There might be a consensus about the biggest and baddest IPAs out there, but the Cool Kids' Chuck Inglish is often not impressed. Even the most-hyped IPA can be a "check down" in his book. You won't find Inglish conforming to typical beer standards, constantly drinking the newest shit out. He likes what he likes in terms of style and taste.
As one of hip-hop's most honest and open voices, Chuck has no problem speaking his mind on a long list of topics at any given time. The man has an opinion on everything, whether it be the sounds he creates, social issues we all face, or any subject matter he encounters.
But, what about his opinion on beer?
Chuck is a lover of life and of good beer. Throughout his time with The Cool Kids and as a solo artist, he has found comfort in beer. More than just comfort, he’s found a universal language and an admiration for brewers and the art of brewing.
A man of many words, Chuck opened up to us about the beers and foods he loves, how beer can be spiritual and how The Cool Kids upcoming third full-length album, Special Edition Grand Master Deluxe, was “made off beer and weed."
Did you have a gateway beer or something that got you into craft brews?
Yeah, see, it started off with Sierra Nevada. That was the first post-college beer I was drinking.
The pale ale?
Yeah, the green can. When The Cool Kids first started, we would do club appearances and shit and... you know, I learned to stop drinking liquor a long time ago. That shit will get you wasted. I choose to have the 'gentlemen buzz' you know what I mean? I don't want to be wasted.
Anyway, I was financing this keg party and I refused to do any Bud Light. Because people who drink Bud Light worry me, like, 'What are you doing?' So, there were some college kids that wanted me to DJ and I told them I would get them a keg and let's throw a party. I knew what type of party I wanted to throw and I wanted to get Sierra Nevada kegs. They weren't against it, but they were like, 'What's Sierra Nevada?' But I told them, 'I got you.' And having that Sierra Nevada keg made the party cooler.
You're from Michigan. Chicago is your second home. You currently live out in Cali. Those are some pretty heavy beer scenes. Have those influenced you?
Michigan has Bell's. They got Two-Hearted Ale, man. There's no bar you can go to that doesn't have a Michigan tap. That's a fact. There's no bar with over 10 taps where there's not a Michigan beer on it, and I'm proud of that. Chicago beers are delicious too, like Revolution. But people leave Chicago beers out of the mix. You don't leave Bell's out of the mix. Cali is a mecca too.
Breweries are everywhere. There's an abundance.
It's a culture, man. And as I sit here, an extra 20 pounds overweight with this album creation, I'm happy. It's not sad weight. It's beer weight.
Do you blame beer for the weight gain?
It's not totally the beer's fault, but my beer tolerance is insane. It’s empty calories. I wish it wasn't, but I don't give a shit. I don't wanna live my life without beer.
It's more than that.
So much more. Beer doesn't affect my equilibrium. I haven't had a bad beer night my entire life.
That's a bold statement.
The only time in my life turns weird is when that beer turns into a shot. A beer and a shot combo is not a good look. That's not my favorite bar handout. Now, if you did a beer and a slider, I'm more with that. You know what I mean? Give somebody something to eat with their beer. You should never drink without food.
So, you get down with beer and food pairings?
That's all I'm here for! [laughs] Forever. It's beer and food pairings.
What are some of your favorite pairings that you've had?
I don't want to say I'm moody, but there's beer that I'm drinking when I'm just drinking by myself or if I'm stopping in a bar and I don't plan to eat. And then there's beer when I plan to eat. I don't always like IPAs with my food. It's just not a taste I want while I'm eating. It's a strong taste. They're very pungent, especially Double IPAs, which is an acquired taste.
Actually, there's a spot in L.A. called Plan Check. One of the better burger places on the planet. They pair this candied bacon, steak sauce burger called The Bleuprint with an IPA. I'm talking, you bite into the burger, and the IPA... it just melts.
So, you DO like IPAs with your food?
Well, I put my foot in my mouth there. Because also, Sweetwater wings (in Detroit), I went there with my grandfather and he was telling me they taste better without the sauce. But I already ordered mine. Anyway, they had a local IPA there and it was ice cold. I was sitting there eating the wings... I like to appreciate the little things in life... I'm sitting there hanging out with my grandfather, eating the best wings in the city, with the coldest IPA. And every time I had the spice on my tongue, the IPA was knocking it out. I'm not a spicy food eater, so when I do have spicy food, IPAs are the cheat code. It's actually more of a cheat code than milk. That shit does not work.
Okay. Let's say you're on tour, in a place you've never been before, out at a local dive bar. What kind of beer are you ordering first?
