Music merchandise has moved on from T-shirts and posters – bands do beers these days. Check out some of these offerings from Elbow, Iron Maiden, Status Quo and more.
When you think of must-have rock star accessories, you think of celebrity other halves, private jets, debilitating drug habits. In 2014, however, there is only one thing every band wants: Its own beer.
In the past few weeks, Status Quo unveiled Piledriver, Maximo Park launched Maximo No.5, and Elbow released its second beer, Charge. It’s great publicity for the bands, and these beers sell. In 2013, Iron Maiden’s Trooper turned into the kind of platinum-selling, global smash that made everyone – bands, their managers and breweries – sit up and take notice. But are these band-beers actually any good?
Beer: Charge (4.2%, MarstonAos)
You might say Elbow is too nice for its own good. Where’s the edge? The danger? Charge, the band’s follow-up to Build A Rocket Boys!, the beer that arguably started this whole trend, is what beer geeks would classify as a “boring brown bitter”. Despite being advertised as a golden ale, it is copper coloured, ineffectually bittersweet, soapy and dull.
Verdict: Disappointing second album.
Artiste: Frank Turner
Beer: Believe (4.8%, Signature Brew)
A beer as confused as Turner’s politics, but far more palatable. This “modern twist on the traditional wheat beer”, is, in fact, much closer to a crisp, zesty pale ale or a proper, flavourful pils, than a wheat beer.
Verdict: Top 10.
Band: Iron Maiden
Beer: Trooper (4.7%, Robinson’s)
Say what you like about that ludicrous pantomime of masculinity, Iron Maiden, but the band is rarely dull. Unlike this beer, which, but for its musty, malty body of dark berries and peculiar sherbet-lemons aftertaste, is pretty mousy.
Verdict: Bargain bin.
Band: Status Quo
Beer: Piledriver (4.3%, Wychwood)
Sunday driver more like, but taken for what it is – another safety-first English bitter – this isn’t bad. It is much cleaner than Elbow’s Charge, has a lingering bitterness and some interesting floral, perfumed and parkin flavours going on. Without question, the best thing Quo have ever released.
Verdict: Surprise new entry.
Artiste: Ed Harcourt
Beer: Dark Heart (6.8%, Signature Brew)
Like Harcourt’s songs, this rich, dark brew is well-padded and comfortable, yet challenging. Think Victorian gentlemen’s clubs, mahogany, leather, whiskery colonels and cigar smoke.
Verdict: Cult classic.
Band: Professor Green
Beer: Remedy Pale Ale (4.5%, Signature Brew)
Cheeky! “The aroma reminds me of … what can I say? It smells very green,” runs the blurb, but, in fairness to the good professor, he is right. Like the best Czech pils (only with more of a malty, pale ale backbone), Remedy’s aroma is so herbal, you don’t know whether to drink it or roll it.
Verdict: This week’s highest climber.
Beer: Black Tongue (8.3%, Signature Brew)
A double black IPA, this is a serious beer from a serious band, dude. Everything – hops, malt, ABV – has been turned up to 11, to create an incredibly sweet mouthful of big, over-ripe tropical fruit flavours and woozy, boozy, treacly warmth. And, yes, it did leave my head banging.
Verdict: Screw the charts, man!
Band: Maximo Park
Beer: Maximo No.5 (5%, Mordue Brewery)
A beer as complex as Paul Smith’s knotty lyrics, this American amber builds from a toasted, brown bread base into a six-hop wingding of lychee, melon, a little spice, and loose tea. It tops out in the kind of bristling bitterness (a respectable 40 IBUs, beer geeks), that’s like chewing on a handful of paracetamol … in a good way.
Verdict: They just do what they do, and if anyone else likes it, it’s a bonus. — Guardian News & Media