Monday, December 18, 2017
Bars & Spirits

GWAR, Cigar City Brewing team up for latest mix of bands and beers

When Port Richey homebrewer Rob Chalmers and his wife Deidra decided to make a beer inspired by the music of metal band GWAR, they were surprised to receive authorization from the band itself to use official imagery on the label. Even more surprising was the subsequent request to make two more cases of beer for the band to take on tour.

When Chalmers was later asked to make even more beer for the band — this time for the annual GWAR-B-Q festival in Richmond, Va. — he knew it was a job far too big for his back yard.

"I could not supply them with what they needed, so I contacted Joey Redner at Cigar City Brewing and he was interested," said Chalmers. An unlikely meeting between Chalmers, Redner and members of GWAR was set up, and GWAR Beer, a hop-forward pale ale brewed by Chalmers and Cigar City brewer Josh Brengle, was born.

Cigar City is no stranger to collaboration beers; over the past few years, it has collaborated with commercial breweries, homebrewers, local business, and, most recently, bands, to create beers with cross-market appeal and fresh inspiration from a variety of sources.

Earlier this year, the brewery teamed up with Tampa's Rock Brothers Brewing, a project formed by Kevin Lilly and Tony Casoria to bring together bands and breweries. The first beer in the Rock Brothers line was a collaboration with Cigar City and Bradenton rock band Have Gun, Will Travel called High Road Ale, named after a single from the band.

It's "very much like a band writes a song," said Lilly, referring to the collaborative process. "We literally all sit in the conference room and listen to music, taste beers, and discuss the recipe together. The band and the brewers sit down and write the recipe. It's truly a very fun and creative process."

High Road Ale was launched with a performance by Have Gun, Will Travel at St. Pete Beach's Postcard Inn back in April and soon proved to be more than a novelty affair by winning first place in the U.S. Beer Tasting Championship's Summer 2013 competition for the Pale Ale category.

While the band and beer collaborations are a relatively new development, there are a few breweries like Cigar City that are leading the way. Texas' Real Ale Brewing recently released a collaboration beer with Austin metal band The Sword, and Dogfish Head teamed up with hip-hop producer Dan the Automator last year to develop its Positive Contact Ale. Even the band Hanson has joined the movement with its Mmmhops Pale Ale, a collaboration with Oklahoma's Mustang Brewing.

But the vanguard of band and brew collaborations is undoubtedly Indiana's Three Floyds Brewing. Long associated with using heavy metal imagery for its beers, Three Floyds has teamed up with an impressive list of extreme metal and grindcore bands over the years, including Pelican, Pig Destroyer, Lair of the Minotaur, Eyehategod and Municipal Waste.

Pig Destroyer and Municipal Waste happen to be two of the bands performing at this year's GWAR-B-Q, where Chalmers' brew will be served by the gallon. But while GWAR's local supporters will have to wait until Aug. 17 to get their hands on GWAR Beer, Tampa Bay fans can try it this Saturday, at the Brutal GWAR-B-Q & Brew at Crowbar in Ybor City. The concert will feature free samples of the beer, as well as performances by Doom Wolf, Black Tides Roll, American Wolf, and cover act GWAR Attack.

GWAR frontman Oderus Urungus will also be on hand, which — for those familiar with the band — is sure to be a spectacle of its own.

"I will be making an appearance there and getting people used to the idea that that is the only beer they're allowed to drink for the rest of their lives," Urungus said.

"A lot of bands are starting to do their own beer, lots of bands have done their own wines, there's even some bands that have done their own liquors, and of course you know that GWAR is always motivated by wanting to be cool. But basically, what we get out of it is all the free beer we can drink forever — not that that wasn't the case before."

As the collaboration trend continues, more and more industry outsiders will have an opportunity to see their vision represented in professionally brewed beers. It's great cross-promotion for bands and breweries, and in cases like GWAR Impaled Ale, it gives homebrewers a chance to brew on a scale that they would normally never have access to, as well as a considerably larger audience.

Chalmers, who started brewing just three years ago, is looking forward to his beer's release this weekend.

