Just in time for Cinco de Mayo, we have Petey's Pale Ale — a new brew in honor of local rapper Petey Pablo of "Raise Up" fame.
Petey's Pale Ale, an American pale ale brewed with the tropical fruit guava, is the work of Raleigh's Neuse River Brewing Company.
"I had never even really thought about it," Pablo enthused in a Tuesday midday chat. "It's such an awesome idea that was brought to me, so why not? And Neuse River Brewing is a North Carolina brewer, a home brand. That is the most respectful thing someone could've done to incorporate my name to a brand."
Now 44, the Greenville-born Pablo (real name Moses Barrett III) was one of hip-hop's biggest stars more than a decade ago. Both his major-label albums hit the upper reaches of the Billboard 200 and earned gold records, with hits including the 2001 North Carolina roll-call anthem "Raise Up" and 2003's bawdy "Freek-A-Leek." He also appeared on R&B singer Ciara's 2004 hit "Goodies."
While he's never been any sort of home-brew gourmand, Pablo allows that he's always liked beer. After meeting Neuse River co-owner Ryan Kolarov at a talent contest at Raleigh's IMURJ earlier this year, they agreed to concoct a new brew.
"When we sat down to taste-test it, we didn't want it to be harsh," Pablo said. "You know, I drink wine sometimes — only with dinner, not just randomly. I didn't want it to be a hard, hard taste. I enjoy being social and what I'm drinking, it's who I am. I look hard, but I can be cordial."
Pablo has experienced some legal trouble over the years. In 2010, he was arrested trying to carry a gun onto a plane at Raleigh-Durham International Airport, resulting in a 26-month prison stint.
Asked whether he's been staying out of trouble lately, he laughed.
"Trouble is fun," he said. "But it's all about knowing the balance. Everybody lives on the edge sometimes, regardless of what it is. You know, one too many drinks and you decide to drive home, that's wrong. But it's about knowing your limits and not going too far overboard. Yin to yang, you can't appreciate right unless you do something wrong."
It's been 14 years since Pablo's last full-length major-label album, 2004's "Still Writing in My Diary: 2nd Entry." But he said he's busy with multiple recording projects, plus launching a clothing line in addition to the beer brand.
Petey's Pale Ale will make its debut on May 5, Cinco de Mayo, available in 16-ounce cans at Neuse River Brewing Company. The initial run is about 4,500 cans, and it should be available in stores before too much longer.
Pablo said he's also planning to do a local concert for the beer's release, with details to be announced.
"I still do music," he said. "They want me back so I buckle down and get back to it. 'Raise Up' is the most-requested song. It's awesome to have done a song so enormous that 17 years later, it still moves the clubs right along with today's music."