Over the last few years, breweries have been uniting across the world to raise money by brewing a beer and donating the proceeds to help a similar cause.
After the unjust death of George Floyd, Weathered Souls Brewing Co. developed Black is Beautiful, an Imperial Stout, to bring awareness to the injustices people of color experience, and to raise money to donate to local organizations that support police reform and legal defense for people of color.
Unfortunately, it’s no secret that the craft beer community is heavily dominated by bearded white men, while people of color have a small representation in it. Toxic environments in the beer industry towards people of color have recently come to light. Within Michigan, Founders Brewing Co settled a lawsuit last year after an employee was fired after filing a complaint with human resources about a racist work environment.
We need to be better as a progressive community and end the stereotypes now. The Black is Beautiful project is bringing awareness of these inequalities to the cooler door.
Run the Jewels has been bringing their raw power styled hip hop to earholes around the world since their debut of Run the Jewels in 2013. Over the years, Killer Mike and El-P have been making music that’s best described by Killer Mike himself, “It will kick you in the dick and punch you in the face.”
Their explosive, high-energy noise is great for driving fast or protesting in the streets. RTJ4 was released early while protests were beginning to gain momentum across the country as Americans spoke out about the death of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement.
“Fuck it, why wait. The world is infested with bullshit so here’s something raw to listen to while you deal with it all.” – Jaime + Mike
Black is Beautiful and RTJ4 are iconic works of art. The album starts with the cannon shot of “yankee and the brave (ep. 4)” and seamlessly rolls into “ohh la la“, a blissfully orchestrated track featuring DJ Premier. On the track “walking in the snow” Killer Mike raps,
“You so numb you watch the cops choke out a man like me /
Until my voice goes from a shriek to whisper — ‘I can’t breathe’ /
And you sit there in the house on couch and watch it on TV.”
It was written about Eric Garner, but eerily echoes George Floyd.
That last sip of Black is Beautiful lingers a bit longer.
An Imperial Stout and an explosive hip hop album make a great collaboration as both are bold and right in your face. You can’t ignore either just like you can’t ignore the deep-seated racism in the United States. Another track on the album “JU$T” features Pharrel Williams and Zack de la Rocha and is bouncy, catchy — and political, especially with the chorus “Look at all these slave masters posin’ on yo’ dollar” (get it? Yeah).”
Each brewery taking part in “Black is Beautiful” uses the Imperial Stout base recipe by Weathered Souls, but they can add their own twist to the recipe. The one I sampled was from Detroit’s Brewery Faisan. It was a classic take on an Imperial Stout and was fantastic. More importantly, my dollars went to the Detroit Justice Center and the Innocence Project.
These beers are going to be highly sought after. When you drink it, think about more than the hype and consider the true intent behind the brews. Perhaps the next time you’re bellied up at the bar and hear a racially charged comment or joke, you’ll speak up instead of sipping over it.