What happens when a West Coast reggae band mixes things up with an East Coast craft brewer?
After working with bands such as Umphrey’s McGee, Hootie & the Blowfish and 311, among others, Florida-based Rock Brothers Brewing announced its upcoming summer beer will be the Rebelution IPA.
The brew will make its official public debut when Rebelution headlines a day of reggae rock on June 25 at Vinoy Park in St. Petersburg, Fla., as the band travels far and wide from its home base outside Santa Barbara, Calif., in support of its album “Falling Into Place.”
The IPA got its start thanks to the inspiration and input of Rebelution keyboardist Rory Carey and drummer Wesley Finley, with the intention of creating notes of dank SoCal weed.
“Some of the bands we work with … are way more craft-beer geeky, and Rory and Wes from Rebelution are two of those guys that are complete, complete craft beer enthusiasts,” Rock Brothers founder Kevin Lilly told The Cannabist. “They wanted something like they grew up drinking in Southern California, which was a weed-smelling, tropical-fruit IPA.”
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Lilly worked in the music business for more than a decade before trading bands for beverages, and said the idea behind Rock Brothers is to get music fans interested in craft beer through their favorite artists. Faced with the task of creating a weedy beer for Rebelution, Lilly said he and his team were definitely into the idea.
“I was thrilled about it. It represents who they are,” Lilly said. “We didn’t want to just put the band’s name on a bottle and give them a royalty and never speak to them. We wanted it to be an authentic product that was created by the band alongside the brewing company — from the artwork to the recipe. Every little inch of our products are made with the artist.”
The collaboration blossomed after mutual friend and NFL wide receiver Vincent Jackson of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers introduced the band to the brewery team, and Lilly said it was an instant friendship.
Rock Brothers’ head brewer, Eric Wannemacher, described the beer in a media release as “the perfect harmony of ingredients. The pilsner and rye malts provide a crisp, refreshing and dry finish, while the fuggles (hops) and mosaic hops bring the tropical citrus and dense herb characteristics.”
The Rebelution brew will be the first IPA for the up-and-coming Tampa brewery, which has partnered with the local Cigar City Brewing to help make their other brews. Lilly said after the beer is released at the concert, it will be available statewide on drafts, followed by a scheduled rollout of cans in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina later this summer. Lilly said they’re also working on expanding their distribution, hoping to spread forth his mission to give craft beer a special place in the music world.
“There’s always going to be beer at festivals,” Lilly said. “But we’re taking it to an authentic level coming from the artists themselves.”
Rebelution lit up Colorado at Red Rocks Amphitheatre on June 3: