When Mother Teresa said, “Together, we can do something wonderful,” she almost certainly wasn’t talking about the benefits of collaborative brewing. Nevertheless, the sentiment remains true when brewers mind-meld with artists of various backgrounds and specialties to craft something unique, perhaps none more prevalent than the beer-and-band combo. It makes sense, after all: If you wanted to get a little poetic about it, you could deeply ruminate on the similarities between music and beer—their basic ingredients finite but their combinations infinitely variable.
But if you don’t care for poetry, you can still enjoy a band-branded beer all the same. Here are some of the most high-profile collaborations to hit shelves recently.
Run the Jewels
Hip hop duo Run the Jewels are no strangers to beer collaborations. In 2017, they partnered with New York City’s Interboro to brew the first iteration of Stay G-O-L-D. The “dank” IPA was brewed to mirror the aroma of marijuana. Since then, Chicago’s Pipeworks and Asheville's Bural have brewed their take on the hazy IPA. The latest iteration comes from Georgia's Creature Comforts and is brewed with Citra, Mosaic, Strata, and Chinook hops. It is currently available on draft and in 4-packs of 16-ounce cans in Athens and Atlanta.
Which beer is the most metal? The answer you’re thinking about is probably not pilsner, but that’s just what heavy metal outfit Metallica has brewed up with Stone. The beer, called Enter Night, is a 5.7% ABV pilsner that “transcends genres, shatters preconceptions and challenges convention,” according to Stone’s spin-off brand Arrogant Consortia. The hoppy pilsner made its debut during the band’s fall 2018 tour and is now available throughout the U.S. Enter Night will go international this spring, with distribution expanding to Europe, Australia, and China.
It’s a little-known fact that Iron Maiden has been collaborating on an award-winning beer line since 2013. Trooper Beer, a golden ale, is produced by the UK’s Robinsons Family Brewers and has inspired offshoots such as an ESB. For the latest iteration of the beer, the band wanted something a little louder. Enter Trooper Nitro. This nitrogen “charged” ale promises a “deep and complex flavour,” according to Trooper brand manager Sam Kennerley, that “has been enhanced with a cooler temperature and a perfect serve.” To date, the Trooper beer line has sold 20 million pints throughout 50 countries.
Inspired by the Grateful Dead’s five-decade-long musical career, Dogfish Head brewed a timeless pale ale. To come up with the recipe, Dogfish head recieved suggestions from 1,500 fans. The most popular one was granola. The resulting beer is brewed with granola, wildflower honey, and American hops. The beer was first released in 750 mL bottles in 2013, but is being re-released this year in 12 oz. six-packs.
The Grateful Dead aren’t the only musical icons getting the beer treatment at Dogfish Head. Last year, the Flaming Lips partnered with the Delaware brewery to create Dragons & YumYums, a pink-hued tropical pale ale brewed with a combination of dragonfruit, yumberry, passionfruit, pear, and black carrot juice. The beer was released on Record Store Day alongside a limited-edition seven-inch vinyl featuring the songs “The Story of Yum Yum and Dragon” and “Pouring Beer in Your Ear.”
A beloved Kansas City brewery meets an iconic Kansas City rapper—delicious beer-making ensues. Boulevard Brewing has collaborated with Tech N9ne to create an unfiltered wheat beer with coconut and pineapple, named after the rapper’s hit “Caribou Lou.” Bou Lou was first released last year during Boulevardia, a Kansas City street festival that takes place each summer. Due to popular demand, it was re-released in the fall in honor of Tech9’s Independent Grind Tour. These days, the beer is available at most of his concerts as well as throughout the Kansas City area.
The charming blue house that sits on the cover of The National’s most recent album, Sleep Well Beast, can now be found on a beer can. This past summer, the band collaborated with Mikkeller to produce Reality Based Pils. “After many years of drinking, tasting and brewing all sorts of different beer styles, I’ve kind of gone back to the roots. The only beer I have in my own fridge at the moment is pilsner, so making that style of beer for The National was an obvious choice,” says Mikkel Borg Bjergsø about the collaboration on the brewery’s blog. According to the National’s Aaron Dressner in that same blog post, “We like clear and crisp beers when we come off stage and need to cool down.” The beer is served and sold at Mikkeller’s bars and brewpubs.