One of my errands yesterday was to go down to the Total Wine & Spirits, and pick up a four-pack of the new Fat Head's pumpkin beer for the lovely curvy missus. It's called "Spooky Tooth," and that got me thinking . . . .
Coolest Music-Inspired Craft Beers
Named of course after the third- or fourth-best track from Megadeth's revolutionary Peace Sells album of 1986, the label of this heavy duty dark bad baby, like several others on this list, has the iconography down pat.
9. "Racer X" from Bear Republic Brewing - Double or Imperial IPA
Might be higher on this list, except I'm not exactly sure that the beer was actually named after the Big Black EP that got the band going on its path to noise-rock greatness. It may have simply been named after the Japanese proto-anime character, you know, Speed Racer's significantly more badass brother. Which would be cool, but not as cool.
8. "Hellhound On My Ale" from Dogfish Head Brewery - Double or Imperial IPA with Lemon
Well-crafted reference to Robert Johnson, don't you think? After letting it sit on our wire shelving rack for three years, I learned to my dismay that "Hellhound" wasn't actually all that great a beer. But the label is beautiful, and throwing some lemon in there and then saying the tart citrus was in honor of Blind Lemon Jefferson was both too clever and just clever enough.
7. "Fade to Black" from Left Hand - Black Rye Ale
More great iconography, and this is in my opinion, the best-tasting beer on the list. It's damn near a classic. The coolfest is tamped down somewhat by the fact that they honored probably the weakest song from Ride the Lighning. If someone out there wants to do a "Call of Ktulu" Cream Ale, I'm right there, dude.
6. "Bitches Brew" from Dogfish Head - Imperial Stout with Honey and Gesho Root
Haven't had this one yet, and got to admit, I'm unsure about "gesho root," but it looks so pretty on the rack with the Mati Klarwein artwork, plus, you know, Miles.
I'm not sure the world needs an Imperial Pumpkin Ale. Yikes, 9%. But Beer Advocate gives it an 86, and getting a pointer in to the wiseacres who brought us You Broke My Heart So I Busted Your Jaw is nice. Even if not all that many get the rock and roll reference.
4. "Brown Shugga" from Lagunitas Brewing - Barley Wine
Everyone gets this reference, which is, perhaps, to its detriment. How come you taste so good lyrics on the box, for sure, but no Stones iconography, which would have helped hammer it all home. Still, as far as I'm aware, this is the best Barley Wine anywhere, the completely over the top and ridiculous Bigfoot notwithstanding.
3. "Purple Haze" from Abita Brewing - Fruit Beer
Perhaps the most well-known brew I've included in this list, but a review at the top of the page at Rate Beer suggest it's a little "artificial seeming." I would suggest it's sort of like Hendrix' pop-rock work in that it's a bit overrated.
2. "Brother Thelonious" from North Coast Brewing - Abbey Ale
Best taken straight, no chaser, this is a beer so good it gets up from the piano bench and starts dancing around while the rhythm section carries the groove.
1. "Johnny Cask" from Dogfish Head - IPA Blend with Maple Syrup
Actually now simply called "75 Minute IPA" and the whys of it may make an interesting story. It appears some on the internet believe that Dogfish Head may have gotten a cease and desist from the Cash Family Trust. Which is why they put the glasses and bushy mustache on.