We often associate the best gigs with the aesthetic of a rock and metal dive bar with stickers on toilet doors, condensation on the ceiling and the stench of damp lager oozing from the carpets, walls and probably the people surrounding us. Although stale lager might be the most enjoyable tipple from a bar that’s only used once a week, bands are jumping at the opportunity to deliver delicious drinks to their fans for the ultimate merch accessory: musician endorsed craft beer.
You might have seen Iron Maiden‘s ‘Trooper’ or Motorhead‘s ‘Road Crew’ around the supermarkets but we’ve taken a look at some of the most interesting and creative beers that bands have put their name on and the breweries that are behind them.
Please be aware that, whilst this article is about alcohol, it is important to drink responsibly. You can head to Drink Aware (here) for more information. Oh, and don’t be one of those idiots that drinks and drives.
OPETH – ‘COMMUNION PALE ALE’ (2015)
Northern Monk Brew Co., Leeds
Northern Monk are one at the creative forefront of UK craft beer and are a staple of bottle shops around the country but back in 2015 when they were just a year old, they teamed up with Swedish prog-rock Gods Opeth. The first output was the 9.2% limited edition ‘XXV Anniversary Imperial Stout’ before ‘Communion Pale Ale’ was released to celebrate the band’s eleventh studio album of the same name (almost).
Brian Dickson of Northern Monk described the pale ale as “an easy-drinking American Pale Ale with a solid U.K. malt backbone over which we layered lots of classic U.S. hop varieties, including Equinox and Citra. Expect pine, spice and all the punchy citrus you’d expect of the style; perfect gig refreshment!”.
DEFTONES – ‘WHITE PONY’ (2020)
Belching Beaver, San Diego
After collaborating with San Diego’s Belching Beaver (best known over here for their delicious peanut butter milk stout) on previous IPA’s ‘Swerve City’ and ‘Phantom Bride’, Deftones are back with a double dry-hopped IPA named ‘White Pony’, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their third studio album.
The brewery said described the beer as a “celebration of hops – perfect to enjoy while listening to the album. We feel the best way to honour this milestone is to collaborate on a beer loaded with flavor, so we pumped the volume, and double dry-hopped this India Pale Ale. This adds an extra layer of hop aroma with notes of grapefruit, resulting in a juicy, tropical, IPA. Cheers to 20 years, and we look forward to 20 more.”
LAMB OF GOD – ‘GHOST WALKER’ (2020)
Lamb of God vocalist, Randy Blythe, was starting his journey toward an alcohol-free lifestyle in 2012 when he wrote the lyrics to ‘Ghost Walking’ but it wasn’t til he was introduced to craft beer behemoth Brewdog‘s non-alcoholic core beer ‘Nanny State’ until this beer started to take fruition. Randy helped the Brewdog brewing team choose the hop profile that makes up the brew for a truly innovative collaborative creation.
Brewdog proudly describe the beer as “a hop-forward flavor, containing less than 0.5% alcohol. Tropical aromas harmonize with grassy, pine notes, all sitting on a solid malt baseline, proving that non-alcoholic beer can taste just as good. It provides non-drinkers, and people who may want a beer, but not the alcohol, a quality craft beverage option.”
GWAR – ‘ODERUS ALE’ (2016)
Cigar City Brewing, Florida
Since 2009, heavy metal fake blood obsessives GWAR have hosted an annual festival in Virginia called ‘GWAR B-Q’ which acts as a pilgrimage for their die hard fans who enjoy a mass barbecue, live music and all round GWAR related high jinks. A special batch of GWAR b was brewed exclusively for the 7th Annual ‘GWAR B-Q’ by Cigar City Brewing and was named after the late vocalist Dave Brockie AKA Oderus Urungus.
The tasting notes provided by the brewery state ‘Oderus Ale’ has “Gooseberry and sauvignon blanc aromas with a hint of apricot and cracker-like malt character on the nose. Flavours of white wine and pear and a snappy, dry bitterness make it a wonderfully refreshing beer to enjoy after being publicly impaled by Pustulus Maximus and left to be devoured by maggots.
MOGWAI – ‘MOGWAI BEER SATAN’ (2018)
Signature Brew, London
Walthamstow’s Signature Brew are rock music’s resident craft brewery and can often be seen stocking the best gig venues, festivals and rock bars across the country, brewing beers with the likes of IDLES, Mastodon, Frank Turner and Enter Shikari and even recently hosting socially distanced shows with Jamie Lenman and Rob Lynch. In 2018, the East London brewery collaborated with Scottish post-rock band Mogwai to create a limited-edition 5.2% ABV New England pale ale.
