Perfection happens when all the pieces fit together just right. The Dirty Heads' distinctive warm SoCal sound, imbedded in a mellow reggae vibe and infused with rich hip-hop colors, proves that.
Jared “Dirty J” Watson (vocals), Dustin “Duddy B” Bushnell (vocals/guitar), Jon Olazabal (percussion), Matt Ochoa (drums), and David Foral (bass) are, indeed, an idyllic blend. The band's 2008 debut, Any Port in a Storm, featured the breakout single "Lay Me Down," which enjoyed an 11-week high in 2010 as the No. 1 song on Billboard's alternative chart.
Jon and Matt first started talking about making beer in the summer of 2017. They were fans of the craft beer scene and, after witnessing other collaborations between bands and breweries, they knew it was something they wanted to do. However, Jon and Matt weren't interested in a licensing deal with some random distributor, they wanted to be as hands-on as possible throughout the entire brewing process. That decision led to the crafting of a Pineapple Session Ale that the band called, aptly enough, Vacation.
Matt was kind enough to share five essentials needed for crafting beer:
"First off, you need an idea, a concept. What type of beer do you want to create? What flavors? Style? Session? IPA? Stout? Pilsner?"
"While creating/brewing beer, I like to have a cold one in my hand for inspiration."
"Find a location you can make a mess of (e.g., bathtub, kitchen sink, an already existing brewery). Luckily, 4 Sons Brewing in Huntington Beach was available [for us]!"
"I recommend brewing with someone who has attempted it before. Preferably a professional. This professional — or amateur — is sure to come with all the essentials needed for the brew process like grain, hops, and yeast. You can bring the water."
"Last but not least, I like to bring the recently brewed beer to all my thirsty, beer-loving buddies to receive a true and honest critique of the latest creation."
If Matt's insight is inspiring you to try making your own beer, here are two home brew kits that can help get you started:
Mr. Beer’s Premium Gold Edition Craft Beer Making Kit streamlines the beer making process to help get you great results with your very first batch. In the kit, you'll find a one-step brewing fermenter, shatterproof bottles, caps, brewing extract, and Classic American Light and Oktoberfest Lager refills.
If you like hops, Brooklyn Brew Shop's "Everyday IPA" Beer Making Kit is the way to go. The affordable kit is designed for first-timers and makes a gallon of bright and bitter 6.8% alcohol by volume (abv) beer with fragrant grapefruit notes.
"Four Sons Brewing is a local family operated brewery from Huntington Beach," Matt informed. "Jon and I have been fans of their beer for a couple of years now. It was a no-brainer to get involved with them. They guided us every step of the way and encouraged participation from picking the style of the beer, flavor, design of the can, actual brewing process, and even canning. We tried different flavors from Mango to Grapefruit, Watermelon to Kiwi. At the very end, it was a unanimous decision: Vacation would be a Pineapple Session Ale with a 5% abv."
Matt pointed out that there were similarities between brewing a delicious beer and finding the perfect groove for a song. "It's like a formula. There's a certain amount of flavor that is needed to make our session ale taste the way we want it: crisp, refreshing, and just like summer. As in a section of a song, there are a certain amount of dynamics that go into the groove to make it feel just right. Finding those parts or flavors are kind of like a puzzle, there’s only one way to make them fit."
Dirty Head's latest release is called Swim Team (Five Seven Music). On Sept. 20, the band kicks off its fall tour with Jukebox the Ghost and Just Loud. The full list of tour dates is available at www.dirtyheads.com.
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