Beer always pairs nicely with quality tunage. Iron Maiden, Hootie and the Blowfish, Mastodon, Kid Rock — what does this mix tape have in common? All those artists have commissioned a custom-brewed beer. In Tampa, there’s actually a company (Rock Brothers Brewing) that helps musicians develop and brand their own beer (with the help of Cigar City Brewing Co., which does its own musical brews like the GWAR BEER below). Rock Brothers Brewing alone has worked with Have Gun Will Travel, JJ Grey & Mofro, Umphrey’s McGee and 311 (among others). In fact, today’s rock and roll beer collaborations are quite extensive (just check out this article).
Rick Astley, who we cringe to call a rocker, has even announced a custom beer — it’s an appropriately picked fruity pilsner in the works with esteemed Danish brewery Mikkeller (check Mikkeller’s San Diego brewery right here). You probably remember the 50-year-old’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” single, which has continued to live eternal via internet memes, It’s Always Sunny plot devices and now via a great brewery like Mikkeller. From the Irish Mirror:
“Mikkeller beer is quite experimental and they’ve been sending me various bottles to sample,” [said Astley].
“Some are quite fruity — one was a pear beer they make for a restaurant, but we’ve gone for a pilsner type lager.”
He told Weekend magazine: “All I need now is a name for it.”
The Mikeller brewery, set up in 2006 by former maths teacher Mikkel Borg Bjergsø, sells beer to more than 40 countries around the world.
Since craft beer and music are quickly becoming best drinking buddies, we decided to run down a few of our favorite beer/music combos. Be sure to cue up a shreddful guitar solo.
Clutch (Dark Sour Ale)
Maryland face-melters Clutch are on constant rotation in CBB’s vintage, Sony, 200-disk CD changer. We definitely threw up some devil horns way back when New Belgium Brewing Co.’s wood cellar team and Clutch first joined up in 2011 to make the darker-than-black, genre-bending Lips of Faith release, Clutch Dark Sour Ale. Let’s call that Big News I. Then, last month came Big News II, when New Belgium and Clutch decided to bring the beer back, marking 25 years for both New Belgium and Clutch. The sour stout was released in December. From our previous post:
Clutch storms the senses with deep cocoa, biting roast and a fruity funkiness from a blend of sour Oscar pulled specifically from French oak foeders to complement the heavy stout base.
Iron Maiden (Trooper)
Real ale fan and history aficionado Bruce Dickinson is the vocalist of rock gods Iron Maiden, and he’s played a major role in developing CBB‘s musical taste and, well, the unique flavor of Iron Maiden’s craft beer called Trooper; the latter entailed ongoing visits with collaborator Robinsons Brewery in Stockport, England. Maiden’s on-stage Union Jack flag-waving military character Eddie is of course “The Trooper.” Not to mention that’s an awesome Iron Maiden song written by bassist Steve Harris. The single cover art is even the same as the beer label. Air guitar! Check out the beer over here.
Deltron 3030 (Positive Contact)
Like a perfectly mixed beer recipe, producer Dan the Automator, rapper Del the Funky Homosapien and DJ Kid Koal collaborated on the bold concept album Deltron 3030 way back in 2000. It stands today as one of our favorite rap albums of all time (just cue this up, naysayer). Well, Dogish Head Brewery has quite an awesome Music Series of beers, and while it’s hard to pick just one, Positive Contact is our favorite. This one is an amalgamation of hip-hop, beer, cider and an interesting culinary experience. Dogfish’s Sam Calagione and Dan the Automator teamed up to create this brew, based on the Automator’s favorite ingredients. It’s also named after the brilliant stage-burner “Positive Contact.” From the website:
Named after a key track on the first album, Positive Contact is a 9% ABV hybrid of beer and cider brewed with Fuji apples, roasted farro, a handful of cayenne peppers and a late dose of fresh cilantro. This sweet-and-sour Belgian-ish brew is a light straw color with fruity, cider-like notes. The cayenne and alcohol give it a warming finish.
Hootie and the Blowfish (Hootie’s Homegrown)
Darius Rucker and mates have been warming our icy hearts with mellow, radiant rock and roll since the 1990s. Now, Hootie and the Blowfish (originally out of Columbia, S.C.) are aiming to thaw our steely Monday morning demeanor with a liquid sunshine called Hootie’s Homegrown Ale. The custom craft beer was available in draft form and 12-ounce cans across the Southeast back in September. We just thought it was awesome and hilarious that Hootie had a beer. Rock Brothers Brewing was at the helm. Learn more yonder.
