CBC Radio Three's Grant Lawrence set the twitterverse on fire when he challenged listeners to use puns of Canadian bands to name fictious beers. Under the hashtag #CDNBandbeer his listeners responded. So much so that four breweries took up the challenge and have produced beer homages to local bands.
Grant Lawrence of CBC Music came up with the idea last Fall, tweeted it, got a great response and it grew from there. A CBC designer took eight of the suggested beer names and made mock-up labels for them, which were posted on the CBC website. Then Jeremy Sibley of Old Yale Brewing decided he wanted to brew the beers. He recruited three other breweries and the Canadian Band Beer series was created.
Old Yale (Chilliwack) has brewed a brown ale called "D.O.Ale", an homage to the legendary Vancouver punk band D.O.A. - This medium-bodied, classic brown ale balances its hop and malt flavours with subtle hints of chocolate. The slightly malty, lightly hopped finish has a touch of bitterness from the smooth Goldings hops. At 5 per cent ABV, it makes for a great session beer.
R&B Brewing (Vancouver) brewed a rye ipa called "You Say Barley! We Say Rye!", a nod to You Say Party - This delicious IPA offers a hearty, complex flavour and aroma that is both aggressive and well balanced, reminiscent of rye or pumpernickel bread. Brewed with a generous amount of specialty malts, including U.K. pale malt and malted rye, and rounded out with a lavish quantity of hops.
"Said the Ale" from Townsite Brewing (Powell River) named after Said the Whale, is a belgian pale ale - This Belgian-style pale ale is brewed on the Sunshine Coast along the shores of the Salish Sea. At 5.8 per cent ABV, it’s an easy spring sipper. The low hop aroma and slightly bitter finish complement a complex background loaded with the fruity flavours of pear and orange.
Cannery Brewing (Penticton) made a german lager called Pink Mountainhops, named for Pink Mountainhops - This strong, dry-hopped maibock is a full-bodied, German-style lager. Created with classic German malts and noble hops, it is a malt-forward beer with a surprising hop complexity.
All four beers come in bombers (650ml) and were delivered right from the breweries to the government warehouse. Government stores get first dibs on them and then private liquor stores. A very limited quantity of these band beers were brewed, so call your local store to make sure they carry it!
The D.O.Ale was released on May 17th, the You Say Barley on May 24th, Said the Ale comes out this Friday, which also coincides with the beginning of Vancouver Craft Beer Week, and the fourth beer, Pink Mountainhops will be released on June 7th. But you can get a sneak peek at the Pink Mountainhops at St. Augustine's where this amazingly tasty maibock is on tap. But hurry, I may just drink it all up!
These are not the first beers to be named after a band or a song. There are several beers on the market named for songs, like 21st Amendment's Back in Black and Brewdog's How to Disappear Completely. And beers named after musicians, like Dogfish Head's Johnny Cask and NorthCoast's Brother Thelonious. And there are bands who have come out with their own beers - like the Hanson Bros. with mmmmmhop, Iron Maiden's Trooper, Pearl Jam's Faithfull Ale, and for some Canadian flavour, the BareNakedLadies announced their upcoming beer last Fall - which I understand is what started Grant Lawrence on this game turned project in the first place. The Imperial Chocolate Stout was brewed by Flying Monkeys brewery for a limited run of 750 ml bottles, and got quite good reviews upon its release. The band was also involved in the brewing process and designed the artwork.
This is not the first series of musically inspired beers either. Every month in 2012, California's Lost Abbey debuted a different beer inspired by a rock anthem. For example, Track 3 was a pale, oak-aged sour ale based on AC/DC's "Hell's Bells," while Iron Maiden's "Number of the Beast" was the muse for the potent, bourbon barrel-aged Track 8, which was spiced with cinnamon sticks and dried chiles. At year's end, every track was collected in a limited-edition box set. And from across the pond, several British music marketers partnered with a brewer to found Signature Brew, which collaborates with musicians to create a craft beer tailored to their tastes. To date, releases have included Mammoth IPA from English folk-rockers Dry the River; the citrusy Clear Heart from the Hold Steady's Craig Finn; and a refreshing witbier from folk-punk artist Frank Artist.
Some of the names that were suggested by Grant Lawrence's listeners, but haven't yet made it into bottles are: Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Pilsner, The Weakercans, the Beer Good Tanyas, Nickelbock...
It seems like there are enough to do a series every year.
Because the CBC Band Beers are my beer picks this week, I'll close out with some of the Vancouver Craft Beer Week events that still have tickets for sale: