Atlanta’s New Realm brews Blackberry Smoke

Blackberry Smoke American lager is a special collaboration between New Realm Brewing Co. and Atlanta rock band Blackberry Smoke. Courtesy New Realm Brewing Co.

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Blackberry Smoke American lager is a special collaboration between New Realm Brewing Co. and Atlanta rock band Blackberry Smoke. Courtesy New Realm Brewing Co.

Collaboration beers have become a fixture of the craft brewing scene, often presenting imaginative takes on classic styles.

Atlanta’s New Realm Brewing has partnered with local rock band Blackberry Smoke to make an American lager also called Blackberry Smoke, set for release in late May.

In addition, New Realm got involved with Blackberry Smoke drummer Brit Turner and the Lana Turner Foundation, which supports families fighting children’s cancer and research for a cure.

New Realm brewmaster Mitch Steele already was a fan of Blackberry Smoke, and, for Turner, the feeling was mutual.

“I was honestly so interested in hearing about his education in brewing,” Turner said of Steele. “Plus, the New Realm restaurants are places you want to go every night. I think our fans will dig that.”

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Turner said he wanted an accessible beer, and he didn’t want blackberries in it.

“I love blackberries on their own, but let’s not shoehorn them into anything,” he said. “The main discussion was, is this for our fans? And, they’re probably the people who’d come in and say, ‘What do you have that tastes like Miller Light?’ So, American lager was what I thought our fans would enjoy and buy.”

“I didn’t know what their fan base was like until I started going to their shows earlier this year,” Steele said. “But, we used our New Realm United Craft Lager as the starting point for Blackberry Smoke. We brewed it, they tasted it, and said it was good to go.”

The recipe features a 50-50 blend of two-row and pilsner malts, Hallertau, Hersbrucker and Lemondrop hops, and German lager yeast.

The New Realm Blackberry Smoke beer tied in with this year’s Ride for a Cure, with metro Atlanta’s motorcycle riders coming together to benefit the Lana Turner Foundation.

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The foundation was started after Turner’s daughter, Lana, was diagnosed with Stage 4 neuroblastoma, and he and his wife, Shannon, resolved to fight the disease. Through meet-and-greets, Blackberry Smoke encouraged its fans to help fund the foundation and children’s cancer research.

“It’s really hard for families,” Turner said. “My child went through treatment at 3 years old, and it stuck with me. You pray, and you promise God whatever. But, the main thing is, I’m going to do whatever I can do to help these families and these kids and raise the dollars that make the difference.”

For his part, Steele is all in for the cause, and the collaboration.

“Talking with Brit about that charity, and how it all came to be, and what he had to go through with his family, it’s pretty gut-wrenching,” he said. “I’m really sensitive when it comes to children with illnesses. So, it was something that struck a nerve with me, and I’m really glad we’re able to do it. They’re really good people, and I’m looking forward to doing some more work with them.”

Ride for a Cure

Join brothers Brit and Richard Turner of Blackberry Smoke as they support the Lana Turner Foundation. May 22. Tickets $30-$75. lanaturnerfoundation.org

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