Iron Reagan/Municipal Waste vocalist Tony Foresta gave me one of my favorite quotes in January 2017 when I was interviewing him about the Waste’s impending appearance at the inaugural Decibel Metal and Beer Festival. We were talking about bands working with brewers to create a beer together and he came up with this analogy: “It’s sort of like doing a split 7” with another band you like. You work creatively on something and you’re creating something with someone that you’re a fan of. It’s a way to keep things interesting and be creative at the same time.” Bingo.
The timely release of this Iron Reagan/Gatecreeper split EP via Relapse this week brought to mind not a band/brewer collab, but two breweries working together create something. Though split records have long been a thing in the extreme music world, brewery collaborations are getting to be more common in the craft beer world. It’s all about creativity and sharing ideas and knowledge.
This seemed like the perfect opportunity for an album/beer pairing—two bands with two breweries. The tricky part, however, is that, musically, Iron Reagan and Gatecreeper are at different ends of the extreme music spectrum. The former is straight-up adrenaline-pumping East Coast crossover, while the latter is doomy, crusty desert-based death metal. Both are quality punishment purveyors, and all eight tracks are solid, but the vibe is definitely different between IR’s five speedy cuts and GC’s grinding trio.
So, I somewhat randomly picked a collab beer—Seeking Asylum Belgian-style Double IPA—from my coast, because I love the mashed-up style and am a fan of both collaborating breweries: San Diego’s AleSmith and Port Moody, British Columbia’s Yellow Dog. Unless you’re in the PNW, however, you’ll have a hard time getting your hands on this, but my inclusion of it here is meant to be more symbolic of the idea of breweries working together to create something tasty, even if they are geographically separated by nearly 1,500 miles. You can no doubt find a brewery collab beer of some description wherever you are if you look hard enough.
Apart from the badass name, this beer is an appropriate pairing partner for this split EP, because it brings together two different beer styles—IPA and Belgian Tripel—in one fruity, funky and strong brew that are typically brewed with different yeasts and wildly different amounts of hops. Each brewery brought something to the table—Yellow Dog does IPAs well and if you’ve ever had AleSmith’s Horny Devil, you know they brew killer Belgian-style beers.
The two “sides” of this beer—the strong, sweet and boozy Belgian elements and the bitter, crisp IPA elements—are kind of akin to the two contrasting musical styles on this EP. Though different, the result as a whole is strong. You may not be able to track down this beer. but definitely grab a copy of this split and pair it with your own favorite brewery collaboration.