Inside Coheed And Cambria’s New Beer Collaboration With Coney Island Brewing
Think of a heavy band collaborating with a brewery, and the stereotype that comes to mind usually involves an inoffensive lager or pilsner with 4.8% ABV. But Coheed And Cambria aren’t your typical hard rock band, and for their foray into brewing, they’ve taken a left turn and created an interesting beer that packs a serious punch.
The band have teamed up with Brooklyn’s Coney Island Brewing to create Call Your Mother, a hazy IPA whose name, profile, and (slightly terrifying) label are based on the track The Gutter from last year’s Unheavenly Creatures. With hints of mango and blueberry, and a solid 7.5% ABV, the beer distills Coheed’s mixture of brightness and gravity perfectly, giving drinkers a complex flavor profile that also makes them want to hoot and throw a fist in the air.
Before Coheed launched the beer at Coney Island’s Brewery this weekend, frontman Claudio Sanchez and Coney Island head brewer Matt McCall spoke about how Call Your Mother came to be.
How did the idea to create a Coheed beer come about?
Matt McCall: Honestly, from a brewery level, we are all huge fans; in fact, Coney Island’s marketing manager, general manager and I attended the concert when they played Coney’s Ford Amphitheater last year. With that being said, we reached out to collaborate with them and the rest is beer history!
Claudio Sanchez: The idea has been something we’ve toyed around with loosely from time to time. Blaze, our manager, brought up the potential partnership with Coney Island Brewing, and because I am a fan of their Merman IPA, we thought this could be a perfect fit.
Why was The Gutter the track that inspired this beer?
Matt: The beer was inspired by their music as a whole. We attached the beer to The Gutter because it’s our favorite song off their new album, Unheavenly Creatures. It just crushes…much like the beer!
It was also great to work together on the can label, based off of the album narrative series’ protagonist, Creature. We ultimately chose to depict the mask Creature wears in the stories on a Tilly face. It was the perfect way to showcase the blending of both brands.
Claudio: The Gutter is our focus track at the moment, so we wanted to tie its theme across as many platforms as we could. The ‘hook-line’ seemed pretty fun for a beer and the visual of the mask on Coney Island’s Tilly screamed perfection to me.
Plenty of rock and metal bands feel very “beery,” but Coheed are a little more sonically unorthodox. How did you guys want that to be reflected in the beer?
Claudio: I wanted to create something easy for most people to enjoy and refreshing to drink in the warm weather. Something not too heavy to reflect the band’s lighter elements at first, but with a higher alcohol content that quietly loosens you up for our most complex sides.
How much control did Coheed have with the flavor profile of the beer? Were there any hard lines drawn in the sand — not too hoppy, not too dark, et cetera?
Matt: They had a very active role in discussing the beer, as they are well-versed on styles and the industry in general. We both really wanted to do a dark beer, but given that the release and concert would be happening in June, we both agreed that slugging back stouts in 90-degree weather just isn’t the most fun, so we went with a tropical-forward Hazy IPA instead. Once we had the style down, I handled which ingredients and processes to use.
Claudio: We’re in no way brewers, but we know what we like and we tried to implement that into it, keeping in mind the time of year everyone would get to enjoy it. I, myself, enjoy an IPA, preferably one with a higher alcohol cause the bite is part of the flavor I enjoy, but for the summer, it made more sense to make it go down a little easier, despite it being 7.5%.
What is it about Coney Island Brewing that you feel suits Coheed And Cambria as a band? What about the Hazy IPA, as a style?
Matt: I think both brands fit so well with one another. As a band, Coheed And Cambria kind of sit in their own box in the music world, and at Coney Island Brewery, we like to think that we do as well in the beer industry. It felt like a really natural fit and we’re thrilled it all worked out.
As far as Hazy IPAs go, I kind of circle back to the ‘own box’ comment. Classic IPAs have firm bitterness and are mostly clear. Hazy IPAs have transformed the category, by being super fruity and hazy, with little to no bitterness and because of that, the style maintains individuality among other IPA styles, as Coheed does in the music world.
Claudio: I live in Brooklyn and we spend lots of summer days in Coney Island with my son. There’s a cool nostalgia in the beers that CIB creates and it aligns with what we do in a lot of ways. We always have a pretty broad selection of craft and local beers on our rider when we tour, but Hazy IPAs seem to be one of the more popular at the moment. We wanted as many people to enjoy it as possible.
Obviously, the beer’s name and art are inspired by The Gutter, but are there other Coheed songs you think would be a perfect accompaniment to this beer?
Matt: Coming from a guy that listens to Coheed And Cambria several times a week at the brewery, I can tell you that Coheed’s music goes well with any beer. Outside of The Gutter, I really enjoy listening to Lucky Stars or Mother May I while sipping on Call Your Mother. As a fan of their music since I was a teenager, this has been an incredible process and I can’t wait to get this beer into the hands of other fans!