"This is the first time I have had a chance for my beers to get into the hands of so many people," he explains. "It's really exciting and honestly a bit scary."

[email protected]

Comments
Fueled by indulgence and machismo, restaurants are a hotbed for sexual harassment

Fueled by indulgence and machismo, restaurants are a hotbed for sexual harassment

When Brenda Terry was 16 and living in St. Louis, she was a host and food runner at a sports bar where female employees wore cute little cheerleading skirts. One night, she said, a patron grabbed her crotch. She ran to her management team and they de...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Self-serve beer bar opens Saturday in downtown St. Pete

Self-serve beer bar opens Saturday in downtown St. Pete

Pour Taproom, a craft beer bar with 85 taps that customers pour their own brew from, will open at noon on Saturday, Dec. 16. The nearly 2,300-square-foot bar at 225 Second Ave. N has undergone extensive renovations, including a St. Petersburg-themed...
Published: 12/15/17
Bar review: Spanish flair at Bulla Gastrobar in South Tampa

Bar review: Spanish flair at Bulla Gastrobar in South Tampa

Take a second and try to think of a few of the worldís biggest drinking cultures. Ireland is a freebie, but then youíll probably move onto Germany, Russia and possibly even South Korea (yep, South Korea goes hard).How about Spain? No, Iím not just ta...
Published: 12/14/17
Local craft beer of the week: Big Stormís Lightning Twenty Five Craft Lager

Local craft beer of the week: Big Stormís Lightning Twenty Five Craft Lager

The Tampa Bay Lightning is off to its best start in franchise history, racking up NHL highs in wins and points in their 25th anniversary season.That calls for a toast.And Odessaís Big Storm Brewing has just the beer. Turns out, the brewery picked a g...
Published: 12/14/17
Why is eggnog a holiday tradition? Exploring fresh renditions of the classic drink

Why is eggnog a holiday tradition? Exploring fresh renditions of the classic drink

Eggnog dates back to medieval times when the British enjoyed a drink called "posset" that was made with hot milk, ale and spices. Later it became a drink for the wealthy who added expensive brandy or sherry. It was the alcohol that kept the milk from...
Published: 12/14/17
Wine of the week: Georges DuBoeuf 2017 Beaujolais Nouveau

Wine of the week: Georges DuBoeuf 2017 Beaujolais Nouveau

It would hardly be the holidays without Beaujolais nouveau.This French wine made with Gamay grapes appears on American shelves in mid November. Itís a vin de primeur, a wine made from the most recent harvest and fermented only a few weeks ó barely gr...
Published: 12/14/17
Five trendy gift ideas for the cook in your life

Five trendy gift ideas for the cook in your life

Giving the gift of cooking isnít really something you can mess up. Whether gifting a gadget or paying for a class, you can encourage a budding culinary enthusiast or give a seasoned veteran a new toy to play with. Here are five ideas for holiday gi...
Published: 12/13/17
Four ideas for edible gifts you can find throughout Tampa Bay

Four ideas for edible gifts you can find throughout Tampa Bay

Carlynn Crosby, Times correspondent Florida Pure Sea Salt Harvested from Tampa Bay’s waters, these handcrafted salts come in flavors like maple bacon, Sriracha, lemongrass, habanero or black truffle. They retail for $15 a jar online, at flor...
Published: 12/13/17
Six kitchen gadgets that are completely useless

Six kitchen gadgets that are completely useless

If youíre buying me a gift this year, donít get me an Instant Pot. Iím serious. I donít subscribe to the "you can never be too thin or too rich" school of thought, but the "you can never have too much kitchen cabinet space" is dead right in my book. ...
Published: 12/13/17
From the food editor: How to make perfect, hot Crispy Roasted Potatoes

From the food editor: How to make perfect, hot Crispy Roasted Potatoes

Sometimes, you just want a hot, crispy potato.I didnít get home from work the other night craving a full dinner; I arrived at my house with cartoon visions of potatoes in my head, and knew I had to make it happen.I wasnít looking for a fast food fren...
Published: 12/12/17
Updated: 12/13/17