Queen (Bohemian Lager)
Queen scored the best soundtrack of all time (um, Flash Gordon). Queen wrote the most epic, fist-pump fight song of all time (also the world’s best victory anthem), and Freddie Mercury pretty much had the wildest voice in all of rock and roll (plus, he made aviators look totally fab). In honor of the band’s 40th anniversary of “Bohemian Rhapsody,” seminal prog rock radio kings Queen launched a brew called Bohemian Lager. It’s been described as a “golden hoppy beer,” with an ABV of 4.7 percent. Keeping with that Bohemian theme (Bohemia is a region of the Czech Republic, smart guy), it is brewed in Pilsen, which is located in the Bohemia region of the Czech Republic and where pilsner types of beer originated. It’s brewed at the Schwarzenberg brewery. Check it out right over here. They say it’s available in the United States.
Doomtree (American Pale Ale)
T up “Bolt Cutter” and understand why Doomtree is one of the most underrated indie hip hop collectives in America. Maybe it’s because they’re from Minnesota — which is Prince and Hüsker Dü country — yet Doomtree has just as many varied and genre-bending influences, fueling hearts, minds, beats and poetry. Minneapolis-based Surly Brewing Co. understands the band’s vision and actually created a Doomtree beer, which it occasionally packages in cans and draft. From the Surly site:
Working in extreme secrecy, we decided to make a beer team Surly suggests, a “bastardized style” that will build on a classic, but buck convention. Doomtree cannot nod vigorously enough. We know this style. Guided by instinct, we came up with this dark gold, toasty, aromatic, subtly spicy, bitter enough, dry-hopped brew. Best enjoyed cold, in a spare room, with new friends.
Check it proper right here, and then someone tell Lazerbeak he has the coolest name in all of music.
Madness (Gladness, Lovestruck and Night Boat)
The English ska assassins behind Madness infiltrated ‘70s and ‘80s radio with quality 2 Tone revival. We just love them for “Our House” and “My Girl.” In 2014, the band released three different beers. Try’en buy’em right here. From the website:
A flavourful homegrown craft lager, it uses a two-tone hit of fine malts and blended aromatic hops to create a unique golden beer with a touch of light bitterness. And with a clean refreshing taste that’s guaranteed to quench the driest of thirsts, Gladness always warrants a chorus of “Madness, Madness, they call it Gladness!”
Lovestruck, a superb Hoppy Amber Ale, has been brewed by our friends at Portobello Brewery. Filled with a floral and berry hop character that tickles the nose followed by coffee and hazelnut aromas, it’s a beer to savour and enjoy with friends and good conversation. And while Lovestruck might not have you spilling out your deepest feelings to your loved one, it will make you fall in love with beer all over again.
Night Boat, a delightfully rich velvet London Porter, has been brewed by our friends at Portobello Brewery. Packed to the rafters with cappuccino, chocolate, hazelnut and dark fruit aromas, it’s a beer with a taste for adventure.
Descendents (Feel This)
Hypercaffium Spazzinate was definitely one of the best albums of 2016 (proof). So, it pleased us greatly to see a band-approved beer named after the legendary punk band’s song “Feel This” from the Descendents’ most recent Epitaph record. It’s a 7.3 percent coffee IPA brewed with “Dark Matter Hypercaffium Spazzinate coffee beans.” The beer is brewed via Mikkeller Brewing San Diego (a collab between Mikkeller and AleSmith Brewing Co.). From the press release:
“Having grown up in the punk rock and skate punk scene, it was an honor to be given the opportunity to create a beer for the Descendents to celebrate their recently released album,” said Bill Batten, Mikkeller SD Brew Master). “While doing this collaboration we got an opportunity to meet the Dark Matter boys and learn about their coffee process. Using their roasting profiles, in combination with our passion for hop-forward IPA’s, we were able to create a special beer as unique as the band.”
GWAR (Oderus Ale)
The mutant metal aliens from GWAR are not merely barbaric interplanetary warriors that have come to our planet to probe new auditory dimensions. No, these lovable weirdos also brought along some beer to the intergalactic kegger. A special batch of GWAR BEER (a pale ale) was brewed exclusively for the 7th Annual GWAR B-Q in Richmond, Va., by Cigar City Brewing last year. From the site:
Food, Fun, Babes, Sun! Life’s not like that. GWAR BEER, when life gets a little too real.
Fuck yes, you knew we’d end with these golden-haired gods of pop geekdom. The three brothers from Hanson actually own Hanson Brothers Beer Co. based in Tulsa, Okla. (though Mustang Brewing Co. custom brews this beer), and they have a pretty damn good pun for their brand — Mmmhops. Like the Hanson hit “MMMbop,” it sounds delightful: a smooth-bodied American pale ale crafted with rich malt, a signature blend of hops and a 7.5 percent ABV. Find the beer right over here, and then send us your favorite beer band picks.