ESCONDIDO, CA — 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 www.stonebrewing.com/collab/collectivedistortion.
Name: Kyle Hollingsworth/Keri Kelli/Stone Collective Distortion IPA
Stats: 9.3% ABV, 90 IBUs
Availability: Limited 22-ounce bottles and draft, beginning May 19
Hops Bill: Nugget, Comet, Calypso and Vic’s Secret
Distribution: AK, AL, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, NC, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OR, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, VA, VT and WA
Appearance: Pours deep gold with light haze and a rich creamy head.
Aroma: An interesting blend of floral, citrus, stone fruit and coriander. The elderberries provide a fruity, earthy component and the coriander blends well with the lemon aspects of the Vic’s Secret hop.
Taste: Coriander comes through first, followed by the abundant blend of fruity flavors—elderberry earthiness, berry notes and citrusy hop notes—against a sturdy malt backbone.
Palate: The beer is dry and smooth with a nice lingering bitterness.
Overall: Developing this beer with two professional musicians from such different backgrounds was a fun and unique experience. Besides loving to play music, the three of us also share a common love for craft beer, so we were all excited to combine music and brewing. The jam sessions with Team Stone after each brew day were awesome, and it was an honor to share the “stage” with Kyle and Keri. The historic throwback of using elderberries to spice the beer, in addition to hops, was an interesting choice and makes this beer distinct and unique.
Appetizers: Guacamole, coconut shrimp, cheese-stuffed jalape├▒os, Oysters Casino
Soups: Carrot ginger, curried sweet potato, butternut squash, lemon chicken orzo
Entrees: Grilled lamb, cheese enchiladas, Thai coconut rice, paella
Cheeses: Manchego, Bleu Mont Dairy Bandaged Cheddar, Havarti, Maple Leaf English Hollow Cheddar
Desserts: Carrot cake, apple pie, peach cobbler, pineapple upside-down cake
Cigars: Montecristo Platinum Churchill, My Father No. 2 Belicoso, Camacho Liberty Series 2012, Arturo Fuente Rosado Sungrown Magnum R Vitola “Fifty-Four”
Known for its bold, flavorful and largely hop-centric beers, Stone Brewing Co. has been brewing in North County San Diego since 1996. Founded by Greg Koch and Steve Wagner, Stone is the 10th largest craft brewer in the United States—a position it achieved without paid advertising, discounting or compromising standards. In addition to brewing, Stone owns two eclectic farm-to-table restaurants—Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens — Escondido and Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens — Liberty Station—and Stone Farms, an organic farm located near the brewery which grows produce for the restaurants. Stone also operates Stone Distributing Co., which distributes more than 30 craft beer brands throughout Southern California. For more information on Stone Brewing Co., please visit stonebrewing.com or the company’s social media sites:Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+, YouTube and The Stone Blog.