Members of The String Cheese Incident took the stage on a rainy June day. The act itself – climbing the stairs and getting hyped up to perform – was not atypical for these guys, who have been playing psychedelic, progressive jams together since 1993; but this was not their usual type of gig. This time, the spotlight shone on the brewing stage at Oskar Blues Brewery’s original Lyons spot.
“That’s super fragrant,” said Keith Moseley, Bass Player for SCI, as he sniffed a handful of hop pellets.
Moseley, along with keyboardist Kyle Hollingsworth and percussionist Jason Hann – joined Lyons Head Brewer Juice Drapeau to brew a one-of-a-kind collaboration beer. In between attempting wheelies on REEB bikes and grabbing lunch at Grill & Brew, the band members helped with the brewing project – inspecting the raw ingredients, hauling sacks of barley and stirring the mash.
The beer, SCIPA, is a crisp, dry, and heartily dry-hopped brut-inspired IPA. At 6.5% ABV, it’s approachable enough for showtime sipping. In fact, that’s exactly what it’s meant for – to enjoy during SCI shows during their 25th anniversary tour.
The project came naturally to Hollingsworth, who’s been brewing since the age of 18. “I started homebrewing because my brother did it,” he said. “You know how it is – he brewed beer, so I brewed beer. It was kind of a flash-in-the-pan for him, but it became a passion for me. It’s like music – you combine all these elements and there’s a chance taken. It might end up the best guitar solo ever, or the worst beer ever – it’s about the risk.”
The comparison resonated with Drapeau. The brewer is also a musician, playing bass for the blues-rock band Tangled Senses. “It’s a creative outlet. You start with a theme or a feeling and see where it takes you.” Hollingsworth and Drapeau worked closely together on recipe formulation for SCIPA, citing Hollingsworth’s experience on dozens of solo beer collaborations. “It was great working with Kyle to dial this in because he has so much brewing knowledge,” said Drapeau. “It was a true collaboration.”
They settled on Mosaic hops for the whirlpool, and Enigma, Simcoe, Citra and Strata during the double dry-hopping process. The aggressive combination of hops offers a dank, citrusy depth of flavor, balanced against a light but complex malt bill of award-winning Root Shoot Pale Genie Malt from Loveland, CO, German Pilsner Malt, Vienna and toasted flaked rice – incorporated as a 100% fermentable sugar and to provide depth in the mouthfeel.
“I wanted something in a progressive style that was crisp and not too sweet – something for pouring and enjoying at amphitheaters, music festivals and camping,” explained Hollingsworth.
The beer is deliciously dank, briskly carbonated and easy-drinking, but the collaboration is about more than that; it’s about celebrating a deep connection to Colorful Colorado, the beloved home state of both the band and the brewery. “We wanted to support a Colorado brewery,” said Hollingsworth. “Keeping it local is important to us.”
SCIPA will debut on tap at Dillon Amphitheater on July 16, and will pour at Kyle’s Brew Fest Frisco –a beer fest benefitting Conscious Alliance, on July 17. Look for it at Red Rocks Amphitheater for their July 19, 20 & 21 shows; and also at SCI’s other 2019 tour dates* including:
Sept 27-29 • Cuthbert Amphitheater • Eugene, OR
Oct 2-3 • The Fillmore • San Francisco, CA
Oct 4-5 • Fox Theater • Oakland, CA
Oct 31 -Nov 2 • Stubb’s • Austin, TX
Nov 7-9 • Auditorium Theater • Chicago, IL
You can also find SCIPA at Oskar Blues Taprooms in Boulder and Longmont starting in mid-July. Don’t miss out on these good vibes – get SCIPA while it lasts!
*Availability is subject to change.