The love affair between West Philly based brewery Dock Street and the neighborhood’s native son, lyricist Eric “Chill” Moody, officially continues with the upcoming third canning of his signature brew, nicethingsIPA.
About a week before the annual party that is Philly Beer Week Opening Tap, Moody and the family at Dock Street threw a shindig of their own at the brewery’s cannery, announcing the re-re-re-can of the heady 6.4 percent pineapple-infused IPA. The timing perhaps couldn’t be more perfect with another installment of Philly Beer Week on June 1 and nicethingsIPA available in both cans and draft at more than 50 outlets throughout the region.
To kickoff Philly Beer Week, the rapper even has a performance scheduled during its Opening Tap, held once again this year at the Fillmore.
“I’m really excited every time we get another brew date, because [Dock Street and myself] really try to make it an event,” said Chill Moody, on the latest release. “I don’t want to stay ‘spectacle’ because that comes with a bit of a negative connotation but we always look to make something of it.”
And the timing of Philly Beer Week?
“[This year], the stars kind of aligned on this one. I had dreams of changing Philly Beer Week to ‘Chilly Beer Week,’ so it’s official,” Moody jokes. “I’m out to make it Chilly Beer Week this year.”
The collaboration of nicethingsIPA didn’t arrive easily for Moody and came with slowly learning the process of how beer gets born. You’d have to go back to 2015, when Dock Street released another pineapple-infused brew, a saison called “Ain’t Nothing to Funk With,” an homage beer to the Wu Tang Clan. Moody, at the brewery’s release event for that beer, wanted in, but it was Dock Street that pumped the brakes.
“We first met Chill when we did the [Wu Tang beer] and he came up to us and said, ‘we should do this together,’ and all of us were like, ‘who is this guy?’” recalled Dock Street vice president Marilyn Candeloro. “We asked him what’s his story, and he said, ‘well, ‘I just want to brew an IPA.’ Well, we need a story because we just don’t brew beer for the shit of it. But he kept coming around and took the time to form a strong friendship with our brewers. I got to know him and really see this whole presence that he has. He really promotes positivity and personally, I’m a big fan of that and for all of us [here at Dock Street], that’s really what the nicethingsIPA is all about.”
But Moody said while it was about the beer, it was also about Dock Street striving to be a part of his West Philly neighborhood, with its location nestled along the same streets he roamed as a kid. Streets that today look a lot different.
“That neighborhood [where the brewery is] is the neighborhood I grew up in and I spent a lot of time there growing up,” Moody said. “My aunt lives right on the corner of that block and I’ve seen how that area has changed and been affected by gentrification, a lot of people are being displaced and being replaced by businesses in that community. But Dock Street was a business that came in and tried as much as it could to give back and be a part of that community, and it was very inviting. You can ask anyone I know, you never felt like you weren’t welcomed when you went in there. I can’t say that about any other business in the neighborhood and it’s why I really wanted to make a beer with them.”
With his hand in many hats, most notably a rap career that has been a dual benchmark of his success and being a true representative of Philadelphia, it’s been his positivity that has put people on notice, but this year he hopes his involvement with Philly Beer Week and a hopeful collaboration with Philly Loves Beer will serve to bring in a more diverse and inclusive corps of beer lovers and drinkers.
“He’s just a positive kid from the neighborhood and he’s out there putting good energy into all that he does, how could we not want to work with someone like that? Plus, every time we release [nicethingsIPA] we have a party and who doesn’t love a good party?”
– Dock Street Brewery vice president Marilyn Candeloro
“Opening Tap is one of my favorite events of the year, it gets crazy,” said Moody. “But it’s still just a hidden gem, in that I really don’t see a lot of other rappers there, so it’d be nice to make it more inclusive. The plan this year is to make it more inclusive and to do my part to bring everybody in. It’s a beer event, but it’s also a music event because [music is] usually tied to it. If you’re a lover of good music and a lover of good beer then you should be out there.”
Seems lofty, but, from what it sounds like, Moody doesn’t back down from a challenge.
“He’s just a positive kid from the neighborhood and he’s out there putting good energy into all that he does, how could we not want to work with someone like that?” said Candeloro. “He’s got this magic charisma and you just want to help him and be a part of what he represents – and honestly, it also it happens to be a really good beer. Plus, every time we release it we have a party and who doesn’t love a good party?”