Jon Hopkins launches new beer inspired by one of his tracks and the number 9, and it’s all thanks to something Brian Eno told him

Jon Hopkins Light Through The Veins beer
(Image credit: Verdant Brewing Co)

The running time of his last album was set to last the length of a ketamine trip, and now ambient electronic entrepreneur Jon Hopkins is maintaining the mind-altering mood with the launch of a new craft beer.

Of course, this being Hopkins, there’s a cerebral, musical flavour to the ale, which is a collaboration with the Verdant Brewing Co known as Light Through The Veins. This is the name of a track that featured on Hopkins’ 2009 album Insides, and it turns out that it represented a significant moment in the producer’s career.

“When I was 26, I was working on Insides, and kept hitting serious creative blocks,” Hopkins explained on Instagram. “In those days I often felt like I had too many options, too many potential routes to follow. I had been working with [Brian] Eno a lot around that time, and one of the many things I learnt from him was the importance of limitation, and how imposing seemingly random factors on the music you are making can create things that are more interesting than your conscious mind could conceive of.”

Inspired by Eno, Hopkins came up with a plan: “I picked the number 9, which resonated with me that day. I decided to apply this number to as many aspects of the music as possible. I wrote a 9-note riff, which cycled for 9 minutes and 18 seconds over a 36-step sequence. The number 9 and multiples of 9 were applied to as many parameters in the sound design as possible.”

The track, says Hopkins, “went on to change my life in various ways, and be a big part of my live shows at Glastonbury over the years.”

How does this relate to the new beer, though? Because of that number again: “When I started talking to my friends at Verdant about making a collab beer, the brewing team were into working this 9s idea into the recipe, so they used the number 9 at as many levels as possible,” Hopkins explains.

This means that the beer comes in at a pokey 9%, and has three hop(kins) varieties (three times three equalling nine, of course). The brewing process involves a 63-minute mash rest and a 63-minute boil (six plus three equals nine) and uses 1800kg of malt and 27gpl dry hop (1800 and 27 both being multiples of nine).

Does any of this make the beer taste any better? You can find out by ordering it from the Verdant Brewing Co website, though at £30 for four 440ml cans, it’s probably not going to become your session ale of choice. At least it’s not quite £9 a can, though…

To celebrate the launch of the beer, Hopkins will be DJing at the Verdant Taproom in Penryn, Cornwall, this Friday (21 April). Sadly, the show is sold out, but the good news is that all proceeds raised from the ticket sales will go to the Cabilla Cornwall Rewilding Project.

Ben Rogerson
Deputy Editor

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

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