Rock band/brewery collaborations are nothing new. Three Floyds Brewing Co. is known for releasing beers brewed for metal bands, and classic rockers KISS, AC/DC and Iron Maiden all have beer bottles with their names on them. Even the mmm-bopping Hanson brothers have gotten into the beer game. But many of the band members who are ostensibly part of these collabs wouldn’t know a saison from a schwarzbier.
Chino Moreno, lead singer of alt-metal band Deftones, is much more savvy. A longtime fan of artisan beer—and IPAs in particular—Moreno requests local ales at every stop along his band’s tours. And now the connection to good beer runs even deeper: Earlier this month, Deftones partnered with San Diego’s Belching Beaver Brewery to release Phantom Bride IPA, a West Coast IPA loaded up with Mosaic, Amarillo, Simcoe, and Citra hops in a blend chosen by Moreno himself. With bottles now hitting stores throughout Washington, Oregon, Nevada and California, we gave Moreno a call to find out more about the beer.
Let’s talk first about your love of IPAs. How’d you become such a hophead?
“It probably started younger than it should’ve, around when I was 19. Everybody I knew was drinking Natural Light, Coors Light. But one of my favorite beers was actually Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Back then I was living pretty meagerly, and something like that was out of my price range. So it was a treat whenever I could actually afford it. It was semi-local (Eds. note: Moreno grew up in Sacramento, California) and definitely a good entry point into more complex beers. That was my gateway. Then, three or four years ago, I started coming up to Oregon a lot, because my in-laws live in Bend. And then I moved here, and once I did, I just got completely engulfed in the beer culture. I’m surrounded by it now.
How important is it to you to have a good IPA before or after a show?
“It’s a little delight of mine. In every city I go, especially now, there are so many new breweries opening up. There’s not one city I’ve been to that didn’t have something to offer. When I find a good beer, I’ll stock up on it so I can always have it on the bus. And before I go on stage, I’ll have one—sometimes two.
“Lately I’ve really been liking Good People IPA, which I got in Nashville. It’s pretty crisp and really even, plus it’s a little heavier than most IPAs—I like them around 7% ABV, or maybe a little over. I’m not into session IPAs. Where I live, 10 Barrel Joe is my favorite IPA hands down. Phantom Bride is actually based on that beer.”
Why’d you choose to collaborate with Belching Beaver?
“I was jealous of other bands putting out beers, loving beer as much as I do. So I pitched the idea of doing a collaboration with a few different breweries, and Belching Beaver was the first one to come back and really be engaged. They didn’t want to just slap the band’s name on the bottle; they wanted to know flavor profiles we were into. They actually sent me a bunch of samples of different batches they were testing before going in and making the final decision on the beer, so I felt like I was part of the process.”
You named the beer “Phantom Bride IPA” after a song on your new album, “Gore.” Why this song?
“It’s our single, so timing-wise it worked out really well. Usually with an album release, you do something to promote the single, like release a music video, which we really hate doing because you’re semi-acting and pretending you’re playing a song. There’s always this level of corniness involved in it. I think this beer is a different, unconventional way of promoting the song.”
Any inclination to get more involved in beer industry?
“I’m obviously open to ideas. I enjoy the process and what I’ve learned just working on this one alone. I didn’t expect the turnaround to be this fast. It’s an exciting process. Just getting my feet wet has been a lot of fun, so there might be more of these in the future.”