A winter refresh, blossoming with raspberry.
Sometimes you have to look a little harder to find something blooming in New York City – especially in February.
So for our February Y-Series release, a hazy Raspberry IPA, painter and Bronx native Jeffrey Melo created a piece for the can focused on a dahlia “growing up out of the concrete” and christening the brew, Concrete Bloom as a play on the New York City nickname, “concrete jungle.”
Also blooming on the sides of the can are raspberry bushes, a nod to hundreds of pounds of raspberry puree used in this brew. And while raspberries are the main fruit flavor, grapefruit and honeydew notes also make a splash thanks to Huell Melon and Callista hops while a touch of honey enhances the fruit flavor while adding sweetness and a kick of mint gives this brew an earthy, fresh finish.
But the concept of blooming out of tough situation might resonate in a bigger way with a lot of people after the last two years – Jeffrey included. Having returned to New York after graduating from art school in Philadelphia in 2012, Jeffrey found himself lost in the hustle of staying afloat and paying off loans. Eventually he built a career in the fitness industry, without much extra time for his art. But then in 2020, after being furloughed from his job as a kickboxing instructor, Jeffrey joined a group of artists who were painting the boarded up windows of businesses in Soho and began documenting the pieces on social media.
“That was the start to me changing my path into actually becoming an artist,” he said.
Black Wall Street Gallery owner Ricco Wright noticed Jeffrey’s posts and reached out, inviting Jeffrey to participate in a few group shows, before hosting Jeffrey’s first ever solo show, “The Least of These” in November.
“I always want my images to tell a story that’s going to contribute to society and starts a conversation stemming from what I see, believe, think, feel.” Jeffrey says of his art. “I want others that are like me and who are gonna come after me to say I feel seen, I feel heard, and I can also contribute.”
In keeping with the idea of contributing to a society where beautiful things grow from the concrete, Jeffrey has chosen to support Brotherhood Sister Sol with the release of this beer. BroSis, a Harlem based organization, helps young people in New York develop a critical understanding of their history, identity and role in society through education, support, and guidance.
Malt: Pilsen, White Wheat, Ashburne, Oat Flakes, Rye, Honey Malt
Hops: Calypso, Callista, Huell Melon
What Else: Raspberry Puree, Mint leaves