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Kate Bernot discusses our first collaboration beer, Chester Goddammit! Georgia Brown Ale with the Drive By Truckers:

All the breweries I spoke to were authentically fans of the bands with whom they collaborated, listening to and supporting them long before brewing a beer together was even the seed of an idea. For Joe Ploof, founder and brewer at Hartford, Connecticut’s Hanging Hills Brewing Company, his appreciation of Drive-By Truckers goes back years before he even opened a brewery. Ploof was working as a teacher at the time, trying to write a business plan for a brewery and not getting very far on the funding side of the equation. He was expecting a child, and was growing increasingly depressed that his brewing dream would never materialize. During this time, he says, he listened to Drive-By Trucker’s frontman Patterson Hood’s solo album Heat Lightning Rumbles In The Distance almost constantly.

“I emailed the band in a state of depression. I wrote ‘I’m listening to the album, and it’s helping me get through this dark time,’” Ploof says. “Within an hour, the band manager [Christine Stauder] emailed me back, saying ‘Patterson loves these messages. That’s so sweet; I’ll pass it along.’”

That was the end of their connection—for a while. Fast forward years, and Ploof finally opened his brewery and created a collaboration beer with The Hold Steady. It just so happened that Stauder, the Drive-By Truckers’ manager, was at that Hold Steady show and tasted the collaboration beer.

“So I emailed her again, saying ‘We did this whole thing and it was successful, can we do this with the Truckers?’” Ploof says. “And she said, ‘The beer was great, let’s do it.’”

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