Creature Comforts stays G-O-L-D
The Athens brewery's collaborative Run the Jewels beer debuts this week in Atlanta
“Can't be broke when you own gold rope / pawn shops offering cash for those / Cash is fake though, gold accrues / I make my own gold, golden goose” — Run the Jewels, “Stay Gold”
Run the Jewels is partnering with Creature Comforts to produce the newest iteration of their Stay G-O-L-D beer series in support of their 2017 Run the Jewels 3 tour.
Atlanta rapper Killer Mike and Brooklyn rapper and producer El-P first experimented with collaborative beer brewing in 2013, when Goose Island Beer Co. produced a 5.4 percent wheat ale called “Run the Jewels” to help promote their self-titled debut. The special one-time-only beer was brewed specifically to be served on draft during their performance at the Pitchfork Music Festival of the same year, and met a positive reception from the crowd.
After producing three successful full albums and the hilarious Meow the Jewels, which remixed the beats of Run the Jewels 2 songs with cat noises, the duo have turned back to brewing beer for the promotion of their 2017 tour. This time, they’re partnering with New York City brewer Jesse Ferguson, who operates Interboro Spirits & Ales.
“Beer and music go hand-in-hand,” Ferguson says of what may seem at first like an unlikely partnership with the rap duo. “Beer as an alcoholic beverage has utilities and purposes. I think any brewmaster is thinking about where they want their beer consumed — we’re making beer for people to drink at concerts.”
Ferguson is already a prolific member of the hip-hop community, having formerly managed El-P’s independent record label, Definitive Jux, in 1999. The label produced El-P’s early solo music as well as a dense roster of influential NYC rappers including Aesop Rock, Cannibal Ox and Del the Funky Homosapien.
The first iteration of Stay G-O-L-D, named for a track from Run the Jewels 3, was brewed to be a strong but accessible beer that fans could nurse over the course of a few songs. The finished product was a hoppy, 6 percent IPA, with aromas of tropical fruit and “resinous ganja,” a scent which Ferguson says was very important to El-P and Killer Mike.
“When we were first making Stay G-O-L-D, I had them try some of my other IPAs,” Ferguson says. “They were like, ‘Yeah, these are all good... but none of them smell enough like weed.’”
The three-tier system of alcohol distribution in the United States prevents Interboro from selling the beer to consumers across state lines without dealing with a retailer. Ferguson and Run the Jewels instead opted to partner with local breweries to produce Stay G-O-L-D in communities where they were touring, operating under the ethos that “local is fresh and fresh is better.” Asheville’s Burial Beer Co. earned the top spot in DRAFT Magazine’s 50 best IPAs in America for their version.
Run the Jewels has always been involved in the conceptual production of their beer, preferring an aromatic IPA, but they’ve built a respectful relationship with the craft beer community by leaving the actual brewing to the brewers themselves. Though the core concept and basic recipe of Stay G-O-L-D has remained the same with each production, the local breweries involved are encouraged to make their version of the beer uniquely their own, even down to design of the cans.
Athens-based brewery Creature Comforts was chosen as the local partner for Run the Jewel's Georgia beer.
“I’ve been really impressed with the leniency they’ve had in the creative process,” says Creature Comforts CEO Chris Herron on working with Ferguson and Run the Jewels. “They are genuinely interested in working with local breweries, and they seem to have a lot of respect for us.”
Creature Comforts describes their version of Stay G-O-L-D as “a hazy, juicy and dank IPA that features Citra, Mosaic, Chinook, and Strata hops and is 6 percent alcohol by volume.”
“We wanted to make something that was exciting in this marketplace right now,” Herron says. “We’ve got a pretty good knowledge of the different styles and characteristics of the different hops we selected.”
Indeed, Creature Comforts has earned a loyal following in Georgia for brewing quality IPAs like the elusive cult-favorite Tropicália. The brewing team’s creative respect for hoppy pale ales makes them a natural partner to another IPA-enthusiast like Ferguson. “It’s always an honor when people in your industry select you to work on something like this,” Herron says. “A lot of us at the brewery are huge fans of Run the Jewels and rap music. We’re super excited.”
Creature Comforts’ Stay G-O-L-D will be available in Atlanta Thurs., Oct. 26., at a special release party at the Sound Table on Edgewood Avenue with live music from Trackstar the DJ of Run the Jewels and a midnight soul food pop-up from Mike and Shyretha Sheats of Staplehouse and the Plate Sale. The party will also feature live graffiti and chalk art, which will be auctioned to benefit the Georgia Conservancy — the same environmental organization responsible for the naming of “Driller Mike,” the City of Atlanta’s enormous tunnel-boring drill.
Stay G-O-L-D will also be available for onsite consumption and carry-out purchase at Creature Comforts starting Fri., Oct. 27, when the Athens brewery will host a release party with musical and DJ performances inside and outside. On the same night, Run the Jewels performs at the season-opening Atlanta Hawks vs. Denver Nuggets game at Philips Arena.
Stay G-O-L-D Can Release Party. Free Admission, 7 p.m.- 3 a.m., Thur., Oct. 26, The Sound Table, 483 Edgewood Ave. S.E. 404-835-2534. www.creaturecomfortsbeer.com