Night Out: The Spruce Campbells’ CD and beer release

By Columbus Alive
From the June 7, 2012 edition

When The Spruce Campbells host their album release show this Saturday, it will also mark the public’s first chance to experience Jason Matthew Kusowski’s other passion — beer.

Kusowski, the band’s songwriting mastermind, has long been an avid homebrewer, and with the assistance of local microbrewery Zauber Brewing Co., he’s ready to unveil the wares from Spruce Campbells Brewing Co. The first beer to be released is the Frost Giant Pale Ale, a crisp-bodied American pale ale with citrus notes.

“It goes down like a session beer, but it has higher alcohol [content] at six percent,” Kusowski explained.

Much as he is for The Spruce Campbells’ music, Kusowski is the lead creative force in the brewing venture, but he has lots of help. A friend, Rick Durham, recently moved in with Kusowski to help with brewing.

“When I’m working on the music I needed a go-to guy that could brew the beers … and Rick was probably the only person that would nerd out about beer like me,” Kusowski said.

One of the more distinctive aspects of the Spruce Campbells’ beer is the labels. Local artist Cyrus Fire designs them, and they’re quite impressive visually.

“It’s a recurring theme. Even if they don’t know the beer, they’ll still be able to recognize it, kind of like [Ralph] Steadman with Flying Dog,” Kusowski said.

Kusowski contract-brewed the Frost Giant Pale Ale on Zauber’s equipment to meet regulations, and Zauber will be selling the finished product to Kobo — Spruce Campbells brewed, Zauber released. Kusowski and Zauber brewer Geoff Towne also collaborated on another recipe that’ll be released. They describe the second beer as a super-hoppy Belgian.

The two half-barrel kegs will be tapped at 8 p.m., and the music starts at 10:30 p.m. Pints are $3.50 for the first hour and $5 after that. The first 100 in the door will receive a free Spruce Campbells Brewing Co. T-shirt or pint glass.

The band’s first full-length album, “The Bipolar Coordinates Collection” is a compilation of six previous EPs. The 25 songs progress through the sonic splendor of the Spruce Campbells’ music from the past few years. Indigo Wild and Wolf Ram Heart open.

Photo by Tessa Berg