‘Mogwai Beer Satan’ was constructed around Mogwai‘s seminal track ‘Mogwai Fear Satan’; a complex 16 minutes track that when stripped down, has just two chords. The beer embraces this by using simple ingredients which blend together to make a flavour that’s bigger than the sum of their parts and has a long finish. The tropical IPA has aromas of pineapple, mango and grape with a subtle heat gained from the chillies added to the brewing process.
MASTODON – ‘SULTAN’S CURSE’ (2017)
Mikkeller Brewing, San Diego
US metal titans Mastodon are no strangers to beer, having released collabs with Signature Brew and Mahr’s Bräu but their ‘Sultan’s Curse’ from Copenhagen craft beer behemoth Mikkeller is arguably their most boundary pushing to date. After their release of ‘Mastodon Mother Puncher’: a farmhouse IPA with passion fruit, the band joined up with the San Diego team of Mikkeller to release a 12% imperial stout.
The San Diego Mikkeller team described the beer as a “monster imperial itout with intense layers of dates and coffee, which sit gracefully above a complementing cardamom brightness. Toasted pistachios bring depth and texture alongside an integrated spiced and vanilla bouquet from the bourbon-barrel aging. Full-bodied and complex.”
HATEBREED – ‘LIVE FOR THIS’ (2020)
Witchdoctor Brewing, Connecticut
Connecticut hardcore and metal crossover legends Hatebreed frontman Jamey Jasta has announced his new venture into the food and drink with ‘Jasta Pasta’ but last year, the band released a lager with Witchdoctor Brewing named after the ‘Rise of Brutality’ track ‘Live For This’, under the guise of Breedbrew.
Drummer Matt Byrne had to say about the beer, “If you’re not familiar with this Helles style of German beer, think gold-colored, relatively low ABV (4.5%) that won’t blow your head off after one pint. It’s refreshing in this blistering, Northeast summer heat and you can drink this style of beer all day long. If you’re a Budweiser guy, don’t be scared. It’s just as crisp and you will be hooked. If you’re an IPA guy, you will be pleasantly surprised. It has just enough bite. I’ve been lucky to sip beer from all corners of this crazy earth”.
ALL TIME LOW – ‘BEER MARIA, COUNT ME IN’ (2020)
Full Tilt Brewery, Baltimore
Just a few months after releasing their very own wine, Maryland pop-punks All Time Low expanded their alcohol adventures by releasing their own beer with the help of Baltimore brewery Full Tilt Brewing, a company that frontman Alex Gaskarth invested in back in 2019.
Named after their 2008 breakthrough hit, ‘Beer Maria, Count Me In’ is an ABV 5.6% blonde ale which Gaskarth described as “approachable, refreshing and to serve as a good introductory beer to everything else Full Tilt has to offer. I imagined myself standing outside at a concert, and thought about what I’d want to be sipping on a hot summer day, watching a rad band; we went for citrus notes, with enough body and hops to not feel like it’s watered down.”
PANIC! AT THE DISCO – ‘IP!ATD’ (2019)
Asbury Park Brewery, New Jersey
Panic! At The Disco frontman Brendon Urie got involved with Asbury Park Brewery while playing a show in the New Jersey area as they had deep connections to the local music scene. ‘IP!ATD’ was the results and was created from Brendon‘s specification; “bold and earthy, like a West Coast IPA, but Juicy and citrusy, lIke an East Coast IPA”.
The singer said, “I say this often but beer really is my comfort food. With all the travelling I do, it’s something I look forward to knowing I can usually find a local beer that represents the city I’m visiting or have one of my classic favourites for when I’m feeling homesick. For me, ‘IP!ATD’ is a blend of both those feelings— uniting a familiar taste with something fresh.”
SKINDRED – ‘UNION BLACK’ (2019)
Box Social Brewing, Newcastle
Named after their 2011 fourth full-length album, Welsh ragga metal heroes Skindred released ‘Union Black’ alongside Box Social Brewing based in Newburn, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. The 6% ABV Jamaican vegan stout is said to be a complex, unique beer, that unites both rich roasted bitter flavours, with the sweetness of vanilla and the spice of Jamaica.
“This beer is the perfect representation of Box Social Brewing and Skindred” said head brewer Ross Holland, “And can be enjoyed by all people, together. Best enjoyed listening to their unique sound, we hope you like it!”.
You can catch Northern Monk, Signature Brew and a whole host of other breweries at Bristol Craft Beer Festival at Lloyd’s Amphitheatre, Bristol from 11-13th September. The three day extravaganza includes an array of good beer and independent food outlets, as well as a host of DJs and music to keep everyone entertained.
There will of course be numerous safety procedures in place for all those in attendance. This includes full PPE at service areas, updated queuing and directional signage for visitors, app-based registration to comply with track and trace, rigorous cleaning and sanitising throughout and in between sessions, increased entry and exit points, continued cleaning of the toilet facilities as well as admittance by advance tickets only and no cash payments.