It’s a double dry hopped double IPA called Haze Grenade, brewed to celebrate the release of “Cities in Search of a Heart,” The Movielife’s fourth album and first in 14 years.
The band, which helped shape Long Island’s pop-punk scene, one of the country’s most fertile regions in the category, originally formed on the South Shore of Nassau County in 1997. They disbanded in 2003, reunited briefly in 2011 and then officially reformed in 2014.
Greenport Harbor took to the favored medium for hyped beer announcements, Instagram, to reveal the collaboration, which also included Derrick Sherman, the manager at Monarch Beverage in Long Beach and a former member of Brand New, another influential Long Island rock band.
In that post, Greenport Harbor billed Haze Grenade as its “biggest OG IPA” to date, with a grain bill of over 1,300 pounds. An acronym for Original Greenport, OG refers to beer the brewery produces at its first location, a former firehouse in the maritime village. When its larger place in Peconic opened, the original facility was designated a site for smaller batch beers and indulging experimental whims and has since yielded a number of impressive releases, including an ongoing series of milkshake IPAs: thick, sweet, creamy ales made with lactose, oats and high-pectin fruits.
Haze Grenade’s name is a nod to one of The Movielife’s most popular songs, “Hand Grenade,” and also a riff on juice bomb, a term of endearment used by beer lovers for IPAs made in the New England style. Many of today’s most coveted beers fall into this hazy, juicy subcategory of IPA, whose fan base has been growing since the early 2010s. They are often sold exclusively at the breweries that produce and package them, in limited quantities of 16-ounce cans that sometimes inspire lines even the Cronut would envy.
Enthusiasts eager to detonate a new juice bomb won’t need a Forty Hour Train Back to Penn to find Haze Grenade, nor will they have to wait until This Time Next Year to try it: Sixteen-ounce cans of the collaborative brew will be sold at Greenport Harbor’s two breweries on September 16 at noon. It will also be available on draft at the release party for “Cities in Search of a Heart” at The Warsaw in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, on September 22. However, given today’s frothed-up FOMO surrounding New England-style IPAs, you might miss it if you’re 10 Seconds Too Late.
Ahead of the special brew’s debut, we “hopped” on the phone with The Movielife’s frontman, Vinnie Caruana, and Greenport Harbor’s head brewer, Pat Alfred, for a quick chat.
Edible Long Island: How did the collaboration come together?
Vinnie Caruana: Derrick was really the connection between both sides. He’s a musician too and we have a long history of touring together. We even briefly played in the same band together back in the day. He’s old friends with Jon [Kelly, sales director at Greenport Harbor], who had reached out to him about doing a beer together as a way to celebrate the new record. I was instantly down under the condition that I could be directly involved with whole process, rather than just superficially.
ELI: Did you have any input on designing the beer?
VC: Full disclosure, I know the least in the group about beer on the technical side of things. But I’m always down for a nice IPA, lately more the New England style. But yeah, a few weeks leading up to it everyone spoke on the phone about the direction for the beer. When Pat suggested an IPA and started spitting out ideas on hop combos his enthusiasm got me really excited.
ELI: Pat, what can you tell us about the beer?
Pat Alfred: So like Vinnie said, we all spoke on the phone and a New England-style IPA was the style everyone was most excited about. We crushed this one with hops; it’s double dry hopped with Citra and Columbus, and those late additions are all aroma driven. The grain bill is the biggest we’ve ever done, which gives you an idea of how much hops we used. We used mostly pilsner malt, and some malted oats to lend a fuller body and smooth mouthfeel. Then we added honey later in the boil kettle, as a fermentable and for aromatics to play off the hops.
ELI: What can we expect it to taste like?
PA: It’s going to be an extremely big yet easy-drinking juicy IPA. The Citra hops are going to dominate with overripe tropical-fruit flavors, and then Columbus hops will give some dank pineyness. There won’t be much to taste in the way of grain, but the oats are going to give a nice smoothness and be a velvety vehicle for the hop flavors. And the honey will give a nice tinge of sweetness.
ELI: Vinnie, you and Derrick also helped brew the beer. How was the experience?
VC: It was amazing. I woke up in East Marion to watch the sun set over the Peconic River, then Derrick and I slammed down egg sandwiches and got to brewery around 7:30 a.m. And we got put to work right away. [Laughs.] We unloaded a pallet of grain to be milled, and then I ran downstairs and helped with stirring it in. At about 8:30 a.m. I enjoyed the freshest Facing East you can get, straight out of the fermenter. Fucking delicious. After the grains did their thing we shoveled the spent grain into barrels. I’m told they get sent to a local buffalo farm for feed, and to another company to be made into doggy biscuits which I think is really cool. Then the rest of the day involved adding the hops, steadily trying nice beers and listening to Biohazard on a bad speaker.
ELI: You’ve toured all over the world, and you live in Brooklyn, which has a thriving beer scene. Had you visited a brewery before Greenport Harbor?
VC: For sure. I poke around when I’m touring and try to find spots with good beer. I’m not a student of beer, but I’m very comfortable with my relationship with it. God bless it.
ELI: Talk to me about the new album, the first Movielife record in 14 years.
VC: Well, Brandon [Reilly, guitarist] and I haven’t written music together since 2002 and this record is a direct result of all of the ideas we had bottled up. We had done our own things since then, but we seem to unlock parts of each other creatively that doesn’t happen unless it’s us together. So once we were playing shows again a few years ago we were around each other a lot more and became really close again. We very naturally began jamming, very low-pressure jamming and figuring out what the hell The Movielife sounded like in 2016-17. A lot of the early stuff we recorded didn’t get used but served as a necessary creative icebreaker. And for the record it came out better than my wildest dreams. It sounds new. It’s not a throwback. But it still has the heart and soul of The Movielife sound. We’re really proud of it and I think our fans are going to love it.
ELI: How do you think the beer will be received?
VC: I’m really excited for everyone to try it. With the crew involved and how much work went into it, I think it’s going to be top-class delicious for sure. My first taste is going to be at the record release show in Brooklyn. Maybe I’ll wait until after our set and reward myself by bathing in it and drinking the tub dry.