The first thing I'm looking for is a red. Everybody has one. Porter is next. And if I have to check down the IPA, I will. But it goes in that order. Because a red is universal with my taste buds and food. Looking for a red ale is my first move. Porters I really like. Those smoked, chocolatey Porters, with nice carbonation are good. Because what I don't like are the dark brews that don't have carbonation. Ones that don't have the frothiness.
Like thinner beers?
Yeah, I don't like that. Now, pumpkin beers? Let's talk about that. Let's talk about where your boy loves beer.
There's a lot of hate for some people toward pumpkin brews.
[puzzled/enraged look] Explain.
I'm just saying! It’s not everyone’s favorite style.
It's such a seasonal thing.
You want them year-round?
No, I like them during the season. They're delicious. There was this spot in Minnesota that had a pumpkin beer with chocolate flakes or something. And I think they put it in a bourbon barrel. I had it with a bacon, date spread over this medium burger with a pepper bun, tons of flavor.
Best shit ever?
Hey, I could live or I could not live [laughs]. And I chose life. Do you choose life? I do. Nowadays, it’s kinda like burger and beer is the same thing as steak and wine. But, you wear a collared shirt when you go get steak and wine. Your hat's on backwards watching the baseball game while you're getting a beer. It's more practical to your life.
People who take shots of whiskey need their ass whooped. Straight up.”
On that note, in life, we have beer and music. Do they go together? More specifically, hip-hop and beer.
Hip-hop and beer doesn't have the best relationship. Which, I'm hoping to change. Beer is peaceful. Unless you’re a complete shitbag, you don’t get mad off of beer.
So it has a calming effect in your eyes?
Music sounds better. Food tastes better. It's the liquid marijuana. There are so many different flavors. You can't have an art form of liquor. I mean, whiskey has an art form to it. But whiskey is also a gentleman's sport. And it's for people who know how to drink. And they sip it. You don't take shots of whiskey. People who take shots of whiskey need their ass whooped. Straight up. First of all, you can’t taste it and you're not savoring it. And anything you don't savor, you're taking advantage of. So, when I have a beer, my first sip is [makes lip-smacking, tasting sound]. I'm not drinking that shit to get a buzz. I'm drinking it because it tastes amazing.
Does it make you creative?
Yeah. I'm not gonna lie, this next Cool Kids album was made off beer and weed. This is the first album I made without any mushrooms. I can get more emotions out that way. I feel how I feel after a couple of beers. I like how I feel.
Is beer therapeutic like music?
Beer is spiritual. A natural occurrence of alcohol. Fermentation and hops. I can get a 20-ounce mug, about 17 ounces of it is beer with the top three levels just foam. If I could have that and some house made potato chips with a good dip in a bar when a game starts, like a game I wanna see, like, mid-day Michigan at noon. I can't really be mad on earth regardless of what happens. I've been through situations where I thought my world was imploding, you know, I'm fighting with my girlfriend, don't know where my life is going. And I could seriously have a couple bar snacks, two beers, watch the first half of a game, go home and take a nap from that little buzz and tell myself nothing is that serious. Just enjoy this shit.
The one thing, no matter race, creed, gender, whatever the fuck. Beer.”
Like beer and pizza. Let's get to beer and pizza. Goddamnit! [laughs] Pizza and beer, a combination that was happening way before tacos and beer.
The question is, what can't you pair with beer?
That's the problem. Try to find that. I'm not trying to find that!
Is there such a thing?
No. Steaks even go with beer.
Do you have a favorite style?
Double IPAs to me, they just feel like a brewing art and not just a really great taste. There are a lot of 'brew arts' that I can respect. And my respect for brewmasters and the whole art of brewing beer is heavy to me. I don't like the big beer companies because they're just mass producing and they don't care for the art form. Some beers you know are a family run business. They love that beer. They drink that shit all day. They produced it from here [points to heart]. Those are the only ones I wanna drink. Because to enjoy something so freely, you don’t want to feel cheated.
Are you drinking any specific local beers now?
Local to where I'm at is 805 [by Firestone Walker]. There's a brewery in L.A. called House. They make a really good lager. And Angel City. Those are local to me that I love.
Do you have any last words you'd like to add about beer?
Being from the... I'm not going to call it the Midwest because we're actually Mideast. We're actually the Middle East of America. We have so many different trades. Michigan is like a separate country. There are so many different parts.
The one thing, no matter race, creed, gender, whatever the fuck. Beer. It's an international language and if you drink it, we can be friends. I made friends from every single race of life just talking shit over a beer.