When’s the last time you bought an album at an actual store?
The Boston-based band the Lights Out is teaming up with Aeronaut Brewing Co. to help create a modern version of that experience. This fall, customers who purchase a four-pack of a limited edition Aeronaut beer will get early access to the band’s new album.
“We wanted an element of discovery, and to bring back something that’s been lost,” says Adam Ritchie, the Lights Out’s guitarist. “Shopping for music used to be a physical experience for most people. It’s largely a digital one now. But going on a beer run still requires you to put on your shoes.”
Each purchase of Aeronaut’s T.R.I.P. beer comes with a special hashtag, which when tweeted at the band will unlock a link to stream or download its album of the same name.
“We love the idea of someone discovering this album on a beer shelf,” says Ritchie, “and then immersing themselves in the sounds and textures when they get home.”
Aeronaut has long had a musical bent, frequently hosting concerts by other bands, as well as the Boston Symphony Orchestra, at its cavernous Somerville taproom. For this partnership, the band and brewers worked intimately to come up with matching concepts. When they perform, the Lights Out band members wear 1,000 individually assigned, synchronized lights on their instruments and bodies, with the goal of taking people “on a journey through parallel worlds.” The shows blend musical genres and emphasize how technology can influence the live experience.
“We’ve got bangers and we’ve got ballads,” says Ritchie.
The band has also got devoted beer drinkers. T.R.I.P., the beer, is an imperial session IPA, an intentionally incongruous style made with (of course) galaxy hops. By using a cold steeping process, Aeronaut brewers sought to maximize the flavor from the hops without the bitterness. The resulting brew is high in alcohol (7.5 percent) but designed to mask the bitterness of the typical imperial IPA.
“Galaxy hops are massively juicy, and we thought them appropriate for our first project involving other dimensions,” says Aeronaut CEO Ben Holmes.
Deep thoughts about alternate universes aside, a basic love of craft beer also fueled the collaboration. When touring, Ritchie says, the band makes it a point to stop at as many breweries as possible.
“If we run out of beer at rehearsal,” says Ritchie “it’s a crisis.”