Metal & Beer: BROKEN HOPS IPA Debuts at Denver Black Sky

The fifth iteration of Denver Black Sky festival, co-hosted by metal brewery Black Sky and Relapse Records, last Saturday was a big one for Chicago death metal vets, Broken Hope. The quintet headlined a 10-band lineup and also debuted its first craft beer collaboration, BROKEN HOPS IPA, brewed with Big Sky specifically for the show. Guitarist/founding member Jeremy Wagner gave us the details on how this beer came about.

Has Broken Hope done collaboration beers in the past or was this a first for the band?
We were approached by a beer company in Florida once, but it was more of a “pay to brew” thing and didn’t offer us anything worthwhile, so we passed.

Did the idea to do this with Black Sky come from the brewery, or did you propose it to them?
WAGNER: Black Sky Brewery came to us about doing it. It was their idea. However, the name “BROKEN HOPS” was my idea and I provided the labeling. Black Sky Brewery did everything else. And they rock.

Was the band as a group involved in choosing the type of beer you would do?
WAGNER: Mike Miczek (drums) is a beer expert/aficionado, and he had great ideas he bounced off me and then to Black Sky. It was really Mike who we turned to for direction and the brew idea.

How detailed did you guys get with the brewery, as far what Broken Hops would be like? Did you just suggest a style and let them run with it, or were you more hands-on?
Mike had a good idea for the type of beer and I dealt with the brewery as far as far as pitching our idea for the flavor. From there it was all at Black Sky Brewery’s discretion, and they’re the masters, so we knew they’d make something great.

Were there any thoughts on sort of matching the band’s musical style and/or intensity with the final product, or was it more about just making a great beer with a cool name that your fans could enjoy?
It was really about making a great beer—that was paramount. Then putting our name on it and twisting the BH logo into the “HOPS” was important in keeping the the spirit of BH and death metal alive. I don’t need to tell Decibel readers what we all know: Beer and Metal go fucking great together!

What will the availability of this beer be? Just at the show or will it be packaged at all?
As if this interview, the beer was made exclusively for this show only. That said, we want to make this as a legit, packaged beer for everyone at some point—whether with Black Sky or another company. The brew turned out really good, and the name of the brew and our BH trademark/beer label were all an instant hit. Moreover, we’ve had constant messages in our various Inboxes asking us to PLEASE make it for general population. Here’s to making it happen for everyone.

Anything else you’d like to mention about the beer?
The beer is really fucking good. “BROKEN HOPS” IPA comes in at 6.1% and 45 IBU. We’re grateful to Black Sky Brewery for making this happen.