After talking to Trevor ‘Shaggee’ O’Brien, sales and marketing guy at Nickel Brook, and finding out that Headstock came out in 2011, I realize it may not be a classic, but it sure has the spirit of one. Maybe it was the can that threw me off: it looks dated, but I love it. Orange and purple with sparkly green hops, hoppy music notes, and a yellow crescent moon and peace sign, this can evokes Woodstock AND features a rocking depiction of (someone who looks like) Stevie Ray Vaughan doing his thang. For those who don’t know what a headstock is: it’s the headpiece of a guitar; the instrument Vaughan mastered.

Headstock IPA

The beer itself is 7% and has 80 IBUs, which is pretty darn strong and bitter, but the magic of Headstock is that it tastes completely approachable and balanced. I could drink this at a music festival all day, and be completely at peace with the world. Cheers to you, Headstock.

According to Nickel Brook’s brewmaster Ryan Morrow, the beer is one of the brewery’s bestsellers, and has undergone some significant recipe changes in a relatively short period of time (many hoppy beers have, like 666): The name and look was chosen by our co-founder, John Romano. The recipe has undergone some significant changes over time. Initially we primarily used Nugget hops, to make a more amber coloured IPA, akin to Nugget Nectar from Troegs Brewery out of Pennsylvania. After some time we decided to move it more in the direction of a traditional West Coast IPA, and now Simcoe is the lead hop in the recipe.

Shaggee tells me the can is being rebranded (going the way of all Nickel Brook’s branding) this fall.

I’ll always remember the good old days!


Turn this up. Go straight to 7:40 and rock on!