The Five Best Rock Beers On Earth
WORDS: Ethan Fixell
That rock bands collaborate with breweries to create their own beers is no news. By now, any AC/DC fan has heard of the band’s eponymous “Australian Hardrock” beer (“True taste for rockers!”). And most hardcore devotees of metal masters Iron Maiden have tried the band’s Trooper Ale.
But while these brews — and others from legendary artists such as Motörhead or Kiss — may titillate a portion of blindly rabid fanboys and girls, they’ve left those of us headbangers who moonlight as beer aficionados feeling less than satiated. Frankly, the liquid within these very awesomely packaged cans doesn’t reflect the awesomeness of our favorite bands.
Fortunately, a few rock and metal acts with especially discerning taste are finally getting it right, partnering with top notch breweries from around the world to produce beers worthy of their likeness. As a beverage writer, I’ve had the privilege of tasting the majority of these beers, and have rounded up the very best for you below.
These are the five best rock or metal band collaboration beers ever brewed.
Clutch (Lips of Faith Series) Sour Stout, New Belgium Brewing
With a fusion of heavy funk, blues, and metal grooves topped with incomparable vocals from rock-preacher Neil Fallon, Clutch defies categorization. The same could be said for their mind-blowing collaborative beer with the craft OGs at New Belgium Brewing. The equally defiant dark sour ale brings together a blend of dark, chocolatey roasted malts; toasty, vanilla-flavored wood notes; and a tart, sour cherry finish. I know: this beer makes no sense on paper — but then again, neither does Clutch, really.
Mother Puncher IPA, Mikkeller
This 6.60% ABV farmhouse-style IPA from Mikkeller and Mastodon balances passionfruit with barnyard notes imparted by Brettanomyces (beer speak for “wild yeast”) for a funky and fruity IPA. (Not quite how I’d venture to describe Mastodon’s music — but the beer is good enough that it doesn’t matter.) Most recently, the band collaborated again with Denmark’s favorite craft brewery on Sultan’s Curse Imperial Stout, a bourbon barrel-aged imperial stout brewed with Dark Matter Coffee, dates, toasted pistachios and cardamom. Now that sounds more like Mastodon.
À Tout le Monde Saison, Unibroue
Upon first sip, one might not recognize this as a “Megadeth beer” if it weren’t named after one of the band’s most famous tracks from the mid-90s. But as any Droogie knows, ‘Deth’s music is more than meets the eye (er…ear), dynamic and layered with complexity — for every dozen snarls, Dave Mustaine’s got a ballad or two up his sleeve. Similarly, this grassy, fruity, super-sessionable saison reflects the softer side of the band (and, quite frankly, Dave’s taste in beer). Best of all, at 4.5% ABV, you can pound a few at the show without worry of missing a beat. For more on this brew, check out my interview with Dave Mustaine for The Beer Necessities.
Permanent Funeral Imperial Double IPA, Three Floyds Brewing
No American brewery has done more for metal-and-beer collaborations than Three Floyds Brewing of Munster, IN. The brewery has worked with everyone from High on Fire to Municipal Waste, but their crown jewel is this brutal collab with grindcore gods Pig Destroyer. Though poured at the taproom through a nitro line for a creamy head, the 10.5% ABV beer is anything but delicate, bursting with dank, juicy hops, and balanced by a big, caramel-tinged malt bill. It’s their best band beer, but runners-up worth mentioning are Mastodon’s Crack the Skye (a barrel-aged coffee Russian Imperial Stout), and Cannibal Corpse’s Amber Smashed Face (if even only for the incredible name).
Oderus Ale, Cigar City Brewing
Oderus Ale was brewed exclusively for last year’s 7th annual Gwar B-Q in the comedically violent band’s hometown of Richmond, Virginia, in memorial of lead vocalist Dave Brockie (a.k.a. Oderus Urungus), who died tragically in 2014 of a drug overdose. Today, the legend of Oderus lives on — not only on tour with his surviving band members, but in an aluminum can filled with mildly hopped, citrusy pale ale. It’s delicious, but a true Bohab will recognize the more subtle notes of the beer: in particular, the aroma of enslaved humans doused in fake blood.