the wheel,’” Kelli recalls. “I think we really brought the hammer down and cranked this one up! One sip of this beast and you will taste the unforgiving nectar of the gods that is Collective Distortion IPA!”
Available for a limited time in small quantities, this imperial IPA is meant to be consumed fresh or within 90 days of being bottled or kegged in order to fully enjoy the beer’s hop-forward flavors and aromas. Fans with the opportunity to experience the brew will celebrate the harmonious taste that is created when musical talent and brewing prowess join forces. Rock on.
For an exclusive download of “Racer X,” a new track from Kyle Hollingsworth’s upcoming album Speed of Life debuting late summer, as well as a download of “Let’s Go Outside” by The String Cheese Incident from the album Song in my Head, visit stonebrewing.com/collab/collectivedistortion.